Accountability

     Why do we accept our government spending money & piling up debt for us & future generations without exact accounting for every cent in a timely manner & with complete transparency?  If such were going on in the private sector there would be bankruptcy of such corporation or entity.  There would be criminal charges & open trials. There would be jail time.
     Today We laugh at it. With M$M we even marvel at how well & frequently it happens.  Then we resign ourselves to thoughts of how it's all too big & complex to understand; preferring to lapse back into the trance of hoping for change;
     & go back to sleep...... Zzzzz.
Wake up - hold government accountable!
This one goes with hex #2 which is also awake & applies today (4/29/2011)
Mnemonic pictures abound for this dilemma may I suggest the following:

Tags

  1. oppression
  2. ruin
  3. accountable
  4. accountability

Comments


Mark de LA says
The first question is where & what is the US Government's official chart of accounts? I would like to see a line item (official number) covering the stimulus package, tarp, disbursements to medicare etc.  The first budget I reviewed was for Bill Clinton around the time I was considering HyPie.  I found out that lots of money was off-budget & the rest did not add up to the overall size of the budget in the summary page.


Mark de LA says
seth 2009-11-27 13:33:44 12931
How do you know that you cannot do that now with information provided by the government?
What makes you think it is?
We saw what it looks like when you drill down into the stimulus bill. Some entity had to write checks to people & entities.  Where did that money go. Who cashed the check. Lump sums in the millions & billions must be broken down into smaller pieces. Why was the stimulus bill web results page (recovery.org?) apparently independent of the disbursement records?

Mark de LA says
seth 2009-11-27 12:12:36 12931
I agree .  Thing is the accounting of our debts is, in some sense accountable and in some sense available to public for viewing.  It would be nice to know precisely how that  accounting and accessibility is currently deficient.
Try the stimulus packages, tarp, medicare, etc. where do you go for a full accounting? Military programs & purchases are also subject to vast balooning & over budgeting.

Seth says
M 2009-11-27 12:24:40 12931
You must acknowledge some since you use the repeated phrase some sense.  It's that feeling that I get when the government continuously reaches it's hand out for more. I don't want some sense I want all senses to detect how our monies are spent & that it was spent for the purposes designated in the request for the money in the first place.
Yep i acknowledge that it is deficient.  I want to know exactly how is it deficient so that any request to make it more accountable and open can be quite specific. 

Mark de LA says
Well, I'm not going to re-invent the whole government accounting system here at fbi.  OTOH, one glaring deficiency is on the appropriation side.  Each appropriations bill must give an exact amount & how it is to be spent. Each request to disburse an amount should show up in something like a HyPie (hierarchical pie chart) available to the public via internet. You should be able to drill down to the specifics of any disbursement. We have computers to do most of the work & plenty of accountants & bureaucrats to watch the purse. One way insist on such a change is to not lift the debt ceiling until the accounting is reformed.  Perhaps a government shutdown could be a good idea in such a context.
The bills & their costs must be finalized before signing.

Seth says
M 2009-11-27 13:48:18 12931
seth 2009-11-27 13:33:44 12931
How do you know that you cannot do that now with information provided by the government?
What makes you think it is?
Because I don't see why it is not all there already ... but of course not in a nice navigable HyPie format. 
source: gpoaccess.gov

Budget of the United States Government:

 Public Budget Database Fiscal Year 2010

Provides account level detail for budget authority (1976-2010), outlays (1962-2010) and receipts (1976-2010). The data is provided in two formats (xls and comma delimited) and includes a user's guide.

Download the Complete Database (ZIP format):

Download Individual Databases:


... So i ask again: Specifically, how is it deficient?


Mark de LA says
The budget is just a target it is not what gets spent.  Obama is more than a trillion over budget since he was inaugurated. Like the cash for clunkers program was supposed to be a 2 billion, but twice that much was spent. The actual chart of accounts (COA) should hair off the treasury site, somewhere off the Financial Management Service.  Reports seem to be located here, but what I want is the chart of accounts.
Complexity is mitigated by hierarchy & viewpoint.

Seth says
Ok, fair enough.  It seems to me that your chart of accounts is running down the left hand column of this report.   How is that deficient?

Mark de LA says
seth 2009-11-28 15:08:27 12931
Ok, fair enough.  It seems to me that your chart of accounts is running down the left hand column of this report.   How is that deficient?
Well it's for some tiny piece of the government or is too high level to do much audit.  A bank's GL is a lot more complex than that.  All I can say is we're getting warmer.  I think it is somewhere in the USSGL Interactive Database (SID) Project here. Maybe referred to on this page.

Mark de LA says
Here is a graphic representation of the Federal Budget in zoomable poster like form. Kudos to the proprietors of http://wallstats.com/   Remember that the budget is not the Expense Report.

Mark de LA says
What is fascinating about accountability is that nobody is even considering that money allocated for a specific purpose never accomplishes that purpose & if not spent (like the current bailout funds) gets spent for another purpose like more stimulus.
Reuters: ...

The Obama Administration is touting that their stimulus program has saved or created 640,329 jobs since it was enacted back in February through the end of October. This number is updated and posted on the Administration’s recovery.gov web site. That amounts to $246,436 per job based on the $157.8bn that has been awarded so far! Total compensation earned by the average payroll employee during October, on an annualized basis, was $59,867. If the government had simply used the funds awarded so far to pay for a year’s worth of labor, that would have paid for 2.6mn jobs!


...


Mark de LA says
seth 2009-12-08 07:14:03 12931
Yesterday i heard somewhere that Obama is going to use the paid back TARP money to reduce the deficit.  Doesn't he get any credit for that?
We'll see if he actually does that.  OTOH, yesterday I heard that he is going to use it for some kind of stimulus or other program. TARP & stimulus funds turned out to be a slush fund for buying votes & did not accomplish as promised.

Mark de LA says
I think that the Obama administration is going to spend as much as it can get away with & then some. Today comes the Obamnible Obamination in the news that the Democrats plan on raising the ceiling on the national debt by an historic 1.8 trillion.  Read this article for the political calculations in doing this now vs ruining their re-election.
BTW, 1.8 trillion $$$ / 636 reps in Congress plus the president = two billion eight hundred thirty million one hundred eighty eight thousand six hundred seventy nine $$$ each person responsible for the additional national debt.

 Lets ruin all their reelections - flush the government!


Mark de LA says
Not only are they not reading the bills, but they are not even giving the bills to the Senate to read:
Source: ... Maybe we’ve actually reached the point where not only aren’t they reading the bill before voting on it, they’re not even writing it before voting on it.
... This is another reason not to put my personal energy into decoding bills or parsing out the meaning of 2000 pages of bs.  Somebody ought to rewrite the rules of the House & Senate and declare among other things that laws & appropriations be transparent & posted for the public to read long before they are voted on.  There are many other stupid rules, but if the public were to vote out incumbents until the rules were re-written & it were published what must be a minimum then the people's so-called representatives might actually represent!



Mark de LA says
Adding to the HyPie chart of Accounts & hierarchical display of budgets we ought to have an animation that shows the actual expenditure on a per day/month/year showing how each sliver gets filled up or dies; gets shifted to some other expense etc.  Ideally, a sliver would slowly fill up and only stay within its boundary.

See Also

  1. Thought Politics = RWG with 24 viewings related by tag "ruin".