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US Open Government Sites To Close

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the spending-other-people's-money dept.

Government 385

SEWilco writes "US government sites which promote open government are going to shut down soon due to not enough funding being directed at them."

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385 comments

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But it's a good idea... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35702812)

Can we donate? I'm serious.

Re:But it's a good idea... (5, Funny)

oldmeddler (1614805) | more than 3 years ago | (#35702954)

Sure thing. PM me and I'll send you my PayPal info and make sure the money gets to the right place.

Re:But it's a good idea... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35703122)

Yes. When you get done paying your taxes this month, if you feel they didn't take enough, call the I.R.S. and they will be happy to arrange a voluntary payment to the government.

Re:But it's a good idea... (4, Informative)

TheABomb (180342) | more than 3 years ago | (#35703382)

Sadly, that's not a joke. [pay.gov]

Re:But it's a good idea... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35703452)

Sadly, that's not a joke. [pay.gov]

Gotta wonder how many people who think taxes are too low actually volunteer their own cash to help fix the "problem" of the US government "not having enough money".

I'm thinking it's, oooh, about, say, ZERO.

Re:But it's a good idea... (3, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#35703496)

That's because they only usually think taxes are too low for *other* people.

Re:But it's a good idea... (2)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#35703486)

I'm pretty sure these are some of the same sites we donated $18m and $40m for, to pay for "drupal installations". And by "donate", I mean "paid taxes for". And have you seen a lot of these sites? Broken links. Meaningless data. Often slow updates. These were empty gestures and big cash handouts.

Dumb Cunts (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35702814)

So I am in a store and this dumb bitch is walking one way while looking another way. She almost runs into me. Twice.

She realizes her stupidity but not the extent of it. She says "tee hee sorry". Yeah yeah, everybody's sorry after the fact. Nobody's sorry enough to look where they're fucking going.

What's the good reason why it's illegal to bitchslap people like that? I mean, leave a handprint that will remain on her dumbass face for at least a week. Don't we want stupidity to be painful? Isn't that good for society and isn't law supposed to be about the good of society? I would have just loved to make her cry. I bet after that she'd display the common sense of the average toddler and look where she's going. Too bad I couldn't and didn't.

Re:Dumb Cunts (0, Offtopic)

stms (1132653) | more than 3 years ago | (#35702860)

You should be modded +5 bitches do be crazy.

Re:Dumb Cunts (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35702882)

Had she run you over I wouldn't have had to waste a few seconds skimming your post. I would have been OK with that.

Re:Dumb Cunts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35702912)

She was probably trying to get laid. Now, who's the dumb cunt?

Re:Dumb Cunts (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35702958)

So what you're saying is that you're too stupid or ungainly to avoid women on a collision course with you, and the knowledge of this lack makes you violent. That's a sad story, bro.

Re:Dumb Cunts (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35703270)

So what you're saying is that you're too stupid or ungainly to avoid women on a collision course with you, and the knowledge of this lack makes you violent. That's a sad story, bro.

I did avoid her you dumbass, but no thanks to her. This word "almost", is it really so hard to understand? Reading comprehension: USE IT. See folks, that's the average cognitive ability of the kind of person who thinks stupidity and disregard for others should be consequence-free.

Only reason she was on a collision course is because she's too dumb of a cunt to look where she's going when she knows she is in a public place with lots of other people around. The beauty of bitch-slapping people like that is that you'd only have to do it once. They'd never forget it. If that outcome were certain then almost everyone would look where they're fucking going, resulting in almost no collisions and almost no bitch-slaps. That's a lot less violent in sum total than the damage caused by their carelessness. The logic here is solid.

I bet if she hit a small child or a little old lady with that heavily-laden steel cart and injured them you'd change your tune. That's because people like you hate reason, are driven by emotion, and would feel emotion for a kid or an old lady. Random chance is the only reason she encountered an alert adult who is agile enough to avoid her. The point, even if you're too much of a bleeding-heart pansy to understand it is that a grown woman in her mid-30s who can't figure out on her own that not looking where you're going is a great way to hit somebody needs some incentive to acquire some fucking sense.

The idea is that people who have a blatant disregard for the way their carelessness can harm others should be punished for this, swiftly, severely, and certainly. Why would you oppose that? On what grounds? What moral principle says that someone should be so privileged that they can risk injuring others without even trying to be responsible and should never ever suffer any consequence of that? Why do you want such stupidity to be easy and comfortable and made acceptable?

It'd be different if she was trying to be cautious and simply made a mistake. That's the part you don't get.

