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Recovery.gov – a great example of government transparency

The White House has their recovery website (http://www.recovery.gov)up and it promises transparency and accountability because ‘its your money.’  I am glad that they realize that simple fact.

Their promise of transparency and accountability stumbles out of the gate like much else they’ve done in the past several weeks.  When you click on the bar chart on the left margin of the site to see where your money is going, it takes you to another page full of pastel colored bubbles with various cost categories.

The biggest bubble (there’s a message here somewhere with this symbolism…) seems to be labeled ‘tax relief’ and totals $288B.  Nearly 37% of the total…wow! great!  Well, hang on.  

It seems that the finely printed note at the bottom of the page indicates that of the $288B for ‘tax relief’, $15B is for infrastructure, $61B is for ‘protecting the vulnerable,’ $25B is for education and training and $22B is for energy; all of thes are other categories in other ‘bubbles’ on the chart. So the remainder of real ‘tax relief’ is $165B, or less than 10% of the total income taxes collected….and this is the part that’s coming to us as $13 per week, starting April 1.  Since they put these notes on the page, I guess they think they’re being transparent; being clear and easy to understand is another matter.

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