Piling on

The stock market tanked again and the former chair of Goldman Sachs said on Wednesday that the economic problems could be worse than the Great Depression, according to Reuters:

“I think it would be worse than the depression,” Whitehead said. “We’re talking about reducing the credit of the United States of America, which is the backbone of the economic system.” Whitehead encountered plenty of crises during his 38 years at the investment banking firm and was a young boy during the 1930s.

Politicians are debating an economic stimulus package for the U.S., with a figure of $150 billion being tossed around. Can this work?

At Harvard, Philip Greenspun says an economic stimulus package likely won’t work from a consumer perspective because people will just pay down debt. And from a corporate viewpoint, well, why would you build a business in the U.S. anyway?

Based on tax rates, education, and costs, the U.S. is not looking competitive right now. Corporate tax rates are among the highest in the world. The quality of our high school graduates is stagnant or slipping while other countries have enjoyed big improvements. Our workforce is expensive to employ if only because employers are required to pay for health care costs that are now certainly the highest in the world.

Meanwhile, banks are jacking up credit card rates while (a) receiving a government infusion of cash and (b) their costs to borrow are coming down… further strangling consumers trying to pay down debt.

All of this poses a grave challenge to American journalism: Tell the story in visual ways other than stock exchange workers with headaches, who are mostly losing money that’s not theirs.

Over the next few days, be alert for everyday images that portray the economic mess, and send it in. I saw one today but didn’t have a camera with me: A full parking lot at a pawn shop in Crystal.