I know Gary is all for the lottery and it’s probably foolish of me to even bring it up since every poll shows 70% of voters agree with him. But there’s something about the lottery – besides the highly entertaining scandal it brought us – that is troubling.
It’s this: with the lottery the politicians have found a way to make the people want to give the government money. That’s why the lottery is a truly awe-inspiring – and frightening – idea.
Most of the time, when the politicians make you give the government your money it hurts. Like taxes hurt. And that’s good because that pain of seeing money come out of your paycheck is the best brake to stop the politicians from spending more and more of your money.
For the politicians, the lottery is a brilliant solution to that problem. They get another $400 million (or so) to spend and no one is angry at all. It doesn’t hurt. For the politicians the lottery is an even better way to increase government spending than borrowing.
I know all the self-serving rhetoric from lottery supporters. It’s voluntary. You don’t have to help pay for it if you don’t want to. And all the money is supposed to go to education. But that’s just the old shell and pea game. The lottery money will just free up money somewhere else for the politicians to spend on something else.
The bottom line in the lottery is the politicians get $400 million more to spend – and nobody (or at least 70% of the people) is mad about it.