This is what rich people should be doing.

Steve Ballmer creates http://usafacts.org, a database of info about our government, and pays for it out of his own pocket.

On Tuesday, Mr. Ballmer plans to make public a database and a report that he and a small army of economists, professors and other professionals have been assembling as part of a stealth start-up over the last three years called USAFacts. The database is perhaps the first nonpartisan effort to create a fully integrated look at revenue and spending across federal, state and local governments.

Want to know how many police officers are employed in various parts of the country and compare that against crime rates? Want to know how much revenue is brought in from parking tickets and the cost to collect? Want to know what percentage of Americans suffer from diagnosed depression and how much the government spends on it? That’s in there. You can slice the numbers in all sorts of ways.

“Let’s say it costs three, four, five million a year,” he said. “I’m happy to fund the damn thing.”

I now forgive you for Microsoft, Mr. Ballmer.

8 thoughts on “This is what rich people should be doing.

  1. For example, Mr. Ballmer, said: “You know it’s not legal to know how many firearms that are in this country? The government is not allowed to collect the number.”

    There is data for the number of firearms manufactured, licenses, inspections, “along with other data, but not a total,” he said. “I can’t show it! I’m shocked! But the N.R.A. apparently has lobbied in such a way government can’t report the data.”

    And my shame for being an American continues.

  2. < ![CDATA[For example, Mr. Ballmer, said: “You know it’s not legal to know how many firearms that are in this country? The government is not allowed to collect the number.”
    There is data for the number of firearms manufactured, licenses, inspections, “along with other data, but not a total,” he said. “I can’t show it! I’m shocked! But the N.R.A. apparently has lobbied in such a way government can’t report the data.”
    And my shame for being an American continues.]]>