Wall Street for years has told us "The Market knows best." We keep hearing from business and the right that the market is self correcting. The good succeed, the bad fail. A business will make good product at the best price or else it will fail so a free market does not need regulation. CEO's deserve the multi million dollar pay to make that work. Senators Gramm and McCain agreed and promoted that in the congress.
I have a few arguments to contradict that: Savings and Loans under Regan, Chrysler, Enron, Countrywide, Fannie, Freddie, Lehman, AIG, Chinese dog food and milk, Bayer (Baycol), all companies that were steered by CEO's to short term profits, much for themselves, and most have received protection from government instead of the ignominious demise they earned.
A business may fail, a government must not for the government will continue in some form, while the business can be replaced by another. If something can not fail, it must be a government function, implicitly or explicitly. The call for government protection now extends beyond Homeland (in)Security and Department of Defense to food and the economy.
This can only be achieved by regulation of critical factors, and the actual enforcement of law. Be it fraudulent loans, predatory loan practices, faked drug research, inter-state/national contamination of food supplies, fraudulent practices, illegal immigration, or littering, only government can respond and control such behavior, and must be done, for the failure to do so is to harm the people.
Lack of regulation and enforcement did us harm. Enough Real Regan Republicans; we are now a debtor nation, threatening the world economy.