New U.S. government 'transparent' sites

Where do your tax dollars go? What data is being collected in this country anyway? Previously, these were difficult questions to answer, but the new administration appears to be making headway toward real answers.

At USAspending.gov, site visitors can see who is receiving federal funds, what industries are benefiting the most from the dough and which contractors are winning contracts. At Data.gov, users can check out numerous types of data catalogs, in numerous formats as well.

In the past, citizens could find some of this information in the newspapers or library, but there was rarely any sort of organization to the actual data. Having websites dedicated to the materials gives users the opportunity to find exactly what they want without spending countless hours reviewing separate reference materials.

Why did it take so long to put this stuff online? There are plenty of answers to that, and it's not a single person's fault, nor is it a single party's fault, either. There are security risks to being more transparent, and at the same time, there are benefits. I'm hopeful that the current administration will see the usefulness of giving the people what they want, which, in this case, is information about its own country.