Pres. Obama has recently declared that he’d like to see the budget for the Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, double in the next five years. Of course, as we know, he will be out of office in less than a year, and the budget he is now requesting is his last. Plus, it’s not at all clear that the Republican-controlled Congress is prepared to accede to the lame duck President’s request - especially in a Presidential election year.
It seems the reason for the increase is much more for enforcement than finding ways to spur capital formation. It certainly would be great if more of the additional money were focused on job creation and easing the regulatory burden on small business. That said, it does seem the beleaguered SEC is woefully and chronically underfunded, and that from someone who would like to see our government be as small and debt/deficit free as possible. And yes, doing all we can to prevent the next Madoff or financial meltdown is also good.
But where does “let’s double it” become sound fiscal policy? As a storefront CPA said looking over the US government budget in the great movie Dave, “Who does these books?” Hopefully a reasoned and reasonable increase in the Commission’s budget will come, so they can address the many statutory burdens added to their plate in the last decade.
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