Tags: Military Spending | NFL | Pentagon | Taxpayers | U.S. Navy | U.S.

Military's Bad Spending Decisions Hurt US Taxpayers

Friday, 16 January 2015 10:51 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Currently there are 363,491 shareholders of Green Bay Packers stock. Each and every one is the proud owner of a portion of a storied NFL team. Certainly one share won’t get you hugged on national TV by Chris Christie — unless you’re standing in front of a buffet line  — but the small amount of prestige is nice.

But cheeseheads are not alone in gridiron joint ownership. Joining them are 243 million taxpayers who are sponsors of bowl games thanks to the Army and Navy. The Navy sponsors the Military Bowl and the Army sponsors the All–American Bowl. The question for taxpayers is why?

Somewhere in the Pentagon there’s no doubt a PowerPoint–wielding colonel who can justify this expenditure in terms of exposure and name identification, as if we had more than one army and navy vying for enlistments and Uncle Sam wanted to make sure teenagers didn’t sign up with ISIS by mistake. What they can’t justify is spending the money now.

We’ve been treated to months of dire speculation regarding the impact of the sequestration’s budget cuts on military readiness and how it leaves the U.S. vulnerable. A private business with declining revenues and a bleak future would cut the sponsorship budget and spend the money on higher priorities. The executives could watch the game on TV.

In the government the sponsorship budget is protected so the brass can be seen on television. Even if money wasn’t tight the spending makes no sense because the military is downsizing. IBM doesn’t run recruitment ads when it’s laying off part of the workforce.

It’s bad for morale among survivors and an insult to those looking for work.
Evidently the Pentagon is simply oblivious or could care less. Keep in mind this is the same crack management team that spent $450,000 to fly four F–18 jets from Virginia Beach to Dallas for a Super Bowl flyover.

Unfortunately, the stadium roof was closed. The parking team, stragglers and cops directing traffic were in awe — but fans inside the stadium had to watch the flyover on TV. And this manpower reduction is not a recent development.

The Army Times reports that between October 2012 and the end of fiscal 2013, the Army cut 20,000 troops. Which means the Army alone had the second largest workforce reduction in the country, exceeded only by the 29,000 laid off by Hewlett–Packard.
It’s cutting another 20,000 during fiscal year 2014, followed by a final 20,000 in 2015.

The Navy is losing fewer than the Army, only 8,600 sailors will go overboard, and the Air Force is cutting back by only 1,700, which is a relative handful. You will notice no branch of the service is adding to their total manpower, which indicates that both recruitment and brand advertising are frills for the time being. The worst advertising strategy is creating demand for bad product or a product currently unavailable.

In the Washington Times bowl sponsorship story the Lexington Institute’s Dan Goure disagrees. In 2012, when the cutbacks began, the Pentagon spent $233 million on marketing and in 2013 it spent $129 million. Sounding like a man who can’t be bothered to claim the winnings on a $1,000 scratch–off ticket, Goure says, “You could cut out all public relations-related activities, every last one, and not buy an F-35 jet with it.”

You could buy gas, maintenance, missiles and tires for the F–35, but none of those expenditures come with sideline cheerleaders.

Goure exemplifies the government spending mindset. What’s a few hundred million wasted here and there when it’s just a small percentage of the overall colossal federal spend–a–thon? No one ever concludes that one reason the total is so colossal is that it’s the sum of all the waste and duplication found throughout the military budget.

The Navy exhibits a perfect example of backward budget priorities. During World War II the Navy had about 130 ships per admiral. Today it’s almost one ship per admiral. As ships have been decommissioned, flag officers are proving unsinkable. There are actually more admirals now than authorized by law.

The Navy Times estimates each admiral costs us $230,000 in salary and benefits, which totals $53 million. That’s not counting all the staff  — with their salaries — attending to these watery potentates.

The same is true for the Air Force. You could almost install a general under every fighter’s wing, like a Hellfire missile, and still have enough left over for a Veteran’s Day parade. Too much brass and too many bad spending decisions are wasting hundreds of millions of our dollars.

Katy Perry might have enough money to pay to appear in her own Super Bowl halftime extravaganza, but the Pentagon’s four-star football follies should be at an end.

Michael R. Shannon is a commentator, researcher (for the League of American Voters), and an award-winning political and advertising consultant with nationwide and international experience. He is author of "Conservative Christian’s Guidebook for Living in Secular Times (Now with added humor!)." Read more of Michael Shannon's reports — Go Here Now.


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A private business with declining revenues and a bleak future would cut the sponsorship budget and spend the money on higher priorities.
Military Spending, NFL, Pentagon, Taxpayers, U.S. Navy, U.S.
Friday, 16 January 2015 10:51 AM
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