Re:Dumb Cunts (3, Insightful)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 3 years ago | (#35703602)

That's because people like you hate reason, are driven by emotion...

Rage is an emotion. It's that feeling you have when someone has offended you beyond your ability to understand. It often manifests as an intense desire to cause physical harm to the offending person(s), with little to no concern for any mitigating circumstances.

Perhaps the woman in question has a vision or coordination problem. Perhaps she's distracted thinking about other things. Perhaps you should have been a proper gentleman and made sure you were well out of her path, that she may go any way she likes. Perhaps, for a few fleeting moments, you could let a trivial inconvenience pass by you, and not demonize someone you know remarkably little about.

What moral principle says that someone should be so privileged that they can risk injuring others without even trying to be responsible and should never ever suffer any consequence of that?

That's a very good question. Why should anyone be given the ability to risk injuring anyone else, especially around the face, which is of high social importance?

Given that you've shown you know nothing about the other side of the story, and appear unable to empathize, why should you be the sole judge of who should be injured and who shouldn't?

Re:Dumb Cunts (0)

MokuMokuRyoushi (1701196) | more than 3 years ago | (#35702970)

I'm saddened by the fact that this post employs better grammar and spelling than most constructive posts on this site.

Re:Dumb Cunts (0)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#35703504)

WOMEN BE SHOPPIN'.

As a kiwi. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35702816)

rofl @ america

Who stopped trying?

You did!

Re:As a kiwi. (1, Funny)

DataDiddler (1994180) | more than 3 years ago | (#35702856)

Oh yeah? Well... at least our birds aren't so lazy that they don't fly! Chalk up another crushing comeback for me.

Re:As a kiwi. (0)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 3 years ago | (#35703230)

Probably chickens outnumber all other bird species in the US (I think about a gazillion a day are killed just so Ma and Pa Fattie can get their fix), so that statement may be false.

Re:As a kiwi. (0)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35703256)

You do realize that chickens can fly, right? Unless you clip their wings or lock them in a small cage they are able to fly, if not elegantly over long distances.

Re:As a kiwi. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35703440)

Watching a chicken attempt to fly is like watching a retard attempt to run at full tilt.

Re:As a kiwi. (0)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 3 years ago | (#35703544)

Grew up on a farm. Chickens can get airborne for very short distances, but not really fly.

Re:As a kiwi. (0)

Schnoogs (1087081) | more than 3 years ago | (#35702876)

When did NZ ever even start to try? You're Australia's little brother...

Re:As a kiwi. (3, Informative)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#35703056)

Who stopped trying?

The specific people who are responsible for funding the Open Government sites are the members of teh majority of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Those are the people who have "given up". They haven't given up on protecting their friends from being taxed, though. "Open Government" is for dirty hippies, anyway, so why should they care, right?

Worst summary, ever. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35702828)

Is SEWilco one of kdawson's aliases?

Bitter Irony (4, Interesting)

SilverHatHacker (1381259) | more than 3 years ago | (#35702832)

From the article:

We need at least another $4 million just to keep USASpending.gov operating this year.

$4mil to keep a website going for one year? Think if I called them up and offered to do it for 3 they'd take it?

Re:Bitter Irony (4, Insightful)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#35702920)

$4 million? A pittance! Apparently a paid registration system costs ten times that [harvard.edu] .

Servers and hosting cost a few thousand to a few tens of thousands per year, full time developers and admins cost a less than $100k per year. All I can say is that whoever managed to walk off with the rest of the cash has got it made.

Re:Bitter Irony (0)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#35702956)

$4 million? A pittance! Apparently a paid registration system costs ten times that [harvard.edu] .

So did the NYTime pay wall [bloomberg.com] .

Re:Bitter Irony (4, Insightful)

elfprince13 (1521333) | more than 3 years ago | (#35703246)

....which is what he was linking to.

Re:Bitter Irony (5, Informative)

SilverHatHacker (1381259) | more than 3 years ago | (#35703166)

An investment firm is hiring mathematicians. After the first round of interviews, three hopeful recent graduates - a pure mathematician, an applied mathematician, and a graduate in mathematical finance - are asked what starting salary they are expecting. The pure mathematician: "Would $30,000 be too much?" The applied mathematician: "I think $60,000 would be OK." The math finance person: "What about $300,000?" The personnel officer is flabberghasted: "Do you know that we have a graduate in pure mathematics who is willing to do the same work for a tenth of what you are demanding!?" "Well, I thought of $135,000 for me, $135,000 for you - and $30,000 for the pure mathematician who will do the work."

