“When all else fails, defund.
“This technique is spectacularly on display in the $1.1-trillion federal spending bill unveiled by House and Senate negotiators Monday and scheduled for debate this week. The measure provides $215 million in funding for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. That’s one-third less than the budget the agency requested, and nearly $100 million less than it got a year ago.
“‘It’s not everything anybody wanted, but we’ve been working hard at it,’ said Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ga., a crack deregulator among the negotiators.
“He said a mouthful. Back in April, when the original agency budget requests were made, CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler observed that his agency’s staff was just 7% larger than it was 20 years ago, while the futures markets it was tasked with supervising had grown fivefold, and it had just acquired oversight of the swaps market, which was eight times bigger still and much more complex.
“There’s no mystery about who drives the squeeze on regulators–it’s the regulated industries, who natter incessantly into the ears of their bought-and-sold members of Congress.
“‘The only reason not to fully fund the CFTC and the SEC is to protect Wall Street profits, bonuses and reckless trading,’ states Dennis Kelleher, founder of the reform organization Better Markets. He calls it ‘shameful’ and observes quite accurately that “that’s why there’s a crime spree on Wall Street.”
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