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I.O.U.S.A.

4.3 out of 5 stars 128 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

I.O.U.S.A. boldly examines the rapidly growing national debt and its consequences for the United States. Burdened with an ever-expanding government, increased international competition, overextended entitlement programs, and debts to foreign countries that are becoming impossible to honor, America must mend its spendthrift ways or face an economic disaster of epic proportions.

Review

"I.O.U.S.A accomplishes an amazing thing. It explains the national debt." --Roger Ebert, The Chicago Sun Times

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Product Details

  • Actors: .
  • Directors: Patrick Creadon
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    PG
    Parental Guidance Suggested
  • Studio: PBS
  • DVD Release Date: April 7, 2009
  • Run Time: 80 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (128 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001P9G3HE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,229 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "I.O.U.S.A." on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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It is unfortunate that only 10 people were in the theater besides my wife and I to watch this documentary film. The past head of the GAO for the last 3 presidents is the 'star' of this film and he presents the case about the national debt in a logical and yet terrifying manner. This is a must see for every high school student in America. Unfortunately, this will never happen. The film does present a method to save the country, but it will come at a cost that probably few in this land of ours will want to pay. But,if we don't, there is no doubt that a payment of some kind will occur, but it will be disastrous. Once you see this, you will begn to change your personal financial decisions with a wary eye on the future. Don't see this at your peril.
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Format: DVD
I.O.U.S.A. educates people about the very real and very dangerous financial problems our government is facing. The producers of the film pull no punches here and they don't sugar-coat it; and that was the right thing to do. The way Americans live today is essentially "living for the moment" without thinking of the importance of saving money for a rainy day; and the film goes into great, great detail highlighting that the American government does the same. I will tell you just some of the points made by this movie; although it will seem as if I've given it all away I assure you that I haven't.

The film starts with cameramen asking people just how much they know about the federal deficit, the federal debt, the difference between the two and more. Unfortunately, the vast majority of people simply didn't know the answers to these questions. This is no laughing matter. These topics are highly relevant in these harsh economic times when America is at a true crossroads; the nonpartisan film shows that we and our government have to choose between spending and saving wisely or being reckless with our money as we have been.

In addition, the interview footage we get here is extraordinary. Peter Peterson contends that out biggest threat is our own financial turmoil, not terrorism (I would rank the two about equal, though). I also appreciated the footage with former Comptroller General Of The United States, David Walker. David Walker speaks in plain English about the dangers of America's national debt, the ballooning national trade deficit and the increasing budget deficit. David Walker and his colleagues including Robert Bixby, head of The Concord Coalition, go on "fiscal wakeup tours" that never make the news although they should have been reported.
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11 Comments 44 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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This film is a must-see for every American. It highlights the unfunded national liability, in addition to the national debt, that nobody is talking about. We need to take action now or have the debt take the world and our grandchildren down with it.
~Jim Bennett
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Format: DVD
This film is tremendously important and talks about a subject every American needs to know about: the looming debt crisis. Yes, everyone knows about the subprime loan crisis, but fewer know about (or are willing to acknowledge) the biggest subprime borrower of all: the U.S. government. Most people have a vague sense that something is wrong with the size of the national debt and the Federal deficits, but this movie really shows the full extent of the the problem.

This movie's primary message is that, unless something changes really quickly, there is another subprime crisis just waiting to happen: the national debt and the governments' unfunded liabilities (especially Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid) are ticking time bombs. In other words, if you're not worried yet, you should be; the movie effectively demonstrates that, unless these problems are acted on quickly, the next generation will almost certainly have a lower standard of living than the current generation.

This film is an extremely well-done, high-quality documentary that addresses a crucial issue. It also does an extremely good job of being non-partisan; the film deliberately avoids taking a position on issues like big government vs. small government, the welfare state, tax cuts, etc. It merely argues that we need to pay for the government we actually have; most people are trying to have their cake and eat it too in the sense that they want ever-increasing government benefits and ever-decreasing taxes. (Consider that Bush pushed through a large tax cut and then dramatically increased government spending).
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Format: DVD
"I.O.U.S.A." (2008 release; 85 min.) is an eye-opening documentary on the unsustainable path that this country is on relative to its overall debt and fiscal deficits. As the movie opens, following some quick news clips of various past Presidents making a statement about the state of the economy, we are introduced to David Walker, the long-time Comptroller General, essentially the government's watch dog for fiscal matters. Later on we also get to know the head of the Concord Coalition, an independent non-profit also worried about fiscal issues. We then get a crash course into what it eating away at our country's fiscal health, including the budget deficit, savings deficit, trade deficit and last but certainly not least the leadership deficit.

Couple of comments: first, if you are fiscally responsible in your own daily life, which most of us are, this movie make for frustrating viewing. Everyone sees what the problem is, and knows how it can get fixed, yet nobody in a position to do something about it (the White House, Congress) does anything. Second, writer-director plays it smartly and stays away from "picking sides" between Democrats and Republicans. His perspective is that ALL of Washington is to blame. Third, in addition to the many talking heads, Creadon also interviews people on the street, i.e. Joe Six-Pack and Soccer Mom. At one point Creadon asks: "when the federal government needs to borrow money, how do they do that?", and then look at the startled faces... Amazing. The documentary ends in mid-2008, but in the many DVD bonus materials, there is a further update dated January, 2009 from David Walker (now working in a non-profit), where he laments that the overall debt is projected at 66% of GDP for 2009, and the annual deficit at over a trillion dollars.
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