I am very grateful to the Manhattan Institute for this opportunity, and to all of you, for taking this time out of your day to hear my thoughts.
I understand that many of you are supporters of the Manhattan Institute's work, and for that I also thank you, as a citizen. I wish I could say that the importance of free markets and individual responsibility was widely understood, and that the Manhattan Institute was therefore a pleasant luxury. But that is not the case.
Markets and the free choices of individuals are not always perfect. The current mortgage crisis makes that clear once again, along with the need for prudent regulation. However, if I may recast Winston Churchill's comment about democracy, the free market is the worst possible system except for all of the others! This argument must be made constantly and applied to all manner of policy, no matter how unfashionable the argument might be. Far from a luxury, therefore, the Manhattan Institute is a foundational necessity, and I hope that you will continue to keep it strong.