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Online Budget Database Planned by White House 304

Posted by Zonk
from the president-uses-google-as-verb-goog-stock-rises dept.
prostoalex writes "The President of the United States feels Americans should be able 'to Google their tax dollars', and has signed a law that will create an online database to track federal spending. According to the Associated Press, the 'law is aimed preventing wasteful spending by opening the federal budget to greater scrutiny. The information is already available, but the Web site would make it easier for those who aren't experts on the process to see how taxpayer dollars are being spent.'"
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Online Budget Database Planned by White House

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 26, 2006 @01:55PM (#16203145)
    I'll laugh if people start complaining about the tax dollars being spent on creating and maintaining the website :).
  • Meh. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TheCabal (215908) on Tuesday September 26, 2006 @01:55PM (#16203147) Journal
    Nothing will come of this. There will be no data in the database due to either "national security" or creative accounting.
    • by Mateo_LeFou (859634) on Tuesday September 26, 2006 @02:02PM (#16203301) Homepage
      I suspect you're right. Enron made their income & expenditure information public, too. For funzies here's a story about how they evade being specific here in Dallas: Schutze [dallasobserver.com] rules, by the way.
    • Re:Meh. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by eln (21727) * on Tuesday September 26, 2006 @02:03PM (#16203311) Homepage
      The law is aimed to "prevent government waste," and they are only showing about $1 trillion of the budget. This means that they will be picking out programs they want to eliminate, and putting them in this database (making sure to describe them in an unflattering way) in order to drum up support for cutting them.

      This is purely a political move. Unless he plans on putting every single budget item on the Internet (including every item in the Defense budget), there is no way this is ever going to be used as anything but propaganda to cut Bush's least favorite programs.
      • there is no way this is ever going to be used as anything but propaganda to cut Bush's least favorite programs

        Ah - so he should only look for ways to cut his favorite programs?
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by hey! (33014)
          Ah - so he should only look for ways to cut his favorite programs?

          Of course not. However, he's presenting a selective view of things. Granted politicians do that all the time, but people expect that. They don't expect databases to have a political slant.

          It comes down to this: when does truth matter? It's not the truthfulness of data in the database that's necessarily at issue. What's at issue is making people think they're informed when in fact they're misinformed. Metadata makes all the difference.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MindStalker (22827)
        Me thinks this database is being built from publically readable spending bills. If you can find the spending searching through the thomas website it should also be on this website. Of course if that proves not to be the case I'd agree.
      • Re:Meh. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by overunderunderdone (521462) on Tuesday September 26, 2006 @03:19PM (#16204793)
        Actually (IIRC) it's that the story is wrong. It's not a database of the budget but a database of "earmarks". Earmarks are set asides of dictating that particular money must be spent on specific projects rather than going into the general fund of the department being funded. So if congress says the Department of Transportation gets 200 billion dollars that's not in the database... but if it says "the DOT must spend $225 Million on a bridge to Gravina Island, Alaska" that IS in the database. The administration doesn't decide what gets into the database or not, congress does by either earmarking spending or not.

        This is purely a political move.
        Yes but so is most earmarking. It's hoped that it will put pressure on congressmen to give up the worst of their pork barrel spending. Sadly though this might backfire. I'm sure most lawmakers don't want to be known as the biggest spenders of pork on the hill, but the whole point of pork is that it gets votes. Many an election has been won by saying "I wasted the rest of the countries money on meaningless projects and jobs for you guys in my district"
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by jemenake (595948)

          Actually (IIRC) it's that the story is wrong. It's not a database of the budget but a database of "earmarks".

          Actually, I believe there are *two* different (yet related) things going on. One is the budget database (mentioned in the article), and the other is a change in the House rules eliminating the ability of reps to insert earmarks *anonymously*. The database is a law and can be expected to persist. The rules change on the other hand, although it holds much more promise to curtail budget abuse, is o

    • Re:Meh. (Score:4, Funny)

      by Fyre2012 (762907) on Tuesday September 26, 2006 @02:12PM (#16203521) Homepage Journal
      No kidding. This is, however, a good idea (dare I say it). Bush and co. need to be held accountable to where the citizens tax dollars go.
      That being said, however, i'm sure that the 85% that goes into the military will just be marked 'military', and not
      "Dick's new private jet: $15M; Haliburton (just cause): $5B; Bribes (Murdoch & co): $10b; etc.. ; Seeing Dick shoot that guy in the face: priceless;"

