Corporate Welfare Scandal Embarrasses Military
Rep. Pete Stark Sponsors Bill to End Foreign Airshow Welfare to the Military Industry
Congressman Stark is collecting cosponsors on legislation to discontinue welfare handouts to airshow contractors
On May 25, Congressman Pete Stark (D-CA) introduced the Restrictions on Foreign Airshows Act of 1999. The bill prohibits sending planes, equipment, weapons, or any other related material to overseas air shows unless the contractor has paid for all expenses incurred by the Department of Defense (DoD).
"The defense industry has been getting free rides from the American taxpayer for far too long," declared Rep. Stark. "It is high time that they share the burden of fiscal discipline."
The Restrictions on Foreign Air Shows Act seeks to ban any further direct participation of Defense personnel and equipment at foreign air shows unless the defense industry pays for the advertising and use of the DoD wares. The bill prohibits sending planes, equipment, weapons, or any other related material to any air show unless the contractor has paid for the expenses incurred by DoD.
If a contractor decides to participate in the air show, he or she must lease the equipment, cover insurance costs, ramp fees, transportation fees, and any other costs associated with the air show. In addition, military and government personnel will not be allowed at the show unless the contractor pays for their services during the air show.
"If taxpayers do not share in the profits made during the air shows and arms exhibitions, why should they share in the cost?" asked Stark. "Contractors make sales by showing the aircraft. They should be required to pay for the merchandise used to advertise the aircraft."
A conservative calculation of the total cost of taxpayer subsides for 1996 and 1997 was at least $68.4 million dollars. That is an average of $34.2 million per year wasted at foreign airshows and arms bazaars. This figure is up over 31 percent over the period from 1994 to 1995.
"The defense industry avoids these costs because DoD writes them off as official `training missions'. This is pure fleecing of taxpayer dollars by the Pentagon and the defense industry. This bill will put an end to an indulgent form of welfare for the defense industry," said Stark.
This report comes from Congressman Pete Stark's office. For additional information, try the Peace Action Education Fund at www.peace-action.org
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