Friday, February 15, 2008

Fwd: Bush Hides Net Site of Economic Indicators
Bush Administration Hides More Data, Shuts Down Website Tracking U.S.
Economic Indicators
The U.S. economy is faltering. Family debt is on the rise, benefits
are disappearing, the deficit is skyrocketing, and the mortgage
crisis has worsened. Conservatives have attempted to deflect
attention from the crisis, by blaming the media's negative coverage
and insisting the United States is not headed toward a recession,
despite what economists are predicting.

The Bush administration's latest move is to simply hide the data.
Forbes has awarded one of its "Best of the
Web" awards. As Forbes explains, the government site provides an
invaluable service to the public for accessing U.S. economic data:

This site is maintained by the Economics and Statistics
Administration and combines data collected by the Bureau of Economic
Analysis, like GDP and net imports and exports, and the Census
Bureau, like retail sales and durable goods shipments. The site
simply links to the relevant department's Web site. This might not
seem like a big deal, but doing it yourself-say, trying to find
retail sales data on the Census Bureau's site-is such an exercise in
futility that it will convince you why this portal is necessary.

Yet the Bush administration has decided to shut down this site
because of "budgetary constraints," effective March 1:

Economic Indicators is particularly useful because people can sign up
to receive e-mails as soon as new economic data across government
agencies becomes available. While the data will still be available
online at various federal websites, it will be less readily
accessible to members of the public.

In its e-mail announcement on the closing of Economic Indicators, the
Department of Commerce acknowledged the "inconvenience" and
offered "a free quarterly subscription to STAT-USA®/InternetT"
instead. Once this temporary subscription runs out, however, the
public will be forced to pay a fee. So not only will economic data be
more hidden, it will also cost money.

It's ironic that the Economic and Statistics Administration is
facing "budgetary contraints," considering Bush recently submitted a
record $3.1 trillion budget to Congress for FY '09.

UPDATE: Steve Benen has compiled other examples of the Bush
administration hiding inconvenient data.

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