Sunday, December 6, 2009

I.O.U.S.A. Horrorshow

In his story "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber" Ernest Hemingway demonstrates his literary mastery in the understated description of Macomber's wound after his wife Margot put a rifle shot into the back of his head. She runs over to where the body lay. Wilson, the professional big game hunter/guide turns to her and says, "I wouldn't turn him over." That's all of it. In essence, he's saying, "Don't look."

That's all that is needed. The reader needs nothing more. It is bad. It's a bloody mess.

This week I brought home from the library the 85 minute documentary called I.O.U.S.A. which details our national debt crisis. How bad is it? This film was made in 2008 and the answer then was, "Don't look."

In 2009 it seems exponentially worse. Like a runaway train it seems that there can only be a bad ending to the story. The magnitude of the problem is much greater than we can comprehend. The only question is, who will do what needs to be done?

Here are a few of the comments from

This documentary is simply outstanding. It has a fast moving pace, covering a tremendous amount of material, without losing a layman's audience. It is educational as well as entertaining... It seems fair in its portrayal of this problem and does not have an ulterior political motive. Finally, it is a great date movie because you will have plenty to discuss afterward.

This may finally wake up the average American to what is about to happen to our economy and way of life in very short order. Most smart economists, politicians and business people have known for years that the feathers are soon to hit the fan. Ron Paul, Peter Schiff and others have been warning us for some time but very few have listened. Things have actually become considerably worse since this movie was made. The new housing bill will be the stick that breaks the camels back. Better batten down the hatches folks, the perfect storm is about to hit. Even if you are not one who normally pays much attention to economic data please see this movie and at least try to understand the scope of the disaster that is about to befall us in the next 1-2 years. This is not reality TV its just REALITY.

Peter Knox from United States
Saw this movie last night and it's something I could call mandatory viewing for everyone - for those in power making the tough decisions and for those affected that need to understand them. It's a chilling doc only because the situation is so real, and my generation will be greatly affected by our government's fiscal irresponsibility and spending today.

The movie itself, while not as sexy or explosive as some documentary topics, was well done, in my view. I appreciated the Econ 101 premise, with engaging charts, easy to understand fables, and relevant interview bites. This topic is bigger and more important than an 85 minute documentary and I felt they captured the urgency of this dire situation. Unless action is taken now we might not be able to dig out selves out in a few years.

ZMAN738 from Boise, ID U.S.A.
This is the truth of the matter. We, as Americans, are living far beyond our means. Don't blame Me, You or Curly Sue but we are in a "Black Hole". Our 9 TRILLION National Debt will kill the U.S. economy in just a few short years if we do not, now, as a Nation, start to take preventive action to avoid the meltdown. Social Security and Medi-care will suck up huge resources from the Federal budget, as the film suggests. Our Chinese Masters may soon call "All In" as they say in poker. Should we call the bluff and re-allocate monetary resources away from "Intitlements," which suck up large amounts of money, we still will be at a disadvantage in the long run. We need now to cut the fat from the bone if we are serious about surviving, as a Nation, the next 20 years.

One myth that was disspelled is that we wer not operating in the red during the Clinton years. It's something I've heard numerous times over the past many years, that Clinton, was the first president to have a budget surplus in a while. But the documentary showed that once you subtract the money confiscated from Social Security taxes (supposedly a setaside for retirees) the nation ran a deficit throughout the nineties as well. The only year our government did not spend more than it took in during the past four decades was 1990.
If you're interested in a good horror flick, I recommend I.O.U.S.A. What concerns me is that health care for the elderly is one of the largest financial drains, and that in the future as more Baby Boomers retire, this category of expenses will keep expanding and become unsustainable. Conciding with this is an ethics slide in which I can imagine a day when our gradchildren get their final revenge on our generation by cutting off our meds.

Can it be that we're just having a collective bad dream and any minute now we'll just wake up?


Pedro H. Albuquerque said...

Good tip, thanks. Interesting that they talk about the very real entitlement hidden deficit:
Besides that, we should never forget that the budget deficit only fell during Clinton because Republicans controlled Congress.

Pedro H. Albuquerque said...

BTW, government economists in Brazil referred to the hidden deficit as the "skeletons in the closet."

ENNYMAN said...

Interesting observations... and the link was very good. The chart that accompanied this note from the Wikipedia page was a bit alarming.

President Barack Obama proposed his 2010 budget during February, 2009. He has indicated that health care, clean energy, education, and infrastructure will be priorities. The proposed increases in the national debt exceed $900 billion each year from 2010-2019, following a $2.5 trillion increase in the national debt for FY 2009, more than twice the record $1 trillion increase in 2008.

I am not sure how anyone expects us to dig out of this thing once it's set in motion...