Some time ago, I wrote a little bit about a documentary called In Debt We Trust:
Danny Schechter takes on the credit industry from the point of view that people who fall victim to crushing debt are hapless victims of an exploitative monster industry. While I don't disagree that Americans in particular have been buried by sometimes questionable practices of credit companies, I felt the film let the consumers off the hook too easily. Yes, people are sucked in by too-good-to-be-true offers which shouldn't be offered in the first place. Yes, people are sucked under by payday loans. But after all the reading I've been doing lately, the reality that spending less than you make is the key to staying afloat is virtually ignored. The film portrays slow death by debt as a virtual inevitability in American society.
I really did like the spooky prescience of the movie's portrayal of the housing bubble. It was made before the recent credit crunch, but predicted it precisely. It said sub-prime lending was the hot hot thing, but pointed out how ludicrous and ultimately doomed the whole scheme was.
All in all, I'd say pass on In Debt We Trust, unless you get a kick out of reinforcing a victim mentality.
Earlier this month, money movies became a topic of discussion on some personal finance blogs I read regularly. I commented on a post over at Canadian Capitalist, noting that I liked the film Maxed Out a lot more than In Debt We Trust.
Well, the film's director posted the comment right after mine:
The Big Ass Superstar may also be a big ass. As the director of In Debt We Trust, which warned of the subprime calamity ahead, I was of course disappointed by his put down but your readers might want to decide for yourselves by visit indebtwetrust.org. I also have a new book coming out on the origins of the crisis. It’s called PLUNDER
Golly. I understand how creators become attached to their creations and get defensive when people don't love 'em ... but ... gee, dude. I don't think I'm a target worthy of that kinda shot. And I'm certainly not the only one in the bunch noticing the lack of responsibility taken by the victims in the credit-is-evil genre.
I encourage anyone who's interested to check out Schechter's movie. Heck, make it a weekend -- see Maxed Out, too, and maybe some of the other financial flicks on the list. Let me know how you like 'em.