…As with the auto industry in Detroit, some of the credit-card industry’s current problems have been years in the making. Over the past decade, U.S. households have been loading up on debt, with credit-card balances rising 75% since 1999. Yet families’ real wages have increased only slightly — by just 4% during that same time period, according to Innovest. The savings rate has similarly declined relative to credit-card balances. Meanwhile, home equity, the biggest source of wealth for most families, has been drained by the mortgage crisis. “There isn’t a cushion for anyone who has a bump in the road,” says Levitin. “Credit cards are often the first place where we start to see all the other problems show up, from medical bills to divorce to a death in the family.” And then, of course, there’s unemployment. Thus, it’s not surprising that credit defaults are up dramatically, at the highest rate in six years….