• You know what's missing in this latest mortgage rescue program? A mirror. Yes, a mirror.

    A mirror for the politicians ripping banks today for aggressive lending, but leaving out the little detail they were the ones pushing that lending.

    And yes, a mirror for the very folks who claimed they were bamboozled into mortgages they couldn't afford, but a lot of them happily signed.

    Many victims, but keep in mind, many perpetrators. Not just banks trying to make a quick buck. But all-too-willing applicants signing onto no-doc loans that seemed like easy bucks.

    I mean, does anyone remember those go-go housing years? Anyone -- anyone at all -- remember what was going on? When Washington decided owning a home wasn't a goal in life, it was a birthright in life?

    When folks treated their home like a cash dispenser. Because, for them, it was a cash dispenser for vacations they couldn't afford, cars they shouldn't have bought and a revolving credit line to pay off bigger and bigger bills they shouldn't have started.

    It was the gift that kept giving until it stopped giving. Then the very politicians who ripped banks for not lending even more when times were good, chastised them for lending too much in those days when times suddenly turned bad.

    Then those same politicians argued that going forward, banks should be prudent and careful in their lending. So banks got prudent and careful in their lending. And now apparently too prudent and too careful.

    Too much.

    It's almost as if banks can't win and now pay the full freight for feckless politicians who can't simply 'fess up.

    Banks aren't innocent. But neither are politicians. And neither, my friends, are we.

    A lot of us signed those documents. No one held a gun to our heads and made us sign those documents.

    Banks wanted to make money off a merry-go-round that looked like it wouldn't stop. And politicians were merrily taking the tickets to make damn sure it didn't stop.

    What a ride. What a bill. What a sham.

    When Washington pumps its collective fist to say, "We nailed them!" But conveniently leaves out Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae loans and all but says, "Oh, no, not them! Not the ones who really screwed up. Not the ones we coddled. We were in charge of them. So let's just leave them."

    This is called collective amnesia, my friends. And if memory serves me right, it's called something else. Begins with "bull" ends with a word that rhymes with "hit."