Whitney Pastorek writes in praise of the Credit CARD Act of 2009, which reins in some egregious business practices:

The history of the credit card is fascinating, and I didn’t know much about it until I started researching. A few special moments stand out: Like how when the first general purpose credit cards started to appear in the late ‘50s, banks would simply mail them to people. None of this namby-pamby “you’re pre-qualified!” letter nonsense that keeps the U.S. Postal Service in business these days. They would just send the damn thing out, and you could go spend money you didn’t have, right then and there.

Credit cards are a for-profit business, but too often they’ve been used to trap even savvy consumers into never-ending loops of debt.