In the simplest free market terms, the financial giants that recently failed, deserved to fail. They took part in poor, risky, and in the end, just plain stupid banking and trading practices. And, the free market is based on financial Darwinism--the strong will survive and the week and stupid will weed themselves out. John McCain, like Bush, and most Republicans either authored or voted in favor of the various acts of market deregulation that held the door open to the unsecured mortgage bubble. Sadly the market does not have a moral, socially responsible base, instead, earning money for the stock holders is the one explicit mission of the leaders of public companies--zero social responsibility. And there is no responsibility or loyalty coming from the investor side either.
Consequently, when a company looks risky, even if it is an old and respected company like Lehman Bros., and even when the news is really rumors, stockholders panic and abandon their investments, sell off their stock holdings in the supposedly risky company, stand back and watch the company tube it. Any number of the recent institutions that crashed and burned stood a chance of weathering the financial storm if they had not lost the backing of their share holders, and short selling had not been deregulated by Bush and many of his supporters like John McCain (who was recently quoted as saying, "I am always up for deregulation"). Instead, re-regulation was implemented only after the giants had fallen (and then limited to certain financial institutions). Worse, the money lost was not just play money that belonged to super wealthy people; a chunk of that money included the retirement money stashed, with some discomfort, by working and middle-class folks hoping for a few years of ease at the ends of their lives. (Social Security will not support these folks, although Social Security would be stuffed with money if only congressional pet projects and, more recently, President Bush had not raided the Social Security coffers to make his huge deficits look smaller.)
Now Bush, the Fed, and the Treasury are asking for a $700 Billion gift to Wall Street, with no oversight, before the golden goose is pumped dry (or before the pumper leaves office). In Bush's speech last night, he did not mention that he and his other "free"- market buddies are responsible for the deregulation that led to the current financial mess. Why? Because the line--when pushing deregulation legislation--goes, "the free market can take care of itself. Yes there are winners and losers, but the market takes care of itself."-