      But I digress... Of course it's typical political tactics starting this initiative. This way, when the GOP is being tarred and feathered for robbing the good American people blind, the Bushites can say 'But we were the ones who opened up transparency in the buget! Look, we made a blog thing that says so! It runs on the tubes, and is bigger than a truck! It's not our fault, we did everything we could!"
      • Re:Meh. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by WhatsAProGingrass (726851) on Tuesday September 26, 2006 @02:18PM (#16203597) Homepage
        I work for the military and even in our little shop, we can't keep track of our spending habbits. We can't keep track of man hours. Every piece of data that goes "higher" up, is definately skewed to show the "right" numbers. Absolutely nothing that gets sent up is actuall data. But let them keep spending millions trying to track it. When they find faults, they will yell at the people "below" and tell them to fix the problem. Well, now the people below will "fix" the numbers for the higher up guys. Wow, great ideas.
  • Oblig .... (Score:5, Funny)

    by gstoddart (321705) on Tuesday September 26, 2006 @01:56PM (#16203161) Homepage
    SELECT from Government.Hammers,Government.Vendors WHERE Hammers.Price > 15
     
    :-P
    • by Slightly Askew (638918) on Tuesday September 26, 2006 @02:10PM (#16203473) Journal

      I believe you mean:

      select VendorName
      from Government.Vendors v inner join Government.Products p on v.VendorID=p.VendorID
      inner join Government.CampainContributions c on v.VendorID=c.VendorID
      where p.HammerPrice > 15 and
      c.AnnualContributions < 1000000;

      NO RESULTS FOUND
      • What? You think they'd have a fixed buyoff point? That should be

        ...
        where (p.HammerPrice / (c.AnnualContributions / 1000000)) > 15

        The higher the donation, the cheaper the hammer.

  • We need another one to track what congresspeople spend their time doing. Heard a radio story about that but can't remember who was doing it...
  • by HTH NE1 (675604) on Tuesday September 26, 2006 @01:56PM (#16203171)
    But won't all the people searching this database clog the tubes?
  • by dlhm (739554)
    How much time and money will be wasted looking at how much time and money we're waisting..
  • Pencil - $1500
    Toilet Seat - $30,000
    Knowing what your government is spending your money on?
    Priceless.

    But seriously, there is no way the numbers will be anywhere close to being remotely accurate.
    The government will never tell you where your money goes.
    Sorry, but they won't.
    This is not news, this is wool being pulled over your eyes.
    • by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Tuesday September 26, 2006 @02:20PM (#16203657)
      This is not news, this is wool being pulled over your eyes.

      Citizen, repeat after me:

      "Alpha children wear grey They work much harder than we do, because they're so frightfully clever. I'm really awfuly glad I'm a Beta, because I don't work so hard. And then we are much better than the Gammas and Deltas. Gammas are stupid. They all wear green, and Delta children wear khaki. Oh no, I don't want to play with Delta children. And Epsilons are still worse. They're too stupid to be able."
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Tuesday September 26, 2006 @01:57PM (#16203193) Journal
    In an effort to cutdown wasteful spending, Congress today cut all funding for the budget tracking site that would allow ornery citizens to find how the money is spent. Senator Bridge To Nowhere said, "It is not as if these morons can stop us from spending the money. Then why waste money helping them find the wasteful spending?".
    • by Tackhead (54550) on Tuesday September 26, 2006 @02:06PM (#16203393)
      > Senator Bridge To Nowhere said, "It is not as if these morons can stop us from spending the money. Then why waste money helping them find the wasteful spending?"

      ...whereupon Senator McBridge was promptly set upon and flayed alive by enraged representatives - for his first sentence contained a truth, and the second was the foulest blasphemy his fellow politicians had ever heard.

  • "Senate leaders had tried to pass the bill in early August but Rep. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, and Sen. Robert Byrd (news, bio, voting record), D-W.Va., blocked passage by lodging secret "holds" on the bill. The bloggers tracked down those responsible for the delay and the senators let the bill advance under the pressure."

