The Story of Broke

The Story of Broke

Why there’s still plenty of money to build a better future.


When filmmaker and activist Annie Leonard set out in 2007 to share what she’d learned about the way we make, use and discard “stuff,” she thought 50,000 hits would be a great audience for her “twenty-minute cartoon about trash.” Today, with over 15 million views and counting, “The Story of Stuff” is one of the most watched environmental videos of all-time.

Earlier this year, Leonard came out with “The Story of Citizens United,” the best short history of the growth of corporate power I’ve ever read, heard or seen.

Now, Leonard is back with “The Story of Broke,” a new eight-minute animated movie that directly challenges those who argue that America is penniless and incapable of paying its bills, let alone making investments in a more sustainable and fair economy. Released seemingly in perfect harmony with the growth of the Occupy movement, this film explains why the economic crisis we find ourselves in is the result of choices made and how we, the public, can force different decisions.

“It turns out this whole ‘broke’ story hides a much bigger story—a story of some really dumb choices being made for us, but that actually work against us,” said Leonard. “The good news is that these are choices, and we can make different ones.”

The video ably details numerous examples of these “dumb choices”: tax breaks for oil companies reaping record profits; public roads that only go to one place—a new Walmart; mining permits that cost the same today as in 1872; and public loans and insurance for corporations doing risky things, like building nuclear reactors. The alternative, as the video points out, is for public funds to be used as tools to help companies that are supporting the public good rather than becoming a slush fund for powerful interests.

Watch and share the video and check out a raft of valuable activist resources at the “Story of Broke” website.  


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