Same principle applies here, I suppose.

Re:Bitter Irony (1)

causality (777677) | more than 3 years ago | (#35703354)

An investment firm is hiring mathematicians. After the first round of interviews, three hopeful recent graduates - a pure mathematician, an applied mathematician, and a graduate in mathematical finance - are asked what starting salary they are expecting.
The pure mathematician: "Would $30,000 be too much?"
The applied mathematician: "I think $60,000 would be OK."
The math finance person: "What about $300,000?"
The personnel officer is flabberghasted: "Do you know that we have a graduate in pure mathematics who is willing to do the same work for a tenth of what you are demanding!?"
"Well, I thought of $135,000 for me, $135,000 for you - and $30,000 for the pure mathematician who will do the work."

Same principle applies here, I suppose.

It's staggering to consider how accurate that really is. It's rare for a compact post to contain so much real-world truth. This neatly explains much of both government and large corporations.

Well done, sir!

Re:Bitter Irony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35703254)

Let's see if I can do math now:
1. Web site hosting 10k
2. Offices 10k
3. Equipment 20k
4. 2 Sysadmins 100k x2
5. 5 developers 100kx 5
6. CEO 200k
7. Secretary 80k
8. Graphic artist 80k
9. Content manager 100k
10. Content acquisition staff 80k x 5
11. Editors 80kx 2
12. Web designers 80k x 5

Say 1.5M

I am just making stuff up based on a fairly small operation. If the scope of the web site and it's content is large it would be very easy to get to 4M.

So check your facts first.

Total

Re:Bitter Irony (1)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#35703398)

The site is already running. They suggested $4million just for a year's upkeep on USAspending.gov - you can get rid of the developers right there, it's already put together and just needs the sysadmins to keep it ticking over, so that's $500k saved. Same for designers and graphic artists (and five designers plus a graphics guy seems very steep even for a new project, especially if you already have developers to turn the designer's pretty pictures into code), so another $480k saved. I'm not sure about the need for a $200k CEO on a relatively small government project with a fairly definite remit, but let's leave him there for the sake of argument.

Five staff collating data, two editing, and one or two sysadmins sounds more than adequate for a site which analyses and publishes publicly available data. Even with a nice office, secretary, manager, leased equipment costs, and so forth, the figure is little more than a third of what you suggested, and barely an eighth of what the department wants from their budget.

Unless you've got reasonable evidence to suggest that an already established site needs a large and expensive design and development team just for upkeep, I stand by my original comment that I'd be more than happy to be the one disappearing with the extra cash.

Re:Bitter Irony (3)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#35703548)

When they first rolled out the ridiculously expensive series of drupal sites (of which recovery.gov was one and so was the federal IT spending site), they claimed they needed something like $10m per year just to run it. (JUST recovery.gov, I believe).

I guess they had to pay all those expensive Drupal licensing fees, huh?

Re:Bitter Irony (3, Insightful)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#35703180)

Data.gov probably uses more money gathering and curating the tons of data they offer than with hosting.

Re:Bitter Irony (5, Insightful)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 3 years ago | (#35703250)

4 million dollars would pay 30-40 people. That's not a whole lot, considering all of the data that has to be collected, checked, massaged into the right format, made compliant with accessibility rules, press dealings, server support, IT support for staff, and so on. I'm not an american so I'm not all that familiar with how funding is allocated in detail, but the site seems to spend a lot of time on awards, and sub award reporting. Presumably 'awards' could be easily extracted from regular budget documents but sub awards can't? There's seems to be a lot of time devoted to analysis of the data as well (which could drive costs up a lot if you have a few PhD's in stats or econ doing the analysis), in addition to building the flash visualization stuff.

On top of all of the sort of obvious stuff I'm sure there's a lot of legal there too. You can't always just go and blab what contractors you're giving money to, or if you can you need to verify the information you're going to say about the company. There can be a big difference between a deal with a company that is myurl.net and myurl.com, and you don't want to say they got 10 million dollars when they got 1, or 100.

As with all any large outfit, the more money you spend accounting for the money you're spending, the less is available for the actually things you're trying to do. It becomes a balance between the legitimate need to know where money is going, and the equally legitimate need to not waste 50 cents on every dollar documenting where you spent the other 50 cents. It seems like most everything on this website is available elsewhere, not necessarily easily. Whether or not a few millions of dollars in data aggregation on top of billions in accounting for trillions in spending is providing good value, especially when it's not my money, is beyond me.

