I’ve been following the website USAFacts for some time now. I have been really intrigued by what it stands for because it hits so close to home with my own belief in transparency. How the information is presented on USAFacts may not be perfect, and we can’t really fact check it ourselves. However, the intention behind the site is quite refreshing.
USAFacts is the brainchild of Steve Ballmer, former CEO of Microsoft (and current owner of the Los Angeles Clippers). He retired from Microsoft in 2014 with a net worth of roughly $28 billion, so he could have easily ridden off into the sunset. Instead, Ballmer decided to begin a financial research project. With the kind of money he made, he sure paid a lot of taxes over the years. He became obsessed with wanting to know where that tax money ultimately went.
Ballmer created USAFacts to be able to publicly share the information he gathered about taxes and government spending. He saw it like looking at a 10-K report for the government. That’s certainly understandable given Ballmer’s insight as one of the world’s top businessmen. What I like about his approach is that there are supposedly no political intentions behind sharing this information. Ballmer’s goal is simply to find out and share where trillions of dollars of our tax money goes in a public forum.
Accountability and Empowerment
In theory, it will help hold our government more accountable. It offers a new level of transparency that can potentially lead to better things. If people can understand where their taxes go, it creates a healthier dialogue. It allows us to look at government spending from a more objective financial perspective rather than solely with political bias. Sure, how the government spends our tax dollars will always be politically charged. As a taxpayer and business owner myself, though, I like being able to see the information broken down purely on a financial basis. I’d rather be able to make my own judgments rather than political party leaders telling me what to think. It’s truly empowering.
The Importance of Transparency
As owner of Transparent Mortgage, my entire mortgage loan business is built on transparency. We want our clients to understand every aspect of the lending process, so they can make informed financial decisions. The more you understand how your home mortgage or refinance works, the better decisions you will be able to make. The Transparent Mortgage team provides information, insight and guidance along the way, but ultimately you are empowered to do what is best for you and your family.
Has anyone else had the opportunity to check out USAFacts? If so, I’d really love to know what you think about the site and the transparency it represents.