Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Federal Spending Tracker

Instapundit introduces the new FedSpending.org site, showing how all the discretionary spending is dished out.  Although this site is going to be helpful to those watch-dogging the spending, for the rest of us it’s going to be a bit overwhelming and less than informative.  I’ll tell you why.

I went to the site and chose all the companies and agencies that received federal contracts in 2005.  First of all the number is staggering, as there was 3,711 of them.  The site pulls up the first 500 for your perusal. 

But all you are given there is a parent company name and the dollar amount.   Each parent has a list of contractors or agencies that received the dollars, but there’s no explanation for what the money was for.

Some of these I can understand.  Blackstone Dredging is probably for work on the Columbia or some other site for shipping.  Evergreen Aviation is an international aviation company that does work for the feds.  These I can understand.

When you start scrolling down the list your thoughts will probably wander, as mine did, to companies like Chevron, Enron, Columbia Grain, Peter Pan Seafoods, and the Oregon Potato Company.  Wonder what they’re getting millions for? 

You can click on the parent company name and get a breakdown of projects and whether or not they had to compete to get them.  For instance the Oregon Potato company got two million dollars for what amounts to fruits and vegetables.  Wonder why the feds needed all that produce.

I’m glad this exists now, but it’s going to take some considerable time on someone’s part to parse all this out and figure out exactly what our congressmen and women are dishing out our tax dollars for.

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