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We've Come a Long Way Maybe

By Dian Vujovich

I was standing in Magic Image Photo on Forest Hill Blvd. picking up some photos on September 11, 2001 when the first plane struck one of the Twin Towers. The television was on as those in the shop watched in disbelief.

Everyone has a story about where they were and how they felt that morning. It’s what we do, remember.

Back then I’d read somewhere that one of Osama bin Laden’s goals was to bring America down by hitting us where it hurts—in our pocketbooks, financial arenas and the economy. Don’t know if that truly was a goal of his, but let’s take a little look at how our money things have changed between then and now.

On Sept. 10, 2001 the DJIA closed at 9,605 down 15.5 percent from the high it had reached on May 21, 2001 of 11,372. Yesterday, Sept. 10, 2009, the DJIA closed at 9,627. Not much difference in closing prices in spite of a few falls, a screaming bull market and a crash.

As you may recall, the markets reopened on Sept. 17, 2001 after being closed for 4 trading days because of the terrorist attacks. It closed that day at 8,920.

•Over the eight years, our population has grown. In 2001 there were around 285 million of us; today we number over 304 million.

•The median income for a household of four in 2001 was $42,228. Now it’s $50,303.

•Our unemployment rate stood at 4.7 percent in 2001. Today’s it’s hovering under 10 percent at 9.7.

•The Iraq War has taken the lives of more than 4000 of our men and women.

•The cost of the Iraq War is over $681.6 billion. The war in Afghanistan, over $226.5 billion. FYI, the Vietnam War cost $686 billion in inflation-adjusted dollars and World War II cost $4 billion, according to a Lost Angeles Times story written in April 2009.

•The minimum wage was $5.15 in 2001; today it’s $7.25.

•On Sept. 10, 2001, our total national debt stood at $5.7 trillion and today it’s $11.7 trillion, according to http://www.treasurydirect.com .

•In 2001 there were around 3.3 million millionaires in America. At year-end 2008, that figure had doubled to 6.7 million.

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