Re: Surprise - the bailouts were profitable!
My point was that all that money that the US government put into Fannie/Freddie has now been paid back and are now accruing profit for the US government. The "large loss" you mention is gone as all that original money has been paid back. ALL of the money (plus 7.5% as of Dec. 1) the US government put for for ALL bailouts has been paid back in total, with some sectors like the automakers still not fully paid back but compensated for others (and bailing them out meant their employees who stayed employed kept paying taxes, instead of being added to the unemployment rolls so really the auto bailout has been paid for too if you take that into account)
There are only some states in the US that are "non recourse" and allow you walk away from your debt as you say. It is a minority of states though - however, it is probably no coincidence that most the states at the epicenter of the mortgage crisis in the US were non recourse.
"Where the money came from" was of course additional debt of the US government, but as it has been paid back the net debt added is now zero. There were other measures like QE that will take years to unwind, but now that the US government is no longer continuing to add to that total it will resolve itself over the next 5 to 10 years as most of the debt held by the Fed matures.
I agree that other countries approached the problem differently, due to different circumstances, and their bailouts may not be as successful as the US bailout can be judged in hindsight. That may be the reason why the US economy is finally starting to show signs of strength while much of the rest of the world is still struggling with the effects of the economic shock.