Retired Microsoft CEO Steven Ballmer has been keeping busy these past few years, and now the world can see just what he’s been working on: Today, April 18, Ballmer and his team unveiled the public USAFacts database. Perhaps the first collection of its kind, the site is a nonpartisan project by top economists and educators to paints a fuller picture of government spending at all levels.
The goal was to gather enough data to create a government version of a Form 10-K, an annual report that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission requires companies to submit to share a comprehensive summary of its financial performance.
“You know, when I really wanted to understand in depth what a company was doing, Amazon or Apple, I’d get their 10-K and read it,” he said in an interview with The New York Times. “It’s wonky, it’s this, it’s that, but it’s the greatest depth you’re going to get, and it’s accurate.”
So far, many have taken to social media to praise this effort in the uncertain times of fake news and government transparency issues.
Surprise Ballmer is my favorite Ballmer https://t.co/sUUDTjs9kX— Casey Newton (@CaseyNewton) April 18, 2017
The fledgling database features clearly labeled and supported numbers, outlining the spending and revenue in the local, state and federal governments. The data covers everything from general population demographics to the specifics of things like the Disability Insurance Fund.