NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


October 25, 2007

We all know government is plagued by red tape, isn't efficient and doesn't work as it should, say Amanda Kathryn Hydro, Director of Policy Development for the Reason Foundation, and Jason Mercier, Director of the Center for Government Reform for the Washington Policy Center.  Increasing transparency and accountability is a huge first step.  But that is only half the equation.  We also need policymakers to make significant changes after we all get to see the horror and reckless spending that will be revealed by shining the light on government spending and earmarks.

Enter presidential candidates Sen. Barack Obama, Rep. Ron Paul, Sen. Mike Gravel, Rep. Dennis Kucinch and John Cox.  Each has embraced the concept of "Google government," by signing the Oath of Presidential Transparency to help taxpayers see where their money is spent.

  • By signing the oath, the candidates are promising, should they win the presidency in 2008, that they will issue an executive order instructing the entire executive branch to put into practice the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006.
  • That act includes a Google-like search tool that will allow taxpayers to go online and see exactly how their tax dollars are being spent on federal contracts, grants and earmarks.

State and local governments are being pushed as well, say Hydro and Mercier:

  • The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) recently adopted model legislation to implement state versions of the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act.
  • ALEC also adopted a model bill to require that the public have at least 72 hours to review tax and spending bills before they are voted on.
  • Several states have already moved forward with some form of transparency reforms, including Missouri, Texas, Kansas, Virginia, Minnesota, Hawaii, South Carolina, Nebraska and Oklahoma.

Source: Amanda Kathryn Hydro and Jason Mercier, "Time to Shine Light on Government Spending,", October 23, 2007.

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