As millions of Americans rushed to beat the deadline to file their tax returns this week, policymakers on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue were engaged in a familiar and depressing ritual: a high-stakes game of “chicken” over the federal budget.
In a little over a week, the federal government could shut down for the second time in five years, with national parks closed, veterans’ benefits interrupted and the business of federal workers unnecessarily disrupted. But it’s worth asking: rather than stumbling through just another partisan showdown over more or less spending, when will we have a smarter discussion about the important choices and investments needed to open more opportunities for all Americans?
Fortunately, we are one step closer to this better debate with the launch this week of USAFacts — an easy-to-access, easy-to-use tool that pulls together all federal, state, and local government data to tell the story of how we raise and spend our tax dollars, and what kind of return we get on our investment. The website just went live.