But Ballmer doesn't peg government - or its hyper-partisanship - as a risk to itself. (No, not just cheering for the basketball team he owns, the Los Angeles Clippers.) It's a novel project, and he plans to take the wrapping off it today.
The project, called USAFacts, aims to bring together financial information on how the USA government spends tax dollars.
After a conversation with his wife about taxes several years ago, Ballmer decided he would attempt to create an integrated database of information about the US government that includes information similar to the details included in annual corporate 10-K filings. In addition to revenues and expenditures, the new website also includes available data on where we are on meeting government's stated goals, so policymakers and taxpayers know if there is a gap between government dollars invested and progress in addressing a social need. "I'm shocked!" he told the Times. Ballmer's big rule, though, is to not use data from outside sources so that the data presented by USAFacts.org is accurate.
"What we're trying to do now is create a foundation for a more fact-based discussion about what's going on with government in our country", Ballmer said on CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Tuesday.
The site launched on Tuesday and Ballmer announced the launch the same day in a speech at the Economic Club of NY.
I give Ballmer three years and an additional $20 million before a team of academics explain Gramsci to him and he advocates for Full Communism.
USAFacts draws its inspiration from the 10-K forms companies are required to file each year with the Securities and Exchange Commission, providing detailed information about their financial performance. Nearly half of them, Ballmer said, are employees in the education system. "I can't show it!" He hopes to open it up so that individuals and companies can build on top of it and pull out customized reports. I hope not. An economics professor I had in college once said it would be very good for democracy if at the end of your 1040 tax return, you were given a list of government programs to select as worthy of your tax payments.
"I'm sort of nonjudgmental, if you will, on any administration, including the current administration", Ballmer said when pressed for his thoughts about Trump. "But I feel like it's a civic contribution more than anything else".
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