Help Congress Spend Your Money Wiselyby Tim Manni
Concern about the sheer size of, as well as wasteful spending in, the $825-billion-and-growing stimulus package is spawning a number of reactions among a public growing uneasy about the exercise.
Read the Stimulus is a new website which invites all comers to pore over the ever-growing bill. Its tagline — “$850 Billion, 1588 pages, and counting… somebody needs to read it!” — sums up its purpose:
We have all heard words of an era of increased transparency. With nearly a trillion dollars under debate in the proposed stimulus package, such transparency would be most useful right now: before we as a nation make irrevocable decisions about how to deal with the economic crisis that we face together.
…The web makes great things possible: if it chose, Congress could easily make fully searchable, web-friendly versions of pending legislation available for citizens to comment upon.
But, it has not. And since nothing official along these lines has been forthcoming for the stimulus bill, this site aims to fill that gap, and make available as much information as possible about this critical legislation. …
Browse through a document of your choice, or use the search function to drill down to the topics that interest you most. And on any page of any document, you can contribute your own comments and thoughts — and read those by fellow citizens.
If you feel motivated to make sure that your hard-earned money will be spent properly, and not, say, $600 million on new cars for federal agencies (do you have the money to buy a new car in 2009?), contribute your fair share of time to this cause.
Another website, called Recovery.gov, is waiting for the bill to pass before it digs in:
Check back after the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to see how and where your tax dollars are spent. An oversight board will routinely update this site as part of an unprecedented effort to root out waste, inefficiency, and unnecessary spending in our government.
Anyone out there heard of other grass-roots action for transparency and accountability on this stimulus bill? Let us know.