Personally, I put little faith in any oversight of spending by the people doing the spending – or even consisting of folks appointed by those doing the spending. Pennsylvania’s history with commissions – e.g. the Turnpike Commission, the Gaming Control Board, the Philadelphia Parking Authority, the Commonwealth Financing Authority, and all the local government authorities running hotels, airports, and golf courses – isn’t very inspiring.
However, giving the public oversight by putting all the stimulus spending online is critical. A “neutral, fact-based web site” with “at least basic information about the federal stimulus” is not sufficient. The website needs to be comprehensive, and should track every dollar spent – basically putting the checkbook register online.
While Micek makes a crack about this website appealing to “people with entirely too much time” on their hand, we only need a few watchdogs. With full transparency, citizen activists, bloggers, and even people who get paid for this type of thing – including Micek and myself – will do more to ensure accountability in government spending than any oversight commission.