While I worked in Sales (Commission and a Salary at about $24k) I made good money when I was working. The industry I serviced was the automotive for the most part. Needless to say last one hired first one fired.
I went through a 6 year period where I was working for a company for about a year or year and a half and I would get laid off because I was not making enough sales. In between boughts of lay offs I worked at the Local Home Depot twice for $11.50 an hour for 9 months and the most recent time was for a year and 2 months.
It was not until the last 3 years that my wife went back to work as a teacher at a private school (read less money than a public school).
We never missed a mortgage payment, we never missed a credit card payment. We scaled back considerably, NEVER ate out at a restaurant, drove cars that were paid for, etc.
I have been amongst the unemployed, I have a savings account that is the emergency fund (6 months of living expenses), we shop with coupons, we still may only go out to eat once a month and that is with Friends after church for lunch.
My whole point is, we have chosen to live a lifestyle below our means. We are the ones who are responsible for ourselves.
Why is it that people who make 65K a year think they "deserve" to live in a home with a $2,500 mortgage, a $600 month car note on two cars, the latest TV's etc?
And when they fall on hard times all of a sudden those credit card bills should become someone else's problems? Or they should not have to pay what they agreed to pay?
If credit card companies want to charge X% they should be allowed to. If you do not like it, then get a different credit card!
I will say, Credit Card companies should not be allowed to raise an interest rate on a balance that was created when the interest rate was lower. That is just fundamental fairness.
Both you and the $65K a year person you describe are simply anecdotal stories. They count, but only in YOUR stories. Not everyone has a Home Depot to fall back on, not everyone has a spouse that can jump in and work. Not everyone has the same circumstances.
Some folks, just like in the mortgage crisis did go over their heads, but that is not everyone. Some folks just get hit and can't easily recover.
I too live below my means but that certainly doesn't mean that I am not one sickness or one six month employment issue away from a situation that could change all of that in a bad economy. I have watched it happen to too many smart people who also, like you lived below their means and always played it smart until that one thing changed everything.
You don't have a clue what that thing will be until it hits.
Using your anecdotal tale of how smart YOU have done with credit and with your families fiscal planning, there are several folks on this board who could easily ask you why you have been such a slacker, why you have deprived your family, why you have only had sales jobs and Home Depot jobs at times when you should be doing skilled professional work bringing in solid six digits by your early/mid 30s and not having to put your family through such sacrifice. But that would be an unfair issue because nobody knows your circumstances, nobody knows your issues, nobody knows why you are where you are and nobody knows what got you to the place that required those decisions.
That is what we each have to see in all of these folks before we make assumptions that THEY are somehow irresponsible or THEY are somehow not as good or smart as WE would be in the same place. WE just don't know.