The mistake in our collective thinking is that we need to prop up the prices of things in an economic downturn. This is the exact opposite what we should do.
TARP was a huge mistake because it shortcircuited the market's natural process of repricing assests (and things we buy). Prices of things would have dropped more than they did....but that would have brought buyers back into the market much faster. TARP and all the other "stimulis" type actions that were taken by government arrested the price fall but kept buyers on the sidelines - and really still does.
Now, not only have prices NOT fallen to what would have been their equilibrium level, some assets and equities have been artifically pumped up, as Mr. Ransom aptly points out here....setting us up for another economic dislocation.
In the end....you cannot outsmart the market...which is why we are still in the doldrums and is why economies cannot be run by relatively small groups of "experts".