Published Oct 31, 2008Starting with Reaganomics and ending with a view of a glum, dilapidated future under Chinas ownership, I.O.U.S.A. reveals nothing that the informed minority do not already know but simplifies the complexities of the American economic crisis for a less informed demographic. While the documentary is well assembled and edited together with coherent and logically progressing facts, some insights or explorations of a consumer culture that ultimately creates this problem, aside from some commentary on wars being costly, might have added some flavour to a fairly bland offering.
In broad strokes, the documentary covers the current $8.7 trillion American debt and a brief history of how this has accumulated over the years (in the form of an animated graph with a rolling penny). A nod goes towards the Republicans for fault assignment (specifically Reagan) but never overtly, as the doc is consistently concerned with broad accessibility and appeal.
America, like its inhabitants, has a tendency to spend far more money than it brings in for the sake of maintaining an undemanding lifestyle of instant gratification and modern creature comforts. As I.O.U.S.A. points out, this is all fine and well for now but in ten years when the baby boomers retire the U.S. will find itself falling further and further into debt as a large portion of the population will be retiring and collecting social security.
While this factual account is ultimately a mature and appropriate way to communicate a necessary message, some ideological reflection would have been nice. Given that political leaders are generally privileged white men with limited life experience and the emotional intelligence of a toilet seat, its not a surprise that there is an inability to connect with and/or appreciate future plights.
In a country that socializes its inhabitants to consume and derive personal value and social status from material possessions and external image, fiscal irresponsibility is as inevitable as the credit card debt that the general public accumulates through their gym memberships, low fat lattes and unnecessary home renovations. (Vagrant)