WNYC had a couple of folks on today regarding new federal initiatives to make information about government more easily available to the citizenry.
I’ve posted the links under Government-US—Data.gov and Open Government Initiative—but I want to suggest you try what Brian Lehrer suggested of his listeners:
Go to the to the contracts database in USASpending.gov and plug your zip code into ‘Place zip code’. Hit ‘submit query.’
What pops up will be the amount of federal spending in your zip code.
I checked on the zip on my small town in Wisconsin, and noted they received just over $280,000 in federal contracts.
My current zip in Brooklyn? Just over $425,000.
Needless to say, there are a few more people in my neighborhood in Brooklyn than there are in that town in Wisconsin, so the discrepancies are clear.
Anyway, go in and play around with the different databases, and perhaps try different zips in the contract database. I’d guess that the zips around, say, Columbia University are likely to get a whole lot more money than those in, mmm, the south Bronx.
Fun with government! Who knew?