Herald-Journal
Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, Sept. 3, 2001

Powerball, smowerball

By LYNDA JENSEN

With all the fuss about the Powerball winner, I thought I'd write a bit on the serious side this week.

Thinking about gambling, which is legal, of course, I am wondering what is good about it.

First thing, it's immoral at the heart of it. The idea of getting something without working for it is downright anti-American - it undermines every principle of the Protestant Work Ethic that our nation was founded upon.

A true American works hard to achieve success, not hits the jackpot by purchasing a random lotto ticket.

Second, you will never find a more sterile form of economic policy, especially in regards to state-funded lottery gimmicks.

A single lotto ticket, which costs a dollar, competes for many other bona-fide products that produce jobs in manufacturing plants somewhere, even for the purchase of raw materials.

Even a pack of gum will eventually filter down to the lady who runs the gum wrapping machine.

It doesn't line the pockets of some giant marketing firm in the south, and that's all.

Think about it - there's absolutely no value, local or otherwise, for purchasing a lotto ticket in the form of economic benefits.

What you are really doing is robbing other vendors and manufacturers from profits of their products.

Aha . . . I saw this one coming . . . "But wait a minute" you say. "Our money that is used to purchase lotto tickets goes toward our schools."

But where is all this money? Where? Looking at our schools, that are in buildings needing repair, I beg to differ with you. I've never walked into a school and thought they had money to burn when it comes to infrastructure.

In fact, recent studies have shown that states who do NOT fund their education with a formula that includes gambling proceeds actually fare better than ones who do.

Why?

Because government has a way of giving with its right hand, and taking away with its left-whatever money is made from gambling simply replaces money previously made by other, legitimate means.

And states that earmark money specifically for schools actually have a stronger base to draw from than ones that lean on lotteries.

My final thought on the matter: consider the BIG money spent by our government to persuade people to use their money in a morally questionable way. Our state should not involve itself with gambling.

What would you say if the state of Minnesota was a cigarette manufacturer, or printed pornographic materials (both legal products)?

Besides, isn't there a better way to spend a dollar?


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