An article in the New York Times entitled Steve Ballmer Serves Up a Fascinating Data Trove describes the pet project of former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. This billionaire is spending his retirement using government data to follow the money spent by federal, state, and local governments, and put all his findings in a database. It’s called USA Facts, and it’s got plenty of terrifying figures. Our graduation rate is only 59%. There are 427,910 children in foster care. We have no figures on how many guns are in this country, thanks to the NRA. We’re spending more money than we have to spend. It’s not a pretty picture.
Ugly and terrifying as that picture might be, Steve Ballmer wants all American’s to have access to the same set of data about the issues that matter most to them. He has created this database as a means for our increasingly polarized population to work from a common ground of numbers that are “apolitical”, so that we may each draw out own conclusions rather than preach our chosen party line. Ballmer provides a stark contrast to another billionaire- Trump. Not only is he worth almost 10 times what Trump is in dollars, he’s worth 100 times more in sense. His approach to the current division in the United States isn’t to pick a side and fan the flames, but rather to give Americans the tools needed to work through our differences. The only way we get through this is together. Now that we have USA Facts, we can’t hide behind MSNBC vs. Fox News, or Koch vs. Soros. We have the information we need straight from the US government that has been sorted out into understandable segments of truth about where our money goes. Now it’s time to take it to the table and work toward a better future for all of us.