NASCAR vs the Federal Budget

February 15, 2011
by Alan

Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) has sponsored an amendment that would ban the military’s sponsorship in NASCAR.   She estimates that it would save several million dollars.   She also points out that in this budget  “crisis” we are considering cuts to military Vets benefits, and this  “that just doesn’t make sense”.

Her complaints are valid and the federal budget does need to have cuts.   But it seems that she is arbitrary singling out NASCAR.   (Note: her amendment does not prevent the military from setting up booths at races for recruiting purposes)   The various military branches are involved in advertising at many other sporting events…what about them?   How much money is wasted in the overproduced, special fx loaded recruiting commercial that air all the time on tv?   Why not go after the military’s advertising budget as a whole and let them decide where the money needs to be cut.

While I would agree this maybe a waste of money, but her comparison to the loss of Vet benefits is a false one.   She has presented a one or the other scenario, when that is most definitely not the case.   I see this as nothing more than a ploy to gain political points. (If I wasn’t so cynical I would say this was a ploy to bring awareness to the potential cuts to Vet benefits)     If she really wanted to save money, in the DoD budget, she could have asked for a whole host of other things that would save a whole lot more money.   If she really was bold she would be calling for the immediate ending of the wars.   If she wanted to be slightly less bold she could be calling for any number of bases sprinkled throughout the world to be closed.   She went after the low hanging fruit.   And that is the problem with politics right now.   There are so many things that look good on paper and sound really really good, but in practice do nothing to fix our problems at best, hurt us more at worse.

 

Before I end here (and I can go on quite a bit about the current political environment and this whole  “austerity” movement, but it really doesn’t fit with this blog site’s purpose), we have been and will continue to be subject to many to many false choices (and we must be aware of them when they arise) in the upcoming budget debates.   No matter what side of the aisle we may be on, we must remember where are all in this together.   This is not a race to the bottom.

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Articles discussing this amendment

http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2011/02/15/rep-mccollum-pentagons-nascar-sponsorship-wastes-money/

http://hamptonroads.com/2011/02/amendment-aimed-ending-military-sponsorships-nascar

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