fund the sec!
Brad DeLong quotes a passage from an upcoming book (via Andrew Tobias) illustrating the need for a robust Securities and Exchange Commission--and notes the, ah, disingenuousness of Bush's signing a (still inadequate) US$776 million budget authorization for the SEC and then proposing actual spending of US$568 million.
The passage begins with this stunning fact:
In 1939, when a total of 260 million shares traded – all year – the S.E.C. had 1,700 employees. In 2001, when 2 billion shares traded a day, the S.E.C. had the equivalent of 2,936 full-time employees.
makes the obvous point that
Today, the S.E.C. sees lots of likely frauds it simply lacks the resources to pursue.
How come the Bush/Cheney administration and many Republicans in Congress (and some Democrats) generally want to underfund the agency? It’s the sort of budget appropriation only an insider trader or a market manipulator would applaud. (As has been much noted, both Bush and Cheney have some firsthand experience with these murky waters. The less S.E.C. scrutiny of outfits like Harken and Halliburton, they may instinctively feel, the better.)