The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services appear to be on to something with their promised new datasets. It's a leap for an agency whose previous offerings were a confusing mishmash of poorly-labeled files. If they continue to add granularity as they roll out more features, journalists could have a useful and innovative set of tools on their hands.
The “Dashboard” CMS intends to create, a demo of which is currently online, looks at Medicare spending on services. It's a good tool for quickly grasping the big picture; you can view data as a bubble chart, for example ...
To comply with the Open Government Directive, the Commerce Department released four high value datasets that require considerable technical sophistication on the part of users--and patience. Some of the files are so large and cumbersome they're very difficult to open and use; others require a great deal of explanation--and you can currently only find those explanations by digging through the agency's site. Still other entries feature broken links or only contain a fraction of the information described on Data.gov. The Commerce Department says they're working on all of these problems, so hopefully we'll see an ...Continue reading
Every morning, when you step into a plane, train, car or bus, your trip is probably subsidized – directly or... View ArticleContinue reading
They hold $1.3 trillion in assets and, chances are, you've never heard of them.
The Federal Home Loan Banks, or FHLBs, were created during the Depression, and are meant to ensure that if the economy were to tank, commercial banks would still have the money to issue home loans. A cooperative of 12 regional banks, the system works like this: banks, thrifts, credit unions and insurers (more than 8,100 across the country) become members and put up collateral; the FHLBs borrow money and lend it to them at a discount.
So where does the subsidy come ...Continue reading