Economics

Putting the "Spare" in Transparency

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Via Drudge comes this beaut from USA Today:

Although President Obama has vowed that citizens will be able to track "every dime" of the $787 billion stimulus bill, a government website dedicated to the spending won't have details on contracts and grants until October and may not be complete until next spring — halfway through the program, administration officials said.

Recovery.gov now lists programs being funded by the stimulus money, but provides no details on who received the grants and contracts. Agencies won't report that data until Oct. 10, according to Earl Devaney, chairman of the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, which manages the website.

Devaney told a House subcommittee Tuesday that it will be a challenge to have the site ready to present spending data in five months. He said after the hearing that the board doesn't have enough data storage capacity, for example.

In fairness, they probably just need more money to measure how much more money is being measured out.

Anthony Randazzo called for an altogether more transparent transparency back in January.

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  1. Seriously, fuck this administration so hard.

  2. In fairness, they probably just need more money to measure how much more money is being measured out.

    Maybe you could SPARE us the sarcasm, Matt.

  3. Seriously, fuck this administration so hard.

    Yeah! I mean there was so much more transparency from previous administrations!

    I know that Obama made lots of noise and big promises that he is failing to keep. But this? Really?

    There is so much valid criticism for Obama (from his bailouts of the banks, his continuing to raid marijuana dispensaries, his continued use of State Secrets, ) but to make a big deal out of this strikes me as a big off. I mean he may not be living up to the promise, but at least part of site is done, and there’s a tentative completion date.

    What other administration has even proposed something like this, much less set about to actually implement it?

    It’s like people think history doesn’t exist prior top the 2008 campaign.

  4. But they’d need more money to measure the measurement money.

    It’s Government By Infinite Regress.

  5. It’s like people think history doesn’t exist prior top the 2008 campaign.

    I would say it’s more like people think criticism of administrations should continue existing after the 2008 campaign.

  6. Whoa, Tom…

    If you’re trying to use the last administration to justify this one, you are out of your mind!

    We musn’t criticize government by comparing one political party to the other. They are two sides of the same coin. Yeah, the last one sucked, but this one sucks too! And hard!

  7. They’ve been playing this “yeah we’re bad but look at the other guy” thing for too long! That’s just a way to divert blame and attention from what THEY are doing!

  8. Yeah! I mean there was so much more transparency from previous administrations!

    Fuck those administrations too. I’m not a dude who will defend Bush.

  9. It’s like people think history doesn’t exist prior top the 2008 campaign.

    Of course it exists, because I can clearly remember a time when liberals thought conservatives defending Bush on the basis of “he’s better than Clinton” was a bullshit line of argument.

    I agree this is a fairly petty gripe about Obama, but “Bush was worse” is not an argument. Being better than Bush is a low, low fucking bar for Obama to hurdle to get to “good President” status.

  10. I know that Obama made lots of noise and big promises that he is failing to keep.

    That’s right. He did. And that is ample reason right there to say “Yo, fuck Barack Obama.”

    He’s not living up to the standards and expectations he set for himself. That’s the worst kind of failure, not whether you are marginally better than the last loser to warm the chair.

  11. I think people are failing to see the wonderful lesson in government this affords to those who believe in efficient government. There is a whole generation that has come along that doesn’t know squat about Carter’s futile attempts to reform the federal beast. So, once again, history is repeating itself for the benefit of those who refuse to learn from it.

  12. “What other administration has even proposed something like this, much less set about to actually implement it?”

    I think what you will find is that in 4 years it will still be in the works. They knew they never actually had to do it. Just say they would to score points. Hey you fell for it ChicagoTom.

  13. Fuck Bush. Fuck Congress. Fuck Obama. Fuck Congress again. Oh, and fuck Clinton.

    Did I miss anybody?

  14. I said:
    Yeah! I mean there was so much more transparency from previous administrations!

    Then replies said:

    If you’re trying to use the last administration to justify this one, you are out of your mind!

    Fuck those administrations too. I’m not a dude who will defend Bush.

    Of course it exists, because I can clearly remember a time when liberals thought conservatives defending Bush on the basis of “he’s better than Clinton” was a bullshit line of argument.

    Uhmm…guys notice the ‘s’ on the end of the word administrations.

    He isn’t “better than bush” — he is better than any administration prior to him when it comes to transparency. Better than Clinton, Bush I, Reagan, etc.

    I would say it’s more like people think criticism of administrations should continue existing after the 2008 campaign.

