"Troubled financial institutions, by definition, don’t have capital gains to tax."
Response: They do now, Paul
"Despite some real scandals at Fannie and Freddie, they played little role in causing the crisis: most of the really bad lending came from private loan originators."
Response: Fannie and Freddie are the biggest reason for the crisis. Although they didn't originate bad loans, they purchased the bad loans. They owned sup-prime and Alt-A loans well in excess of their capital. Without these GSEs more, smaller institutions would have owned the loans, some of them would have been smart, some would have been dumb, some would have failed, and some would have thrived. Instead the mortgage market was totally dominated by the terminally flawed business model of Fannie and Freddie, and that business model was artificially supported on the backs of the taxpayers.
"Barack Obama seems well informed and sensible about matters economic and financial."
Response: Are you kidding?