Cutting Waste In The Military As Impossible As Any Other Area Of Government

“We would be stealing from our nation's military and hard-working taxpayers if this amendment were to pass.”

Those are the words of Representative Richard Hudson of South Carolina. Hudson, a Republican was opposing an amendment to a bill—an amendment sponsored by Betty McCollum, a Democrat who represents a district in Minnesota. I have no doubt that, in a general way, I’d find more reason to agree with Hudson than McCollum in most cases.

In this case, the issue was ending the National Guard’s sponsorship of NASCAR racing and professional wrestling. McCollum claims this spending is a waste that results in no recruits. In the case of NASCAR, last year McCollum revealed that a driver was sponsored to wear the National Guard logo, and was paid 136 million dollars over five years—“making him the highest paid military contractor in professional sports.” Yet, USA Today discovered that the effort had resulted in no recruits.

McCollum won her case and managed to get the funding pulled in 2012. But then NASCAR lobbied hard, acted outraged, and got the funding reinstated.

Whatever you think about the military sponsoring NASCAR, I don’t understand why Hudson thinks cutting that funding would constitute “stealing from our nation’s military and hard-working taxpayers.”

I tend to think that the fact the government has the money to spend indicates it was already stolen from the hard-working tax-victims.

It may be relevant that Hudson’s North Carolina district sports “a major NASCAR tract.” Hudson insists that, because “Ninety percent of the Army National Guard soldiers who enlisted or re-enlisted from 2007 to 2013 said they had been exposed to the Guard through recruiting or retention materials featuring NASCAR, this is evidence of the value of those millions of dollars. Really? These people would have quit if it hadn’t been for the use of proprietary NASCAR logos on the materials?  That justifies tens of millions of dollars every year?

According to Hudson, the expense is more than justified: “you can’t put a price on that return on investment. To end such a beneficial program would be absolute foolishness.”

McCollum, being liberal, may have a much lower view of NASCAR and wrestling than Hudson. But even a preference that derives from bias isn’t always wrong. Are we in a crisis due to a coming debt apocalypse or not? It is hard to read Hudson’s press release and not be reminded of all the politicians and pundits moaning over the sequester. Is there any spending cut that is not, in Hudson’s words, “irresponsible”?

Behind all that, what about the Pentagon? If, as I suspect, the NASCAR spending is more beneficial to Hudson’s district than it is to the Pentagon, then we see how a politician can be owned. Even if Hudson did find Pentagon spending that was wasteful and should be cut, could he afford to vote his conscience? What would happen if someone called him up from the National Guard and told him that, if he voted the wrong way, the NASCAR Sponsorship would also be cut?

Who really owns “our representatives”?

Comments

comments

  • http://cia.americanspecialops.com/air-branch/ NASA

    National Guard is overpaid, and over supplied, so the $136M to a race car driver is a good investment for the driver, but not for my money.

    The Guard would just burn that money on better pay, enlistment incentives, health and housing, education grants for Guard children, etc. I'm sure it's the "logo" that excites people to join up; obviously it is not the pay or benefits.

    Wonder if they give the Guard discount NASCAR race tickets?

    Since when is stealing from the military and hard working taxpayers a crime or a bad investment for the government? They've been doing it for years.

  • ONTIME

    Considering the illegal moron we know as thr Faker IN the WH, is the most useless person we could have in a position of leadership and see's helping terrorist clans win squabbles over other terrorist clans and won't call them terrorist, how can we expect this marooon to set about making government more manageable, responsive and less intrusive..it's the last thing a lying communist wants to do..

  • DrZarkov99

    The Pentagon has been a gigantic slush fund since WW II, with every elected official using it to "bring home the bacon" to their constituencies. Watch the agonizing over base closures, with many bases that have long outlived their purpose still in operation, in spite of requests by the military to drop them. Even overseas bases are used to prop up allies. The bases in Germany, for instance, are no longer needed to defend Europe against the Warsaw Pact, but have become a German jobs program, with relations between the U.S. and Germany dependent on the income.

    One big waste of money is the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Rather than allow each service to conduct its own basic research, that job has been farmed out to a group that brags about the fact that over 90% of their projects fail, representing wasted billions of dollars. The supposed reason for such predominant wasted effort is that the DARPA projects are "bleeding edge" technology, and difficult to successfully bring to completion, when the reality is that many are just the result of mismanagement by bureaucrats who think they're qualified to act as lead engineer, and incredibly ignorant of the laws of physics, chemistry, and biology.

    Another form of slush fund is the 8A contracting that forces contracts to be fed to minority owned firms that are often unqualified. The perverse part of the 8A program is that while the company has to be minority owned, it's not required to conduct diversity hiring, so that it isn't unusual for a minority owned 8A firm to have few or no minorities as employees.

    My point is that before anyone dumps on the Pentagon for its waste of money, they should recognize that the U.S. military is subject to many political demands on how it budgets and spends its money. Those demands have little to do with real military needs, and the only way we're going to solve that problem is to run the bums off the Hill and elect representatives and senators with a lick of sense and integrity.

  • USARetired

    O'Bozo is not interested in cutting costs, only the destruction of our military

  • http://www.rainforestpress.com/ Randy Dutton

    "Cutting Waste" is NOT impossible. It just takes leadership to allow change. I;m a retired Navy Supply Corps Commander now but over my career I bucked the entropy and created over $70 million in REAL saving at LB Naval Shipyard.

    Want to save some big money? Change all government O&M (operations and maintenance) to biennial budgets. This will improve small business participation, reduce overall costs, improve quality, reduce government contracting costs/manpower, and improve contract oversight. It also will reduce Congressional manipulation by giving them less opportunity to earmark. Back in an Executive Contracting course it was speculated 5% could be saved -- that's out of hundreds of billions per year.

  • joshuasweet

    cut the white house travel budget after all the cost is far to much stay here in the USA have the others dignitaries come here.