A consistently intelligent (or at least bright), coherently constructed comedy that is on occasion a rather pointed critique of the American education system in the…
A letter to our grandchildren, Raven, Emil and Taylor: I see you growing up into such beautiful people, and I wish all good things to you as you make the leap into adulthood. But I have just seen a documentary titled "I.O.U.S.A." that snapped into sharp focus why your lives may not be as pleasant as ours have been. Chaz and I had the blessing of growing up in an optimistic, bountiful America. We never fully realized that we were paying for many of our comforts with your money.
Let me explain. There is something called the "national debt." In the movie's interviews with ordinary people, it has a hard time finding anyone who knows exactly what that is. Well, I've never exactly known, either. I thought I knew, but it never came up in conversation, and it became a meaningless abstraction, even though in 2009, the debt will pass $9 trillion. You might think of those as dollars our nation has spent without having them.
What will this mean to you? It will mean you will live in a country no longer able to pay for many of the services and guarantees we take for granted. In 40 years, when you are still less than my age, it looks like the government will only be able to pay for three things: Interest on the national debt, "some" Social Security and "some" Medicare. It will not be able to afford any of the other functions it now performs.
How did we get into this situation? With a federal government that has been throwing bad money after good. Of all the presidents in the last century, the only one who was able to achieve a balanced budget and produce a surplus was Bill Clinton. He did that by bravely raising taxes and cutting spending. Our current president, George W. Bush, is now finishing up eight years of throwing around money like a drunken sailor. His fellow conservatives, like Rush Limbaugh, like to talk about "tax and spend Democrats." But they seem to be "don't tax and spend even more Republicans."