GS, GE, AXP and AIG were given LOANS by the government. Those LOANS have been repaid. The exception is AIG, which has only repaid part of the money it was LOANED.
Hence, these institutions were NOT bailed out, as so many people like to say.
Moreover, had they all been allowed to fail, then our banking system may well have stopped functioning, which would have meant that it would have been impossible to withdraw money from a bank and it would have been impossible to use a credit card or debit card for purchases.
In other words, a complete breakdown of our financial system was looming. The actions taken by the federal government were -- in hindsight -- good. Not perfect. But good enough to save the day.