Election Movie Recommendation

by Hans A. von Spakovsky

I don’t usually do movie reviews for NRO, but this week I got a chance to preview a movie that will be released on October 15, just two weeks before the general elections. I Want Your Money is a terrific documentary limning the starkly different visions of Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. It goes beyond the economic issues suggested by the title and explores the limited-government–vs.–nanny-state differences as well.

The movie mixes interviews, archival footage of speeches, and some very funny animation. The latter includes a segment in which Ronald Reagan teaches an economics lesson to a classroom filled with students such as Barack Obama, Jimmy Carter, and Arnold Schwarzenegger (all of whom would probably get an “F” for the course). This is not your usual (boring) political documentary. It’s engaging and funny, even as it conveys a serious message about economics and politics.

What made seeing it particularly interesting for me was that I was accompanied by my boss, former attorney general Ed Meese. It was quite something to watch Ronald Reagan giving his 1980 inauguration speech and his RNC convention address in 1984 while sitting next to a man who was actually at the capitol or near the podium when the Great Communicator delivered those eminent expositions on liberty, economic freedom, and who we are as a nation.

This documentary dramatically shows the dangers to our nation’s economy and well-being of deficit spending and an unsustainable national debt. It also vividly illustrates how differently two presidents handled economic recessions: one pushing tax cuts, reducing regulations, controlling spending, and limiting the size of government; the other pushing tax hikes, additional regulation, huge deficits, and an exponential increase in the size of government.

As the movie’s flier says, the film is about “mounting government debt and deficits, and why it matters.” Why it matters can be seen in the contrast between the largest peacetime economic expansion in history and continued record unemployment sans recovery.

Hollywood will hate this movie, as will supporters of President Obama, Senator Reid, and Speaker Pelosi. Director Ray Griggs is probably risking his career in Tinseltown. But it’s a movie that needed to be made, and is well worth seeing. I hope lots of Americans do—before November 2.