The Corner

Economist Bleg

McCain made these comments in his speech to the NFIB today:

In times of hardship and distress, we should be more vigilant than ever in holding corporate abuses to account, as in the case of the housing market. Americans are right to be offended when the extravagant salaries and severance deals of CEO’s — in some cases, the very same CEO’s who helped to bring on these market troubles — bear no relation to the success of the company or the wishes of shareholders. Something is seriously wrong when the American people are left to bear the consequences of reckless corporate conduct, while the offenders themselves are packed off with another forty – or fifty million for the road.

If I am elected president, I intend to see that wrongdoing of this kind is called to account by federal prosecutors. And under my reforms, all aspects of a CEO’s pay, including any severance arrangements, must be approved by shareholders.

I take it that the first sentence of the second paragraph is merely a promise to enforce existing laws; it’s hard to object to that. What do our economist readers think about the last sentence? Good idea, bad, or indifferent?

Ramesh Ponnuru — Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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