Apparently, Congress screwing around with SEC defunding goes back 20 years, if not further.
The villain of the discussion is (of course!) Phil Gramm, the intellectually bankrupt Texas Senator whose economic arguments are invariably proven to be wrong, with grave economic consequences. Gramm argued in 1994 that SEC fees “made it too expensive to raise money in the capital markets, and thus deterred growth.”
As per usual, Gramm had it precisely backwards at exactly the wrong time:>
Hat tip Dan B, who adds:
“The post on the SEC and staffing levels today reminded me of the fight over SEC budgets for 1995. Congress has its fingerprints all over this. They bring people in and berate them under lights and in front of cameras. They cast their failings onto others.”
Agency Funding Caught Up in SEC Budget Dispute
Associated Press, August 15 1994