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In Debt We Trust


Danny Schecter

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Plot Summary

In America's earliest days, there were barn-raising parties in which neighbors helped each other build up their farms. Today, in some churches, there are debt liquidation revivals in which parishioners chip in to free each other from growing credit card debts that are driving American families to bankruptcy and desperation. "In Debt We Trust" is the latest film from Danny Schechter, "The News Dissector," director of the internationally distributed and award-winning WMD (Weapons of Mass Deception), an expose of the media's role in the Iraq War. The Emmy-winning former ABC News and CNN producer's new hard-hitting documentary investigates why so many Americans are being strangled by debt. It is a journalistic confrontation with what former Reagan advisor Kevin Phillips calls "Financialization"--the "powerful emergence of a debt-and-credit industrial complex." While many Americans may be "maxing out" on credit cards, there is a deeper story: power is shifting into fewer hands...with frightening consequences. "In Debt We Trust" shows how the mall replaced the factory as America's dominant economic engine and how big banks and credit card companies buy our Congress and drive us into what a former major bank economist calls modern serfdom. Americans and our government owe trillions in consumer debt and the national debt, a large amount of it to big banks and billions to Communist China. Experts Agree: A top government official compares the US today to Rome before its fall and warns that the bubble could burst. A former prosecutor says that many of these loans are worse than mafia loan-sharking practices. An ex-credit card executive explains how advertising campaigns are deliberately deceptive and misleading. Robin Hood or Robbing the Hood: A real estate expert reports that tens of billions of dollars are being transferred from the pockets of the poor into the vaults of big banks which use front groups and subsidiaries to camouflage their association with rip-off loans charging exorbitant interest rates. Scamming Soldiers: We visit a military base to learn that soldiers just back from Iraq are being victimized en masse by payday lenders. Congress: Bought and Sold: In Washington we learn how big money and lobbying stops government and political leaders from regulating usurious interest rates or stopping the gentrification of poor neighborhoods in which thousands of families are losing their homes through predatory mortgage, home-improvement and foreclosure scams. College Credit: We visit a campus where college students are being forced to pay higher interest rates for loans while a majority graduate with more than $20,000 in loans. Credit Card Nation author Robert Manning explains the crisis. Bankruptcy Bill Blues: And then we hear about the shame and pain of bankruptcy as the Congress passes a bill to make it harder for Americans to get a second chance and disqualifies Hurricane Katrina victims from filing for relief. A Call to Action: Economics is called "the dismal science," yet this film is anything but; it exposes practices we can all relate to because they effect us all, says Schechter. The film also talks about how we can fight back. Deeper than the news, fast-paced, musically charged and deeply informative, "In Debt We Trust" is call to action: filmmaking with an angry edge and a broad, well-reported scope.

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews


  • Reviews Counted: 5
  • Fresh: 4
  • Rotten: 1
  • Average Rating: 7.4/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Rotten: Unfortunately, there isn't much insight into this possible bleak future, nor is there anything new in this 89-minute film, which plays more like an episode of 20/20 or Dateline NBC. – G. Allen Johnson, San Francisco Chronicle, Nov 11, 2006

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews

Nothing new

This documentary might be more interesting to a younger audience. For a person who has been in and out of debt, there is nothing new. Now that I think about it, I was one of those college grads with a pocket full of credit cards and no job. No one ever talked to me, or anyone else I knew, about the credit card companies doling out cards to jobless students. Maybe this is the vehicle to do just that.

In Debt We Trust
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  • $9.99
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Released: 2007

Customer Ratings