Here are John McCain's remarks at a town hall meeting in Orlando, Florida:
"Today we are seeing tremendous upheaval on Wall Street. The American economy is in crisis. Unemployment is on the rise and our financial markets are in turmoil. People are concerned about our economic future. But let me say something: this economic crisis is not the fault of the American people. Our workers are the most innovative, the hardest working, the best skilled, most productive, most competitive in the world. My opponents may disagree, but those fundamentals of America are strong. No one can match an American worker. Our workers sell more goods to more markets than any other on earth. Our workers have always been the strength of our economy, and they remain the strength of our economy today.
"But their efforts are not being matched at the top. From Washington to Wall Street, the top of our economy is broken. We have seen self interest, greed, irresponsibility and corruption undermine the hard work of the American people.
"It's time to set things right. When I am President, we're going to put an end to the abuses in Washington and on Wall Street that have resulted in the crisis we are seeing unfold today.
"Enough is enough. We are going to reform the way Wall Street does business and put an end to the greed that has driven our markets into chaos. We will stop multimillion dollar payouts to CEO's who have broken the public trust. We will put an end to running Wall Street like a casino. We will make businesses work for the benefit of their shareholders and employees. And we will make sure that your savings, IRA, 401k and pension accounts are protected."
McCain has it completely wrong. The United States has the most prosperous economy in the world not as a result of the sheer awesomeness of the American people, but because of a free market system that allows them to take risks in the name of their own self interest. Allowing people to make decisions freely can result in failures like we're witnessing today, but it has also led to the greatest creation of wealth in the history of humankind. In McCain's populist view of things, only Washington and Wall Street got it wrong -- but none of the blame rests on the shoulders of Americans who bought houses that they couldn't afford. As president, McCain would govern not based on any understanding or belief in free markets, but on his own level of outrage.