I agree with your op-ed writer, Frank Porter, that the rating agencies cannot continue to go on as they have in the past (Meltdown causes are still in place, Boston Globe, December 9, 2009: A19).
My solution would be a bit different, let the agenies' paymasters be the investors. Each financial transaction would have a small fee attached to it, like a Tobin tax. These fees would be used to pay the rating agencies; to keep them honest, a portion of the pay would be tied to achievement, that is the medium and long term accuracy of their ratings.
Such a system would eliminate the current conflict of interest faced by the rating agencies who are paid by the very firms/issuers they rate.
Sent to the Boston Globe (also sent a similar letter to the NYTimes)