Americans are born with a deep-rooted intuition that the United States will prevail no matter what obstacles it faces. The recent terrorist attacks forced us to momentarily doubt this belief, but our confidence could not be suppressed for long. Within hours, citizens were calling for action, for a response to the hijackings. We have since united as a nation to help the recovery effort by volunteering our time and energy and donating blood and money. The American Red Cross has already collected an astounding $129 million to date.
Unfortunately, these unprecedented donations cannot save our faltering economy. Earlier debates over whether or not we should dip into the Social Security surplus are now irrelevant; The country has no choice. Nor do we debate the advantages of President Bush's recent tax cut. At this point we can only hope that it will help.
Congress has already unanimously agreed to spend $40 billion on immediate relief efforts, an amount that unfortunately won't be enough. Many companies were severely damaged when the World Trade Center towers collapsed'some so much so that they will not be able to recover. Airlines and insurance companies are already crying for help and some may not survive without federal aid.
The government is responding to these pleas, reaching deeply into its pockets. Currently, the House of Representatives is considering giving $5 billion in cash to the airlines, and may grant $12.5 billion in loan guarantees as well.
While this support is admirable and necessary, the government cannot go beyond its means to help just one faltering industry. Countless industries were hurt in the attacks and their aftermath and the line has to be drawn somewhere.
The government cannot revive the economy singlehandedly, and fortunately it will not have to. Confidence in the enduring success of the economy has not disappeared and, with a little boost, our confidence in the current economy will return. Furthermore, and perhaps more importantly, the American economy is so diverse and well-rounded that the attack cannot possibly weaken it for long.
One rating company has estimated that insurance costs from the attacks will amount to over $30 billion. Though this sounds like an immense sum, when compared to the $20 billion loss that insurance companies suffered from Hurricane Andrew in 1992, the future doesn't look as bleak. America recovered then and can do the same now.
The government should relieve the airlines to some extent; It should begin to prop the economy back up. But the American spirit and the strength of our economy will do the rest.
The economic guru Alan Greenspan expressed his resolute confidence in the economy when he spoke to the Senate Banking Committee Sept. 20.
'Indeed, much economic activity ground to a halt last week,' he said. 'But the foundations of our free society remain sound, and I am confident that we will recover and prosper as we have in the past.'
The economy will rebound and the United States will survive because there is no other option. The economy is too resilient and American willpower knows no other way.