We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.

For anyone who remains unconvinced that George W. Bush is the worst chief executive in our country’s history, here’s a tidbit from Patrick Creadon’s film about the state of the economy: “It took 42 presidents 224 years to run up a trillion dollars of U.S. debt held abroad,” says Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), chair of the Senate Budget Committee. “This president has more than doubled that amount in just six years.” Of course, our financial woes didn’t start in 2000; the doc shows presidents going back to Eisenhower making pretty speeches about putting dents in the deficit. But the problem is just getting worse—one senator claims the only threat more severe to the United States than our compulsive borrowing is if terrorists got their hands on a nuclear bomb. Creadon has turned dry material into engaging cinema before with Wordplay, and though I.O.U.S.A. lacks that film’s narrative tension—this time, we know who loses—it still sugars its medicine with lots of graphics, plain-speaking financial experts and folks on the street, and a Saturday Night Live skit. You may even get an exasperated laugh from its parting message: “While you watched this film, $86 million was added to the federal debt.” —TO