The term America is a broad one when taking into account that North and South America be referred to as America. South America is better recognized as Latin America and for this paper the use of America as a term will be referring to USA and Canada. As close neighbors, trade partners, allies in dealing with terrorism, USA and Canada make a great sample for this paper to investigate the extend to which terrorism has affected the North America continent. Specifically, this paper will address the impact of terrorism on both the USA and Canada, drawing specific examples on the level and margin of impact on each nation individually.
Terrorism is an activity that has for many years been condemned inhuman while some people terming it has a Muslim method of seeking attention. Terrorism, besides the purpose it is committed to, takes lives, destroys infrastructure, deranges the economy, and threatens national security, necessary for the nations’ considered targets. While loss of life and insecurity are issues American government thrives to combat, aftershocks of terrorism lead to economic turmoil, rise in the number of poverty-stricken people, therefore, rendering some families/individuals homeless. The impact of terrorism on America is far beyond the deaths and cost of property destroyed; it encompasses budgeting for dealing with terrorism, deprioritizing sectors like health and Medicare, raising the number of poor people, and affecting the social aspects of peoples.
Terrorism has not only resulted in economic and social problems, but has also contributed to telecommunications controversies. There are examples is the period after 9/11 where journalists and media houses have taken most of violence attacks as terroristic, therefore, labeling perpetrators as terrorists. This phenomenon has affected the integrity of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and other crime fighting bodies, like the FBI (USA) and Department of National Defense (Canada) in terms of their ability to identify and curb terrorism with the media calling ‘everyone’ a terrorist. Media, on the other hand, campaigned for freedom of free media from government regulation. With the events of 9/11 that killed and injured thousands, the media joined hands with government to fight terrorism, therefore, realizing the right to free media.
Where does the controversy surrounding the definition of terrorism leave the victims of events that affect their lives either by death or injuries? There is no clear delineation of terrorism that classifies some acts at specific times as terroristic and at other times as otherwise. The bottom line in defining terrorist is drawn by the law of the nation at hand. The Chinese and some Japanese tribes are examples of races that practice suicide commission by cutting themselves to death. How is the Chinese/Japanese aspect different from that of an Islamist who decides to blow him/herself up? Different people are affected differently by the same issue. The issue sometimes tends to get the best of them and lead to acts of desperation. Desperate people would opt to do desperate things. One could heave a stone at a moving train while another would fire a bomb shell at the same train. If the event of determining who among the two acted as a terrorist, unless his/her reason is determined, they both acted from frustration and had nothing to do with terrorism.
The American government believes that their relationship with other nations and history makes them a target for terrorists. With increased security across borders and American skies, it is hard for a terrorist group to launch attacks on American land. This follows a directive by the minister of defense after the 9/11. Acts labeled as acts of terrorism have continued to be reported in the United States long after the 9/11. This brings us to the phase where the media comes in. Since the terrorist groups and extremists have no access to American land and skies, the media and the government believe that these groups train and instruct citizens and other immigrants to commit acts of terror. Any incident that resulted to the death of an American citizen is highly considered an act of terror. It is the intelligence and the government that have instilled this mentality to the journalists (Chomsky, 1992).
The grounds of what terrorism entails haven’t been set properly, thus, leading to the obvious speculation that violent acts are terrorism acts. The perpetrators may have their own personal issues that lead them to committing violent acts. However, the reason as to why terrorism would be the verdict of media on such events depends on a number of other incidents. From time to time in incidents where perpetrators end up dead or kill themselves after committing atrocities, some people and groups emerge to claim responsibility of the events. This would give them an opportunity to make claims as to why they had to commit the atrocities. Such events give these groups the upper hand of the situation, and they go ahead to make demands. If the demands are not met and another incident occurs, the media uses the previous footage to label the perpetrators as terrorists.
9/11 and its Impact on Violence Regulation Laws
Two commercial commuter planes were hijacked by individuals believed to have been terrorists. The incidents occurred on the same day of 11th September, 2001. The number of casualties and deaths set the nation to a state of horror. Following this event, many families and people believed to have been of national importance were lost. The belief that America is a target for terrorists was proven right (Chomsky, 1992).