Re:Bitter Irony (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35703350)

From the article:

We need at least another $4 million just to keep USASpending.gov operating this year.

$4mil to keep a website going for one year? Think if I called them up and offered to do it for 3 they'd take it?

Depends. Are you going to do all the data collection, tabulations, etc? That $4-million figure wasn't just to run some Apache server stuff in the corner. It's the entire program that's being cut. It's no real great loss since traffic to these servers was negligible anyway. In the long run, it's actually cheaper to respond to FOIA requests than the maintain the full-disclosure types of websites.

Keep in mind these were the half-assed answers to political campaign promises about open govt. They were never intended to fully funded or maintained.

Re:Bitter Irony (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#35703522)

All of these "open" sites were a scam. You do remember that one of them cost something like $40m and another cost like $18m, right? And the sites were Drupal installs. The national "CIO/CTO czar" guy is a brainless twit (seriously, listen to him ramble about how they need to spend money to create a human computer interface, because COBOL is binary) and this whole project was a serious scam.

Huh? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35702840)

Ironic. Shut down the websites that watchdog government spending due to lack of funding. I'm shocked.

This Is Pointless (4, Insightful)

mlingojones (919531) | more than 3 years ago | (#35702846)

There are three giant money-sucking programs that need drastic cuts if we want to do anything about the budget: Medicare/Medicaid, Social Security, and Defense.

The few million dollars these sites cost to run is a drop in the bucket compared to those three programs.

Re:This Is Pointless (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35702886)

Social Security still has a surplus.

Re:This Is Pointless (1)

trims (10010) | more than 3 years ago | (#35703018)

Only in the sense of a surplus = more money taken in right now then going out the door. The "Social Security has a surplus" idea totally ignores future commitments made. If you're an accountant (and, I'd hope that good accounting is a part of government, even though I know better), your balance sheet includes any accumulated liabilities in any calculation. And, future SS liabilities are skyrocketing, while future projected revenue is plummeting, presuming we don't change anything.

We'll have to means-test SS. Probably severely (as in, cut off payments to anyone making over $50k). And do a bunch of other things to fix it in the long run. And the sooner we do it (while we still have a "surplus"), the less drastic action we have to take.

I expect us to fix Medicare/Medicaid with a National Health system sometime around 2030, right after we become so desperate that it's bankrupting the country (as in, probably right about the time we either default on the debt, or avoid that only by the skin of our teeth) that even the most blind right-wing nutjob recognizes that NH is the only solution, and health insurance should never be run by private, for-profit entities (and, that malpractice suits are the absolutely wrong way to handle medical mistakes).

-Erik

Re:This Is Pointless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35703106)

Erik, financial surpluses and deficits are always measured relative to some timeframe.

Re:This Is Pointless (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 3 years ago | (#35703164)

Social Security is running a deficit this year (part of the last minute tax changes included a 2% drop in rates). It ran a deficit last year (increased retirement + increased unemployment). Their own estimates say 2016 will be the last year with a surplus, so realistically it might never have a surplus again under current conditions.

The sad thing is, making it solvent again is a 4 stop fix:

1. Admit there's no surplus, no lockbox.
2. Raise taxable income limits (right now it caps at around $108,000) to be revenue neutral.
3. If you're retired now or retiring in the next 10 years, there will be no change (AARP can shut the fuck up).
4. Raise the retirement age, effective in 2020.

Re:This Is Pointless (1)

debatem1 (1087307) | more than 3 years ago | (#35703242)

Add the means test proposed earlier and I think you've got a financially workable plan. Now you just have to find a few hundred suicidal politicians to back it up.

Re:This Is Pointless (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | more than 3 years ago | (#35703572)

Means test it and it will wind up as well funded as every other welfare program.

Which is fine by me.

Re:This Is Pointless (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#35703248)

It's only showing a 'deficit' because it is being robbed to fund other departments

Re:This Is Pointless (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 3 years ago | (#35703586)

Social Security expenditures are expected to exceed tax receipts this year for the first time since 1983. The projected deficit of $41 billion this year (excluding interest income) is attributable to the recession and to an expected $25 billion downward adjustment to 2010 income that corrects for excess payroll tax revenue credited to the trust funds in earlier years --Social Security and Medicare Boards of Trustees 2010 annual report [ssa.gov]

Re:This Is Pointless (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35702908)

social security actual brings in money, its net positive for the budget. please to not repeat msm talking points here

Re:This Is Pointless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35703042)

But it won't in the near future. As more people retire it will become a woefully underfunded program. Solving our long term issues requires tackling social security.

