August 16, 2008
Recent CRS Reports: Terrorism and Security Issues Facing the Water Infrastructure Sector, Financing Issues and Economic Effects of American Wars
- Terrorism and Security Issues Facing the Water Infrastructure Sector, July 28, 2008: "Damage to or destruction of the nationís water supply and water quality infrastructure by terrorist attack or natural disaster could disrupt the delivery of vital human services in this country, threatening public health and the environment, or possibly causing loss of life. Interest in such problems has increased greatly since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States.
Across the country, water infrastructure systems extend over vast areas, and ownership and operation responsibility are both public and private, but are overwhelmingly non-federal. Since the attacks, federal dam operators and local water and wastewater utilities have been under heightened security conditions and are evaluating security plans and measures. There are no federal standards or agreed upon industry practices within the water infrastructure sector to govern readiness, response to security incidents, and recovery. Efforts to develop protocols and tools are ongoing since the 2001 terrorist attacks. This report presents an overview of this large and diverse sector, describes security-related actions by the government and private sector since September 11, and discusses additional policy issues and responses, including congressional interest."
- Financing Issues and Economic Effects of American Wars, updated July 29, 2008: "The increased government outlays associated with wars can be financed in four ways: through higher taxes, reductions in other government spending, government borrowing from the public, or money creation. The first two methods are unlikely to have an effect on economic growth (aggregate demand) in the short run: the expansion in aggregate demand caused by greater military outlays is offset by the
contraction in aggregate demand caused by higher taxes or lower non-military government spending. The latter two methods increase aggregate demand. Thus, a by-product of American wars has typically been a wartime economic boom in excess of the economyís sustainable rate of growth. Wars may shift resources from nonmilitary spending to military spending, but because military spending is included in GDP, it is unlikely to lead to a recession. Just as wars typically boost aggregate demand, the reduction in defense expenditures after a war removes some economic stimulus as the economy adjusts to the return to peacetime activities."