What could have been done before in ensuring national security that would have prevented this tragedy was reviewed. Acting from spite and anger, Bush, the president at the time, directed that an incident that threated the lives of USA citizens had to be addressed as an act of terrorism. President Bush thought he was directing his orders to the authorities only. However, the media picked up the same lines of his speech and became ready to apply the directive in any case that occurred after that. Some events that had taken place long before 9/11 surfaced and they were considered to have been acts of terrorism as well.
The word of mouth does not make a directive a law, Bush’s directive was taken to congress and laws were drafted and implemented that were made to overlook the punishment for terrorism. People who were accused prior to the 9/11 happenings for having committed acts of violence had their cases reviewed. Some of these people had their sentences lengthened due to the fact that they were considered as able of committing bigger humanitarian crimes. Some of these cases were masked from the eye of the media. However, investigative journalism was in play all along. Some offenders would be visited and interrogated by media personnel posing as family members. The personal stories, the verification of which still remains in doubt, created grounds that made the media personnel believe that the government was treating every incident as an act of terror. This is the mentality the media has on perpetrators of violence today (Gross, 1976).
The Take by Media
The events that took place on 9/11 awoke the media from its ‘hiding’ place. Movements by media houses asking the government to remove all journalistic restrictions and make media free and independent followed this. They claimed that if given full support of the government, they could be able to prevent such events in future. The events of 9/11 were a turning point in terms of journalist practices.
The anti-terrorism measures that were put in place after 9/11 created grounds that made authority and media to be considered for rewarding if they uncovered a conspiracy. These measures together with the promise sent the media houses burning with ego. Their ego was directed at making individual media houses as popular as possible. This was a ground and a strategy for doing business. The more grounds and margin of audience a media house covered, the better the chances it had in gaining admiration and pecuniary strength got. From this point onwards, incidents involving plotting of violence were considered to be forms of terrorism. At this level, terrorism has derailed the media in terms of judgment and authenticity of coverage, therefore, putting the reputation of authorities designated for investigation in the line (Greenwald, 2010).
American Account Deficit
“We have run out of money” are the words Barak Obama telling the citizens of the USA account situation of their country (National Debt Awareness Campaign, 2012). Running out of money is not all that counted in his speech while addressing members of the Congress towards the end of 2011. What he forgot to say to the public is much more of a concern than the running out of money. Having no money is one thing to worry about while having a debt the interest of which is bigger than the debt, is another thing to worry about. The best way he should have addressed the matter is by stating that the US would either pull itself from the outstanding debts or else it will be considered as a bankrupt state in a couple of years (National Debt Awareness Campaign, 2012).
Account or budget deficit is a situation that depicts a scenario where spending exceeds income or means and sources of providing funds. The US has actually run out of money considering the outstanding 15.2 trillion dollar deficit that has a growth rate of a remarkable rate (The Treasury, 2012). A debt of 15.2 trillion dollars is not a big debt if it were to be paid back without the consideration of interests over the time. However, the situation that sends the problem of account deficit to unbearable situation is the accumulation of interest, which adds up to the debt. The government of the USA does not have money of its own at all; if we take the situation figuratively – tax payers’ money cannot be made governments’ money. Just because the government collects it does not mean that transfer of ownership takes place. The public, through the tax they pay, expect the government to use it to make their livelihoods better and tack the problems of inflation and insecurity.
Treasury is the biggest spender of US money as it takes up to 457 billion dollars to settle some form of interest emanating from the debt (The Treasury, 2012). This process does not help the situation from the perspective of neither settling the debt nor reducing it. Since the government does not have money at all, it borrows and spends this borrowed money and then uses the taxpayers’ money to settle the debt or the interests of the debt. In this case, the government is stealing from the public with the excuse of bailing the deficit out being the only way out.
