Did you know that sponsoring NASCAR teams is part of the defense budget of the United States? Yes, crazy but true. A Minnesota Democrat recently proposed an amendment that would prohibit the Pentagon from sponsoring NASCAR teams. Since $60 million needed to be cut from the budget for the current fiscal year, ending the practice of sponsoring a racing team should have been a no brainer right? Nope... her amendment failed. Despite the fact that McCollum received angry phone calls from NASCAR fans she is determined to continue the fight to end the sponsorship deals.
Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) started it when she offered up an amendment to the federal spending bill calling on the Army stop spending millions of dollars to splash its logo all over, among other things, the Sprint Cup car driven by Ryan Newman....
...McCollum is taking a hard line against NASCAR, calling on the Pentagon to cease spending taxpayer funds to sponsor Newman's #39 Chevy Impala. Other branches of the military ended their sponsorship of Sprint Cup cars -- a sponsorship that comes with a hefty pricetag -- years ago. But, as the National Journal reports, the Army is still at it, dropping $7 million in racing sponsorship money on the sport last year.
The Congresswoman's staff told the magazine they could find no benefit to the Army from the deal.
"Who is in Iraq or Afghanistan because they saw an Army car go around the track?" McCollum's chief of staff said. "We're in a fiscal crisis. There's an amendment on the floor to eliminate all funding for homeless veterans. How is it more important to fund race cars than to help the men and women who served our country?" SOURCE
Not only does the Defense Department waste money by sponsoring NASCAR teams, the owners of the race tracks received $45 million dollars in tax breaks over the past two years. And, recently, President Obama extended the cuts for two more years in his recent tax cut compromise with Congress.
Ironically, McCollum received support for her proposed amendment from an unlikely source... Tea Party enthusiasts backed her fight against the NASCAR team sponsorships.
McCollum's amendment was defeated by a vote of 281-148. I wonder how much money legislators are receiving from lobbyist on behalf of NASCAR? It must be a hell of a lot, enough to make them not want to "upset the apple cart" by taking the sponsorships out of the Defense Budget.
Other than recruiting more fodder for the US war machine from NASCAR fans who appreciate the sponsorship, how exactly is NASCAR vital to the defense of the nation? Couldn't the money being spent of this frivolity be put to better use? In a time when programs for homeless people and those who cannot afford health care are being cut, shouldn't Congress concentrate on the BEST USE of government funds??
Of course the homeless, the indigent, those who are most in need are not top priority for the government even in the best of times, so why should they be when there is a need to cut corners? These are disposable people... unlike NASCAR race track owners and fans. Apparently, they count for a hell of a lot more.
Funny thing is, I am confident that there are many NASCAR fans who could really benefit from programs that help poor people. But, they have been bamboozled into believing that somehow, they will be losing out if the government does not provide sponsorship dollars. NASCAR must have a really great propaganda machine in place if it is able to convince people to go against their best interests. Because somehow, I highly doubt that all of the irate fans who called McCollum were sitting around with millions in the bank. But apparently, to die hard race fans, watching a car go around and around a track is a lot more important than supporting programs that could possibly be of great benefit to themselves. I know it is not nice to call people "dumb yokels", but if the shoe fits......