“I.O.U.S.A” isn’t all that creative or original, as far as documentaries go. It’s more of a Public Service Announcement, crossed with a doomsday herald — what you might get if your accountant and that homeless guy at the end of the block got together to make a documentary. It’s probably mostly going to end up just preaching to the choir; it’s hard to imagine someone watching this who doesn’t already know what kind of trouble we’re in already.
As you probably guessed from the title, “I.O.U.S.A.” is about our ever-increasing national debt, where it comes from, and what will happen if we don’t do something about it. And yet there’s something slightly out of sync about it; it is replete with aging baby boomers admitting the guilt they feel about running up a bill that their children and their grandchildren will have to pay. But then we are told that our current level of debt isn’t too bad; things will really get bad when these aging boomers retire, start drawing social security checks and qualify for Medicare. All the money that is supposed to be in the Social Security fund has been borrowed by the government, and there’s no realistic way to replenish it.
It’s kind of hard for me to take people who seriously who say they’re full of guilt while they’re on their way to the bank to cash their Social Security check, or on the way to the doctor to receive free (for them) care. Wouldn’t the simplest, most direct way to handle our debt be to simply not cash those checks? This has to be a personal decision, because the government has made promises it’s bound to keep. But the government is elected by the people, and the people are responsible for the government’s decisions. If we’ve been borrowing from our retirement account for years until there’s nothing left in it, it’s not right or appropriate to retire. If you don’t want to hand crippling debt to your grandchildren, don’t ask them to fund your retirement and pay your medical bills. It’s not that hard.