    Really? Cuz it looks to me like reaching to find any petty bullshit grievance to attack Obama with.

    Please tell me any administration that even tried to take on such a task, much less actually have something tangible (although not complete) to show for it.

    To me, this is a start and a step in the right direction, not a broken promise or a failure. If he had just completely ignored what he said he would do would be one thing, but that isn’t the case here.

  15. I think what you will find is that in 4 years it will still be in the works. They knew they never actually had to do it. Just say they would to score points. Hey you fell for it ChicagoTom.

    And if it doesn’t come into fruition by the time re-election comes around, I wont vote for him and I would be happy to pile on. But so far, this particular critique is unimpressive.

    But I think some people are putting the cart before the horse and treating their cynical beliefs as fact.

  16. That’s right. He did. And that is ample reason right there to say “Yo, fuck Barack Obama.”

    He’s not living up to the standards and expectations he set for himself. That’s the worst kind of failure, not whether you are marginally better than the last loser to warm the chair.

    I agree…

    it’s too bad this example doesn’t prove that point.

  17. ChicagoTom,

    I don’t think saying that Obama is better on transparency is even a remotely true statement. Too little has changed and too little time has passed to judge. He certainly has made more noises about transparency, but I don’t buy that we’re seeing or will see any actual change. He can prove me wrong, of course.

  18. Tom, a big part of the trouble with this sort of thing is that to a lot of the sorts of people who read this site, the transparency and ending wars promises were the only good thing that could be hoped for from Obama.
    When this sort of thing goes on, he goes from being possibly sort of good in a few small areas to being just another full of shit turd sandwich.

  19. I don’t think saying that Obama is better on transparency is even a remotely true statement. Too little has changed and too little time has passed to judge. He certainly has made more noises about transparency, but I don’t buy that we’re seeing or will see any actual change. He can prove me wrong, of course.

    I dunno.
    The fact that the site even exists kind of shows that he is MARGINALLY better than previous administrations.

    He also released the torture memos — something that I think lots of previous admins wouldn’t do.

    I would say that he has been marginally better. Not anywhere near as good as I would like — but IMHO better.

  20. I think people are failing to see the wonderful lesson in government this affords to those who believe in efficient government. There is a whole generation that has come along that doesn’t know squat about Carter’s futile attempts to reform the federal beast. So, once again, history is repeating itself for the benefit of those who refuse to learn from it.

    Yes, that’s one small silver lining. Progressives finally got “the right people” in the White House and Congress. And yet, somehow, shit will still flow downhill. That’s a valuable lesson. (One that most Republicans spent the preceding two terms learning.)

  21. it’s too bad this example doesn’t prove that point.

    How does Obama failing to keep one of his signature campaign promises fail to illustrate the point that he is not living up to the standards and expectations he set for himself, CT?

  22. It’s like people think history doesn’t exist prior top the 2008 campaign.

    Is this what they’re using on obsidian wings? It seems to be a recurring theme.

  23. The fact that the site even exists kind of shows that he is MARGINALLY better than previous administrations.

    No, it shows he has better PR skills. You can pretty much identify a hardcore Obamanaut as someone who has a difficult time distinguishing between press releases and reality.

    Releasing some but not all of the torture memos is completely irrelevant to his promise to track every dime of the stimulus bill.

  24. Tom, a big part of the trouble with this sort of thing is that to a lot of the sorts of people who read this site, the transparency and ending wars promises were the only good thing that could be hoped for from Obama.

    Zeb,
    I get that. But all I am asking is for a little bit of prospective. The site is up, and they are giving tentative completion dates. Is it not fair to say “maybe we should wait and see what happens” before declaring this a failure and a broken promise?

    The other day, reason ran a critique of Obama for not posting bills on a website before signing them which was going against his promises.

    I didn’t complain then, cuz I thought it was a valid complaint. And it wouldn’t be that difficult a thing to do.

    This one though strikes me as petty and premature. The task at hand is herculean. I’m willing to have a little patience on this one.

  25. How does Obama failing to keep one of his signature campaign promises fail to illustrate the point that he is not living up to the standards and expectations he set for himself, CT?

    Because he hasn’t failed RC DEAN. It’s in progress.

    People used to talk about Bush Derangement Syndrome.

    I’m starting to see quite a big of Obama derangement syndrome on these boards.

    Releasing some but not all of the torture memos is completely irrelevant to his promise to track every dime of the stimulus bill.

