Idea Of The Week: Town Insurance

It's a familiar story. A locality's main employer shuts down, and Main Street becomes a ghost town. With the tax base decimated, schools rot, roads crumble, and potential employers turn their nose up at moving there. Current economic uncertainties have many towns facing this.

But now we hear that key House Democrats and Republicans are considering a fix proposed by Wall Street: create a federally governed insurance program to pay the lost taxes needed to sustain key government services until a new employer moves in. It's the brainchild of the Financial Services Forum, which says the plan would keep towns attractive to industries shopping for a new home.

By Paul Bedard