Of --loud and clear from a variety of voices that it is absolutely essential --, there have been plenty of publications advocating proper resources for the USPTO, if you bother to look for them.
For example, Joe Hosteny wrote in Intellectual Property Today in August 2009:
The nominee [Kappos] backs the Patent Reform Act, including post-grant review, and "reforming" (Newspeak: reducing) reasonable royalties. The funding woes of the Patent Office are apparent to everyone, but the nominee had nothing to say about this problem in his testimony. No director -- other than God -- could run a PTO without the money. The problem continues to exist. See Orin Hatch and Paul Otellini's "Opinion: Fully Funding the Patent Office is a Key to Economic Recovery," 4 in the Mercury News. As Lawrence Ebert says in his blog, get the job done right in the first place. 5 If you want to build a better car, do the job right on the assembly line, not after the car is built. That is the lesson that Toyota and Professor W. Edwards Deming taught everyone. The notion of repairing patents after the fact, in a Patent Office that hasn't the tools to do the job right in the first place, would be laughable if it weren't so sad.
I had written in "Intellectual Property Today" in November 2008:
In an article in Intellectual Property Today in October 2005 ("Things Are Not Always What They Seem To Be," page 20), I had written:
The patent "quality" issue is one of several motivating the reforms proposed within H.R. 2795, which will be much discussed in the coming months. In my opinion, the most direct approach is to end fee diversion, give the USPTO sufficient funds to do the job of examination, and then evaluate its performance.n10 Adding on new responsibilities for the USPTO, without resolving the issue of resources for its core function, is questionable policy. In the specific case of patent oppositions, the addition of a product inspection step when there are foreseeable, identifiable remedies to the production itself violates the basic teachings of Deming.
One can only assume you're doing your best Claude Rains impersonation (Gambling in Casablanca? I'm shocked.) when you say "that is a huge surprise to me." You have to be kidding!
also, as to Casablanca,
**Also, for one account on fee diversion, see the paper by Marla Page Grossman titled: Diversion of UsPTo User fees:
A TAx on innovATion, which includes at page 7:
The recent restraint demonstrated by Congress in
not diverting user fees away from the USPTO is
very likely a direct result of the outrage expressed by
USPTO stakeholders about past diversion. Requir-
ing the USPTO user community to return to Con-
gress year after year to request that the user fees they
pay not be diverted is certainly no long-term solu-
tion. Moreover, such a system is antithetical to pro-
moting future desirable public-private partnerships.