Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) has a terrific op-ed piece on Internet-age government transparency in the Washington Times today:
If agencies used consistent data formats for their financial information, their financial reports could be electronically reconciled. It would be possible to trace funds from Congressional appropriations through agencies’ budgets to final use. The same data could flow automatically into USASpending.gov, without the errors and inconsistencies that make it unreliable today.
The idea is simple, if not easy to implement. Put government data in uniform formats, accessible to the public, and let public oversight work its will. Whether you prioritize good government, small government, or both, expect improvement.