We are about to witness a huge drama – one that will, ultimately, determine the fate of the United States of America…and the whole human race.
Before us is a clear and present danger. There is no doubt about it. Anyone who cares to look can see it. If something is not done to protect ourselves against it, the results will be either disastrous or fatal…we’re not sure which.
This week, Addison’s movie I.O.U.S.A. opens in 358 theatres across the nation. It is not merely a documentary film…it is also an expression of hope for our species. The question at hand – the real theme of this monumental drama – is whether a group of people can change the course of history.
You see, dear reader, the U.S. is in a fix. Nothing unusual about it – nations turn into empires (when they are unlucky)…then, they overstretch…they overspend…they overdo it. According to former U.S. comptroller – and the star of I.O.U.S.A. – David Walker, the U.S. government was in over its head by more than $50 trillion in 2007. Unless action is taken, the country will go broke.
Everybody knows that is true. But so far nothing has been done to correct the situation. Too many people in too many positions of power – including the lumpen voter himself – have too many reasons to want the system to continue unchanged. These people are getting something for nothing – and hoping to put the costs onto the next generation. But if the expenses continue to build up…the whole mountain of debt will come tumbling down.
Your editor is proud to have contributed to the movie. It was based, originally, on a book he wrote, with Addison, Empire of Debt. And he has a small speaking role in the film itself.
“I like what you say in the movie,” says a friend who saw the preview. “But you look terrible. You look like a pervert.”
In the film, we point out that empires always overstretch…and always collapse. Looking at history, we see that this story usually plays out as a tragedy – usually accompanied by defeat on the battlefield and national bankruptcy. Nevertheless, the Peterson Foundation is spending a billion dollars, according to press reports, to try to give our own “Made in the U.S.A.” version of this old tale a happy ending. If people can be made to understand the problem, they will do the right thing…or so they believe.
And there is the question: can right-minded, well-meaning people really change the course of history? Is that the way it works…?
We will see, dear reader…we will see.
*** Meanwhile, in Lindau, Germany, a group of 14 Nobel Laureate economists have gathered to discuss the world’s problems. Myron Scholes, who won his Nobel for his work on derivative pricing, said the financial crisis was “not over and I’m not exactly sure when it’s going to be over.” There will be “lots of business failures,” he went on.
Joseph Stiglitz described the cause of the problem as a “massive failure of the brains of the economy.”
Nobody was impolite enough to mention that many of the biggest brains were in the room…and that they had created many of the bubble’s biggest delusions.
*** Our party ended last night about 3 AM.
“This whole place is like a giant pile of tinder…and everyone in the room has a match…” said Elizabeth. More to come…
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