March 30, 2009 by esarsea
With nearly 50 comments and counting, I almost hate to distract our readers from the great discussions we’re having in the Organizing For America post. Be that as it may, I believe we need to look at the issue of our national debt as set forth in the movie, I.O.U.S.A. My personal thanks to Randy Spiker for posting a link to this most important film.
Sound Money Matters calls I.O.U.S.A. “The Scariest Movie of the Year.” The Movie Blog says, “For those who call this country home, it’s a must watch and a wake up call for action.” Metromix Chicago warns, “I.O.U.S.A. couldn’t be more timely; if the catastrophic storm it warns of hasn’t struck yet, Americans are already well into a rainy day.” Time Out London writes, “Obama, watch and weep. Or at least take notes.”
I.O.U.S.A. is a non-partisan documentary that explains our national debt (and it’s implications) in such a way that an average American can understand it. I.O.U.S.A. outlines how we got here and why our current spending patterns are unsustainable. I.O.U.S.A makes it very clear that in the not-too-distant-future, the United States will be bankrupt – and what that means.
I have read several comments about how I.O.U.S.A. does a great job presenting this information, but is short on solutions. That’s not what the film is about. On the contrary, had I.O.U.S.A. focused on how we should approach the problem it would run the risk of polarizing the audience and/or lessened the impact of it’s message. For example, imagine a newspaper reporting on the impact of raw sewage being dumped into a local waterway; how it got started and what the inevitable long-term effects would be if not corrected. I maintain it’s not the newspaper’s job to suggest how to clean it up. It’s the newspaper’s job to report the news. I.O.U.S.A is no different. It’s up to us to figure out what to do.
I know we’ve touched on this topic within the comments on the previous post, but as I mentioned I felt it worthy of it’s own thread. I should also mention that although I.O.U.S.A. paints a dark picture, the reality of the situation actually a shade or two darker than presented. I.O.U.S.A was released in Septermber 2008, before the current economic crisis came to light, and the nearly one trillion dollar bailout and stimulus package.
Perhaps Roger Ebert said it best in his review of I.O.U.S.A.. Written in the perspective of an imaginary letter to his grandchildren, Ebert closes with this: “So here’s the bottom line, kids. The United States is probably going to go broke during your lifetimes. Actually, it’s already broke, but getting deeper into debt allows it to keep running on thin air, like the Road Runner. My advice? Learn Chinese. Start savings accounts. Don’t buy what you can’t afford. Any politician who tries to win votes by promising to cut taxes is digging our country’s grave.”