Last month I finally subscribed to "High Country News". (No, it's not about living in a town where there is a medical marijuana dispensary on every street. It is thought-provoking journalism about conservation & natural resource issues, including public lands, water, climate science, wildlife, & energy development.) I'd been meaning to subscribe for years and I finally did it. It feels good to support independent journalists in a real way.
The reason I'm writing about High Country News today, is that I got a brochure in the mail from them today. It was basically an annual report. It included a lovely pie-chart of their funding sources. As I sat gazing at this succinct little document, a question crept into my mind......
I contributed less than $40 to this magazine and here I sit in my living room on a Sunday morning perusing a document from them that tells where their money comes from and where it goes. On the other hand, I contribute thousands of my hard earned dollars each year to government: the homeowner's association, the county, the state, and the federal government. I do get an annual report from the home owner's association. And actually, Pitkin County government is very transparent. I do know what their funding sources are and also I've seen the pie chart of where those dollars are expended. But when you get to the state and federal level, things get pretty cloudy.
Before the next election, nay, before I file my 2011 taxes, I want to see the pie chart. I want to see the pie chart of who is contributing what and the pie chart of where the money is going. Why doesn't the federal government provide each and every one of us with a copy of the annual report? I know it would be prohibitively expensive to mail each and every citizen such a document, but here we are in the age of the inter-tubes, why isn't there a website, maintained by the guys that pay the bills that shows where every single penny of OUR money is going at a state & federal level?
If you are reading this from another country and your government does indeed provide you with an annual report, please share this info with me. I feel a mission coming on. ;-)
and thank you Wikipedia -- is this accurate?? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_United_States_federal_budget