Re:This Is Pointless (2)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 3 years ago | (#35703186)

Historically, yes, but it ran a deficit last year, it's running a deficit this year, and even if we hit full unemployment, it will start permanently running at a deficit after 2016.

Re:This Is Pointless (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#35703564)

Social Security is just another word for taxation.

Re:This Is Pointless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35702952)

There are three giant money-sucking programs that need drastic cuts if we want to do anything about the budget: Medicare/Medicaid, Social Security, and Defense.

Yes, because none of them are anything important, and can be cut on a whim, without any thought, because it won't cause any harm.

Not.

You want to reduce the budget, don't just think about cuts. Think about sensible taxes. And do note, there is a difference between tax rates and actual taxes paid.

Sorry, TEA party, but while you might be taxed enough already, there's plenty out there who simply aren't. Not unless you want to pay the price of losing certain essential government services.

BTW, you do know that social security is self-funded, right?

Re:This Is Pointless (2)

zeroduck (691015) | more than 3 years ago | (#35703100)

BTW, you do know that social security is self-funded, right?

While thats true, they bought government bonds with the money we gave them, we used that money to fund all the things the government does, and now we're on the line to pay back the fund. That money has to come from somewhere.

Re:This Is Pointless (2)

shmlco (594907) | more than 3 years ago | (#35703214)

"Yes, because none of them are anything important, and can be cut on a whim, without any thought, because it won't cause any harm."

Without any thought? No. But why, pray tell, must the US pay more for "defense" than the next six countries in the world, including China... combined?

Re:This Is Pointless (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35703074)

The few million dollars these sites cost to run is a drop in the bucket compared to those three programs.

It's also ridiculous because it doesn't cost $4 million to run some websites for a year. The government already has the infrastructure the hosting. They've already own the servers (they're running it right now).

The only cost is really the people. So, you're telling me the team of people managing this site is costing $4 million? Good riddance to bad spending.

Re:This Is Pointless (0)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#35703212)

They need a team to gather data from each government institution, curate it and convert to linked/structured data. While $4 million may be expensive, it's not that preposterous.

Re:This Is Pointless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35703084)

Let's hope you trip over, crack your head and damage your spine. Let's see how you change your tune when you are unable to work and have the company pay for your medical coverage. You'll be in the gutter, a pathetic waste of life, sponging off the other tax payers.

Re:This Is Pointless (1)

blue trane (110704) | more than 3 years ago | (#35703364)

It's funny how tea partiers take govt money like Mary Rakovich taking Medicare and Joe Miller's wife getting unemployment when he campaigned saying unemployment insurance was unconstitutional.

Sources: http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1010/30/se.02.html [cnn.com]

What would you say to critics who might say that that smacks of hypocrisy, that Conservative activists who want to do away with programs like that are also benefiting from programs like that? RAKOVICH: Thank God that it was there [...]

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alaskadispatchcom/joe-millers-wife-took-une_b_751529.html [huffingtonpost.com]

U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller confirmed Monday night that his wife -- once hired to work as a part-time clerk for the same Alaska court in which he was serving as a U.S. magistrate judge -- went on unemployment after she left the job.

Re:This Is Pointless (0)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#35703464)

It's funny how tea partiers take govt money like Mary Rakovich taking Medicare and Joe Miller's wife getting unemployment when he campaigned saying unemployment insurance was unconstitutional

If an idiot is handing out free money, take the money and run. Especially when you know the idiot will have to be back to collect 10x the amount later to make up for the free money they gave out.

It's perfectly fine to point out stupidity while taking advantage of it.

Re:This Is Pointless (1)

causality (777677) | more than 3 years ago | (#35703118)

There are three giant money-sucking programs that need drastic cuts if we want to do anything about the budget: Medicare/Medicaid, Social Security, and Defense.

The few million dollars these sites cost to run is a drop in the bucket compared to those three programs.

It's something of a myth that government is incompetent or can't get a job done well. It's just that their priorities are quite different from ours. Those first two programs you mention are very good at accomplishing their primary purpose which is to buy votes. They fail miserably at other things such as solvency but that's no concern to the politicians as long as the primary purpose fulfilled.