    Try to clog up our legislative tubes, will ya?
  • by kabocox (199019) on Tuesday September 26, 2006 @02:01PM (#16203285)
    This sounds like a really good first step. It's a pity that it's taken this long for them to get around to it though. What's really bad though is that it'll most likely take years for this to roll out. What I'd really like is a www.fia.gov that was a single site that any citizen could request and instantly recieve a copy of all FIA information that the government: federal, state, and local can legally give out to citizens. I'd actually like them to spend a few hundred million on a project like that.
  • by bricriu (184334) on Tuesday September 26, 2006 @02:02PM (#16203295) Homepage
    Bush didn't push this, it was a broad, bipartisan coalition of Senators that pushed this through over the "secret holds" of pork-lovin' Senators from AK and VA, aided by bloggers of all stripes [tpmmuckraker.com]. Maybe he's into it too, but to give credit for this to the President when Sens. Coburn and Obama are its parents and originals is disingenuous to say the least.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by necro81 (917438)
      Thank Goodness someone pointed this out. It was never a White House initiative, and many members of Congress had to be dragged, kicking and screaming, to make it happen. For the interested, here is a link [senate.gov] to Senator Obama's semi-regular podcast, where he outlines the bill and what he and Coburn set out to do with it.

      Also, a link [slashdot.org] to the /. posting on Sen. Stevens' obstruction of the bill.
      • by inKubus (199753) on Tuesday September 26, 2006 @03:11PM (#16204643) Homepage Journal
        Thank Goodness someone pointed this out. It was never a White House initiative, and many members of Congress had to be dragged, kicking and screaming, to make it happen. For the interested, here is a link to Senator Obama's semi-regular podcast, where he outlines the bill and what he and Coburn set out to do with it.

        Meanwhile, in the White House, the president and a few staffers are having lunch:

        W: I can't believe we still haven't killed that guy.
        Staffers: ....?
        Chief of Staff: Killed who, W?
        W: Obama bin Laden. He's killed Americans, and now he wants us to google the budget, I can't believe we haven't been able to git him.
        Chief of Staff: SENATOR Obama and OSAMA bin Laden are not the same person.
        W: Huh? (eats)

    • People like a single point for credit and blame and that's the president. Notice how the economy is always ascribed to the president when in reality he has very little to do with it. Good or bad, things tend to fall on the president's shoulders. You see it here on /. all the time, when a law gets passed people don't like they talk about how "Bush passed a law" and so on. Now granted he gave the law an implicit pass by not vetoing it, but it ignores the people who actually wrote it, and who voted on it.

      I've
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by NMerriam (15122)
        Notice how the economy is always ascribed to the president when in reality he has very little to do with it.

        I don't disagree with the gist of your post, but I always have to correct people when they say the president has nothing to do with the economy. First of all, the President appoints the Chair of the Federal Reserve, who more than any other single person on Earth can directly manipulate the economy to achive specific goals.

        He also acts as probably the most significant factor when it comes to affecting
    • by Politburo (640618)
      And no doubt he's included a Signing Statement [wikipedia.org] exempting himself from the bill..
  • Greatly Needed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CastrTroy (595695) on Tuesday September 26, 2006 @02:04PM (#16203343) Homepage
    I would love to have something like this in Canada. It's well known by anybody who has ever worked in government that most departments spend their remaining budget on plasma TVs, new computers, agendas (the paper kind), and other expensive or unneeded things right near the end of the fiscal year. The rational is that if you don't use up your budget, you'll get less next year, because you obviously don't need the money you aren't spending. Something like this could help cut down on this type of activity.
    • by leoxx (992)
      It's well known by anybody who has ever worked in government that most departments spend their remaining budget on plasma TVs, new computers, agendas (the paper kind), and other expensive or unneeded things right near the end of the fiscal year.


      Got any actual evidence of this?

    • by LWATCDR (28044)
      "and other expensive or unneeded things right near the end of the fiscal year. The rational is that if you don't use up your budget, you'll get less next year, because you obviously don't need the money you aren't spending."
      Many companies do exactly the same thing.
      This wouldn't work to solve that problem. It only covers contracts for items over 25,000.
      It would simply look like this.
      Ministry of Agriculture
      Office Supplies $1,200,000.
      Computers $3,000,000.

