The House Appropriations Committee’s intention to cut $323 million from the combined budgets of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission is penny-pinching at its most myopic, the Department of the Treasury said on Monday via Twitter and Facebook.
“Penny Wise and Pound Foolish” is how the Treasury describes the cuts proposed by the Republican-led appropriations panel. Whoever came up with those words may not get high marks for originality, but the blog posting goes on assert that the cuts “would undermine enforcement of Wall Street reform.”
“The proposed cuts are equivalent to the funding of about 1,600 workers at the agencies and are less than .002% of total household wealth lost during the financial crisis,” the posting asserts.
The terms “Wall Street reform” and “financial crisis” are sure to be uttered endlessly between now and Election Day, especially by Democrats. Republicans, on the other hand, may prefer terms like “job creation” and “fiscal solvency,” which Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), chairman of the House panel, embraced last month after the Republican-controlled committee approved funding for Treasury, the SEC and several other agencies.
“This bill will help America continue on the path to recovery and fiscal solvency by suppressing job-killing government overreach and overspending, and supporting our economic drivers and job creators,” Rogers said.
The CFTC chairman, Gary Gensler, expressed his dismay when it became clear that the GOP-controlled House was bent on cutting back his agency. “The result of the House bill is to effectively put the interests of Wall Street ahead of those of the American public by significantly underfunding the agency Congress tasked to oversee derivatives – the same complex financial instruments that helped contribute to the most significant economic downturn since the Great Depression,” Gensler said.
Gensler preferred the Senate version of the 2013 budget, which proposes $308 million for his agency. “The National Football League would not significantly expand the number of games in a weekend without, at the same time, expanding the number of referees to protect the players, ensure fair competition, enforce the rules and protect the integrity of the game,” he said last month.