Retirees tend to vote, consistently, and in very large homogeneous blocs. No legislator who wants to be re-elected would dare touch either Medicaid or Social Security no matter how bankrupt they become. Like the majority of retirees, most legislators are old enough and selfish enough that the insurmountable debt they're leaving future generations is of no personal concern to them. They won't be around to see it collapse, they won't have to pick up the pieces and to them that makes it okay. Then there's the scope creep effect. The bigger and more expensive these programs become, the more bureaucracy it takes to manage them. Once that is in place, it will inevitably be declared indispensable.

Social Security wouldn't be difficult to overhaul in any practical sense, even if that's nearly impossible in any political sense. I'd rather the money taken out of my paycheck for Social Security be placed into a fund of some kind, with my name on it, that I own. The fund could be like a 401(k) in which all monies are placed into a "guaranteed fund", or it could be invested into long-term government bonds. Almost everyone could retire as a multimillionaire with such an arrangement even with a modest income. This system wouldn't ever depend on future generations to pay current debts since you own the account and you get out what you put in, plus interest. The only cost to the taxpayers would be the small overhead of managing the accounts, similar to that of private employers who offer IRAs.

Of course that won't happen for another reason. That would make people more independent and less needy of government to take care of them. Politicians really don't like that idea. They need to be needed and fear irrelevancy. If the average retiree were a financially secure multimillionaire they would quickly run out of retirement and health care crises to solve. This has the added undesirable (to the politicians) side effect of limiting the expansion of government, since a crisis is easily the most efficient way to do that. It's certainly easier than convincing everyone that your proposal is a truly sound and sustainable idea in the absence of a crisis.

Defense would be easy to cut. That one is ridiculously simple: stop trying to be the world's police, stick to using military force primarily against nations which launch unprovoked attacks against us, and reduce our weaponry to only 3-5 times the world's second-best military. Note that "using our secret agencies to overthrow their democratically elected leaders and replacing them with dictators who play ball" as we like to do in the Middle East and South America does not count as "unprovoked". If our standing army starts getting bored they can be put to work patrolling the border with Mexico. Cue the brainwashed idiots who think that wanting immigrants to respect our laws is the exact same thing as being anti-immigrant.

Re:This Is Pointless (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#35703372)

Almost everyone could retire as a multimillionaire with such an arrangement even with a modest income.

Where would that money come from? If everyone started investing with such plans, wouldn't they pay much, much less?

Re:This Is Pointless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35703468)

I'd rather the money taken out of my paycheck for Social Security be placed into a fund of some kind, with my name on it, that I own.

Ah, the classic Libertarian mating-call: "Fuck you, I've got mine."

Re:This Is Pointless (5, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#35703156)

If you put all of the FICA taxes and T-bills owned by the Social Security Administration towards what they're supposed to be going for, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, are doing collectively just fine right now, and will continue to be more-or-less just fine for decades.

The problem is that instead the significant surpluses in FICA were used to cover up even-more-massive deficits in the general treasury. And where and when those deficits came isn't a mystery: In short, blame can be laid pretty squarely at the feet of Ronald Reagan [wikimedia.org] (notice the huge inflection point between 1945 and 2010).

Basically, Reagan claimed he could cut taxes without affecting revenue. The effect of trying this was that he effectively proved that this was utter nonsense. But everybody likes paying less in taxes, so people who pointed out that it was nonsense were effectively told "Shhhh! Don't give the game away".

Re:This Is Pointless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35703302)

Reagan was attempting to "Starve the Beast", but some of you fuckers continue to feed it by demanding MORE from government. Well, who's going to pay for it?

You make a deal with the Devil, he will demand your soul in return. Pay up bitch!

Re:This Is Pointless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35703436)

In fact, Reagan proved deficits don't matter. What matters is innovation; as long as we keep producing new things, we can print as much money as we like.

Re:This Is Pointless (1)

blue trane (110704) | more than 3 years ago | (#35703234)

Do we need to cut anything? Think hard about where money comes from - under the fractional reserve system, banks can multiply deposits by 10. Why shouldn't govt do the same?

The economic problem is not the central problem of mankind. The advance of knowledge and innovation is. How can we encourage the natural curiosity and sense of wonder that leads to creative solutions? The mentality of "Katie bar the door" is not conducive to invention.

What govt should do is provide a basic income (as founding father Tom Paine proposed in 1795's "Agrarian Justice") and stimulate innovation through challenges (of course private businesses such as Google, Netflix etc. can hold challenges too).

In conclusion, Reagan proved that deficits don't matter, Alexander Hamilton held that debt is a blessing, Lincoln printed over $400 million greenbacks, and the Panic of 1837 followed Jackson's paying off the national debt.

