Steve Ballmer’s secret new startup USAFacts is serving up Big Data on Big Government
With nothing to do after from Microsoft, Steve Ballmer came up with the idea to “figure out what the government really does with the money.”
On Tuesday, Mr. Ballmer will make public a database and a report that he and a small army of economists, professors and other professionals have been assembling as part of a stealth start-up over the last three years called USAFacts. The database is the first private market effort to create a fully integrated look at revenue and spending across federal, state and local governments. Mr. Ballmer has spent more than $10 million between direct funding and grants, including a grant to the University of Pennsylvania, to help his staff put the information together.
USAFacts can show you, for example, that the US government employs 24 million people, half of whom are people who work in public schools at all levels.
“If you look at these tax deductions for employer-provided health or for state and local taxes or mortgage-interest deductions, they’re really subsidies to the affluent, which I guess I hadn’t thought about them,” Mr. Ballmer gleans from his new database.
“I don’t even deduct this for my taxes. I pay this with after-tax money, no pretax money, because I don’t want anybody being able to think that factors in. But I feel like it’s a civic contribution more than anything else.”
Read the complete post in the New York Times here: