All you ever wanted to know about government spending but were too afraid to ask.

Ex Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has opened a new site called https://www.usafacts.org/, which describes itself as “a new data-driven portrait of the American population, our government’s finances, and government’s impact on society.” It claims to be a non-partisan site that provides a public service.

Mr. Ballmer sees this endeavor as philanthropy, and also takes it seriously as an academic venture. The site has a team made up of experts from Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR), the Penn Wharton Budget Model, and Lynchburg College that, the claim goes “help keep our data accurate and unbiased”. The site not only uses only numbers and data directly from government sources, but has a policy of information only: no judgments, no opinions—just the facts. They also intend to “engage a prominent accounting firm” to audit their processes and controls used to present the information on the site.

So, let’s say you want to see a breakdown of what was spent in 2014. You start with this screen:

1

Once you decide to be curious about something else you follow the budget, which the site breaks down into categories found in the Constitution: Establish Justice and Ensure Domestic Tranquility, Provide for the Common Defense, Promote the General Welfare and Secure the Blessings of Liberty to Ourselves and Our Posterity.

2Choose which category that interests you, and you’ll be taken to the next screen that gives more detailed information. So, under “Promote the General Welfare” I chose “Health”. It gives raw numbers on the spending in that area,

3

Then I can click to find an even more detailed breakdown of health spending.

4

This site looks to become a go-to for seekers of accurate, helpful information on how the U.S. government spends our tax money.

If you’re interested in further reading NPR did a article on this site that may be found here.

Climate Change Indicators in the United States

https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-08/documents/climate_indicators_2016.pdf

The Environmental Protection Agency has put out a report detailing the effects of climate change on the nation. “Climate Change Indicators in the United States” “partners with more than 40 data contributors from various government agencies, academic institutions, and other organizations to compile a key set of indicators related to the causes and effects of climate change”, from the site. Previous editions of the report can be found here.

The report includes greenhouse gases, ocean temperature changes, weather anomalies, snow and ice melt, health effects, and ecosystem effects. Number of cases of lyme’s disease and west nile virus in the U.S. are also included. There is no index in the back of the book, but the table of contents is very inclusive.

Index to Proceedings – United Nations

http://www.un.org/depts/dhl/deplib/docs/ITP/list.htm

The Index to Proceedings for the United Nations ceased being a print publication in 2011. This publication was reinvented online after 2011. The United Nations Depository Library now provides information online on the annual meetings of the main United Nation organizations. The General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council, and the Security Council are all listed by year on this website and a full publication of each can be seen on the webpage. A way to read PDF’s must be loaded onto the computer to read the entries.

U.S. Involvement with the United Nations

http://www.state.gov/p/io/rls/rpt/index.htm

https://archive.org/details/usdeptofstateunreports

These links shows two different reports : ” United States Participation in the United Nations” and “Voting Practices in the United Nations”. Both reports are submitted to Congress. The first link covers the years 1999 – today, while the second link covers the years 1949 – 1998. From the site, “U.S. Participation in the United Nations is an annual report to Congress, prepared by the U.S. Department of State, that describes the activities of the United Nations, along with U.S. involvement in the UN, for a particular calendar year. Voting Practices in the United Nations is an annual report to Congress, prepared by the U.S. Department of State, that compiles and compares votes in the UN General Assembly with U.S. votes on the same resolutions. It also catalogs and briefly describes resolutions adopted or defeated by the UN Security Council.

Tennessee Health Reports

http://hit.state.tn.us/reports.aspx

Looking for a health report from the state of Tennessee? The Tennessee Department of Health has a one stop shop for all its reports. Reports on “Alcohol, Tobacco, and other Drugs Reports”, “Health Research Reports”, “Health Status Reports”, “Patient Safety Reports”, “Presentations”, “Surveys”, and “TN Kids Reports” are all listed.

MarketWatch

www.marketwatch.com

MarketWatch is an excellent stock information website from the Wall Street Journal. It provides comprehensive information on stocks and companies.

To use the site, type in the name of the company or stock symbol for which you are looking for in the search box. Once you have found the company, an overview of today’s share price and price per earning ratio will come up, along with a chart that shows the price changes by the hour. Other company news and press releases for the day are listed. There are other tabs under the company name that include:

Profile – gives a general overview of the company and its executives, along with its headquarters address and phone number.

Charts – under the Time button provides a daily, weekly, and monthly chart of the company’s stock price. The compare button underneath it on the same page will show an comparison of Indexes (S & P 500, Dow Jones, NASDAQ, commodities) and Industries (banks, health care, hotels, etc.) for the same time period you have chosen.

Financials – includes the earnings for the company per year, along with its gross income, net income, income tax paid, etc.

Historical Quotes – provides the historical quote for a stock going back to 1971 .  Just start typing in the date. A pop up box will show a calendar with the month and date. Just click which month and date you need to find out the high, low, and close of the stock.

Analyst Estimates, Options, and SEC Filings are more of the tabs that can be clicked to find out information on a company.

General buttons near the top of the home page include general news of the markets, along with investing and personal finance news.

Consumer Price Index

http://www.nhes.nh.gov/elmi/statistics/cpi-data.htm

A site from the New Hampshire Department of Employment Security that also provides the U.S. Consumer Price Index. The figures are from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics official Consumer Price Index site. The figures have been manipulated in Excel to provide a table from 1990 until now, both monthly and annually.