Re:This Is Pointless (4, Insightful)

lennier (44736) | more than 3 years ago | (#35703308)

three giant money-sucking programs that need drastic cuts if we want to do anything about the budget: Medicare/Medicaid, Social Security, and Defense

Mmm, because a disease-racked, starving underclass is the perfect foundation for a stable and prosperous democratic society. But if we at least fund the military, the desperatly hungry, plague-ridden rabble with no jobs and no future will at least be well-trained in modern urban combat and the overthrow of oppressive (or just annoying) regimes.

Nothing about this bold social plan could ever possibly go wrong!

Re:This Is Pointless (1)

mlingojones (919531) | more than 3 years ago | (#35703378)

Mmm, because a disease-racked, starving underclass is the perfect foundation for a stable and prosperous democratic society.

Obviously it's not ideal, but we have a fifteen TRILLION dollar deficit. There need to be sacrifices made, either by cutting spending, increasing taxes, or both.

But if we at least fund the military, the desperatly hungry, plague-ridden rabble with no jobs and no future will at least be well-trained in modern urban combat and the overthrow of oppressive (or just annoying) regimes.

I was advocating CUTTING the defense budget.

Disappointed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35702848)

I am disappoint, America.

But there's plenty of money (3, Insightful)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#35702868)

for social media propaganda and sockpuppet accounts... Eh.. whatever. The whole thing is such bullshit

Who needs to fund Open Government initatives (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35702870)

When sites like WikiLeaks do that for you for free?

Re:Who needs to fund Open Government initatives (3, Insightful)

alex67500 (1609333) | more than 3 years ago | (#35703062)

Heard of them recently? Gone really quiet all of a sudden...

Re:Who needs to fund Open Government initatives (0)

Aighearach (97333) | more than 3 years ago | (#35703266)

Just because N.Y. Times stopped reprinting most of what you can find at wikileaks.org doesn't mean they've "gone really quiet." It just means the MSM switched to talking about something else.

Oh man (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 3 years ago | (#35702892)

This is too funny.

$4 million divided by $2 trillion (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35702894)

That's 2 * 10^-6. I wonder how that stacks up to government standards for parts per million of various toxins, numbers of rodent hairs in canned foods, etc.

$4 million is pocket change for the Federal Government. It'll be pocket change for all of us if we keep collecting wars like they were action figures.

Re:$4 million divided by $2 trillion (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#35702922)

$4 million is pocket change for the Federal Government. It'll be pocket change for all of us if we keep collecting wars like they were action figures.

Unfortunately we take the out of the box so they aren't worth what we spent on them anymore.

Re:$4 million divided by $2 trillion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35703010)

Next week's action figure is Japan. I've heard they have nuclear devices of mass radiation. Go "free" them with your armies.

Instead of auditing, monitoring, and transparency (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35702946)

Let's have more shouting about tax dollars going to illegal immigrants, abortion clinics, and aircraft carriers accompanying the President's trips to foreign countries.

Re:Instead of auditing, monitoring, and transparen (1)

thetaco82 (791202) | more than 3 years ago | (#35703072)

Title X dollars do not go to abortion clinics. They fund STD testing, contraceptives, lab work, etc. The funding of abortions is expressly prohibited by the act. In a time when roughly half of our annual pregnancies are unplanned, cutting Title X dollars will actually INCREASE abortions due to reducing the availability of contraceptives. Duh.

The open government president! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35702994)

Fortunately, we have a president in the whitehouse who IS the open government president. He would never allow for this kind of thing. He just received a transparency award for crying out loud! So what if it was behind closed doors [washingtonpost.com] ?

No Big Deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35703014)

Just part of a larger republican led effort to shrink the government and make it less accountable as the larger, unelected corporate shadow government emerges that will put the little people in their place.

Less non-corporate info (4, Insightful)

SpzToid (869795) | more than 3 years ago | (#35703078)

Special interest groups own Washington. Consistent, open data and an informed public are usually at odds with these special interest groups. It was a milestone to get these initiatives started in the first place, but in this climate? I mean, NPR got cut, and while that might not sound like much, decent radio as we know it just DIED across most of rural America; and its the radio that often tied whole communities together.

There's a reason America has the best government money can buy.

No one should be immune to cuts. But should such information programs be killed off with nothing to replace them with? If nothing else, such websites help dispute so much of the opinionated pundit talk that Fox 'News' airs for hours and hours during Prime Time. There's those medical Death Squad panels you hear about, looking to save money by cutting medical support for old people, and then there's the facts.

