Sykaljery’s Movie Picks on the Financial Crisis: IOUSA
This is a movie about the national debt. It is a really excellent film, which is extremely well produced. I don’t hold with some of its tenets, and in many ways, it seemed to be a vehicle for the punditry of David Walker, the former Comptroller of the GAO, but factually, I think it was pretty well done. They had some amazing graphical representations of the debt that really help to clear things up. Overall, I’d give the movie an A. They divide up the documentary into quarters. One quarter involves the Budget, another involves Savings, another the Trade deficit, and the last, a “Leadership” deficit. The Budget section discusses the sorts of things you might expect. Medicare and Social Security, foreign wars, and regulatory bodies. The second quarter addresses the lack of personal savings of the average American. The third discusses the Trade deficit that began in the 60s, and metastasized in the 90s. And the last, a rather judgmental section on how recent administrations have fared in addressing the problem of the national debt.
Having said that, let me tell you my big problem with the overall concept. The concept of national debt is an alarming one, but it’s also easy to misunderstand, and also easy to overlook some very practical necessities in regards to it. First of all, no one likes waste. No one wants to see billions of dollars go to waste. And no one thinks that the way they spend wastes money. But there were some very good reasons for the 700 billion dollar bailout package., none of which were addressed. But the film isn’t about the reasons for the debt, it’s about the number, and the history of the number.
My overall concern is that on the cusp of a massive recession, when all fears about inflation have proved groundless, fear about the federal deficit will make lawmakers slash and burn. They fear that China and Japan will call the debt. I’m no Ph.D. but everything I’ve read, or watched, convinced me that it is in no one’s best interest for that debt to be called. The real fear is market collapse through unemployment and depression, not calls on the debt. And that is far more likely to occur after a budget slash and burn session. Let the deficit rest until the middle of Obama’s second term.
Still, IOUSA is a movie to rent. If just for the visuals alone. You can also see a 30 minute version youtube.