As I sit here this morning reading the excellent articles on Seeking Alpha about the latest Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) quarterly report, it suddenly occurred to me: why can't we find out all of this info about the various Federal Government agencies? I decided to look at the Department of Energy as an example to see what I could find out. Wouldn't it be great if the DOE had to publish a quarterly report like all the public companies do? Wouldn't it be excellent if the management had a quarterly conference call to explain their strategy to the analysts and investors (us, the taxpayers). Wouldn't it be great if we could enter a symbol like USDOE into Yahoo Finance or Seeking Alpha and get all the same kind of detailed information, analysis and debate as we get when we type in AMZN?
I visited the DOE website and at the bottom quickly found the budget page. From there I found out that DOE spent $26.2B last year, and wants to spend $27.1B this year, a 3.2% increase. If DOE ran a flat-line revenue=expenses enterprise (kind of like Amazon), that means DOE would be #107 on the Fortune 500 list, just ahead of McDonald's. And that is just for one rather small agency of the Federal Government. Of course, there are no detailed reports, discussion of results, or requirements of transparency like every public company must provide under SEC regulations. The analysis of DOE finances is summarized in one page: Here is what we spent last year, this year we need more.
A quick look at the DOE home page shows a variety of initiatives, services, and programs that are supposed to produce benefits for the American people and the taxpayer investors in DOE. But how are these working out? What are the user's saying? Which DOE partnerships are critical to their success? How much money are these partners getting? And what do the users of these services think about them? Is there anyplace like Seeking Alpha where we can all participate in the discussion?
I have a suggestion for Marissa Mayer, who I think is doing a good job with Yahoo (YHOO) so far. Marissa, if you really want to add value to Yahoo, create a great new service, and do something really outstanding for our country and the world, add the Federal government to Yahoo Finance.
Here's what to do: create a list of symbols for all the major agencies, put some researchers on it to gather all the data you can that normally appears for your public company symbols, and ask the agencies to provide what you don't have. Make Yahoo charts of their expenses over the last 20 years. Create a virtual market for these symbols, and allow people to trade them based on their value propositions and ever changing external factors. Let the taxpayers put a value on them, rather than the insiders in Washington. And sum it all up in a special index you can track, maybe you can call it the Fed-100.
Meanwhile sites like Seeking Alpha can provide the forums for experts who use, work at, or partner with all these Federal agencies to do the analysis and debate that we all need. And by the way, tie it all back to the effects on the value of stocks like Exxon (NYSE:XOM) for energy, and every public company for things like healthcare.
The Federal Government needs to be operating under SEC Regulations, the same as the rest of us. If they won't do it on their own, let's do it for them. With the help of Yahoo Finance, we can make it happen.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.