- Rated: PG
- Closed captioning available
- Run Time: 1 hours, 20 minutes
- Video: Color
- Released: April 7, 2009
- Originally Released: 2008
- Label: Pbs (Direct)
- Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada)
- Packaging: Keep Case
- Aspect Ratio: Anamorphic Widescreen - 1.85
- Additional Release Material:
- An Update from David Walker
- Panel at the Premiere
- More from Leading Economic Experts
- Word on the Street
- Economics Classroom
- Additional Text: PDFs: a) I.O.U.S.A.: A Citizen's Guide to the State of the Union's Finances (July 2008) b) I.O.U.S.A.: List of Resources c) I.O.U.S.A.: Audio Commentary Transcript
Performers, Cast and Crew:
Los Angeles Times - 08/22/2008
"Packed with facts, figures and the testimony of policy experts, the film is no wallow in wonkiness...but a surprisingly sprightly tough-love lesson in fiscal responsibility."
New York Times - 08/22/2008
"Brimful of disquieting facts on inflation, trade deficits and Wall Street's influence on national monetary policy....Equal parts enlightening and alarming, I.O.U.S.A. highlights our unwise preference for short-term reward over long-term planning..."
For some, the state of America's finances holds about as much interest as watching brainiacs labor over the New York Times crossword puzzle, but that's why WORDPLAY director Patrick Creadon was the perfect person to helm this documentary. Alternately entertaining, informative, and disheartening, I.O.U.S.A. is a timely and essential film that explores the U.S. fiscal crisis, focusing primarily on the country's high level of international debt. But this nonpartisan documentary doesn't merely blame the Bush administration; I.O.U.S.A. chronicles America's financial history, starting with the 18th century and discussing the country's trend of living beyond its means, both in wartime and in peace.
For those who had trouble with high school economics, I.O.U.S.A. pleads its case with more charts and graphs than the S.A.T.s. But the documentary avoids an overload of graphics and numbers, focusing on the human efforts of former U.S. Comptroller General David Walker as he discusses the country's financial issues with Americans across the country. I.O.U.S.A. also features interviews with Alan Greenspan, Ron Paul, and the always charismatic Warren Buffett. The film spends most of its time explaining the dire situation, even likening contemporary America to the Roman Empire just before its fall. However, I.O.U.S.A. leaves the audience with some hope, using its conclusion to offer solutions to the problem, beginning with Americans addressing their own debt and how they can help the nation as a whole.
Description by PBS Video:
America is on the brink of a financial meltdown. 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 and military, 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.