I.O.U.S.A.: Our National Debt Is Just as Bad as the Mortgage Mess

Both a handy election primer and a bowel-rattling cry of fiscal doom, I.O.U.S.A. is an Inconvenient Truth for the debt crisis, a plainly mapped and charted argument against our current economic course. Wordplay director Patrick Creadon has gathered some heavy-hitting policy players, including former Fed chairman Paul Volcker, former Secretaries of the Treasury Robert Rubin and Paul O’Neill (who sets the record straight about his unceremonious departure from the Bush administration in 2002), and hella-rich dude Warren Buffett, to ponder the issues of perceived wealth, how the United States managed to amass nearly $10 trillion in national debt, and where the current slide will leave our cash-rich nation in the next generation. Volcker calls former U.S. Comptroller General David Walker the Paul Revere of the coming disaster, and the film follows Walker and Concord Coalition executive director Robert Bixby as they thread the country on a “Fiscal Wake-Up Tour.” Creadon lays out several economic weak spots, homing in on the explosion in foreign-held debt and trade deficits, but missteps with a brief and almost facile look at China, comparing the frugality of factory workers who earn $10 a day with Americans addicted to spending money they don’t have. China’s boom is undeniable but not uncomplicated, beginning with the labor atrocities that have made much of its prosperity possible.