The bad graph from the newspaper:
The hypothetical improvement:
I think the biggest marginal improvments can come from turning tables into graphs, but in this case, the better graph actually takes less effort to make as well as taking less space and being clearer (and also suggesting the potential for further improvments such as including data from other countries).
I’d probably connect the dots rather than draw the regression lines. Then the big dots wouldn’t be needed. I’d also label the countries on the right side of the graph rather than below the lines–that would remove the need for different colors and would allow room on the graph for the E.U. and Japan, for example. Also I’d label the y-axis at $0, $100 billion, and $200 billion.