Wall Street Bailout Spawns Subsidy Database
The Pew Charitable Trusts launches Subsidyscope, an effort to aggregate information on federal subsidies from multiple sources into a comprehensive, searchable, open-source database. Government transparency group Sunlight Foundation joins Pew as its technology partner responsible for constructing the technical infrastructure, compiling data and building Subsidyscope's database.When Congress approved the $700 billion Emergency Economic Stabilization Act on October to bail out Wall Street, it marked a major expansion of the government's role in the markets. Unfortunately, as taxpayers have already discovered, just who got what out of the bailout is still unknown, even to members of Congress. The Pew Charitable Trusts hopes to change all that, announcing Dec. 15 it plans to develop a publicly accessible database called Subsidyscope to focus public and policymaker attention on the size and scope of all federal subsidies. Pew said it would release regular reports, aggregating and analyzing subsidies to various industry sectors.
Pew has engaged the Sunlight Foundation, a government transparency group, to construct the technical infrastructure, compiling data and building Subsidyscope's database. Among Sunlight's other projects are PublicMarkup.org, which seeks to open legislation to online and public review; Earmark Watch, an open review of Washington spending; and OpenCongress, a government transparency effort with news and blogging about Capitol Hill.