CINCINNATI (TDB) -- USAspending.gov is the new federal Web site that lets citizens see where their money is going. It's an amazing tool. Who knew that Ohio's $9.57 billion share of federal assistance programs (Medicare etc.) is 3.92% of the entire total? Who knew that Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland gets $195 million in federal funds, about $35 million more than Ohio State University, the nation's largest school.
The National Taxpayers Union supported creation of the federal spending database, which is mandated by the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act passed last year. Two 2008 presidential candidates, Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama, were strong advocates and co-sponsors. NTU said the database would not have been possible before the Internet Age and rise of search engines -- what some are calling the era of Google Government.
"In the past, it was not feasible to have a centralized listing of the kinds of organizations and activities that received government monies. The effort needed to calculate, coordinate and print such a listing would have been enormous, and the final product may well have required a forklift to transport."