Are we in another crisis? The debate over the debt ceiling, and the subsequent downgrade of America's credit rating have sent the equity and bond markets spinning, all over the world.

With unemployment still close to record highs -- and the U.S. economy still weakened and struggling to recover from recession -- these market gyrations are having an exaggerated effect. It's an enormously important news story, as significant as the story of the 2008 financial crisis. It affects all Americans, from all walks of life, which is why Marketplace is launching a new series on our website.

Our aim is to help you make sense of these events as they occur and ripple through the economy each day. Check back on for more daily updates in our series Market Mayhem/Economic Standstill as this story unfolds.

Follow Paddy Hirsch at @paddyhirsch