As the debt continues to mount up, the situation will escalate further beyond being a deficit to the point of rendering government bankrupt. However, as scary as the situation gets it seems that the government would like to keep the current debt of 15.2 trillion at that the same level by finding new ways to raise more money to pay interests. There is nothing in US like reducing the debt at this point, because to settle the debt and be deficit-free would require more money coming from the public pockets, while the issues lagging behind will need new funding strategies. As people are taxed more to cover for the debt, most of the projects that concern the welfare of the public will be left unattended, therefore, worsening the living standards of the common citizens. The cycle of money at its current state will escalate to new unbearable levels given that year in year out the same trend of accumulating deficits and growing debts will continue. Assessing the perspective that the government looking into the matter through, one would see why achieving the goal of clearing the debts is almost impossible (The Treasury, 2012).
Assume that all shops printed money and gave it to the customers for free so that they were able to buy goods and services using that money; in the long run, the shops would go broke. The same exact scenario is evident with the government of US, where money is printed to pay workers and all forms of business while the same money is taken through tax from them to pay for debts and increasing interests. Inflation in all commodities is not a farfetched phenomenon as the results of borrowing are translating to a higher need to settle a growing debt, which has everything to do with recurring and increasing deficit.
How much of a problem is the account deficit of the United States? If a number could be used to answer this question, it would be probably 30.4 trillion dollars. The reason for giving the 30.4 figure is through the consideration of opportunity cost that the US incurs every time it works to settle a debt rather than develop all sectors. Assuming that there was no debt at all to settle, the US would be making arrangements on how to raise 15.2 trillion dollars to develop some sectors. However, considering that the debt is real and must be paid, US loses an opportunity to raise 15.2 trillion for development and still has to thrive to making up that amount to settle a non-development course resulting to a 30.4 trillion lose on develop for US (Richardson, 2012).
Given the instability and loss of value of the US Dollar, inflation is one of the biggest deficit associated problems. Everything is going up in order to sustain an economy that would have realized its downfall from 1969. Mortgages, Health Insurance, and Medicare have all become things that the rich can afford due to the realization of involved risks by the companies (Richardson, 2012). A mortgage company would not give loans to middle or lesser earning citizens, assuming that they may not be able to pay their loans due to the instability of the dollar and the probability of offsets by employers. Many families at this moment cannot sustain to pay for health insurance, and Medicare is problematic for them. This means that much more families will be joining this group if employers are unwilling to allow employees healthcare and Medicare benefits to cut off spending to save their businesses.
One state of irony will present itself as the US’s account deficit goes up would be the possibility of National Debt threatening National Security. CNN (2012) reported of USA selling fighter jets to Saudi Arabia, and later reported of Iran marine boats and fighter jets speeding and flying towards the US marine ships. The US government did not make the deal official to the public, neither did it state why it needed the 34 billion dollars’ worth of the deal for. Saudi Arabia is an oil producing country and the deal can be speculated as being a strategy to pay up some oil debts by the US. The original buying or manufacturing of the fighter jets was funded by the taxpayers’ money and now that they are being sold the amount is redirected to paying debts. Where does this situation leave the National security of the US? When the deficit grows too large to be handled, where the amount to fund National security will come from? (The Situation Room, 2012)
Through National debt, the US account deficit is growing at a constant pace putting the livelihoods of its citizens at risk. Inflation in every sector is affecting middle and low class earners, leaving the rich alone to thrive through the deteriorating financial and economic sectors. The situation, as defined by statisticians and theorists, is just 15.2 trillion dollar debt with some interest to be paid. The actual situation on the ground is twice that, because any amount equivalent to the debt would be used to pay the debt, therefore, costing the US 15.2 trillion dollars of development.
The account deficit of the USA has not resulted from bad budgeting or mismanagement of funds, however, prioritizing some projects while living others unaccounted for results to this state of affairs. National security is the biggest project that has drained USA’s funds for the last decade. Fighting terrorism within USA and its allies has been a massive spender, therefore, leading to borrowing from other counties, contributing to the escalating National Debt.
