Steve Ballmer's new project: find out how the government spends your money

  • Steve Ballmer's new project: find out how the government spends your money

Steve Ballmer's new project: find out how the government spends your money

The New York Times reports that Ballmer has spent over $10 million on the three-year-old project, that includes hiring a team of Seattle-based researchers and giving a grant to the University of Pennsylvania to help gather data.

Ballmer hopes that public debate will be strengthened by the availability of a common set of accurate data, perhaps echoing Daniel Patrick Moynihan's saying that one is "entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts". So Ballmer tried to look up exactly how much money the government had, and how it spent it, and how effective those programs were. The former Microsoft CEO is launching USAFacts, a comprehensive database for information about government. Keep in mind that government spending, revenue, and related data will always come down to numbers, numbers, and more numbers. "I just want to know how it lands, how it impacts what's going on".

Companies typically organize revenue into segments, and Ballmer's USAFacts team has done the same. The website, called USAFacts, brings together a wide range of financial data from various United States government sources, compiled by a team of economists, professors, and researchers over the last three years.

A dedicated USAFacts website went live Tuesday morning and will be continuously updated with additional data over time.

Mr Ballmer is now committed to releasing a report every year, with the annual report taking thestyle of a corporate security filing.

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He, along with a small number of economists, professors, and other professionals, created the database of USAFacts - with the venture sort of a stealth startup developed over the past three years, the New York Times reports. "I'm happy to fund the damn thing". Nearly half of them, Ballmer said, are employees in the education system. "But I do believe one of the missions of government is to correctly assemble this data in a way that is timely and informed. and I will be partisan [on that]". "I can't show it!"

There is data for the number of firearms manufactured, licenses, inspections, "along with other data, but not a total", he said.

Ballmer is hoping that the website is just the beginning.

"We're making philanthropic donations elsewhere - I think of this as another", he said, referring to himself and his wife. In fact, before he purchased the Clippers, he started a private project to "figure out what the government really does with the money" it collects from taxes.

"I thought more of it would be summarized someplace", he said.