I love NASCAR; I write about it, read about it, and have been hanging around the sport for years. I also listen to NPR. I love the Car Guys, All Things Considered, Story Corps, and Fresh Air.
Battle lines have been drawn under the capitol dome; Republicans wanting to pull funding away from NPR and the Dems want to stop Motorsports sponsorships. Wait, Wait – Don’t Tell Me!
As if Congress doesn’t have enough important stuff to do, they are fighting over pennies dropped into a sea of red ink.
This year the military will fork over nearly $40 million in sponsorship dollars to NASCAR and the NHRA, representing nearly 2% of the Air Force and 14% of the National Guards annual Marketing budgets. The Army has reduced its support by a third since 2009. (Source:MSNBC.com)
On the other side of the aisle, the fight for NPR dollars is much less significant. NPR only gets approximately $7 million from government coffers each year.
So what’s the big deal? Let’s put it in perspective. In 2010 Federal expenditures were in the $3.5 trillion range. The Motorsports expenditures represent roughly 0.000011% of that total. NPR’s slice of the government pie is even smaller.
You have to remember, it’s not about the money. It’s about voter perspective. When the average voter hears “million dollars spent on NASCAR,” it sounds like a lot of money, and to people like you and me, it is. Stopping Motorsports and NPR funding both would do almost nothing to solve our fiscal situation, yet congress is wasting time and effort talking about it. Why? Because it makes headlines and costs the other party political stature.
The kind of spending cuts our government would have to make to turn this sinking ship around are ugly from the ground up. Defunding billion dollar programs to initiate the level of savings necessary would be very unpopular to the industrial/military complex. The legislative branches have neither the balls or political will to do the right thing.
The NASCAR/NPR debate is smoke and mirrors — it’s misdirection. It gets us looking at stuff that really doesn’t matter. “These are not the droids you are looking for.” Until our political parties come together in a meaningful effort to reel in spending, stop government waste, and pay down the debt, our country will continue to lose its footing on the global stage.
At least we still lead the world in Motorsports.
NPR should sponsor a car.