Is government money wasteful spending on teams in NASCAR?
Government sponsorships in motor sports is very close to disappearing altogether – that is, if Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn and Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga. get their way. This is a second go around, the bill being sponsored this time by Kingston, as McCollum is acting co-sponsor. McCollum tried to prevent military spending on sporting events last year, however, her measure failed.
The latest amendment thwarted forward by Kingston, is attached to the $608 billion defense bill that included an amendment to prevent the military from sponsoring pro sports, which the House Appropriations Committee approved last Thursday.
McCollum, whose website said National Guard spent $20 million in professional fishing and $90 million in motor sports in 2011 and 2012 cited the Air National Guard’s sponsorship of the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Richmond International Raceway in September 2010 as an example of waste. She said that the Air National Guard paid $650,000 to sponsor that event.
NASCAR officials disagree with Kingston and McCollum and cite a fall 2011 study by Experian Consumer Research that states NASCAR fans are twice as likely as non fans to serve in the military. The research also found that 37% of active service members and veterans are NASCAR fans.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. reached out to Rep. Kingston and stated that because Kingston’s a Republican from Georgia, he ought to have been to a NASCAR race by now – therefore suggesting Kingston should attend one – during a media conference at Charlotte Motor Speedway last Friday.
According to USA TODAY Sports, McCollum stated that out of a one night, one race … only 439 recruitment leads had resulted. However, out of those 439 leads, “six of those — only six — qualified as potential recruits and then they got zero out of it.”
In fiscal year 2011, the National Guard reported that it spent $32,775,000 in its total NASCAR sponsorship fees. That represented 8.6% of its total recruiting budget.
In 2008 the National Guard reported that approximately 16,800 individuals cited NASCAR as the source of their interest in joining. In 2009, 53,740 qualified leads were generated because of the NASCAR program, which was built around Dale Earnhardt Jr. The Guard stated that 43,934 fans signed up to the online program with 38,846 considered qualified leads – out of those, only a mare 343 joined the National Guard.
The U.S. Army paid $7.5 million to sponsor SHR Ryan Newman‘s team in 2011. Current figures for the U.S. Air Force also were unavailable, but it paid $1.6 million in sponsorship last season. The Air Force acts as a limited Sponsor/Associate Sponsor on the Richard Petty Motorsports No. 43 Ford, which by the way has the pole for this weekend’s Coca-Cola 600.
During a press conference at the Time Warner Cable Arena last Thursday, NASCAR driver Jeff Burton gave his view on the subject: “I don’t think they’re throwing money at it just for the hell of it,” There’s a reason they are doing it, and it must be working,” Burton stated.
NASCAR driver Brad Keselowski raced a Navy sponsored car in the Nationwide series when he first started racing. The Army was the first branch to officially sponsor a car, in 2003. Driver Jerry Nadeau’s No. 25 car became the No. 01 car to represent the old “Army of One” campaign. The Navy no longer sponsors a team in NASCAR. Neither do the Marines.
“The Marines stopped doing it because they thought it was ineffective,” McCollum said.
The next step is a full vote in the House of Representatives, where Republicans hold a majority of seats. The Democrat-controlled Senate would vote on passing its own version of the bill, which may or may not have the NASCAR funding ban.
I see it that as with any other advertiser or sponsor, if it doesn’t seem to work, you pull the funding and apply it elsewhere, but I do NOT see it as wasteful spending. Maybe instead of “investing” the money into one team, the government (each military branch) spreads the money and acts as an Associate Sponsor on more than one car. Race fans may be upset looking at it that Dale Earnhardt Jr., the highest rated fan in NASCAR, is about to lose a major sponsorship.
The government has MUCH MORE wasteful spending going on in which they need to focus to cease. Here are some examples of true government wasteful spending. CAUTION: You may laugh, cry or go into shock!
The Essential Air Service Program
The Essential Air Service helps subsidize small airports. It was created in 1978 out of fear that the larger airlines would abandon smaller airports during deregulation. The program was only supposed to last a few years, but 34 years later, it’s still being paid for by taxpayers. The San Diego News found a flight between Baltimore and Hagerstown (75 miles) empty, they allowed the producer of the (undercover) story sit in the co-pilot’s seat. Taxpayers money helps pay for those empty seats.
There are more than 100 subsidized flight routes across the country. In 2010, Congress allocated $200 million for the Essential Air Service program.
• Holds an “operational support airlift” consisting of some 500 airplanes and 100 helicopters for flying military brass and civilian personnel on 1,800 trips a month—costing taxpayers $380 million a year. Many of the destinations are served by commercial airlines.
• Announced last year it would spend $5.1 million to build a new 18-hole golf course at Andrews Air Force Base in suburban Maryland, which already has two. Golf Digest reported there are 19 military golf courses around Washington, D.C. Why a new golf course? One Pentagon official was quoted as saying “a lot of golf gets played out there. On Saturday mornings, people are standing on top of each other.”
The Government spends billions on these studies. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) spent $830 million funding obesity studies in fiscal year 2011. Between 2008 and 2011, NIH spent over $3.3 billion on obesity research.
The Department of Agriculture
Awarded the University of New Hampshire $700,000 this year investigating methane gas emissions from dairy cows. The conclusion? Cows emit most of their methane through belching, only a small fraction from flatulence.
I KID YOU NOT. KEEP GOING…
The federal government spends an estimated $930 million on unnecessary printing, even thousands of unread copies of the budget of the United States. Included is $28 million a year just to print “The Congressional Record,” a daily chronicle of every word uttered in Congress and countless more words submitted “for the record.” The printed version of the “Congressional Record” is mostly seen filling up giant recycling bins on Capitol Hill.
National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH)
This agency spent $70,029 to see if the degu, a diurnal South American rodent, can help us better understand jet lag . . . they spent $77,826 to study “Coping with Change in Czechoslovakia” . . . $100,271 to see if volunteering is good for older people . . . $124,910 to reduce “School Phobia” in children . . . $161,913 to study “Israeli reactions to SCUD Attacks during the Gulf War” . . . and $187,042 to study the quality of life in Hawaii.
Those are just a few examples of wasteful spending our government is currently doing. I think these two representatives should take a step back and rethink what, and who, they are going after. If anything, NASCAR is one of the top supporting military sports around. The way I see it, our government’s sponsorships are the most useful, well spent funding it has ever offered in means of creating jobs and helping the American sport of auto racing continue to run – also, helping the local economies in which it travels to for a race weekend.
As a taxpayer, I ask you what your thoughts are on this subject. Is this wasteful spending of taxpayers money? Could the money be spent down other avenues, in different ways?
Sources: Freemanonline.org; The Daily Caller; cagw.org; NASCARMedia