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To rephrase what pinish wrote, the loans would have been liquidated at pennies on the dollar. The buyers would be the prudent savers who didn't risk/gamble and can now step in to get assets cheap. These are the prudent investors.
The equity shareholders and many of the bondholders who wrote that risky debt would be mostly wiped out. No need to shed a tear for them, as the gambled of their own free will and took big salary/bonus along the way.

Instead, gov't prohibited this cleansing.process by taking our tax dollars to to prop up the failing system. The big cheese in the financial markets get to take huge salary/bonus for a few more years while the gov't tries to inflate away the costs of the bailout programs.