For charge-offs and unemployment rates, a perfect storm

Today we've learned of yet another unhappy achievement for credit-card issuers, no thanks to Reuters and USA Today. (Not that we're blaming the messenger.) Credit-card charge-offs reached their 20-year peak in February, at a dizzying 8.82%, according to Moody's Credit Card Index. That's a rate of uncollectible debt a full 3% higher than it was a year earlier.

For cardholders who can't pay off the debts they've racked up, maybe it's comforting to see more Americans trapped in the same downpour with a leaky umbrella. But as the banks continue to dismiss more of their cardholders' debts as uncollectible, our already troubled economy -- ever reliant on our collective consumption -- remains stuck in its queasy spiral.