A Call For Transparency

From “The Revolution: A Manifesto” by Ron Paul:

Judge Andrew Napolitano recently asked, ‘Why should government agents spy on us? They work for us. How about we spy on them? On cops when they arrest and interrogate people or contemplate suspending freedom; on prosecutors when they decide whom to prosecute and what evidence to use; on judges when they rationalize away our guaranteed rights; and on members of Congress whenever they meet with a lobbyist, mark up a piece of legislation, or conspire to assault our liberties or our pocketbooks.’

That quote sums up what this country needs: Transparency. But what we need and what we get are two vastly divergent things these days. The federal government already has the guts to give us “economic stimulus refund” checks that amount to taking a $50 bill and making you change but leaving you with two $20 bills. They are also suspending the release of M3, which is a report that was used to monitor currency and money in the country based on the Fed’s actions. And the list goes on and on and on.

Why do we need transparency? Because it will help the American people realize what the government is really doing to them, and, more importantly, what it is not doing for them. The federal government is not designed to take care of you and feed you and clothe you throughout your life. And the government does not do those things, although lately it seems people are under the impression that it is their right to receive such items as “free” health care or to have the government bail them out of a risky loan. In short, the government is not a provider of economic growth, all the government really can do is stifle economic growth and development.

There is no incentive for anyone in government to do anything except maintain and push the status quo to new levels of big government. Take the war on drugs. For years we have been fighting this uphill battle with little to no success. We have spent and spent and spent and drug use has not seen any real drop, nor is there any reason to believe such a drop is forthcoming. But try telling that to a DEA officer, cop, probation officer, jail guard, or coroner. They need illegal, underground drugs or they are basically out of a (well paying, taxpayer funded) job. So the status quo remains.

Same with education. For all the talk of “No Child Left Behind” and improving test scores, students are failing miserably. Most high schoolers can’t add or subtract, let alone balance a checkbook or figure out simple mortgage payments. I myself never learned any basic life skills in 12 years of government education.

But for all the money we spend on education, the war on drugs, Social Security, etc etc, why don’t we at least get some kind of report on where exactly this money is going? And not just “old people” or “schools.” The American people deserve to know where every dollar is spent, and what goal it accomplished or is working towards. Of course this can never happen, because, similar to the illegal drug example above, the entire government as we know it today depends on being shady and mysterious with regard to our money. That’s right, our money. The people’s money. Remember, in the words of Napolitano, who “they” work for.


  • It is possible to fail in many ways…while to succeed is possible only in one way.

  • Michael Dwyer

    Tranparency is the cry! The relationship between the congressional retirement funding and AIG preservation at all costs is the WHY! Official transparent reply requested.RSVP: De Oppresso Liber

  • Al Ortiz


    Make transparency city’s policy

    The Baltimore Examiner Newspaper

    Trying to find a city contract in Baltimore City is like trying to find one in a black hole. You need the contract number or some other specific information, like the date it was approved. Forget about asking how much money, for example, a particular city contractor has received in the last 10 years from taxpayers. And since no records are digital, you must show up in person to ask.

    Want to listen to a City Council hearing? Go to Goodwill and try to find a Walkman, because the only way to do so is via cassette tape. We’re not kidding. It is 1980-something in Baltimore City.

    So City Councilwoman Belinda Conaway’s (D-7) proposal to make available all city disbursements online in an easily searchable database is something revolutionary only in Baltimore. Other jurisdictions are way ahead. The state just passed legislation with overwhelming bipartisan support to put all state spending above $25,000 online on a searchable Web site starting in January, and other counties are following suit, including Howard, whose version will come online in 2010. The federal government makes its spending available online at http://www.usaspending.gov, thanks to legislation co-sponsored by Sens. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.).

    Some people have asked Conaway if the legislation is aimed at hurting Mayor Sheila Dixon, under investigation for allegedly taking bribes from an ex-lover who received tax breaks while she was City Council president. It’s not. It’s about ensuring that “taxpayers know they are being represented well by their elected officials,” as Conaway said.

    Conaway should ask Del. Warren Miller (R-Howard), who sponsored the state legislation, and Howard County Councilman Greg Fox (R-5), who sponsored Howard County’s legislation, for help in drafting the bill and outlining how to pay for it and to set up the technology to make it happen.

    Ensuring taxpayers have easy access to city spending will make it easier for residents to understand and participate in local government, deter fraud and help our elected officials to save money. As Del. Miller noted in an opinion piece earlier this year, “After Texas passed a transparency law in 2007, state Comptroller Susan Combs estimated a savings of $2.3 million in her office alone. Much of the savings came from combining multiple contracts for the same services and from eliminating contracts for products the office no longer needed but was unaware it was purchasing. The vast size of state government often means the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing. The greater oversight created by transparency laws effectively eliminates this problem.” The same is true of city government.

    City Council members should wholeheartedly endorse her legislation at the July 22 meeting and pass it at the earliest possible date.

  • D

    Transparency is huge. If gov’t is really doing what it is supposed to do – which is serve the people, then it will have absolutely no problem with being completely transparent. Don’t lose hope, it all begins and ends with the individual. I used to work in an industry with greedy people from the real estate/mortage banking/wall street with questionable ethics… it was only a question of time before it all blew up… but nobody wanted to face up to it, they were all too busy making a quick buck. How different it is now that I am with a company who’s accounting and profits are openly available to everyone and in an industry that is actually SUSTAINABLE, not just fueled by greed for quick profits and corruption. And how funny that the Fed always has its hands in the dealings of wall st, the stock market, and interest rates..

    Don’t take any part in it. Just make an honest living, save your money, protect your family, educate yourself, and be ready for the day when the sh*t hits the fan

  • jm

    The DEA will fight for their jobs, the education legislatures, the politicians, and the lobbyists will all fight for their jobs. And these aren’t run of the mill jobs, they are jobs upwards of $600,000 and much, much more. These people aren’t going to lay down and submit. And this brings me to my point that the main problem with this country is money, and naturally the source of that money, the federal reserve. The fed is too greedy, too institutionalized, and the people are too superstitious and too ignorant; the people aren’t aware that the currency isn’t backed by gold and can’t imagine an economic plan not involving corrupt gangsterism.

    It is sad that in this country, a homeless man on the street is wealthier than a man who has a job, since the man with the job is no doubt in debt. Although many people are waking up to this fact, sadly many other Americans must be okay with the fact that half their paycheck goes to the greedy and incompetent elite.

    Basically we have two options: keep the fed, or dismantle the fed and most likely dismantle the economy.

    The government will get worse and worse until people finally start to wake up. I am not in any way whatsoever in favor of bombing Iran, but if it happens and I have to be an oppurtunist on the situation (at least there’s one thing I learned from our government!) I can at least say that the more countries we invade for shifty reasons, the more the army morale will lower. Eventually more people will wake up to the american nightmare.

    May God have mercy on us all.

  • All government officials, Congress & Senate should all be required to wear Head Cams, this is a device set up with microphones, and cameras. This way we can click in on a Congressman or Senator from our computers at anytime and see what they are up to. We would be able to identify those officials and lobbyists that are corrupt in Washington. This would bring total transparency to Washington without a doubt. I bet they would be less likely to make some of the unconstitutional laws or push certain agendas as they have been doing for the past few years.