12/17/2008 - When Congress approved the $700 billion Emergency Economic Stabilization Act on October to bail out Wall Street, it marked a major expansion of the government's role in the markets. Unfortunately, as taxpayers have already discovered, just who got what out of the bailout is still unknown, even to members of Congress.
The Pew Charitable Trusts hopes to change all that, announcing Dec. 15 it plans to develop a publicly accessible database called Subsidyscope to focus public and policymaker attention on the size and scope of all federal subsidies. Pew said it would release regular reports, aggregating and analyzing subsidies to various industry sectors.
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John E. Morton, managing director of Pew's Economic Policy Department, said Washington subsidies increasingly flow through the tax code and are not subject to the same level of public oversight as other federal expenditures.
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