Impacts of Canada’s Counter-Terrorism Activities and Level of Safety
Since 9/11 the Canadian government has increased the budget on security. The budget of Canada has seen a 92 billion dollar increase directed to security. Analysts would wonder whether the figure matches the results. Before 9/11, Canada was a base for several terrorist groups and many terrorism attacks were planned in Canada without the knowledge of the Canadian government. Terrorists like Ressam lived and operated in Canada using Canadian passports. He would make bomb and plan bombings while in Canada without being interrupted by the authorities. This means the terrorism watchdogs were reluctant or lacked funding that would have helped them to deal with the question of security back then. This would lead to the question: Has the 92 billion on budget helped in any way to curb terrorism?
The 92 billion dollar increase in the budget means that there has been 69 billion dollar increase in security spending with respect to inflation. This amount has been distributed to several projects and funding of organizations that act as terrorism watchdogs. Relative to the figures that have been put towards that campaign of the anti-terrorism calls, safety has been directed towards one issue while living others at dire need of funding. Terrorism is a red flag that makes the USA and Canada partners and obvious target. In state of panic, many US friendly states end up taking the same measures as the USA itself when terrorism threats are made. This is the case of Canada post 9/11; the realization that terrorism can hit their targets contributed to this ‘panic’ spending (Chomsky, 1992).
The Department of National Defense (DND) of Canada was investigated and found to be the biggest spender of the security funding. 21 billion dollars is the average amount of money that goes to this department. The main role of this department is to address all security issues hibernating from with and without Canadian borders. The 21 billion funding goes to workforce, equipment, and communication. The operations of the department are aimed at dealing with all security threats, but with the 9/11 events the department embarked to lean more on the issue of anti-terrorism.
Security and public safety programs tripled their spending from 3 billion to 9 billion. The spending in all department and programs was brought by the fact that more qualified personnel were required to overlook the issues. In order to accomplish the task of preventing terrorism more sophisticated equipment and technology were required. The public safety programs were aimed at protecting terrorism attacks on public facilities (Hocking, 2007). These programs ensure that the safety of the Canadians is put in the forefront. The tripling of the spending on these sectors was aimed at making tripling the efficacy of the department and increasing security levels. It was believed that the more the spending was, the better the outcomes would be. At this point could Canada be termed as safe place? Does a Canadian feel like he/she is safe?
Despite the large amounts of money that have been invested in the efforts of fighting against terrorism, we are not safe yet. If Al-Qaeda and other Middle East extremist groups are the threats to go by; then it is clear that the more the efforts of fighting terrorism, the harder the terrorist try to continue their strikes. The Middle East extremist groups can hardly reach the Western countries and launch attacks. However, other means of getting the terrorist attacks launched have been devised. The internet is one of these ways where Canadian citizens are used by the extremist groups to launch attacks on Canadian land. They are trained through the internet and fed with ideologies that blur their mental visionary of applying sense. The government waits for a jet or missile to come flying over the Canadian skies. It is through the preparedness of the government and the flexibility of the terrorist groups that the spending on security works and fails at the same time. If there are windows of failure it means that we are not safe at all (Brysk & Shafir, 2007).
Besides the issue of terrorism that is taking ‘all the money,’ a decade later there are other issues of insecurity that require more attention than the terrorism one. On the issue of development and addressing inflation, the government has failed to protect the public from raising costs of living. The economy of Canada is not one of the best ones, and there are many projects the importance of which plays a great deal in the security of Canadian citizens. How is investing so much in anti-terrorism measures helping an unemployed father of three? From national insecurity to personal insecurity is the most appropriate phrase to apply against this kind of efforts. The troubled life of one Canadian citizen in one municipality makes two if the margin is expanded. If this criterion is taken to a national grind, it would be noted that the troubled lives can be translated to substandard living conditions. The reality of the situation is that economy is dragged behind by the citizens whose living standards are low and whose contributions are minimal. A state with a failing economy and a wining anti-terrorism measures doesn’t guarantee safety to its citizens (Brysk & Shafir, 2007).