      Not real det
      • by CastrTroy (595695)
        It's kind of messed up. When talking about provincial organizations (at least in ontario) they are usually called ministries. When it's federal organizations, they are usually referred to as departments. It's just a stupid name, and doesn't really mean anything. For instance, there's the Department of Defence, which is headed by the Minister of Defence.
  • So we're spending money to tell people how much more money we're spending then what we're making? Reminds me of the cost (cant recall the figure, but it was a large dollar amount) of sending the letter telling people their 300% tax rebate was on its way.
  • by Catamaran (106796) on Tuesday September 26, 2006 @02:05PM (#16203373)
    From the article:
    The law is aimed preventing wasteful spending by opening the federal budget to greater scrutiny. The information is already available, but the Web site would make it easier for those who aren't experts on the process to see how taxpayer dollars are being spent.

    You can get a lot of info from the GAO [gao.gov]. Unfortunately, W doesn't seem to be albe to get them to spin the numbers in his favor, hence this bill.
  • Grass-roots Effort (Score:5, Insightful)

    by adavies42 (746183) on Tuesday September 26, 2006 @02:06PM (#16203385)
    The real story here is that the Porkbusters [porkbusters.org] group of bloggers are the people who kept this issue visible enough to get it passed over the efforts of Ted "series of tubes" Stevens and Robert "reformed Klansman" Byrd. I'd have thought /. would want to highlight the blogs' contribution to this event.
    • by Cervantes (612861)
      I'd have thought /. would want to highlight the blogs' contribution to this event.

      Don't worry, the dupe will take care of that. Look for it about 2 stories up, right under "Magic car can drive right into power substation, recharges 500 mile battery in 5 minutes while downloading 1.2 Libraries of Congress worth of music"
  • and that change this fast, we're gonna need bigger tubes!
  • Already been done (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Aqua_boy17 (962670) on Tuesday September 26, 2006 @02:06PM (#16203395)
    • by Com2Kid (142006)
      Not the same thing. I want to see every an invoice for last damn pen the government purchases.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Aqua_boy17 (962670)

        I want to see an invoice for every last damn pen the government purchases

        That would be one heck of a PDF and I'd be willing to bet you wouldn't be through scrutinizing it before it was time for next year's budget.

        If you do look at the link I posted though, it's quite interesting to note that 64% of the entire federal budget is earmarked for military spending. 110 billion alone is designated for 'the global war on terror'. Maybe this article should have a link back to a /. article I remember from several

        • by Solandri (704621) on Tuesday September 26, 2006 @03:25PM (#16204921)
          The PDF shows the discretionary budget - the part which has to be allocated each year by Congress. Social security, medicare, and medicaid are funded through their own taxes, so the PDF leaves them off. If it had included them, they would be the largest components of Federal spending ($798 billion in 2001, 48% of all federal revenue) [cbo.gov]; and the Department of Health and Human Services would be the most funded department.

          Which view you choose to take is semantics. Personally, I define "Federal spending" as "how do they spend the money they take from me and my employer." So I would include SS and medical programs in my view of the Federal budget. Some people like to argue that SS and medical programs give money directly back to citizens. But then you open up all sorts of arguments about direct economic effects and indirect economic effects. It's really not worth arguing about since it's highly unlikely said argument will change anyone's minds. The numbers are all there once you add the SS, medicare, and medicaid figures. Just interpret them as you please.

        • Re:Already been done (Score:5, Informative)

          by Zathrus (232140) on Tuesday September 26, 2006 @03:31PM (#16205075) Homepage
          It's quite interesting to note that 64% of the entire federal budget is earmarked for military spending


          No, 64% of the discretionary Federal budget is for military spending. Overall, it's closer to only about 17%, although I'm not sure that amount includes the "emergency" spending for the Iraq/Afghanistan wars or not.

          Note that nowhere on that "graph" will you find monies allocated toward Social Security, Medicare, Unemployment/welfare, and paying the national debt. That alone accounts for the vast majority of government spending -- pretty much 1.8B of the 2.8B Federal budget (or nearly 2/3 if you prefer it that way).

          That said, between "discretionary" and "non-discretionary", Defense is still #2 overall. So it's still big, but it's not 64% kind of big.

