Of all the entities in the world to have enough money to sponsor sporting events, why does the U.S. military have to be one of them? What can any marketing plan say about the greatest fighting force on the planet that it can’t say for itself? It’s a perfectly innocent question to ask, and an especially pertinent one with the threat of automatic defense spending cuts ever on the horizon. Based on some comments on Rep. Betty McCollum’s (D-MN) success in ending the Army’s sponsorship of NASCAR, not everyone feels that way.
When I first heard about her efforts, I was worried that McCollum would turn out to be one of those hyper-left-wing Democrats who justified this in the name of ending “militarism.” Thankfully, she kept the conversation confined to fiscal necessity, of which there is very little. The military currently spends some $80 million on sponsorship of professional sports – not just NASCAR, but ultimate fighting and bass fishing, dear God. With NASCAR out of the way, other sports are next for McCollum.
This isn’t the first time I’ve discussed this sort of thing this week. Recently on Facebook, we had an interesting chat about government funding of two certain tourist events, neither of which was hard up for money. I would like to hear from my deficit hawk friends about comments like these:
It was ineffective in who’s mind? What a waste of time, what about JOBS! (What, jobs for mechanics? When does the economy ever stop needing those?)
She’s never been to a race, or else she would know that the Army sponsorship is more than just a “wasteful program.” The presence of soldiers at the track draw standing applause from those in attendance. (Yeah, standing ovations are always worth $80 million a year.)
Betty has no clue about the military. NASCAR has supported and will continue to support our troops. (That’s great, but who’s expecting them not to?)
. . . lets stop putting money in the US economy and take away an effective recruiting tool. (Now you’re telling me NASCAR needs more money? As if. And it’s not like the Army doesn’t pump all sorts of money into recruitment already.)
Number one: NASCAR doesn’t create enough jobs to justify dependence on the federal defense budget. Number two: People who want to join the Army will join it. Wait a year and you’ll see that the only effect this cut will have is a slight but necessary shaving off the expense side of the Pentagon’s balance sheet. The economy will be fine. The sport will be fine. The military will be fine. Stop worrying.