A View from David Talbot
Stimulus Analysis Goes Online
Washington promises detailed data on the $787 billion in spending, tax cuts
Barack Obama came to office promising to “use cutting-edge technologies to create a new level of transparency, accountability, and participation” in government. Now, that pledge is about to get its first real test.
The administration has just launched a website to explain the details of the $787 billion stimulus package that Obama signed into law yesterday. Right now the site lays out the package of tax cuts and spending in broad-brush terms. But it promises to eventually provide maps, charts, graphics–and raw data in exportable form–to show which states, Congressional districts, and even contractors are receiving the money.
This would be a first-of-a-kind technology effort by the federal government. The body overseeing these data dumps will be the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, a panel of government inspectors that will be created as part of the stimulus law.
“Instead of politicians doling out money behind closed doors, the important decisions about where taxpayer dollars are invested will be yours to scrutinize,” Obama pledges in a You Tube video posted on the site.
Become an MIT Technology Review Insider for in-depth analysis and unparalleled perspective.Subscribe today