          If you really want shocking, compare US Defense spending to other countries, or even the rest of the world's. Although raw numbers are somewhat misleading due to conversion rates, et. al. But even if you level it out with "parity purchasing power" kinds of numbers, it's still interesting.
  • Isn't Google on a crusade to stop people from using "Google" as a verb? I guess it is time to sue good ol' George.
    • by Firehed (942385)
      I agree, but AFAIK they only want to stop people from using 'google' as a verb - note the lack of capitalization upon the 'g'. Though I assume they'd prefer 'use a Google search' rather than 'Google'.
  • Just how long... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Tuesday September 26, 2006 @02:10PM (#16203475)
    And just how long will this last after the next Presidential election -- especially if the party in power changes? Can they get it too well established to take away afterwards over the next two years?
  • the national deficit IS a googol....
  • Will this go online before or after astronauts set foot on Mars?
    • by justkarl (775856) *
      Maybe the article did not make it clear enough. This will be a joint effort, in order to maintain our priority of getting on Mars first. The server which will host this will be placed on mars by the astronauts. That way, the information will be nearly unreachable.
  • by NewbieV (568310) <victor.abrahamse ... NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday September 26, 2006 @02:11PM (#16203509)

    "The law calls for the Web site to go online by Jan. 1, 2008. It will list federal grants and contracts greater than $25,000, except for those classified for national security reasons."

    So it doesn't contain all the budget details, but it is a good start.

    For more information on the Federal budget, Google turns up this site [gpoaccess.gov].

    • by pla (258480)
      "It will list federal grants and contracts greater than $25,000, except for those classified for national security reasons."

      In other news, the president has just issued an executive order classifying all government spending over $25,000, for national security reasons.
  • by Manchot (847225) on Tuesday September 26, 2006 @02:13PM (#16203525)
    "Planned by White House?" Please! The bill is known as the "Coburn-Obama Transparency Bill" because Senators Barack Obama (D-IL) and Tom Coburn (R-OK) authored it. Bush did nothing to support the bill except sign it. In fact, one could make the argument that he had no choice but to do so, since if he did not, he would've inflicted severe damage upon the Republican party come November.
    • Thank you! I was hoping that someone had pointed this out.

      I heard Mr. Obama on his podcast talking about this bill, and have to give him and Senator Coburn kudos. Each gentlemen proved that just because you disagree on party issues does *not* mean you can't work together on important issues like this one.

      Hopefully we'll be able to use this tool to start getting out some of the pork in spending bills. Maybe, maybe not - but more openness in government is usually a good thing.
    • by Abraxis (180472)
      I'd go beyond misleading, and say the the headline is an outright lie. This bill was in no way "planned" by the Whitehouse. The President just signed the thing.
      The submitter must be drunk on spiked right-wing Kool-Aid.
  • They just want to put this guy out of business. Great poster. [thebudgetgraph.com]
  • by way2trivial (601132) on Tuesday September 26, 2006 @02:18PM (#16203627) Homepage Journal
    things the Govt DOES NOT WANT YOU TO GOOGLE?

    p.s. why is that- think about it-
    EVERYTHING under these pages is NOT going to be a result when you search on google.

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/robots.txt [whitehouse.gov]
  • by daves (23318) on Tuesday September 26, 2006 @02:22PM (#16203693) Journal
    For an accessible view of the budget, check out at the poster "Death and Taxes".

    http://www.thebudgetgraph.com/ [thebudgetgraph.com]
  • Fantastic idea (Score:2, Interesting)

    by daigu (111684)
    Fantastic idea. I'd personally like to know where the $507 billion since 9/11 through FY2007E [fas.org] was and will be spent - with breakouts by mercenary wages, secret prisons, black operations, etc. Given how forthcoming this administration isn't with everything else it is doing from NSA spying on U.S. citizens to the use of the state secrets priviledge to fend off lawsuits aimed at getting them to provide more information, this can only be posturing for the upcoming election. Check out the Secrecy Report Card 200 [openthegovernment.org]
  • by mr_luc (413048) * on Tuesday September 26, 2006 @02:26PM (#16203773)
    Public transparency is the arch-enemy of entrenched power -- of all sorts.

