Tracking Trillions in Federal Spending

One of the hallmarks of the Bush Administration is its secrecy about spending.  Money is routinely discovered to be “missing” or diverted to private interests like Cheney’s company, Halliburton.  Sadly, while some Americans seem to agree with Bush that we can’t afford to pay for children’s healthcare, it’s fine for hundreds of millions of dollars to go to Bush’s cronies.  Fortunately, there’s some visibility on the horizon.  Daily Kos reports in Obama helps us track $1,000,000,000,000 of federal spending.  From the article:

Americans had a hard time finding out where their hard-earned tax dollars went.  Until 2 days ago.

Now, thanks to USAspending.gov, a site created by the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 by Tom Coburn and Barack Obama, anyone can discover the pockets of federal dollars.  The site tracks contracts, grants, earmarks, and loans.

What can we dig up?  Read on for 7 examples (contracts with KBR/Halliburton, Tom Delay’s pork, no bid contracts with defense contractors and even the government of Canada, spending on guided missiles, maintenance of dams, and stranger things including flags, perfumes, and hand tools).  I also talk about how this fits into Sen. Obama’s broader plans to make government transparent.

The article provides numerous examples of widespread corruption and a total lack of accountability.  Again, these are things that have come to be expected (and are accepted) from the Bush Administration.  I particularly like the reader quote that mentions that destroying the Republican stranglehold on the U.S. is not nearly enough.  The true goal must be to restore the protections of our government and to prevent things like this from happening again.

Posting expenditure-related data on USAspending.gov is a great step forward for us, and we can thank Obama for finally doing it.  You can view such information as the Top 100 Contractors of 2007, along with how much many they have received.  In fact, with all of the technology available online, I can’t believe that it wasn’t done earlier.  The information is (and must remain) public, so putting it on the web is a great idea.  The problem, however, is the the American people are no longer accustomed to using facts, figures, and rationality to make decisions.  This site will be overlooked while our focus turns to celebrity weddings and mishaps.  Still, I’m happy to have an “official” site from which I can gather statistics to verify and support the information in this blog.

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