Diary

Transparent Obama?

You may have heard about Barack Obama’s desire for greater transparency in government. Policy will now favor ready revelation, he has said. No more unnecessary dark secrets about governmental doings.

As a U.S. senator, Obama made a few plausible gestures in support of greater openness about the legislative process. So I have been guardedly optimistic about his commitment to transparency as our new president.

President Obama has promised to post legislation online for public viewing before he signs it. However, the very first bill he signed, which expands the right to sue over alleged pay discrimination, was not posted online.

Recovery.gov page, early February

Recovery.gov page, early February

An administration spokesman alluded to mysterious difficulties preventing this. Apparently, one is not allowed to be transparent about the obstacles to transparency. Okay, so maybe it just slipped through the cracks.

But what more urgent test can there be of the president’s commitment to transparency than the trillion-dollar “stimulus” spending package Obama is touting? Why not make it easy for all Americans to scan the dirty details before it’s too late to scream at congressmen to try to stop it?

The question answers itself, but let’s visit the recovery.gov Web page.

There we are told: “Check back after the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to see how and where your tax dollars are spent.”

You know, after it’s too late.

The only thing transparent here is this maneuver.

This Is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.