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I.O.U.S.A.: One Nation. Under Stress. In Debt. Paperback – September 29, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0470222775 ISBN-10: 0470222778 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 266 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (September 29, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470222778
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470222775
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,113,473 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for the theatrical version of I.O.U.S.A.:

"I.O.U.S.A. is a clear, cogent and compelling primer oncontemporary American economics and the not-so-small matter of howwe ended up at the edge of a precipice." -- Toronto Star

"The buck stops here in this sobering but disarmingly irreverentlook at the national debt." -- Hollywood Reporter

I.O.U.S.A. | 3.5 Stars! "...it accomplishes an amazing thing. Itexplains the national debt, the foreign trade deficit, the decreasein personal savings, how the prime interest rate works, and theweakness of our leaders." -- Roger Ebert

"An alternately amusing and alarming primer on America'soff-the-charts fiscal irresponsibility." -- Variety

"Equal parts enlightening and alarming, "I.O.U.S.A." highlightsour unwise preference for short-term reward over long-termplanning." NY Times

"For anyone seeking a clearer understanding of the financialstate of the union -- and strong enough to take the sobering news-- [I.O.U.S.A.] is a good place to start." LA Times

"Some even wonder if it might do for the economy what AlGore’s "An Inconvenient Truth" did for theenvironment..."I.O.U.S.A" is a bold attempt to highlight apotentially huge problem." -- The Economist

From the Back Cover

"Early reviewers have dubbed I.O.U.S.A. An Inconvenient Truth forthe economy."
The Washington Post

"The next president better take this seriously, or I fear thatwe'll be in a much worse situation than a recession."
David Walker, former Comptroller General of the UnitedStates

The United States has been spending its way deeper and deeperinto the red, and saddling future generations with themess—but who's paying attention?

To answer that question, the companion book to the criticallyacclaimed documentary I.O.U.S.A. talks with some of the mostrevered voices in the nation, including Warren Buffett; formerTreasury Secretaries Paul O'Neill and Robert Rubin; Pete Peterson,CEO of The Blackstone Group; Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas); andbestselling Empire of Debt author Bill Bonner.

Armed with these interviews, historical references, and damningstatistics, the book takes a lively and entertaining romp throughthe four deficits the nation faces: the budget deficit, thepersonal savings deficit, the trade deficit—and what formerU.S. Comptroller General David Walker, who resigned abruptly in2008 over Congress's lack of action, calls the "leadership deficit"in Washington.

Defiantly non-partisan, the empowering solutions outlined inthese pages are a must-read for any American who wants to helpchange "business-as-usual" in Washington as a new administrationheads towards the Oval Office. "We the People" can get ourpoliticians to stop spending, promote responsible economicprograms, and hand our children and grandchildren the secure futurethey deserve.

Customer Reviews

The book accurately notes the foundations of this historical dilemma.
K. Johnson
Talking about it may be a good start, but I would like to read about solutions, not paper theories of possible solutions by minds that can't agree on anything.
Sexy Bachelor
It appears that this book was released as a companion to the movie/DVD of the same name.
S. Hall

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

71 of 82 people found the following review helpful By M. H. Brandenburgh on October 4, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I got this hoping to learn a lot about our national debt problem: what exactly it means, how big the problems are, what the causes are, etc. This book has almost nothing of that: whatever discussion there is of actual facts is just meant to make the reader understand this is a big problem--something anyone who buys this book already knows. That is to say, this book is very lacking in statistics and study of what they mean.
The book is arranged in two sections: the first part is the informative section, and the other half is a collection of interviews with supposed experts. Unfortunately, most of the information section is just a narrative walkthrough of how they made the movie: "While we were making the movie, we found out about this student group which is doing the same thing as us. They are on these campuses. 'The national debt is a real problem,' says the group's leader. Hopefully they'll continue their work." Nothing of actual substance. And at the end of each chapter comes a set of "solutions," offering nothing we haven't heard before. "Congress needs to begin making realistic decisions," "Leaders must be held accountable," etc.
Maybe the movie is better, but all in all, I wish I hadn't bought this.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By S. Hall on November 10, 2008
Format: Paperback
It appears that this book was released as a companion to the movie/DVD of the same name. Problem is, the DVD has not been released; you can only see it if you attend film festivals or ferret out some limited viewing in a few cities. And it is not a substitute for the film, like reading a novel and then comparing it to the movie; rather, this is a support piece to the DVD itself.
The first 90 pages are an excellent introduction to, and summary of, an enormous problem that our country is facing, namely monstrous deficits and debt; I would give it 5 stars if the first half was the whole book - -perhaps a little 90-page book that cost [...].
But the second half of the book, the "complete" interviews of the folks featured in the movie, leaves me wondering if there is even any hope of ever agreeing on solutions, since it seems they all have different opinions on cause and effect, who is responsible for what, and where we might go from here. (The book came out before the recent financial collapse; so the opinions of some seem completely off-base.)
Anyway, I rate the second half of the book one star, giving the book an overall (generous) rating of two and a half stars. Perhaps my opinion will improve once I am able to see the movie and can then put the interviews in context; but it really seems like they should have released the DVD before the book; or, at least the book and DVD as a "combo" package. See the movie first; if you like it, buy this book.
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Adam Sharp on October 11, 2008
Format: Paperback
Enlightening. I bought the book after seeing the movie. Both helped me understand parts of the debt crisis that I didn't fully get before. Some of the dangers it warns against seem to be unfolding now.

I've developed a far more skeptical attitude towards the stock market recently, largely because of IOUSA. This skepticism has helped me dodge some of the recent equity losses. I realize this is extremely short-term, but at least I'm aware of the arguments opposing Wall St's continual bull-pumping. The traditional mentality of "don't sell now, it's the best time to buy" is incredibly ingrained in our society. People forget that on occasion there are extended periods of time that are really really bad to invest in equity markets.

This book (and the movie it's based on) helped me realize these things.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Herb Hunter on January 2, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book was written right at the cusp of the current financial mess, making it very timely for those seeking one explanation as to why things are the way they are, and why they may not improve. The trouble is, anybody who reads Addison Wiggins web site (Daily Reckoning) or similar sites would already know most of what's in this book. Those who don't would still have heard most of the story by now. Most of the explanation part is contained in the front half of the book. The US owes tons of money, social security, medicare and every other entitlement program are going to go bust sooner than we think, etc.

The more useful part of the book is the second half, showcasing interviews with various financial people and politicians offering their explanations and opinions. In particular, I found those of Steve Forbes and Arthur Laffer to be most enlightening, while Robert Rubin put some serious spin on the Clinton administration (Clinton was indeed FOR a middle class tax cut and campaigned on it in '92 - Rubin said exactly the opposite), Warren Buffet sounded more like a politician looking for a vote, and Alan Greenspan acted like he had nothing to do with the situation at all.

Moreover, not long after the release of this book, Greenspan essentially admitted in front of Congress that he was significantly responsible for the current financial mess before running off the stage. Rubin just left the ailing Citicorp after personally assisting in its destruction, and Buffet also changed his tune, softening his approach shortly after the release of the IOUSA movie. He probably caught so much flack from his team over at Berkshire Hathaway. Not wanting to scare everybody and realizing just how bad the markets would be for the foreseeable future, he modified his stance somewhat.
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