Clearly the current financial meltdown has proven that our set of business and banking regulations are horribly broken. A new set of modern, well-executed regulations are needed to prevent or at least mitigate the impact of future market failures. That being said, I believe that with only one new regulation we can dramatically reduce the need for taxpayers to bailout poorly run companies.
I call the regulation the “you broke it, you pay for it” rule. The rule is simple: If any business needs to be bailed out with taxpayer money, all top executive (CEO, CFO, President, Vice President, Etc...) must pay to the government every single dollar they earned from their failed company. The rule will affect any top executive who ran the company in question during the 3 years leading up to the bailout. If an executive is unable to pay back all the money he or she earned, they must forfeit all their assets. I'm not a monster-- executives who can't pay should be left with a net worth no greater than $500,000. That is more than generous. With this rule in place I picture a dramatic reduction in the number of companies the federal government needs to bail out.