The chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Mary Schapiro, wants to be able to fund her agency without going to Congress, the Financial Times reports in a front-page news article today. "The agency oversees everything from mutual funds to credit rating agencies but has seen its budget decline or stay flat in recent years," the newspaper claims. That's a distortion; in fact, as we reported here, the SEC's budget actually more than doubled from 2000 to 2008, going to $905 million from $370 million. The FT article refers to the agency's "perennial resource problems." Only in Washington can an agency whose budget has more than doubled over eight years claim resource problems and get a respectful hearing in the press. Proponents of SEC spending point out that, at less than 4,000 employees, the agency has fewer staff than the Smithsonian. On the other hand, if you count up all the U.S. financial regulators, there are at least 39,000 of them.
The SEC's 'Flat' Funding