Congress Spends 72 Million on Sports Like NASCAR

(What say you, Dan? – promoted by ProgressiveCowgirl)

In the most egregious example of wasteful taxpayer spending I have ever seen in my 49 years, Congress rejected an amendment to cut 72 million dollars in spending on sports sponsorships by the military, with 7 million dollars going exclusively to NASCAR. According to Inside Politics, the late-night vote on the floor of the House was heated, with 60 Democrats and 156 Republicans voting to continue funding the program.

The bill was the second effort in two years by Minnesota Representative Betty McCollum, a woman who obviously considers race cars going around a track at least slightly less important than feeding the poor, caring for the elderly, giving life-saving treatment to those who have substance abuse, etc. Even Rep. Jack Kingston, a Georgia Republican from a very NASCAR-friendly area, could not justify spending 72 million on sports when Congress should be tightening its belt. Joining them were Republican Representatives Jeff Flake of Arizona and Jim Jordan, chairman of the House conservative caucus.

Supporters of the bill say the money is used to pay for advertising to recruit people to join the military, despite the fact there is little evidence to support that claim. One wonders how much more effective it would be to invest 72 million additional dollars in care to Veterans, reducing the number of people with PTSD, depression and difficulty finding jobs. Clearly, seeing Veterans return to their communities healthy and whole speaks volumes to potential recruits.  

About nancycronk

Nancy Cronk is a longtime community activist and women's leader living in Arapahoe County. Six months before the historic "red sweep" election of 2014, she was recruited to run as a "placeholder" in HD37, and managed to bring in 40K from 500 small donors, and 42% of the vote -- just one point lower than the previous candidate who ran in a presidential year.

15 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. AndrewBateman says:

    Nitpicking individual budget items is a dangerous road to go down and it is guaranteed to lead you into a position where you have to contradict yourself.

    72 million dollars sounds like a lot out of context, but its just a tiny portion of the military’s overall budget. In fact, it’s only a tiny portion of their advertising and recruitment budget.

    But that’s not the point, making the comparison of nascar advertising versus feeding poor people is a fallacy and its deceptive, because it implies that if this money weren’t spent on sports advertising, that it would be spent feeding the poor. But it wouldn’t. It would still be spent on advertising, just in a different venue, like making a big budget propaganda film about navy seals.

    The military has an advertising and recruitment budget. They spend a bunch of money convincing teenagers to sign themselves and their lives over to the government to be used however they see fit. It’s expensive. And you can make arguments about the expense of recruiting, but don’t make it based on where they are using that money. That’s ridiculous and its purposefully deceptive, in the vein of the GOP lies that we all decry here daily.

    But the most dangerous thing about going after military recruitment spending is that it opens you up to attacks on things you (presumably) value. For instance:

    In 2011, the US Government spent $154 million on art projects. (National Endowment for the Arts)

    Each year, the US Government spends just over $18 billion on space exploration (NASA).

    I can keep going, but the idea is clear. Any small portion of the federal budget will seem huge when taken out of context and can therefor be used to attack anyone who supports it for misplaced priorities. But we should make an effort to be above that nonsense and look at the big picture of the budget and address actual problems, not made up ones.

    Wasteful spending exists, but this is not a particularly egregious example of it. It’s just an example. Attacking this is like attacking the healthcare bill for how many IRS agents will have to be hired to enforce it.

  2. Barron X says:


    before enlisting in the Army during the Vietnam war,

    I carefully studied the healthcare provided by the VA.  

    I had my accountant come up with a dollar value for the home loan guarantee benefit.

    Most importantly, I assessed the gravestone benefit, and selected the bronze marker, in case it should come to that.  

  3. MADCO says:

    Here’s a list of NASCAR sponsored cars.

    We could  use any as example- but let’s pick GEICO since I’m familiar with them and their leadership.

    Why on earth would GEICO waste their money sponsoring a car?  Because it’s profitable advertising for them.

    Same for the DOD.

    Is all sports related advertising unacceptable or just NASCAR ? (I have no numbers- but suspect NASCAR is a very good recruiting investment.)

    What about tv advertising? Radio? Print?

    What about posters?  Is any advertising ok?  

    What about David Robinson?

    Officially too tall to attend the US Naval Academy – the Secretary of the Navy gave him a waiver.

    Likewise, most USNA graduates incur a five year active duty service commitment. Mr. Robinson’s was just two years so he could play basketball  for the Spurs.

    Sometimes the far right is just downright crazy. Sometimes so is the far left.  This is one of those times.

  4. Sir Robin says:

    the money comes from the DOD, this should be on the table.

    I’d like to see some truth in advertising. Every recruiting ad says something like “Paid for by the U.S, Army.” They should say, paid for by the U.S. taxpayer.

    • BlueCat says:

      I think most people know that the army is paid for by the US taxpayer (who else would it be?) so you really don’t need to say it twice. I tend to agree with Bateman on this.

      • Sir Robin says:

        If the rational is that “nitpicking” at the budget is a dangerous road to go down, I categoreically dispute that notion. Let the nitpicking begin. Or, conversley, eliminate whole overseas stations, whole weapons systems, whole platoons, etc.

        Then, not to pile on, “most people” never read the fine print and do not question that the ad is paid for by the U.S. Army. These ads should clearly state who is paying for the ad, i.e., the U.S. taxpayer. That’s what it should read.

  5. Gray in Mountains says:

    supporting Boy Scouts and I am so ready to put a stop to that

  6. DaftPunk says:

    Do you dislike the military or how much of our budget it spends?  Do you dislike NASCAR because it is too lowbrow  and not in line with  the typical brie and quiche eating art gallery tastes of liberal elites?

    Sports marketing is advertising (and my career path prior to medicine.)  Companies will hang their logo on anything they think puts their product in a positive light in front of their intended demographic.  If this were the Afghan army, they’d be recruiting at goat’s head polo matches.

    I think you’ve let your tastes naively dictate your criticism.  If you think the army shouldn’t be advertising for recruiting, then make that argument.

  7. Gray in Mountains says:

    and people at sporting events

  8. SSG_Dan says:

    …and it all works, based on the demographic targeted. Since the Pew Foundation Study “War and Sacrifice on the Post 9/11 Era” shows that almost all military recruits come from the Midwest and Mountain West, I’m guessing it works pretty well.

    The recruiting guys have a job to do, and if this helps them get their job done, so be it. I’d like for the remaining .5% to step up and volunteer as well, but I don’t see that happen in a era where the VA is still underwater, and one Active Duty soldier kills themselves every day.

    I’m more concerned with the money DoD spends on America’s Army, because I personally hate War Pr0n twitch games, and that demo is usually too fat, too out-of-shape and too unfocused to even pass the basic physical and written exams.

    (You’d know more about that ‘tad, so feel free to expound on it.)

  9. Gray in Mountains says:

    if they can’t make their case without advertising then we have a smaller military less likely to go to war. All the marketing they do and the results stay the same. Kids, largely from rural areas join the military. They die because defense contractors have created “cool” weaponry and politicians will lie their ass off and refuse to even fund a war if they think it will get less support.  

    • Diogenesdemar says:

      just have those GSA accountants change the line item expense reporting from “marketing and advertising” to “making [the] case.”  Happy?

      I don’t disagree with your sentiment, but isn’t advertising a way — maybe, the way — to “make [the] case.”

      Or, maybe it’s OK with you to have advertising, just so long as it’s not effective advertising?

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