Re:Less non-corporate info (-1, Flamebait)

wulfmans (794904) | more than 3 years ago | (#35703466)

Lol NPR Lol LMAO Lol Lol Lol Lol

The link read "Read 31 more comments" (1)

Motard (1553251) | more than 3 years ago | (#35703080)

At this point, there are only 12 comments visible. Why?

Re:The link read "Read 31 more comments" (1)

cstacy (534252) | more than 3 years ago | (#35703158)

At this point, there are only 12 comments visible. Why?

See the "neuralizer" thread?

Openness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35703098)

Guess they don't want to be open any more...

the end of Obama (0)

epine (68316) | more than 3 years ago | (#35703104)

He's determined to be remembered as the first black(ish) president, and nothing else.

So sad. Did he fight to preserve anything he believed in?

One of the differences between government and the private sector is that the private sector tends to make decisions on ROI models. You'd think they could trim the budgets to keep these sites alive, and that the ROI on less corruption and duplicity in a government spending a trillion dollars a year could easily achieve a viable ROI. Except that there's no model for the quality of a decision made by government and it's value to the country. Bad government is such a minor concern that even Enron and BP aren't enough to sway half the population from the position that government is best completely abolished.

Unfortunately, a positive ROI for Obama and America is a negative ROI for senator Bedfellow and his bailiwick of regulatory capture by the virtuous private sector.

Re:the end of Obama (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35703394)

"He's determined to be remembered as the first black(ish) president, and nothing else.

So sad. Did he fight to preserve anything he believed in?"

I case you aren't aware of how the US Government is structured, Obama isn't a dictator. He only controls a third of the government

Re:the end of Obama (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35703432)

"He's determined to be remembered as the first black(ish) president, and nothing else.

So sad. Did he fight to preserve anything he believed in?"
This is cute.

Obama is in fact the first black president of the United States, but he will be remembered for trying to push too many things through within his first term. If he isn't re-elected in 2012, it will be because he wanted to do too much in his first term, when most people would have played it safe and pushed their stuff after they were re-elected.

I have sometimes heard people say that Obama hasn't done anything as President, and as a middle-of-the-road moderate, and a political science junky, it always baffles me. Obama has tried to do way too much in his first couple years in my opinion, and it may just bite him in the butt in 2012. The GOP has been much better with pushing their stance onto everyday Americans, and as a result people actually believe that Obama's healthcare reform is "socialized medicine" when it really isn't.

Re:the end of Obama (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35703524)

Yeah govt should have let ppl die in New Orleans and never should have researched the atomic bomb because IT DIDN'T MAKE FINANCIAL SENSE!!!

Simple - take funding for websites individually (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35703220)

There is a simple solution. Fund OpenGovernment with the funding each department uses for their own public websites and merge them all under OG.

I'd hate to see NASA, NIST, CDC, CIA, State Dept and IRS sites disappear, but having access to the numbers is much more important to me.

WikiLeaks (1)

dottrap (1897528) | more than 3 years ago | (#35703222)

WikiLeaks does this for free.

Not profitable enough (2)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 3 years ago | (#35703268)

The Libya investment costed so far at least 186 millons [americanindependent.com] , but having a friendly government there willing to share their oil with US corporations will return that investment several times in the next years.

Also investing in something like that, after all the money they invested in discrediting Wikileaks and anything they published, looks like a waste.

Secret Transparency Award now makes sense (0)

metacosm (45796) | more than 3 years ago | (#35703276)

Taking an award for a program that is about to die in public is bad form.

“It’s almost a theater of the absurd to have an award on transparency that isn’t transparent,” Gary Bass, founder of OMB Watch, and one of five groups that met with the president, told The Washington Post. “The irony is that everything the president said was spot-on. I wish people had heard what he had to say.”

http://www.allgov.com/Unusual_News/ViewNews/Obama_Receives_Transparency_Award__in_Private_110402 [allgov.com]

Government Sites for The U.S. Open? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35703288)

I don't even know why there would be a need for official government tennis sites in the first place. It's about time.

You've got the wrong department... ;) (2)

borgheron (172546) | more than 3 years ago | (#35703306)

More like from the "We don't really want you watching and we're not really open and want to make it more difficult for you to monitor unecessary government spending department."

GC

US Open (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35703310)

Golf or tennis

New boss. (1)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 3 years ago | (#35703384)

Same as old.

They can't be closed (1)

Ambitwistor (1041236) | more than 3 years ago | (#35703516)

They're open. Duh.

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