Who do you think is more to blame for the credit problems that people have: the credit card companies, the government, or the people themselves? Please support your position with specific evidence. It would help if any of you have seen the documentary film "Maxed Out."
I'd say the credit card companies have always been around with "Spend!". Only in the recent past have they been forced to change it in a small way to "Spend Responsibly!"
As #3 mentions, they want people to get addicted. And the younger the better. It doesn't require too much effort here, and there isn't a Credit Card Anonymous that can help people get out of their debt. Once a person takes on credit, it requires earning money to pay it back.
Most card holders who look at the 2-3% rate of interest think its a few cents per dollar. And by the time they realize that it was a monthly figure and their debt is actually becoming double every year its too late.
All the advice that people hear about not misusing their cards and the tales of millions who are crushed under the small pieces of plastic doesn't make much of a difference; its just passed off as "It won't happen to me."
No matter how much credit card companies are to blame the ultimate decisions as #1 has put it, are made by the customers.
I agree with pohnpei397, but I also think credit card companies were/are very good at hiding the actual costs of using the cards. It was only in the last few months that the credit card companies were required by law to list how much accumulated interest was accruingon a balance for the year and show a calculation chart spelling out how long it would take and how much money it will actually cost to pay down a balance paying only the minimum (assuming nothing else is added to the principle). At least now, consumers can see the fine print in REAL numbers that accurately reflect their own spending. Credit cards are also made easily available to people who have no viable means of paying the balance. I remember being inundated with credit offers while in college, some with ridiculously high credit limits. Credit cards are big business, not a public service. People have to remember that.
I vote for "the people themselves."
I think that Americans are too eager to have a certain lifestyle even if they can't really afford it. Because of that, they put way too many purchases on their cards and end up paying 19% interest on those purchases.
They say that with freedom comes responsibility. We Americans have freedom so we also need to take responsibility. Sure, the credit card companies make it easy for people to overdo it, but ultimately, it's the people (not the credit card companies) that are making the wrong decisions.