WHAT IT IS
How our government collects and spends money is critically important.
When information is accessible, the public is able to ensure government decisions are fair and efficient for their community and country.
USAFacts wants to provide free, nonpartisan, factual information on “the state of the nation”, or what is occurring on the federal, state, and local levels of government. [Wired]
The site breaks down information into four easy to navigate categories: (1) Finances; (2) Population; (3) Metrics; (4) Reports.
Ballmer used the Constitution to help frame the four categories. [NPR]
WHY IT MATTERS
Citizen empowerment begins here. [The New York Times]
Not only will this project help inform voters, it also shows the public the extent to which free speech and access to government data is protected by the Constitution.
Ballmer and team received data from 70 different U.S. government sources and not politically-based organizations. [The New York Times]
"Democracy dies in darkness" -The Washington Post
Citizens need to be informed about the operations of the government, so they can have an informed say (through voting) on how the government is conducted.
The user-friendly site looks nothing like any current bureaucratic or startup attempting to organize and display government data. [Wired]
This makes the site user-friendly to ordinary people. USAFacts credits the design firm, Artefact, for the look and layout of the site.
There could be a problem in data provided by USAFacts, due to omitted or redacted data in government public records. Keeping data up to date is also difficult for the government. This leaves many questions unanswered.
Some believe we need to be cautious about placing too much public trust placed in an individual citizen. Steve Ballmer has the right to misrepresent the facts posted on the site.
THINGS TO THINK ABOUT
Read more about how the Freedom of Information Act was recently used when the Trump administration tried to block public access to White House visitor logs.
Will citizens to use this information or not?
How do facts inform different opinions?
What lobbying efforts exist to prevent negative information from being reported?