12 of 21
BACKNEXT
Cox's short-selling ban
Cox's short-selling ban
SEC chairman Christopher Cox
Careful what you wish for. Under attack for not doing more to stop the market plunge, SEC chief Christopher Cox finally institutes a temporary ban on shorting, or betting against, 799 financial stocks.

"The emergency order temporarily banning short selling of financial stocks will restore equilibrium to markets," Cox promises.

But shares in banks, brokerages and insurance companies continue to plunge, losing a quarter of their value during the three weeks the mid-September order was effective. Some investors say the short ban hastened the flight of capital from stock and bond markets, by showing the government could intervene in markets in unexpected and troublesome ways. -- By Colin Barr, Fortune senior writer

What do you think was the year's Dumbest Moment in Business?Join the discussion now.

NEXT: McCain's economic denial
Last updated December 31 2008: 10:36 AM ET
Lamest roadtrip ever The Big 3 CEOs' drive from Detroit to D.C. to request a bailout was classic. More video
How to lose an election John McCain's statements about the economy may have killed his campaign. Morevideo
The ballooning bailout Expanding from three pages to 451, the TARP bill was loaded with pork, eventually resulting in a flip-flop by Paulson. Morevideo