The cuts to the defense budget in sequestration were much larger than they should have been–that was the only way that the Democrats would have even considered sequestration as an alternative to working out a sensible budget. However, the way the cuts have been implemented does not reflect a lot of wisdom on the part of the people making the decisions. Just as in the recent government shutdown, many of the sequester cuts were made in places where it would be most obvious–not in places were it would actually make sense.
On Thursday, Military.com posted an article about one area where the cuts did more harm than good. One place where the Defense Department made cuts was in the air shows put on in various areas of the country. These air shows provide entertainment, but in many cases have a much broader purpose–the provide a chance for Americans to interact with our military. The air show at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar was cancelled the day before it was supposed to take place.
According to the article, the cancellation of that air show cost the base between $600,000 and $700,000.
The article further reports:
Last year’s air show netted $1.6 million in profit, which goes back into Marine Corps Community Services programs on base, including family readiness programs, the youth and teen center, and fitness programs, officials said.
The Miramar air show was originally scheduled for Oct. 4-6, but sequestration cuts grounded many military planes and helicopters. The base asked the Pentagon for a waiver to allow them to fly military aircraft at the show, and when it was denied, officials decided the show would go on anyway.
The sequestration version of the air show was to be two days long and feature civilian flying demonstrations and acrobatics, along with military aircraft parked on the tarmac.
And while the show is typically paid for with sponsorship money, appropriated and nonappropriated funds, no appropriated-fund monies were to be used for this year’s event, said Lt. Chad Hill, a Miramar spokesman.
Among other things, the military air shows give Americans a chance to see what their military is doing and to meet many of the members of the military. Aside from raising money to support military families, the shows are a good way to remind the public that there are many brave young men and women serving our country in the military.
Unfortunately, when the government was shut down, the show had to be cancelled again.
The article reports:
Then the government shut down. Base officials continued moving forward with the show, but were told the morning before it was to begin that all nonessential activities — including outreach events like the air show — were not authorized under a shutdown.
Many of the acts were already on base preparing when Farnham held another press conference.
The Pentagon’s restrictions were “more than I had the authority to overcome,” he said. “The timing probably couldn’t be worse … but it is what it is.”
The fact that the government was shut down was unfortunate, but the fact that the shutdown was managed by a group of petulant leaders who chose to punish the American people for the shutdown was truly despicable. It is a shame that we have such petty people running our country.