Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Illegal Gambling made legal Because its Good for You

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels is pitching a lottery privatization proposal. It's no real shock. Daniels is a privatization cheerleader, advocating for privatizing roads and social services. One of the reasons to criticize these moves is that they waste money, hurt people, and create massive opportunities for corruption.

But the underlying public logic behind privatization is that we're going to make government more efficient. The real and private logic is much more explicit -- it is a way to help friends get rich. This promise is a tough one to make because a lot of it doesn't make government more efficient (shocker!). But the storyline has been repeated so incessantly by right-wing knuckleheads that it has transformed itself into common sense, even when it is presented in a way that is pretty clearly nonsense.

Privatized lotteries is a horrible idea. Privatization is a lie perpetuated on the American public to line the pocket of some capitalists who, in all honesty, do not contribute anything new to the economy.

It's made all the worse when you talk about lotteries. Those scams are a continual bleed on the poor, stealing money by offering empty promises of great wealth. The odds of winning a lottery are so astronomically low that they cannot be comprehended by the vast majority of people, and the absurd pseudo-mathematics of "well, SOMEONE's going to win; it might as well be me!" takes hold.

OBM: HYPOCRISY!!!!......Gambling is illegal if the profits go into your pocket, But its legal if the profits go into the states pocket. Now its also legal if the profits go into friends of the states pockets. Either make it legal for everyone or no one!!!!!

It is nothing less than the most regressive tax system imaginable. The vast VAST majority of lottery revenue comes from lower - lower-middle income households. It goes to supporting rich school districts with upper income class citizens who live in giant McMansions, but don't wish to pay their fair share of property taxes. It is in this sense "Robin Hood in reverse," and the country is worse off for the proliferation of lotteries. Add to that the sadness of gambling addiction that can fundamentally ruin families and take food from the mouths of children, and you have a grotesque, insidious injustice exerted upon Americans as a whole every day, with every slap-happy lottery jingle and every cutesy little TV "Mega-Millions for Life" add.

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