Dan wrote today about the political manipulation of the poor. Well, no where is this more clear than in state-run lotteries.
I never play because it’s a waste of money. And with five children, I don’t have money to burn.
But some might argue that it’s fun to plunk down a buck or two even for that extremely remote chance of winning. State governments make millions off those irrational aspirations.
What’s the real reason to avoid buying a ticket? The whole state lottery system preys on the poor’s desperate hope for a better life. Joe Carter over at Acton brought this research from Jordan Ballor to my attention. And it truly is disgraceful.
A recently released Gallup survey confirms the fears of many who oppose government-promoted gambling: the poorest among us are contributing much more to lottery revenues than those with higher incomes. The poll found that people who played the lottery with an income of less than $20,000 annually spent an average of $46 per month on lottery tickets. That comes out to more than $550 per year and it is nearly double the amount spent in any other income bracket….
The insidiousness of state lotteries comes with government involvement in the industry. What begins as a well-intentioned plan to provide for the needs of the people – education funding for example – very often becomes just another source of revenue for a voracious state treasury. Lotto revenue is often diverted for new purposes through legislative and bureaucratic chicanery.
The highly promotional nature of state lotteries becomes clear as they bombard us with advertising in every available medium. When jackpots get particularly large, the media blitz becomes a frenzy, as the government-run lotteries attempt to dazzle us into the 21 st century form of “gold fever.” For the Feb. 20, multi-state Mega Millions lottery, Michigan officials tempted players with the promise of “$24,300 per day!” in a press release that described winning the jackpot as “a pretty nice payday.” In this way, state lottery boards and commissions “come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves” (Matthew 7:15 NIV).
The poorest are spending an average of $46 a month, and to get what? Nothing.
Add state-run lotteries to the list of Things Considered Harmless But Actually Cause Real Harm.