The basic reality of the matter is that we already live in a society where the voters are almost completely ignorant of everything they need to know to be functioning members of a democratic public. People can’t name the elected officials who represent them, and in general seem to have very little interest in politics. The good news, I think, is that thanks to the internet you can at least look this stuff up. If you’re curious, you can use Google and figure out who represents you in the State Senate and find out a thing or two about what he’s up to. Dutifully receiving your daily gigantic bundle of newsprint and then ignoring the stories about state government might make the guy who writes the stories about state government feel better, but it doesn’t actually provide you with information.
Meanwhile, I'm just starting to dig into USAspending.gov. Some tips: search for a company name to get all the federal purchase orders for the company from the past decade or so. Search by place name to get related federal grants, contracts, etc. Or search for a type of item like "screwdriver" or "toilet seat." Unfortunately, you can't link to the results yet (no unique URL). Also this graph is a good argument for more spending on data systems in the Department of Education, simply in comparison to the amount spent in other cabinet level departments.
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