Opinion: Morning Examiner

'Appropriate Appropriations?' leaves Washington's big spenders nowhere to hide

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Mark Tapscott,Morning Examiner,Waste and Fraud,Cato Institute,Spending

Here's a truly disturbing thought — What if members of Congress were able to spend as much of your money as they wanted?

Here's the good news: It is possible to find an answer to that question for each of the 435 members of the House of Representatives and all 100 U.S. senators.

It's called "Appropriate Appropriations?" and it's the brainchild of two guys who spend most of their waking hours making trouble for Washington's professional politicians, in both parties.

Real spending tracker

The troublemakers are Luke Rosiak, a senior member of the Washington Examiner's Watchdog investigative reporting team, and Jim Harper, director of information policy studies for the Cato Institute.

Appropriate Appropriations? tracks every bill introduced by every congressman and the amount of spending attached to it, as marked up by Cato's innovative Deepbills project.

Besides being a journalist-sleuth, Rosiak is also a highly talented programmer. Harper has been called "the digital era's Diogenes the Cynic" for his passion for transparency and accountability in government.

Real spending transparency

Rosiak introduces Appropriate Appropriations? today on washingtonexaminer.com with a juicy selection of examples drawn from the current Congress.

How juicy? For starters, there's the $30,000 gold medal Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, wanted taxpayers to fund for golf great Jack Nicklaus.

And there's the $80 million Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, wanted the taxpayers to fork out to encourage tapping trees for maple syrup.

Thanks to Rosiak and Harper, information about federal spending is no longer limited to the useless drip, drip Washington would prefer.

On today's washingtonexaminer.com

Editorial: Equal opportunity should be the goal, not equal outcomes.

Columnists/Cal Thomas: America is getting over Barack Obama.

Michael Barone: A chastened and weary Obama reports on the SOTU.

Columnists/David Freddoso: A minimum wage is rarely a family's sole source of support.

Examiner Watchdog/IRS scandal: Will she or won't she come clean before Congress?

David M. Drucker: RNC hires LinkedIn alum as chief data officer.

In other news

The New York Times: U.S. claims Russia tested new missile despite treaty.

The Washington Post: Poll shows Hillary Clinton with big lead for 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.

CNN: Obama hits the road to push SOTU themes.

CBS: The bipartisan effort Obama left out of the SOTU.

New York Daily News: Brooklyn school faces backlash for cutting mostly white gifted-and-talented program.

USA Today: Chip-card fight could lead to new security measures.

Righty Playbook

National Review Online: Enforcement first, then amnesty.

Powerline Blog: 77 cents that aren't worth a nickel.

The American Thinker: More states are quietly becoming Republican.

Bonus must-read

The Federalist: This college professor has a message for liberal arts majors.

Lefty Playbook

Talking Points Memo: Republicans brace for surrender on debt ceiling.

The Huffington Post: More than 250 million school-age kids can't read.

The New Republic: The only thing worse than the Super Bowl is the Puppy Bowl.

Bonus must-read

The Washington Monthly: Half of today's 27-year-olds are more than $10,000 in debt.

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