I.O.U.S.A.: 2008 documentary examines the budget deficit and spending obsession that has Social Security on thin ice

I.O.U.S.A., one of Roger Ebert’s Top Five Documentary Films of 2008, explores the impact four major economic deficits are having, or are projected to have, on our country in the next several years.

The film follows David Walker, former U.S. Comptroller-General, and Robert Bixby, director of the Concord Coalition (a bipartisan advocacy group for balanced budgeting and responsible federal spending) on a tour to educate the public about our growing national debt–at the time, over $9.6 trillion.

Today, that number has more than doubled to $21.1 trillion.

First and foremost of the four economic deficits examined in the film is our glaring budget deficit. At the time of the film, Walker and Bixby focused on the $53 trillion in unfunded Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security that will, in their estimation, require a massive tax hike or a dramatic cut to government spending.

Meanwhile, the federal government relies on the surplus funds from payroll taxes to pay down other debts, shifting debt from general expenditures to Social Security and continuing to deficit spend.

I.O.U.S.A consults the experts for their takes on what needs to happen in the next several years to repair Social Security’s solvency without further damaging our deficit.