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Idea#83

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Why not create a forum where the citizens have a place to discuss topics that impact us all and maybe the government will monitor to help try and follow the sway of the people and not just the sway of those with the most money?

I would like to see a discussion on such topics as:

1) Government collects 450+ million in Social Security Tax each year but only spends roughly 145 million on Social Security any yet its almost bankrupt??

2) Government says it wants to boost the nations economy by building jobs for US Citizens yet turns around and gives millions in tax breaks to companies that build plants and move jobs to other countries.

3) Government says it is going to crack down on the banks and credit companies that took the bailout money and yet every week there is another report of some CEO getting a 300 million retirement package or some company that got bailout fund having a corporate party in Hawaii

So yes, I would like a place that the citizens of this country can go to state issues that have, be able to disucss them with other citizens and possibly get someone form the Government to actually take notice.

Comment

Submitted by 4 years ago

Comments (7)

  1. I agree with Raymond that a "government forum" would be great, but only for our own use. I wouldn't trust the govt at all with anything I say or any information I might provide. This is the administration that said that those who were protesting his new, budget-busting takeover of health-care insurance were "...poisoning the debate"- I read "I don't want to hear your issues and concerns...etc" from that comment. He's also ignoring the high poll numbers showing that the public is largely against this legislation, and it doesn't seem to faze him-he's just plowing ahead with secret, closed meetings where deals are struck and votes are bought, despite all his statements about planning to have "open government". He's everything that oppressed and minority groups used to complain about, and more so! So, yes, I like a "venting" forum, but I wouldn't expect the govt to use it in any positive way.

    4 years ago
  2. I agree with Raymond, If the focus is to get "back to what the people want" then there should be a place where government related positions are held accountable. We have a right to voice our oppinions and offer constructive feedback on what has happened, what should happen, and what will happen.. I would also like to know what we spend as a whole (pay, benifits, health insurance, retirement packages) on government held positions.. I want to know why or if our taxes continue to suppot individuals after they retire and at what expense.. I would also like to know why we can support every nation under the sun but we can't support our own?

    4 years ago
  3. This idea and associated comments are not related to Data.gov or the Data.gov Concept of Operations document. If people have ideas about topics like taxes and the federal budget, please use other, appropriate forums to discuss them.

    4 years ago
  4. Ethan,

    It would appear it is appropriate or it would have been removed by the monitor..

    4 years ago
  5. I am not sure I understand your goal. Let me try to help you out.

    1. Data.gov has nothing to do with the lodging of general complaints, or the hosting of general discussion regarding the affairs of the government.

    2. If your goal is 1-way communication with the government (feedback), that is already possible. To get someone from the government to "notice" your opinion, departmental phone numbers and e-mail addresses, as well as contact info for individual agency emplyees, are available on the web sites of most departments and agencies. As members of the government, are, with some exception, busy trying to overcome decades of bureaucracy to serve citizens like you, they are quite busy. If you are persistent, they will respond.

    3. If your goal is for an employee of the gov't to answer a question on record, you are free to introduce yourself as a member of the media when you contact them and to record/publish their response to the best of their ability. Any work of the government, including e-mails, is, with some exception, public domain.

    4. If your goal is to place pressure on public officials for failure to live up to what you perceive as their public mandate, trusting in a public official to "do the right thing" after noticing citizen dissent is illogical considering your assumption that they are acting contrary to the will of the taxpayer. I suggest you read books on organizing public will to communicate widely-held desires and effect social change, such as Saul Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals"

    5. If your goal is in no way communication with government officials, but you would simply like an informed opinion on the role, operations, successes and failures of the government,

    a. there is no need for any public forum (forum in the most general sense of the word) to be hosted by the government. You have the whole of the internet to communicate, and design ways to communicate, with other citizens about these matters and what to do about it.

    b. many of the fiscal matters you discuss speak to information already available and to information govt employees have been working desperately for decades to get citizens more interested in. One could start with CBO reports and move on from there to basic readings in economics and department of commerce reports. There are hundreds of dry, academic, sometimes-political sometimes-not reports, articles, and books each year about the government's budget expenditures and income, both now and in history. You want to learn about the fiscal operations of our government? Go get 'em.

    6. witsendinc2 has stated a desire for more transparency in the government's expenditure on staff. Most of this information is publicly available. For the most basic totals of how much the US spends on current federal staffing, please see http://www.census.gov/govs/apes/ for the most recent data (one year delay to receive data) and I think for the retired staff you'd actually have to check out the full budget passed by congress. For the most basic understanding of the salary and benefits one receives at different levels and paygrades of the federal government, please see the Office of Personnel Management at http://www.opm.gov/. As for foreign aid, polls again and again show Americans have a disproportionate, inflated sense of how much of our income we give to foreign Aid. The American government spends less than 1% of its budget on foreign aid annually.

    7. For a quick and realistic sense of perspective in regard to annual budgetary spending, I suggest you visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_federal_budget

    Visualizations can be even better, the following website provides a powerful visual metaphor for different expenditures within the annual discretionary spending of the federal government http://www.wallstats.com/deathandtaxes/

    4 years ago
  6. Thank you East, My goal was not to insite but to support Raymond.. I will look up the information you provided below and I thank you for taking the time to write it... I am curious to know if it was my response or the collective response that pushed a button to elicit such a reaction.. I appreciate that this may not be the appropriate place to have such a discussion but give some credit to folks for at least having interest in the site and the statement that started the discussion..

    You stated there are lots of places where information is published around my particular questions. Unfortunately like most people I do not have a lot of time to go mucking through the journals to find the answers. Usually most large business publish anticipated income and benifits BEFORE their budgets are passed.. so maybe the question should have been why aren't these things published in a way that clearly identify positions, pay, benifits, etc. of publicly held positions as a collective. Why do we have to look up long boring journals to gain this information. Why isn't it published cut and dried prior to the new fiscal year as part of a projection that is put out to the public. Say in News papers or on line.. just makes me go hmmm, I appologize if I offended you .. and I promise I will not respond to this again because I would not want to use it as a public forum. (I am not trying to be sarcastic..really I am not.. but somehow it still sounds that way.. Sorry about that .. I really don't want to use up space on this site for things other then what it was intended for)I wish you the best!

    4 years ago
  7. Feedback to the government is always a good idea in any democracy. But this is a site about data, not politics, so I think this idea is misplaced here.

    4 years ago

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