The Story of Broke

Is it true that the U.S. can no longer afford to take care of its residents the way it once did? Annie Leonard takes on the "we're broke" myth in this 8-minute video.
The Story of Broke

"America isn't broke—it's broken," read one protest sign at an Occupy Wall Street site. Not long ago, of course, the conversation in Washington, D.C. was all about how "broke" the nation was—too broke, some politicians argued, to pay its obligations to creditors, much less provide basic services for its citizens. The fight over the debt ceiling is on hold, for now, but the Super Committee is still considering massive cuts to the social safety net, based on the argument that the United States can no longer afford to take care of its residents the way it once did.

But is it true? "Every time I looked at ways make our communities healthy, sustainable, and just, I kept coming up against 'nice idea, but we're broke,'" says Annie Leonard, (creator of The Story of Stuff, The Story of Cap & TradeThe Story of Cosmetics, The Story of Bottled Water, The Story of Electronics, and The Story of Citizens United). "So I thought it was time to get to the heart of this argument."

The Story of Broke is an 8-minute video explanation of what she found. "It turns out this whole 'broke' story hides a much bigger story—a story of some really dumb choices being made for us—choices that actually work against us," explains Leonard. "The good news is that these are choices, and we can make different ones."




  • How to Liberate America
    How is it that our nation is awash in money, but too broke to provide jobs and services? David Korten introduces a landmark new report, “How to Liberate America from Wall Street Rule.”
  • Occupy Wall Street's Moral Ground
    Much of the Occupy movement’s power comes from a simple moral message: It’s wrong to wreck the world. It’s wrong to wreck the health and hopes of others.
  • 10 Ways to Support the Occupy Movement
    There are many things you can do to be part of this growing movement—and only some of them involve sleeping outside.


No Paywall. No Ads. Just Readers Like You.
You can help fund powerful stories to light the way forward.
Donate Now.