Brother Brehd has expressed his opinion on the Tennessee state lottery, so now it is time for Bjorn to opine.
There are two types of people who gamble: stupid people, and lucky stupid people. Having pitched a few quarters into machines around Vegas and Chicago, I left with less money and less dignity. I felt like a complete moron for dumping $30 into those machines. Sure, there were people around operating 5 machines simultaneously, with a couple of them spewing out quarters, but how much money did the people spend to get to that point? After an hour or so in Chicago, I just wandered aimlessly around the boat looking at all the addicts while waiting on the rest of my homies to finish. There are much better things to blow money on, including running a website to make fun of the city you live in, but at least it killed an hour.
One thing I did not do while walking around the boat in Chicago was say “Ohhh…look at all the poor people.” Everyone on the boat was equal, unless somebody tried to put a quarter in someone else’s machine (which might have resulted in an ass-whooping or at least a verbal assault).
My least favorite argument against the lottery is the one about poor people. If you recall from a previous paragraph describing the two types of people who gamble, “poor people” was not one of them. Why is it then that a higher percentage of poor people buy lottery tickets? Could it be simply because more poor people visit convenient stores? Or because there are more “poor people” than rich people? Who knows, and who cares? Last I heard, it was typically only poor people who WIN the lottery. I cannot think of a time when a rich person won the lottery. But could you imagine the uproar if Bill Gates won a Powerball?
Another part of the “poor people” argument opposes poor people paying for middle class and rich children to go to college. As a single guy of 29, who has been working for 13 years, where is the outrage over me having to pay for everyone else’s children to attend school, poor or rich? That is an insane argument. Poor people, if they study, can get good grades and go to college too.
I favor the lottery concept because, like a sales tax, it is a completely voluntary tax. Nobody makes anybody buy a ticket. If I do not buy a ticket, I do not have to help anybody go to college.
However, I probably will vote against the lottery. As a general rule, I do not like gambling, not based on morality, just because I think there are more intelligent ways to spend money. My anti-gambling stance is what keeps me away from the stock market.
If the lottery passes, I will be happy. If it does not pass, I will also be happy. Just do not preach to me about the woes to the “lower classes” presented by a lottery. They do not have to buy tickets if they do not want to. It is not my fault if some people have no self control when it comes to financial matters.