Despite paying trillions in Federal taxes every year, Americans’ requests for a clear, detailed breakdown of where their money goes every year, have gone unanswered and been ignored by both Republican and Democrat administrations for one simple reason: transparency has an unpleasant way of mutating into accountability, which is the scariest thing imaginable for any career politician.
Not any more.
On Tuesday, the US Treasury launched a new website designed to track virtually every dollar – out of roughly $4 trillion – in federal spending. The new website, Beta.USAspending.gov, was created to put data into the hands of taxpayers by empowering them to track how their tax dollars are spent. The site is designed to follow federal agency spending and, for the first time, links spending data to awards distributed by the government.
In the statement, the Treasury said that “the new site provides taxpayers with the ability to track nearly USD in government spending from Washington, DC directly into their communities and cities,” says Treasury Secretary Mnuchin. “Furthermore, greater access to data will drive better decision making and strengthen accountability and transparency – qualities central to the Administration’s focus on a more innovative and effective government.”
Federal spending flows through hundreds of federal agencies and programs to thousands of companies and nonprofits and millions of individual citizens. Visitors to the site can search by location, federal agency or by keyword for a specific program or type of spending. They can also search for a specific recipient of federal funds, such as a business or university.
Treasury released this new version of the USAspending.gov site in accordance with Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act) requirements. The DATA Act was enacted into law in May 2014 to make federal spending data more accessible, searchable, and reliable. The data on Beta.USAspending.gov is compiled by Treasury with the assistance of other federal agencies and will be updated and published on the site quarterly, with the first batch of data published in May 2017. Over the past two years, Treasury conducted extensive user research and stakeholder outreach to develop the new site.
More than just pretty charts, however, the site will likely serve as a tool for investors following along with Trump Administration proposal debates, and tracking who, where and when is set to receive several billion in excess government generosity.
The top level website can be found at the following link:
Readers eager to experiment with the website’s search can do so after the jump:
The more detailed spending breakdown by state can be found at the following link: it even lets you find spending by zip code and even recipient name.