The biggest drags on the national debt are entitlements and military spending, and Rep. Betty McCollum thinks the Army's $7 million sponsorship deal with NASCAR is a fine place for the Pentagon trim spending.
"It's just a waste of money," McCollum chief of staff Bill Harper told the National Journal. "The military shouldn't be in the business of sponsoring race cars, they should be in the business of fighting wars."[jump]
Whoa there, says NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston. You're cutting off a prime recruiting tool. One in five NASCAR fans has served in the military, he says, and service personnel are more than 150 percent more likely to be NASCAR fans than civilians are.
"NASCAR fans are the kind of people who fight America's wars, which would put into question the wisdom of banning the military's ability to reach out to them," Poston said.
Or maybe not. Harper says McCollum's move just carries on a trend. The Army is already cutting back on its NASCAR budget, down from $11.6 million in 2009 to the present $7 million. The Marine Corps, Navy, and Coast Guard all stopped sponsoring NASCAR in 2006.
McCollum, a St. Paul Democrat, probably also figured that NASCAR dads, a reliably Republican voting block, probably weren't moving into her column anyway. Her call to defund the NASCAR deal isn't going to cost her much at the polls.