Taxpayers of America, you may soon be funding a $500 billion bailout of the 50 states, all U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s “HEROES Act” vividly illustrates why transparency is crucial. If the Senate passes the legislation, taxpaying citizens of financially responsible states will bear the burden of financially irresponsible states.
Though Washington, D.C. is small, it stands tall among the bad actors. The elected leaders in the nation’s capital are lobbying for a $3.2 billion bailout. But if Congress took only a cursory look, they’d see plenty of places to cut the fat. It starts at city hall, were the mayor’s $220,000 annual pay exceeds that of every governor in the country.
At a salary of $212,000, the D.C. City Council chair out-earns every member of Congress (except Speaker Pelosi, who earns $223,500). The Metropolitan Police Department chief is paid $272,156, which tops every four-star general in the U.S. military (they make $268,332). The salary for the superintendent of the underperforming D.C. public schools: $280,000 — far more than the secretary of the U.S. Department of Education ($199,700).
And so it goes: the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation chief is paid $10,000 a year more the secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, who manages one-fifth of all the land in the country.
And that’s just Washington! Remember, Pelosi’s monster bill weighs in at half a trillion dollars. Meanwhile, the federal debt continues to explode. It has quadrupled in the last 20 years. Today, has surpassed $23 trillion and is rising rapidly. The deficit this year is unknown. It will be somewhere around $4 trillion, the equivalent of a wartime deficit. The entire federal debt in 1992 — after 216 years, two world wars, depressions, countless natural disasters — was $4 trillion.
The Pelosi state bailout bill clearly screams, “So what? It’s not my money.” By the time our country’s debt becomes so corrosive to your livelihood, to your life, that it can’t be ignored — as it will — Pelosi and the big spenders in both major political parties will be long out of office.
Some “Heroes Act.” Heroes to whom? Certainly not you, the taxpayers.
At OpenTheBooks we believe that every cent of your tax dollars spent by your elected officials should be online, viewable in real-time. We believe transparency will be revolutionary. The more you, the voters, know about your elected officials’ respect (or lack thereof) for your tax dollars, the more responsible your elected officials will be, and the better our government will be.
Thomas W. Smith is the Chairman of OpenTheBooks.com.
Adam Andrzejewski is the CEO & founder of the organization.