Being creatures of habit, consumers generally follow this hierarchy of debt repayment: mortgages, auto loans, and then credit cards. As if alarmed at subprime mortgage borrowers' acute negligence on what is supposed to be their debt servicing priority, Congress is hard at work on regulations to ensure that consumers make wiser choices regarding their third-most-important obligation.

Despite the general skittishness that government regulations inspire in the financial markets, these proposals did little to undermine recent credit card pricings.

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