Focusing on other issues besides the aspect of terrorism, it is clear that there has been overspending on security with other sectors lagging behind. The transit system of Canada is not the best in the world and some money to the margins of 100 billion can turn it around. The transit system corresponds with the economy through the contribution made by industrialization. The amount of hours wasted on the roads, railways, waterways and airways translates directly to economic loss incurred. With a better transit system, the loss has the potential of being eliminated. Without doing that, the safety of Canadians will not depend on the anti-terrorism measures. To achieve the absolute safety, the Canadian government would have to direct as much attention to all sectors as it has done for terrorism (Alexander, 2008).
Childcare is a program that many households cannot guarantee for their children. The situation brought by the global recession leaves many of these households with few choices. Priorities are made only in addressing grave issues mostly. With the Canadian Dollar losing value to other international currencies, it means that the fate of the Canadian family does not depend on personal efforts only. With struggle to make ends meet in terms of education and housing, childcare is considered an optional variable. Assumption of childcare is a mental excuse for hopes that the need does not arise. In actual meaning of this situation is domestic insecurity. Given that the government has the power to allocate and remove funds for some projects, the amount being used in anti-terrorism measures can be directed to address the issue of childcare. Without doing this, Canadians are not safe all (Brysk & Shafir, 2007).
Prescription drugs for pharmacare could use a portion of the amount used in security. Many households are unable to afford prescription drugs given that many companies are forced to abolish the healthcare plans for regular low earning employees. Care for the aged and management of diseases for the working class cannot be afforded by all with the financial difficulties brought by the global recession. Health safety matters most to the citizens than does a 70 billion dollar to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.
Impact of Terrorism on the Economy and Legislature of Canada
With unsustainability that is expected to be caused by the HST revocation, growth may not be expected to remain the same, and so is the potential of expansion. With more costs incurred and less profits made, companies will have to make changes in their workforces in order to operate at some degree of profitability. To do this, layoffs and cutoffs will take place in the livelihood of thousands of people. This is the effect of Canada’s Harmonized Sales Tax Bill that was considered for replacement with Provincial Sales Tax late 2011.
Investment is favored by good taxation systems. The importance of these systems is favoring the business climate and increasing investment levels. The PST regime that is to be re-adapted makes capital taxation on of its dossiers and threatens a fall on investment. Capital taxation affects investment in several ways. Amongst these ways is the margin of investment that a company is willing to invest. Secondly, expansion of the investments costs the investor twice and cycles back to the question of margin. An investor willing to invest 100% of capital would end up investing less due to the taxation of the initial capital (Hansen, 2005; Freeman, 2011).
Investments have been made previously due to the fact that HST was a better tax system than the PST. Its revocation is likely to take away the insurance operators’ hand on it. As it goes, more investors are likely to gauge the economies of scale and withdraw some financial percentage in order to insure themselves as they approach the global recession.
Tax raise is not an issue anyone cannot handle with a well thought out plan. At the consumer level, a tax raise of 2% is too small to affect spending. To the bigger player, operating at the margins of billions, it is a big deal with the potential of affecting business. On the other hand, if the bigger players are affected negatively by tax, they transfer the burden to the consumers and all other players held in between. The logical impact that these raises of taxes have on the companies is leveling output with input. The end result is that companies operate at no profit.
Cut backs and layoffs are strategies which the companies employ in order to make their existence in the corporate world profitable. Without profits, even if the spending and earnings level up, companies would find it impossible to continue with the business. The PST 2% tax increase makes the above situation 2% closer to being a reality. Many employers would not wait for that moment to come in order to take action. They result to taking action right away so that by the time the implementation time comes, they would be equipped well enough for at least some time before all players and sectors adapt the changes (Canadian Tax Foundation, 1999; Freeman, 2011)
Budgets of companies involve foreign investment, expansion of existing businesses, business affiliations, and rescue plans. With increased input costs, these companies are likely to cut on their budgets. The implication of budget architecture of the companies prior to the revocation of the HST is that there will be less foreign investment. The result is because the operating cost at home would be too high and budgets will be drafted to squeeze fewer projects for high costs. This would leave nothing to go to the investments (PricewaterhouseCoopers, 2002; Freeman, 2011).
