Financial Meltdown Confusion

When the sub-prime mortgages turned to the scrap paper some of them were, why did the government bail out the financial institutions? Why not just pay the difference between the low-interest teaser rates, and the newer, higher interest rates, and let the citizens keep their homes? The cost should have been similar, and the economy could have continued. This would have left unpunished the owners of over-leveraged homes, instead of refunding those who made and repackaged their mortgages.

The bailout in the USA was about 787 billion US Dollars (I think). Where did this money go? Where is it now?

To whom is all this sovereign debt owed? Greece, Portugal, Italy, Spain, USA, and goodness knows how many other countries, are deep in debt. Who is their creditor? Who loses if they default?

Is the taxpayer, somewhere, ultimately on the hook? In every case?

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