Steve Ballmer Wants You to Know Where Your Taxes Are Spent
He's so passionate about auditing the government that he's spent millions of dollars in direct funding and grants-more than $10 million, actually.
Ballmer told the newspaper he wanted to "figure out what the government really does with the money".
The $10 million spent on the effort, Hollister pointed out, "is in the same range the government itself has spent to try to transform its own information ... into open data". After his retirement, Ballmer purchased the Los Angeles Clippers NBA team for a sizeable $2 billion in 2014. After a deep look into the system, though, Ballmer partnered with the University of Pennsylvania to create what is essentially a searchable, itemized receipt for the U.S. government.
After a conversation with his wife about taxes several years ago, Ballmer decided he would attempt to create an integrated database of information about the US government that includes information similar to the details included in annual corporate 10-K filings.
"How many people work for government in the United States?" he asked, with the excitement of a child showing off a new toy, before displaying the answer. "I'm shocked!" he told the Times.
"The contention is that federation is the difference" between Ballmer's database and other transparency projects, Howard said, adding, "I am skeptical of that claim". The website, called USAFacts, brings together a wide range of financial data from various U.S. government sources, compiled by a team of economists, professors, and researchers over the last three years.
The project resulted in a website called USAFacts that launched to the public on Tuesday.
Fast-forward to Tuesday, when Ballmer will debut his new initiative - compiled with the help of academics at places like Stanford University - during an event at the Economic Club of NY.
Best of all, Ballmer's already committed to paying the $3-5m a year it'll take to "fund the [darn] thing" with his own money. "People who work in schools, higher ed, public institutions of education - they are government employees". Or maybe you and everyone you know love taxes and love paying them. There is information on the number of firearms manufactured, licensed and inspected, but not on the total number of guns, he said. "I just think it's important if you are going to make your case, for you to make your case in the context of numbers", Balmer said. "I can't show it! But I feel like it's a civic contribution more than anything else".