We’ve always got an eye out for creative strategies for engaging with legislation, and sometimes, those strategies emerge around specific initiatives.
Over the last week, two such projects have been created for analyzing the stimulus package.
First, a broad coalition, led, I believe, by the Heritage Foundation, have created ReadTheStimulus.org, devoted to crowdsourced processing and analysis of the stimulus bill. The site boasts comment sections organized by page, complete with embedded pdf scans of the original bill (or report).
Second, WashingtonWatch.com has launched a stimulus watching contest:
Your goal is to identify spending in the economic stimulus bill that will do a really good job of stimulating the economy, or a really bad job. A $100 prize will go to the best comment identifying good stimulus spending – the spending that will do the most to get the economy on its feet – and another $100 to the best comment identifying bad stimulus spending – spending that will just fall in a hole or even make the U.S. economy worse.
Take any part of the stimulus bill and write a short case for why it’s good or bad. (Recommended: search the bill for “$” – there are more than 350 of them.) Pick anything – from an entire government department to the smallest program. You can even pick a non-spending provision in the bill that you think will do good or bad.
We’ll be watching both projects, and are encouraged by the creative approaches being applied to legislative analysis, in the same spirit as publicmarkup.org.