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I.O.U.S.A. Movie Review - Movie Review - 2008

In Debt We Trust

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I.O.U.S.A. Movie Review - Movie Review - 2008

I.O.U.S.A. Is On The Money Re National Debt

Agora Entertainment
Filmmaker Patrick Creadon’s intention in making I.O.U.S.A. is clear from the start: he wants us to know the whole low down on America‘s national debt, a sum that’s topping the 10-trillion dollar mark and is rising at an incredibly rapid rate.

Think of this as Economics 101, a primer on how America and Americans spend, and what hardships the future holds for us--unless we change the pattern and our habits quickly.

Putting an End To Public Denial

The film opens with a montage of archival footage of George Bush and presidents past--back to Eisenhower and everyone from then until now--who declare in their Inaugural or State of the Union speeches that America is in fine fiscal shape. Apparently the only remarks resembling reality are Bill Clinton's--he promised and delivered a balanced budget. But even during Clinton’s years, the national debt continued to grow. In fact, the last time the U.S. had no national debt was in 1835, during Andrew Jackson's presidency.

Creadon interviews an impressive roster of economics experts--including former U.S. Comptroller General David Baker (who left his post so he could speak out against the country’s impending spending and debt disaster), former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker, former Treasury Secretaries Paul O’Neill (who counters the Bush administration’s assertion that he resigned with his own tale of being pushed out of office because he disagreed with fiscal policy) and Robert Rubin, among others--to present chapter and verse of what policies have caused the debt, and how dangerous it is for our country. Creadon also uses graphs and pie charts to illustrate the debt trend through times of war and depression. If you've seen Creadon's previous film, <i>Wordplay</i>, you know his graphics are well-designed, easy to understand. But, the information he's presenting is dense--a lot to absorb. You have to stick with it.

Creadon points out how individuals follow the government’s lead, living on credit and not saving sufficiently to secure their futures. Americans are addicted to debt.

What's the Fix?

The situation isn't sustainable. The prediction is that by 2017, social security--which now has a surplus--will be adding to the federal debt, and there will be a general meltdown of the government.

Debt is one of the most potentially destructive issues pressing on our national security, second only to the threat of terrorists armed with nuclear weapons.

David Baker and his colleagues at the Concord Coalition, Brookings Institute and other reform-oriented organizations and think tanks have been on a fiscal wakeup tour to raise public awareness about the debt issue, so citizens will hold legislators responsible for decreasing spending, raising taxes and paying down the national debt. The public must be made to understand the situation and became aware of the urgent need to correct it, or nobody will take action.

Film Details

  • Release date: August 22, 2008 (limited)
  • MPAA Rating: PG for some thematic elements
  • Parents Guide: Add content advisory for parents
  • Runtime: 85 mins
  • Country: USA
  • Languages: English and Mandarin
  • Distribution Company: Roadside Attractions

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