Ex Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer offers facts on government
In a little over a week, the federal government could shut down for the second time in five years, with national parks closed, veterans' benefits interrupted and the business of federal workers unnecessarily disrupted.
USAFacts's first-of-its-kind platform is now live, and aims to help interested citizens, journalists, elected officials and others learn the unbiased facts about government in a comprehensive, comprehensible way.
Simply put, USAFacts is an enriched visual translation of where US tax dollars originate, and where they go to.
So far, many have taken to social media to praise this effort in the uncertain times of fake news and government transparency issues.
And while Ballmer says it's purely meant to be non-partisan, the New York Times says it sounds like the project may have changed some of his views on how the government is structured and the value it can provide to average citizens, versus how much is now being down for the economically elite like himself.
The billionaire said another surprising thing he discovered was that the US government is not allowed to collect the total number of guns in the country.
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Steve Ballmer is the predecessor of current Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who was appointed back in 2014.
When Ballmer retired as chief executive of Microsoft in 2014, he was only 57 and quickly realized "I don't, quote, 'have anything to do'". "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]". Is it making a difference?
Currently, there's a USAFacts website, an annual report, a summary report and a government "10-K" modeled on the 10K documents that public companies annual submit to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
USA Facts, besides being the most boring name ever, is a new site that tries to educate U.S. citizens about where their tax dollars are going. "We hope that USAFacts will make a modest contribution toward building consensus and finding solutions".
Additionally, Howard pointed out that the site did not publish its data in an open, reusable format. We need to use it honestly - not just cherrypicking whatever supports our views - to help us invest in what works and repurpose what doesn't. Ballmer's big rule, though, is to not use data from outside sources so that the data presented by USAFacts.org is accurate. "I just want to know how it lands, how it impacts what's going on".
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Apr 20 2017