The press has been playing the economy blame game for months, and credit card consumers are the latest scapegoats. There’s no doubt that irresponsible spenders armed with shiny pieces of plastic are active participants in their own financial woes; but, in the context of the wider economic crisis, such a stance absolves regulators too easily. Blame is cheap, and there’s lots to go around. But a serious consideration of how we deal with debt and spending in this country would be truly worthwhile.

Katia Bachko is on staff at The New Yorker.