Transparent Government

As has happened in the past, it seems like the election has been reduced to 2 or 3 talking points–immigration, health care, and Iraq, to name the big ones.

I was brushing up on Obama’s stance on the issues, and found something that really excited me. Check out his page on ethics. It’s not vague talk about how lobbying is bad. He has an awesome plan:

  • A big database and Web frontend containing information on lobbyist activity, what they spend, and what bills are awarded.
  • Information on all federal contracts, how much they cost, who lobbied for them, and how the completion of the contracts is going.
  • Require that non-emergency bills be posted to the Internet for a few days before signing them, to promote “open government”
  • Do the same for earmarks, disclosing who added each earmark and why.
  • He also wants “21st Century Fireside Chats,” where Cabinet officials talk about what they’ve been doing periodically, streamed over the Internet for all to see.
  • Publicize meetings that shouldn’t be secret, such as “regulatory agency business.”

It’s ambitious, but boy would it be awesome! It’s funny: it almost seems like it’s somehow wrong that I should be able to see exactly what my elected officials are doing. And yet it’s really exactly what our government is all about: transparency. Wow-a-wee-wow!

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