    So all that measures like this mean are that obfuscation and securing of information will move from the process and mechanics of apportioning tax money -- quietly sneaking in billions in pork, as evidenced by the efforts of Byrd and Stephens to kill this bill (read TFA) -- to their initial conception.

    We've already seen this in, say, the environmental policies of the past six years. Healthy Forests; who is against those? Such a program certainly wouldn't be associated with distasteful policies like logging national forests ...

    Instead of quieting the *passage* of wasteful bills or the awarding of ridiculous military contracts and other such theft, the process of weaselifying government spending will happen in the early stages of their conception.

    Since the military and security is a sacred cow, Head-Start will be renamed the Homeland Child Protection and Institutional Defense Agency.

    The military itself will show up on the budget as "1 trillion annually: FREEDOM."

    The solution, of course, would be to allow citizens to annotate the entries for their fellow citizens, and to rate the contributions of their fellow citizens to allow popular opinions the visibility they deserve.

    Which, despite its negligible cost, would never, ever, ever be allowed to happen. Control of information is power, and the government never gives away power to citizens unless forced.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jdavidb (449077) *

      The solution, of course, would be to allow citizens to annotate the entries for their fellow citizens, and to rate the contributions of their fellow citizens to allow popular opinions the visibility they deserve.

      Actually, I think the solution to all this is a free market. But what do I know...

  • by timothy (36799)
    Sorry, but this comment isn't based on a deep reading of the article; I'm sitting in class ("Federal Income Taxation") right now.

    A googleable budget is a good start, but things should go a lot further: I'd like to see a paint color called Taxcolor Green (and a highlight color called Debt Red) which all things paid for by tax dollars would be painted, in proportion to the percentage of tax money used to finance them. (Debt Red would be used in a repeating pattern which conveys the amount of the national debt
  • This is the database reported on Slashdot [slashdot.org] that had bipartisan support among the Congressmembers who planned it, but was blocked by Republican Senator Ted Stevens (R-Tubes). Bloggers and other activists organizing on the Internet are getting the main credit for pushing past Stevens.

    I don't give Bush much credit, because he didn't start this legislation, and the only passed bill he's ever vetoed was the one this year that would have funded more stemcell research. The White House didn't "plan" this database, i
  • why can't they just post the Excel file online somewhere? Heck, there's tons of free filehosts, too!

    Also, since the information is *already* technically available freely, aren't there other independent sources that could compile the information and aggregate it? Some public volunteer govt watchdog type groups or something?
  • Let's see what kind of loopholes the honest and hard working people in Washington put in to make sure they don't have to submit pork barrel project expenses or any other expenses they don't think we should really see onto that website.
  • Of course (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Cervantes (612861) on Tuesday September 26, 2006 @02:44PM (#16204161) Journal
    Of course they were happy to approve this. It'll take effect just as the Republicans are getting relegated to "Minority Party" status, and then they can use it to sit around for the next 4 years going "I looked at this website, which a Republican President created, and found that for the last 9 years we've been paying Haliburton $500 per second in 'Consultant Fees'. For shame, Democrats, for shame!"
    Really, Joe Q Public won't know that Item X was actually attached to a spending bill in 1998 and is legislated to be in there for 20 years. He'll just go in, see "Hammer - $500" and blame the current Democratic administration.
  • The budget is a big book. We've seen pics of it on TV. Just put the PDF online.
    Let other people make up nicer interfaces.
  • Death and Taxes (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DrDitto (962751) on Tuesday September 26, 2006 @03:04PM (#16204535)
    There is already a very nice, pannable/zoomable diagram on federal tax dollars.

    www.thebudgetgraph.com [thebudgetgraph.com]
  • Correlation (Score:3, Interesting)

    by camt (162536) on Tuesday September 26, 2006 @04:31PM (#16206215) Homepage
    It would be neat if you could link each piece of spending with the name of the Congressman whose wording introduced that particular clause of the spending bill, and then somehow correlate that data back to OpenSecrets.org [opensecrets.org] and then find out how much "profit" was made by each entity (tax revenue routed to a given company/industry minus lobbying dollars spent by that company/industry).

    Whose lobbying dollars are the most profitable? I know mine sure aren't.

Money will say more in one moment than the most eloquent lover can in years.

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