I reached out to the website developer/maintainer/creator, Chris Chantrill, telling him I appreciated his work on the site and asking if he needed help (seems like a 1 man operation?) - here's how he responded:
Thanks! I started the site in 2007 when "I couldn't take it any more." Since then it has just growed.
Here's how you can help. Suggest a feature.
Chris' site provides unbiased commentary on the importance/relevance of certain measurements, and gives access to download data. It could use a bit of a UX/UI overhaul but it's an amazing feat for a one-man operation to track and present all these different sources of gov data.
I'll be interested to see how Balmer's site compares in functionality (and neutrality) especially given his vast resources and team of experts.
It only gives a very high level picture.
It would need to allow one to go a whole lot deeper for people to be able to work out what is value and what isn't.
How does the office of taoiseach spend €182 million per annum, for example?
It should be possible to see exactly where the money was spent all the way down to an invoice.
The data needed to be aggregated originally, presumably, to deliver what they do publish so what we want is access to the raw stuff.
With that level of visibility ("down to an invoice"), it's easy for people to take up pitch forks and begin lambasting teachers, for example, for their spending on computer software, materials for class, and so on. Perhaps a doctor's medical decisions would start being questioned left, right, and centre, yet the people doing the questioning have no medical experience or understanding of the patient's needs.
Let me put this another way: do you like being micro managed at your job? Would you like every decision you make regarding public spending, as an individual teacher, to be disputed, criticised and thrown up on Twitter by someone who, for example, doesn't agree with your purchasing of materials to teach a religious class, or a class on evolution, or perhaps a subject you don't think should be taught, like film & television?
I think having the data that's "down to an invoice" available to the state is valuable, but accessible to the public? No. I couldn't get behind that.
EDIT: "if" -> "is"; "ZERO" -> "no"
Being able to see who spent what, where and how is probably the greatest way to ensure tax money isn't wasted.
And maybe it's a good thing.
> do you like being micro managed at your job?
You are conflating micromanagement with financial control.
In democratic societies, public work is done under public scrutiny. Taxpayers have constitutional rights to review budgets and complain to elected politicians.
Private citizens and companies have privacy, instead, as the "public" and "private" word suggest.
In dictatorships it's the other way around.
I find this reasoning downright despicable. "Not publishing the data because someone might complain"? Seriously? That is the very reason it should be published, to enable constructive criticism.
I agree people might start nitpicking on minor stuff. But it seems the positive outcomes of being 100% transparent would far outweighs the negative ones.
budget breakdown mof.gov:
Private initiative comparing to the previous year:
The font color is non-contrasting, because gray on blue is a brilliant idea. I'd literally fire someone if they submitted this as graphics design.
I delve into the Treasury Portfolio wedge and I get a sinister "Outcome 1" looking as big as our welfare budget (I think from a quick squiz this says 120 billion for welfare but I thought it was closer to 180 billion).
What's all the stuff under the Treasury portfolio?
Considering how much tax money the government takes in it is astounding to me they run such a deficit. Plus you must also account for all the taxes and spending at State, City, and Local, levels. All this money and how much is slipping through the cracks from helping people and keeping the infrastructure going
Basically it comes down to determining if their activities are non essential, if they flunk a cost benefit test, do they violate federalism, and more.
Cato summary : https://www.cato.org/blog/mulvaneys-plan-reform-government
pdf from OMB : https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/whitehouse.gov/files/omb/me...
It's astounding to you that a superpower spends a lot of money? When we spend more on our military than the next n countries combined?
> if they flunk a cost benefit test
I consider myself a conservative, especially in comparison to most folks on HN, but this is nonsense. Conservatives in Florida demanded drug testing welfare recipients, even when data shows that fails a cost benefit test pretty handily.