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Debt Limit is a a short 2011 satirical film starring Brian Stepanek (you may know him as Arwin from Zack and Cody) and Eddie Jemison. It is a satire of the U.S. government's national debt. The film is sometimes played in high schools and universities, especially in economics courses. Brian Stepanek plays the foolish loan borrower Joe Smith (his full name is given out in the sequel Knock Knock - IRS) and Eddie Jemison plays his loan officer.

Plot Synopsis: A very foolish man named Mr. Smith has racked up debt to his allowed limit and comes to his bank's loan officer begging for a raise in his debt limit due to being in serious debt. Reality Ensues when the officer (politely) refuses and tries to give him some financial counseling instead.

This video is meant to be educational, so it's free to watch online here.


  • An Aesop: Don't borrow loans for frivolous purchases.
    • If you cannot repay your loans, then your family might be held accountable for your debt.
    • Don't let yourself get taken advantage of by signing away whatever someone wants you to sign.
  • Apologizes a Lot: The loan officer, but that's only because he wants Mr. Smith to leave his office yet Smith keeps telling him sob stories begging for more loan money.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Bad news, your credit rating's going to plummet.... ooh, snow globe!
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  • Babies Make Everything Better: Especially if they unknowingly agree to inherit and pay off their parents' debt.
  • Burger Fool: Mr. Smith could be working at someplace like McDonald's, as he revealed he only makes $21,000 a year.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The video asks this to the viewer regarding the U.S. national debt crisis by showing figures and numbers at the conclusion of the video.
    • Mr. Smith refusing to ask for a pay raise on his job that pays a measly salary fearing this will only anger his boss and get him fired is parallel to the U.S. government forgoing tax hikes out of fear this can spark civil unrest and protests.
  • Dirty Coward: Mr. Smith lets his baby daughter absorb all his debt so that he doesn't have to pay it back and keep borrowing more money to buy more ridiculous luxuries reassured by the fact his daughter will have to pay off all of them and he can just sit back and relax.
  • The Ditz: Mr. Smith, whose income puts him in the bottom 20% of the United States but he spends money at a level as though he's in the top 10%.
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  • Downer Ending: For the baby.
  • The Ghost: Mr. Smith reveals to have a wife, who while she doesn't show up on-screen is also described as a frivolous, snobby spender who is looking to buy a brand new car even though her husband has a negative net worth.
  • G-Rated Drug: If you think about it, Mr. Smith's addiction to borrowing money with empty promises of ever paying it back just so he can enjoy frivolous luxuries like a plasma TV and parasailing in Australia is reminiscent of the same problem junkies have with drugs.
  • Henpecked Husband: Mr. Smith appears to be this, as his wife only wants to stay married with him as long as he keep buying her frivolous luxuries.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Mr. Smith owes $140,270 in debt and he thinks that asking for an increase in his debt limit is a better option than asking for a pay raise. He probably shouldn't have accepted such a low paying job in the first place.
  • It's All About Me: Both Mr. Smith and the loan officer exhibit this, but only the latter is self-sufficient and intelligent enough to preserve his future.
  • I Will Punish Your Friend for Your Failure: The loan officer eagerly and shamelessly forces (even suggested to Mr. Smith) that the latter's baby daughter to take up financial responsibility for her parents' frivolous spending and massive debt.
  • Karma Houdini: Mr. Smith for making his daughter inherit his debt so that he doesn't have to pay it off.
  • Loophole Abuse: As with reality, there really is no law saying you can't force babies to sign documents agreeing to inherit someone else's debt.
  • Loser Protagonist: Mr. Smith is outright financially Too Dumb to Live.
  • Manchild: Mr. Smith, who spends $38,000 a year when he only earns $21,000 a year.
  • Mundane Solution: The loan officer suggests the most basic and essential of these to Mr. Smith such as making cuts on spending, asking for a raise and looking for a new job. Mr. Smith refuses to implement any of these solutions because he's too afraid to ask for a raise and he thinks cutting his budget by $380 was brutal enough.
  • No Sympathy: You can clearly tell that the loan officer has no sympathy for Mr. Smith's financial problems and his family issues that stems from his debt and poor money management, since Mr. Smith brought all this on himself.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: A mathematical one. The loan officer tries to give one to Mr. Smith, who is too distracted to listen. This video itself is a subliminal variant of this trope to the US Government.
  • This Loser Is You: Mr. Smith is a satire of the United States government.
  • Tricked Into Signing: Mr. Smith's daughter still having an infantile mind willingly signed paperwork that states she will pay off her parents' debt without even knowing what the paperwork is about. It's unknown what kind of method Mr. Smith used to get her to sign it - maybe he bribed her with candy.
  • Villain Protagonist: Mr. Smith, if you consider him a villain for making his own daughter inherit all his debt.

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