With the threat of a government shutdown looming, the White House reportedly has offered an additional $20 billion in budget cuts for the current fiscal year. And while there’s no money for open government initiatives, the week old war in Libya has already cost $600 million.
Nancy Scola of techPresident reports:
Open government advocates are freaking out about what the continuing budget resolutions being considered in the House and Senate would do to federal transparency projects like Data.gov, USASpending.gov, and online collaborations, which is to defund them, or to cut their funding to the bone; under the measures being considered on the Hill, the appropriation for the E-Government Fund for the remainder of the year would be cut to 1/17th of what it was in FY 2010, from $34 million down to two. OpenCongress’s Donny Shaw puts the numbers in perspective: “The value of data openness in government cannot be overestimated, and for the cost of just one-third of one day of missile attacks in Libya, we can keep these initiatives alive and developing for another year.”
In his address on Libya, President Obama said we’re in Libya to avert “a looming humanitarian crisis.” Obama noted:
I know that some Americans continue to have questions about our efforts in Libya. Qaddafi has not yet stepped down from power, and until he does, Libya will remain dangerous. Moreover, even after Qaddafi does leave power, 40 years of tyranny has left Libya fractured and without strong civil institutions. The transition to a legitimate government that is responsive to the Libyan people will be a difficult task. And while the United States will do our part to help, it will be a task for the international community and –- more importantly –- a task for the Libyan people themselves.
Count me among the unswayed. Edwin Starr’s anti-war anthem is more than 40 years old, but it’s still spot on.