If you read our articles regularly, you may know the U.S. military is prone to wasting money on things that simply don’t work.
Not only because a lot of the programs they implement end up backfiring, putting weapons and tools purchased with U.S. taxpayer money in the hands of terrorists, but also because they often spend money on superfluous materials that have no real purpose.
But perhaps what you may not have known until now is that the U.S. military also spends millions sponsoring sports teams and athletes. Well, that is, until the House Appropriations Committee approved an amendment that bans military sponsorship of sports. Perhaps now that the bill is going to the House floor for a vote, things might end up changing soon.
Over the past five years, the National Guard has spent $136 million on Dale Earnhardt Jr., NASCAR’s most popular driver. And what for? To get people to become engaged enough that they would enlist. The problem is that the advertising effort is simply not paying off.
In 2009 alone, Earnhardt earned $27.35 million in taxpayer dollars due to the National Guard’s sponsorship. However, only 343 guardsmen were recruited during that year. That means that the National Guard spent $80,000 to recruit each guardsman.
In 2012, something even worse happened.
When surveying new guardsmen who enlisted that year, not one said that NASCAR had been the reason they joined. Still, more than $26 million was spent that year on Earnhardt.
In the past, the military was harshly criticized for spending millions of taxpayer dollars on “patriotic displays” at sporting events, prompting many to wonder whether the advertising even made sense.
If other governments did the same, wouldn’t we call them propagandists? Why is it OK when the U.S. military does it?
When it comes to taxpayer dollars, it’s common to think of the funds as “free” money, but the revenue comes from individuals who have part of their hard-earned pay taken by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regularly so programs such as the ones run by the military can be funded. Technically speaking, these people are entitled to feel horrified, if not flat-out offended, whenever they learn their money is used on something they would never spend on themselves.
But they are also entitled to simply feel cheated out of their tax dollars by learning that the money they are earning is going toward programs that simply do not produce any tangible or positive results.
Whatever reason you may have to disagree with the military or any other government agency spending your money, we can all agree that the mindless waste has gone too far.