How? By simply paying off their mortgages. Since 2/3 of GDP is consumer spending, the savings would have gone to buy products/services. That would have kept the unemployment rate from rising.
Here is what my research shows:
The quarterly survey published by the Federal Reserve, called the Flow of Funds Report, shows the total value of all home mortgages in the U.S. was $11.2 trillion through the third quarter of 2008.
Here is what they did: