Tonight I was out of town, and had dinner with my friend N., who works for a very successful firm that restructures bad mortgages.

“You wouldn’t believe the re-default rate on these things,” he said. “It’s just like before.”

“Wait a minute,” I said. “You remember a few years back, when you were working for [major mortgage lender] during the crash, and you told me you knew it was going to happen because the whole system was a game of hot potato? How everybody was throwing money at people who had no business getting loans, but it didn’t matter, because the whole point was to make sure that somebody else was holding the bag when it all came down?”

“Yeah?”

“So how is the system different now?”

“It’s not. People like us are screwed. You do everything right, you don’t buy more than you can afford, you pay your bills, it doesn’t matter. The government is going to use the money we pay in taxes to bail out people who acted like idiots. I’m telling you, the whole thing comes down to culture. These people, they’re all about, ‘What’s the government going to do for me?’ Until that culture changes, until people start facing consequences for their decisions, we are screwed.”

For what that’s worth, the view from a guy on the inside.