Non-Partisan Information: The Steve Ballmer Project

WHAT IT IS

  • USAFacts = Steve Ballmer’s (former CEO of Microsoft and current owner of the Los Angeles Clippers) newest project.
  • Aim is to answer the question: Where does the government’s money come from and where does it go?
  • This makes it possible for users to access nonpartisan information on government spending and revenue generation habits all in one place for federal, state, and local government.

WHY IT MATTERS

Citizen empowerment begins here.  Finally questions like, “How many government employees are there?” and, “Under what sectors do they fall into?” or “Why is there no government data on firearms sold in the United States annually?”, will have a nonpartisan platform that intuitively answers those questions.

  • TOO EARLY – “Show me the data”

    • Apolitical:  Ballmer and team received data from only U.S. gov sources.
    • Set backs:  There could be a deficiency in data aggregation due to the lack of data the gov records which leaves many questions unanswered.
  • START NOW – “Bring it on”

WHERE WE ARE NOW

  • Over $10 million has been spent on the three-year-old project, which includes hiring a team of Seattle-based researchers and giving a grant to the University of Pennsylvania to help gather data.
  • Ballmer has declared that he will keep this project going no matter the cost.

THINGS TO CONSIDER

  • Will citizens to use this information or not?
  • What lobbying efforts exist to prevent valuable data from being recorded?
  • Is this the evolution of democracy?:  citizens being informed on the operations of their government and having a say in how the government is conducted through taxes they pay.