    It was in the context of a question about transparency in general. But you knew that already.

  26. CT sez But I think some people are putting the cart before the horse and treating their cynical beliefs as fact.

    My cynical beliefs are based in experience. Your hope is not.

    We’ll see who has to change his tune in the next few years.

  27. To me, this is a start and a step in the right direction

    A “start” would have been to yank Paulson’s leash so hard his beady little eyeballs popped out. A step in the right direction would have been to put somebody other than Geithner in the job.

  28. Really? Cuz it looks to me like reaching to find any petty bullshit grievance to attack Obama with.

    Yeah, I don’t think pointing out incidences of the yawning gap between promise and reality — which is a recurring theme with Obama (think “net spending cut”) — amounts to “any petty bullshit grievance,” particularly since Reason has for four decades been a tireless advocate of increased government transparency. He promised to put all his bills online for five days before signing them, too; does the fact that he at least *promised* that count more for the fact that he has more often than not failed to deliver on it?

  29. He promised to put all his bills online for five days before signing them, too; does the fact that he at least *promised* that count more for the fact that he has more often than not failed to deliver on it?

    As I said upthread, that was a valid criticism.

    This one, not so much.

    He hasn’t broken the promise so much as he hasn’t completed it. But feel free to look at the glass from whatever perspective you like, and I will feel free to criticize your perspective (on this issue) as petty bullshit.

  30. A “start” would have been to yank Paulson’s leash so hard his beady little eyeballs popped out. A step in the right direction would have been to put somebody other than Geithner in the job.

    Heh! I can’t argue with this comment

  31. Fuck Bush. Fuck Congress. Fuck Obama. Fuck Congress again. Oh, and fuck Clinton.

    Did I miss anybody?

    SCOTUS. Kelo vs New London should be all that’s necessary to add them to the list.

  32. About this transparency business, I recall a similar situation in the early Clinton years, where he was arranging the declassification of a lot of documents. It was sold as greater transparency, etc., but the reality was that it was mostly window dressing and, at best, we got to see some interesting Cold War documents.

    Obama has some obvious motivations to keep Bush hate hot, and I don’t doubt throwing out these memos had a lot more to do with that than with his transparency promises. He’s consistently shown (so far) that his promises and his policies are two mutually independent things. However, he does have years to prove me wrong. I just expect that he won’t. Frankly, the way he speaks and behaves is too lawyer-like for my taste.

    Oh, and fuck the courts!

  33. Obama has some obvious motivations to keep Bush hate hot, and I don’t doubt throwing out these memos had a lot more to do with that than with his transparency promises.

    The political flip side of this, is that the torture memos added fuel to the “Prosecute the torturers” fire. Something that Obama seems to not want to do.

    So by releasing the memos he is actually putting more heat on himself to do something he doesn’t want to do.

  34. So by releasing the memos he is actually putting more heat on himself to do something he doesn’t want to do.

    In other words, he fucked up and miscalculated the effect the torture memos would have? Imagine that.

  35. Yeah, I don’t think pointing out incidences of the yawning gap . . . .

    My eyes! The goggles do nothing!

  36. CT,

    I’m with T. I think Obama thought that his blanket statements about forgetting the past and moving on would let him release the memos without having to actually do anything. He clearly miscalculated.

    I find Obama quite maladroit and a little too arrogant for my tastes, and this kind of error will likely be a hallmark of his administration.

  37. Come on, guys. Let CT keep his hope for as long as he can. He’s sure to become as disillusioned and cynical as the rest of us before too many more months of Obamarama.
    It’s cold out here, CT. So cold…

  38. CT, you’ve may have a point that he hasn’t broken this one “yet”.

    At what point will you admit that he has broken this promise? The money is going out the door, and he has already admitted that his transparency website probably won’t be finished until at least half of it is gone.

  39. He isn’t “better than bush” — he is better than any administration prior to him when it comes to transparency. Better than Clinton, Bush I, Reagan, etc.

    If your definition of “transparency” is that you promise to put up a website with a small subset of administrative documents on it, you’ve got a point. But at the same time I think every president before Clinton had a really good excuse for not promising a transparency website during their administrations. I’ll leave it to the readers to decide what that excuse is.

  40. With Major Lawrence, mercy is a passion. With me, it is merely good manners. You may judge which motive is the more reliable.

  41. bitch bitch bitch. Can the government do anything right? oh, wait.

  42. Fuck them all from space. It’s the only way to be sure

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