Transparency-in-Government Is Good Beginning

4 07 2008
Authored by: William Robert Barber

Conceptually, the propagating of transparency-in-government initiatives throughout the land is a very good idea. Factually, however the goal, which is to hold elected officials (via the lawful requirement of transparency) accountable for their actions, will fall short of expectations.

Transparency-in-government as a functional utility is a doable deed; nevertheless, such transparency in its self will fall short of its goal because the truthfulness of government transactions is concealed in plain view. Much like the annual report of IBM, Bank of America, American Airlines, or thousands of such SEC regulated companies disbursed across the nation; without specific special knowledge, these reports, to the majority, are incomprehensible.

I do applaud the web site www.usaspending.gov and the other state sponsored sites of the same purpose; however, transparency; particularly, as applied to the drafting of spending bills authorized by our elected representatives has purposefully evolved into a special language. A language best described as subjectively designed, counter-polemic, ambiguous, and creatively voluminous so to dull one into disinterest. This legislative behavior of hyper-special workmanship may aid the attorneys and accountants seeking billing hours for translation services; but, has not helped the average citizen or the IRS understand the nation’s tax laws. I do believe that unclearly written legislation has prompted the Law of Unintended Consequences into an effectual reality; an example being the minimum tax.

Counter to the interest of transparency and in plain view, government has created a coterie of elected and non-elected officials that have become corrupted by its own weight of arrogant disregard for the common obligation to communicate forth rightfully.

Naturally, I do support all transparency efforts; but, the answers to fiscal prudence and the consistent overreaching by government in almost all aspects of an American citizen’s traditional prerogatives and constitutional rights rest within the philosophy of limited government, low taxes, curtailing of class action law suits, the rescission of nonsense litigation, the rescinding of pretrial discovery in most civil suits, raising the limits on small claims court and less regulatory incursion into private business.

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