Read the Full Article at RealClearPolicy
By Thomas W. Smith & Adam Andrzejewski
In 1887, Alexander Fraser, a Scottish professor of history at the University of Edinburgh, had this to say about the Athenian Republic some 2,000 years prior.
A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. Democracy will continue to exist until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.
The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations from the beginning of history has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, nations have always regressed to the following sequence:
- From bondage to spiritual faith
- From spiritual faith to great courage
- From great courage to liberty
- From liberty to abundance
- From abundance to selfishness
- From selfishness to complacency
- From complacency to apathy
- From apathy to dependence
- From dependence back to bondage
While history seems to be clearly repeating itself, New World technology gives us the ability to bring sunlight to how our tax dollars are being spent. Doing so will prolong the life of our great nation.
As the voting public becomes increasingly aware of how irresponsible spending dominates our government, as politicians begin to understand that, because of technology not available just a short time ago, there is no place to hide their fiscal irresponsibility, how we govern ourselves will change. Voters’ expectations will change. Politicians will have no choice but to respond to voters’ changed expectations.
Our focus at OpenTheBooks is to accelerate this government revolution by putting every government expense—local, state, and federal—online, available to the public real time via cell phone, iPad, and computer.
Last year, we filed 55,000 Freedom of Information Act requests. Our OpenTheBooks Government Expenditure Library, available to the public, now contains expenditures of $19 trillion and is increasingly user-friendly. This was not possible just a short time ago. We can do this on a modest budget because of The Cloud and Big Data. In essence, we are ushering in a new era of government transparency.
Last year, our oversight reports led to four televised hearings in Congress. We had more media coverage than in the previous two years. Our website traffic grew 30%. We published 500 investigations. And as difficult as this was—we cracked open the California state checkbook for the first time in history! With the help of Judicial Watch, we filed four lawsuits against the secrecy culture that is so pervasive within the National Institutes of Health (NIH). As a result, we exposed $325 million in previously hidden third-party royalty payments to Dr. Fauci and his associates since 2010.
Unfortunately, bureaucrats and politicians to a great extent, remain in the world of yesteryear. Secrecy continues to dominate. For example, the Vice President’s office refuses to give us ANY information. The Federal Reserve has over 23,000 employees. They gave us only 369 salaries. We were told that their line-by-line vendor checkbook is simply not available. This with 23,000 employees?
Twenty years ago—after world wars, depressions, massive failed programs; i.e., the War on Poverty—the federal debt was slightly under $6 trillion. In the last 20 years, the federal debt has exploded. It has increased over five times to more than $31 trillion today with no end in sight. The political class, both Republicans and Democrats, based on actions, not words, shows no interest in attacking this exploding threat to our country.
Here are two examples of that “no end in sight” spending. Republican Congressmen, before they were sworn in, held a secret vote. A secret vote on earmarks! But not just on earmarks. A secret vote to develop a new procedure, a new name for earmarks to mask their fiscal irresponsibility from the voters. One-hundred-and-fifty-eight Republicans voted for earmarks. That secret vote tells you all you need to know about each Congressman’s respect for his voters’ tax dollars. Ask your Congressman if he voted in secret for earmarks.
Then there is the Senate. Just before the 2022 legislative session ended, 26 Republican Senators voted for a 4,176-page bill. A $1.7 trillion bill. A mislabeled, pork-filled bill. Do you think those Republican Senators read that bill? And this bill was endorsed by the Republican Senate leadership. Ask your Senator if he voted for this pork-filled bill.
If we are going to bring sanity to how our tax dollars are spent, it will not come from the top down. It has to start with the voters. That is what OpenTheBooks is all about.
By bringing the Washington secrecy culture public, by educating voters about how their money is being wasted, we believe politicians eventually will have no choice. They will have to think twice before, for example, choosing to participate in a secret meeting on how to spend their voters’ tax dollars.
We greatly appreciate all of your help. Transparency has never been more important to the survival of our country as our founders envisioned it, as we have lived it.
Thomas W. Smith is chairman of OpenTheBooks.com.
Adam Andrzejewski is the CEO/founder of OpenTheBooks.com, dedicated to posting all government spending online.