Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that we really do have to recapitalize the financial markets to the tune of about $700 billion (the number Henry Paulson admits he just pulled out of his ass).
A couple of things seem perfectly obvious.
First, all the failed institutions and every senior manager must declare bankruptcy; even if we recover only a pittance, we must economically punish those responsible for this massive clusterfuck. If I had to lose everything and ruin my credit rating when I went broke* then these bastards need to be burned to the ground in exactly the same way.
*I did lose everything, I did ruin my credit rating, and I sucked it up and rebuilt my life... paying cash for everything. I still don't have a credit card.
Second, it's our money, we should own the capital. None of this, "Here's a 'loan', wink wink pay a little bit of it back if and when you can," bullshit. I want fucking equity.
Businesses are not there to give away money, and neither are the taxpayers. If private enterprise admits they are incompetent to run the financial system then there's no alternative but to have the government run it.
We keep having to do this, over and over again. We bailed out the financial system after the Great Depression, we bailed out the Savings and Loan institutions in 1989. We just got done bailing out Fannie and Freddie. We've bailed out too many corporations (cough Chrysler) to count. We spend hundreds of billions on corporate welfare over the years, further socializing the costs of production.
Let's face it: private enterprise is great for some things, but private individuals have proven time and again they are incapable of running any enterprise larger and more complicated than a 7-11.