Montoring the monitors

by Russ Roberts on January 26, 2009

in Stimulus

Phew. Now we don't have to worry about whether the money will be well-spent. Can't wait. But why not start now with existing government spending. I guess every penny is unwasteful, efficient, and necessary.

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Tom H. January 26, 2009 at 3:18 pm

I find it a little disturbing that it is an operating assumption that the "The American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009" will pass as indicated in the first sentence of

"Check back after the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to see how and where your tax dollars are spent."

What happened to the legislative process?

ThomasL January 26, 2009 at 3:20 pm

I wonder how much stimulus money was needed to create that amazing website…

muirgeo January 26, 2009 at 3:28 pm

Hey, I am glad we have a president who is at least talking about doing things in the light of day. The last administration was bordering on horrific with regards to our rights to know what the government was doing and their secretive ways.

The idea of respecting the FOIA (freedom of information act) by this administration is a breath of fresh air.

As far as I am concerned everything a government official does should be done in an open forum. From meetings with lobbyist, to energy policy meetings to ledgers on the books…ALL need to be readily available.
Now it's up to us to see that the new administration keeps to its promises.

Oil Shock January 26, 2009 at 3:37 pm

I agree with Muirgeo. They should broadcast all FOMC meetings on TV. Ron Paul's campaign agenda included this. FOMC transcripts should be made available in real time and not five years later. But then we had so many Democratic Presidents since Woodrow Wilson who wanted to do it all in the light of day. Except they really didn't.

Gary January 26, 2009 at 3:41 pm

I read an article about the Pfizer-Wyeth merger today, touting the effective use of TARP funds by the banks to get the deal done.

One of the comments:

"Just how many jobs will the merged company eliminate so we can put it down to the total number of jobs "saved or created" by TARP?"

Well it seemed like a good idea at the time…

SteveO January 26, 2009 at 3:54 pm

At least they freely admit that there is no precedent for any effort to eliminate waste and inefficiency.

MnM January 26, 2009 at 4:06 pm

I hope this doesn't become just a token gesture.

I, personally, like the idea of this kind transparency, but I doubt that they and I have the same definitions of "inefficiency", "waste", and "unnecessary spending".

Matt January 26, 2009 at 10:27 pm

inefficiency: spending that doesn't increase government size and power.
waste: defense spending; private savings and investment
unnecessary spending: see waste.

Tim January 27, 2009 at 12:34 am

Transparency in government? Be afraid, very afraid. This is nothing more than misdirection.

Martin Brock January 27, 2009 at 10:26 am

That an "oversight board" will update the site is evidence enough that the Obamatrons understand neither the merits of the web nor the demerits of central planning. No "oversight" board can possibly know enough about the expenditure of a trillion dollars on hundreds of thousands of different "shovel ready" projects spread across a continental nation of 300 million people.

The site should be a wiki at least; otherwise, it's only a politically correct summary of the board's opinion of the utility of the expenditures. It can't possibly be anything else. And who appoints the board? Who pays them to update the site? Don't their salaries flow from the "stimulus" package itself?

Kevin January 27, 2009 at 2:16 pm

These things are really a joke. Here in Houston we have an organization called Metro that posts similar information in what is called transparent public service. It is an obvious propaganda device, as is

Also, what's with the effort to contrast Obama to Bush? Is that the standard he's supposed to meet?

mark January 27, 2009 at 2:56 pm

Reading that web page made me tearful and weepy. The compassion shown to us by this government, led by this man — this angel who came to earth — is beyond what any of us deserve. I love Obama because he first loved me!!!

vidyohs January 27, 2009 at 7:46 pm

"Hey, I am glad we have a president who is at least talking about doing things in the light of day. Posted by: muirgeo | Jan 26, 2009 3:28:53 PM"

The current thugs are confident enough in their strength and control to move their theft from the dark alleys to the lighted streets, and muirduck, you are just smart enough to think that progress.

Quite a feat, muirduck, quite a remarkable feat.

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