Saturday, December 29, 2012

Defence Spending Going Down Hole #9

I spied this article recently - thought it may give you food for thought (have edited it for ease of reading)...
US golf course right beside
the Korean DMZ!!!
When American politicians talk about budget cuts, you just know its military will be under the spotlight.
I never agree with cuts that jeopardise the safety and effectiveness of troops at the sharp end, but lately there've been reports showing plenty of fat still to be sliced off the US defence budget. For example, 234 golf courses maintained by the US Dept of Defence around the world! Imagine the expense!
Unfortunately, the exact cost remains undisclosed by the Pentagon, but here's a general idea of how much the US spends on golf courses that are in some cases closed to the very taxpayers who fund them. The US Golf Association (USGA) says the average cost of maintaining a golf course was between $384K and $686K in 1998, the most recent year it had figures for. In 2008, golf consulting firm GolfMAK Inc. estimated annual course maintenance expenditures at between $500K and $1m, and that did not include food and drink, building maintenance, and staff and management fees. So a very conservative estimate is that the US Govt spends about $600,000pa managing each military golf course...a total of over US$140m every year!
Sure, the courses generate revenue through greens fees, but the courses routinely charge cut rates. With below-market revenue coming in, and outlays at full market rates, it's hard to imagine those courses turning much of a profit, if any...leaving USGA's claim that the military's golf courses receive "little to no federal funding" in serious doubt. Mind you, that entire $140m could easily qualify as "little" funding - because the Govt spends about $6.85m per minute, so $140m is less than 21 minutes' worth!
Even if the courses are breaking even or turning a profit, many sit on prime land that the govt could sell/lease for a profit, rather than maintain to charge below-market greens fees.
US artillery practice???
And the military even has valuable golfing properties overseas: three in Germany totalling $36.4m, another in Sth Korea worth $26m, and let's not forget Saudi Arabia and Kuwait among many others. Moreover, by being located on military bases, there're also security costs to consider, as well as the cost of maintaining the electrical lines, water services, and roads.
Golf may be an good morale-builder for the military, but with fiscal strangulation gripping America, this type of expenditure is indefensible. Instead, the good ol' US of A should focus on things its military actually needs to carry out its missions. How golfing really helps achieve this is beyond me...
[Click here for more on this subject...]

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