James Surowiecki looks at how credit card companies are getting rid of bad customers and setting smaller credit card limits:

...the odd thing is that while less access to revolving credit is a bad thing for us in the short run, having people rely less on credit cards is a good thing in the long run. The easy availability of credit cards encouraged people to live beyond their meansstudies suggest that people really do spend more when they can pay with a credit card, and that big credit lines further encourage extravagance. And the high price of credit-card debt meant that billions of dollars in interest and late fees went to credit-card companies instead of to more productive uses. Smaller credit lines and less borrowing make sense. But in the short run they’re going to throw a lot of sand into the economy’s gears.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.