The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

19 March 2003

The lottery hangs on

The Oklahoma lottery remains stubbornly undead. The Senate Finance Committee, not quite along party lines, approved House Bill 1278, which will now be sent to the full Senate. Governor Henry is now officially optimistic about its passage: asked if the bill had enough votes to pass the Senate, he replied, "I think so."

The revised bill contains a provision which will discontinue the lottery should its presence open the legal door for expanded tribal gaming, which at least indicates that its proponents are aware of the Law of Unintended Consequences.

Posted at 7:05 AM to Soonerland

I've lived in several states with lotteries, but I've never bought a lottery ticket in my entire 52 years. I refer to the lottery as the "State Tax on Stupidity." While the idea of taxing stupidity has a certain ironic intellectual appeal, it falls unfairly on the poor and working poor, who can least afford it.

They always try to con people into the lottery scam by saying "It's for education." These are the same people who told us that the Tobacco Settlement Funds would be used only for healthcare and to fund anti-smoking programs (Snort!!). Here's what will happen: Yes, the money will fund education, but at the same time, they will divert general funds that were previously used for education to other uses. The end result will be that there will be little if any net increase in education funding because lottery funds will simply replace general funds. The final result will be a "stealth" increase in spending on the backs of the poor and working poor.

Posted by: David Kutzler at 1:47 PM on 19 March 2003

I'd certainly agree that so-called "earmarked" funds have a way of getting diverted to other purposes; hardly any of the money from the national tobacco settlement (speaking of scams) has gone to the promised anti-smoking campaigns or even to general health maintenance.

A true stupidity tax, though, would fall equally on all classes, since all of them exhibit vast quantities of it. :)

Posted by: CGHill at 1:58 PM on 19 March 2003