The future of an economy can be predicted using the facts of the present day turnovers. As customers are caught in this ‘tax war’, they tend to predict that measurers would be taken as soon as possible. Despite that customers may have the potential to shop as they used to before the tax hikes, most will result to hold off from big spending. Their ‘card’ is that the tax will be scrapped so they will not have to shop more presently, but after the changes are implemented. This goes to all sectors where customers spend heavily. Real estate investment, home building, and renovation would put a customer to a state of thought that results to holding off till favorable taxation conditions are realized (Canada Dept. of Finance, 1996; Freeman, 2011).
Consumers are the backbone of an economy; whether local or foreign they will all do business the same. This is because there are economic trends that circulate in an economy. At BC, the consumer spending is already waning and the economy isn’t as good as economists predict it can be. Destroying the consumer spending trends any further would put the entire economy in jeopardy. The consumers make up the public base and if the consumer loses faith in the economic sector, it means that the public lacks faith in their local government.
Consumers cutting spending, investors investing less, companies hiring less and laying off their employees, and inflation getting worse; there are no chances that an economy would grow. The growth of the economy with respect to HST revocation predicts are negative growth in that investors are likely to pull their assets and investing elsewhere outside of BC (Freeman, 2011).
BC is only but a province in Canada, where other provinces exist as well. The regime of tax that BC is working with and the one they want to implement are not the best in all provinces. With this in mind, the HST revocation is an investment in loss yielding project. Many of investors who had invested under the HST would see a reason to invest in provinces, where the HST is the only system in place. New investors will not bother investing in the first place; they would consider the provinces with the best tax systems
Plight of the Homeless (USA and Canada)
The demise of homelessness is not a choice made by individuals but a side effect of poverty. Recession and collapsing markets are responsible for a great deal of poverty contributing issues. Recession is responsible for making companies opt to cut down on spending. Spending in this case goes to the number of employees that the company has to pay salaries to. When recession hit, the companies had limited markets and the profit margins went down. To make sure that they survive the recession thoughtfully, they opted to layoffs. With this, many people lost their livelihoods in terms of medical insurances, healthcare benefits, and mortgage plans. With improvement in the private sector and the public sector in terms of finance, it is never a guarantee that the laid off staff will ever get their jobs back (Merino, 2009).
At the time of recession, it is clear that many companies do not hire. In the mortgage sector, the level of tolerance is time based for individuals with better financial foundations. Once the grace period is over, the individuals who were unable to clear their mortgage debts are thrown out to the streets. Sometimes when a mortgage company files a suit to the individual, auction for the individuals’ property to cover the damages a company incurred, takes place.
Out on the streets many people find themselves without anyone to lean on for help. The government and the immediate public do not pay attention to the homeless. It is not their duty to take care of the homeless – some members of the public would be quoted saying. The government is busy funding means and channels of protecting national heritage and security. Terrorism is one of the biggest issues many nations tend to address. In the USA, this is a top priority, because it is an open and marked target for terrorists. With such concerns, the government has been impacted by terrorism in that it has shifted attention from livelihood of its people to fighting terrorism (Merino, 2009).
Terror is a product of terrorism, where individuals with motives launch attacks attacking a certain country or group of people for defined reasons. The USA and its allies are some of the most targeted nations in the world by terrorists. Terrorism and quest to fight it has not only resulted to deaths and injuries of civilians, but also escalation of the National Debt resulting to account deficit, economic instability, a higher number of poor people, and a secondary problem of homelessness. The intelligences of both USA and Canada have also been questioned as how effective they are concerning the media involvement in the hunt for terrorism. Following the threats of terror and efforts to curb it, the American government has shifted attention from economic projects to security projects, therefore, disabling livelihoods of majority of their citizens.