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In recent weeks, regulators and lawmakers have proposed a dizzying array of reforms that, if implemented, would exacerbate short-termism, undercut directorial discretion, further empower shareholder activists, and impose unnecessary and potentially costly burdens on public companies. Few of the proposed reforms are truly new and nearly all are ill-conceived. They appear to proceed in part from a misguided impulse on the part of regulators and lawmakers to be seen as “doing something” about the current recession—though hardly any of the proposed reforms have even a remote connection to the origins of the credit crisis that precipitated the economic downturn—and in part from an opportunistic desire to use the financial crisis as an excuse to enact an activist “wish list” of reforms.

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