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An idea for Obama if he is serious about transparency and accountability ...

As a management consultant with a specialty in data processing, I know that there is a perfect solution to the issues of transparency and accountability.

The idea is not new and can be found in any decent accounting system.

It’s simply to display the budgeted amount against the actual amount spent and compute the deviation between the two. Yes, it is as simple as that!

Item Budgeted Actual Deviation

… and if you want to go a little bit farther, add the comparison to the previous fiscal period.

Have you ever noticed that we can compute complex spatial relationships and orbits to send a man to the moon, yet we cannot seem to build an accounting system to track our national expenditures? With millions and billions of dollars going missing in the system on a routine basis. And with very few prosecution of the government’s agencies and their leadership for malfeasance in office.

With major companies, such as IBM, able to offer “off-the-shelf” hardware and software, why the government persists in using old computers and antiquated software is a political one. The Government, the politicians, the leadership and the bureaucrats know that transparency and accountability is the last thing they really want. How else can they avoid being tarred-and-feathered when the public really finds out how the government is spending the taxpayer’s money.

As much a fan of the non-partisan Government Accountability Office as I am, I realize that they can only note the problems with an agency’s systems and procedures. They cannot order changes and they cannot punish transgressions. While they may have the responsibility for exposing problems, they do not have the authority for mandating and supervising the fixes. It is sort of a shell game with everybody nodding and winking when the GAO auditors show up to question the very staff that is apparently committing revealing as little as possible lest they embarrass their leadership and their agency.

Bottom line …

The key is to do the right thing – over and over again – like a computer. Letting the chips fall where they may and punishing non-compliance. Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover and others can track millions of people, billions of transactions and balance their books. All with a global network featuring access to almost anyone. Yes, there are occasional problems, but nothing that cannot be resolved over time.

So what’s the problem … As with tracking visas (no pun intended) and passports, they do not want to know who might be here illegally – as it would upset someone’s political agenda. And I strongly believe the same applies to knowing where the money is actually going – and to whom.

-- steve

“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS