OK, This Is the Pinnacle of Corporate Crony-Socialism for Wall Street
Let's break this whole banking mess down into simple terms.
After a relentless push for deregulation, major Wall Street players thought they'd figured out a magical formula for effectively laundering the risk out of shaky, high-risk loans.
They told lenders that they'd buy up any loans they generated, regardless of how dubious their prospects of repayment might be if the real estate market didn't continue its unprecedented growth.
The "shit-pile" of bad debt-backed securities was thus created. The titans of finance admitted they'd miscalculated, but insisted that they couldn't be allowed to fail -- or at least some of them couldn't -- or the Four Horsemen of the Econopocalypse would arrive and we'd all be dodging flesh-eating zombies in the streets. They were, simply, "too big to fail," regardless of how incompetently they'd been managed or how much damage they'd inflicted on the economy as a whole.