Keeping Tabs on Uncle Sam

May 28, 2009 by  
Filed under Economics

uncle_samIf you are interested in money – as in your own money – and you believe in the power of the ballot box, now more than ever  you need to keep up with what the government is doing and saying. It used to be that we would get our information on government activity from print media. That won’t work anymore. It’s too slow and the lights are slowly being turned off in the newspaper business anyway.

I think part of the strategy of some in Washington is to overwhelm voters with initiatives, programs, and massive expenditures. The pure volume of activity, they hope, will cause us to either become numb to what is being done to us or to just throw up our hands in frustration.

Don’t let them do it to you.

Fortunately, the Obama team came to Washington with a heightened appreciation of the power of social media. The internet savvy-types are now putting their knowledge to good use. Equally fortuitous is that the government’s expanded use of social media actually can work against the idea that voters should be treated like mushrooms (as in kept in the dark and fed you-know-what).

So where do we go to check up on what our fearless leaders are doing?

Business Week was kind enough to compile a list of currently active social media initiatives by the federal government. These include ths usual suspects such as YouTube, Flickr, Twitter, and Facebook plus a couple of lesser-known information sharing sites, i.e., Blist and AddThis. 

Personally, I am a fan of some of the RSS feeds from  I also am interested in how timely and forthcoming the government’s new site will be in the area of government finances.

For other skeptics, I highly recommend that you check in with some government sites that are more prone to tell it like it is in matters of taxes and our economy. These include the Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation. These folks are straight shooters on a relative scale.

Finally, if you want to know what is about to happen to your money before it actually happens, the places to be are the Senate Finance Committee and House Committee on Appropriations.

I can almost guarantee that if you spend some time reading at these government sites, you will know more than 90% of our elected representatives in Washington – those guys and gals who are voting to spend our money. If you are then inclined toward expressing your feelings to your Senators and Representative, having this knowledge in advance gives you some credibility. Who knows – someone might actually listen to you.

Stay after it folks. There is plenty of damage left to be done.

Photo credit: Jeff Sandquist

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2 Responses to “Keeping Tabs on Uncle Sam”
  1. Rick Beagle says:

    I am not really sure what the point of this article is, but thank you for the links. Please note that many of those presented provide the ability to contact your elected officials and express your discontent.

    In rebuke to the usual comments herein (our economy is being destroyed by the Obama administration) I would like to submit Paul Krugman’s piece today on inflation.

  2. fern says:

    I highly doubt there’s any conspiracy to overwhelm voters with the number of initiatives. I think what you’re seeing is an energetic new administration setting about to undo damage done by many consumer-unfriendly laws by the previous President, from credit card reform (about time) to mandating more energy-efficient motor vehicles (another about time), etc.

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