Indebted Ever After
Maireid Sullivan | August 13, 2008 at 05:33 pmby
340 views | 14 Recommendations | 9 comments
Scared by National Deficit? You Should Be, Filmmakers Say.–For anyone with a serious interest in understanding the causes, there is no better place to start than Fred Harrison's website: http://www.renegadeeconomist.com –
By Frank Ahrens
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, August 7, 2008; Page D01
A private-equity billionaire, a former federal government official and a Baltimore newsletter editor have made a documentary film that they hope can do what an endless parade of policy papers has not: Persuade Americans that debt has created a looming economic crisis that would make the Great Depression look like a market correction.
The movie, "I.O.U.S.A.," debuting Aug. 21, is an 87-minute alarum on what it calls the tsunami of debt bearing down on the United States' future, caused by the rising national deficit, the trade imbalance and the pending costs of baby boomers cashing in on entitlements.
Early reviewers have dubbed the film "An Inconvenient Truth" for the economy, meaning it's not exactly the feel-good movie of late summer 2008.
Their message: You probably know that the national deficit is $9.6 trillion and rising. What you don't know is how bad things really are. If you include all the unfunded entitlement obligations -- Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and so forth -- we are actually in a $53 trillion hole, Walker says.
The nation's debt now accounts for 66 percent of the gross national product. But unless things change, the film argues that the cost of aging baby boomers will push that proportion to 244 percent by 2040, twice what it was at the end of World War II, our highest level of national debt. A debt that high, even super-investor Warren E. Buffett says in the film, "could create real political instability."