How many federal expenditures can you think of that have produced a 10,000% return-on-investment(ROI)? Medicare? Defense? TARP?
According to US CIO Vivek Kundra, the $32 Million investment in data transparency has yielded federal IT program savings of $3 Billion. This figure does not include estimates for other economic benefits from data-driven innovation.
For example, thanks to national hospital performance data being made more accessible (“transparent”), health services consumers can now used leading search engines to find hospital ratings, in addition to hospital-supplied marketing information.
Allowing free market forces to innovate how government data is used, creates new IT jobs, new knowledge products and raises the quality of industry & consumer decision-making.
The private sector knows that managing a business requires constant scrutiny of costs and investments–investments to produce new profits and cost management to maximize their yield.
Despite political fashion with some congressional factions, there is strong historical evidence that some public investments produce great benefits–the national highway system and the internet are two such examples.
A 10,000% ROI for any project –public or private– is an outstanding result. The benefits of fostering access to publicly-funded data and knowledge are too economically profitable and socially useful to be jeopardized by mindless actions.
As citizens, we expect that our leaders to bring sound judgment and evidence-based approaches to financial decision-making.