View Full Version : What do you all think of the lottery?

04-17-2009, 01:06 PM
My take is that it is essentially a regressive tax on poor and/or stupid people.

uncle ebeneezer
04-17-2009, 01:46 PM
Except that it's purely optional.

I have never been a player because one time I read the figure on how much people spend over their lifetime on lottery tix, and I just thought I'd rather save that $, given the rather unlikely odds. Plus I've seen people become downright addicted to scratch tickets. I know the same could be said for the $ I spend on buying coffee every morning, but hey that's my vice. If people want to play the lotto, I could care less. Brings in some revenue, which is good in my opinion. Rich people gamble their $ in other ways, stocks, boats, business investments etc.

04-17-2009, 03:33 PM
My take is that it is essentially a regressive tax on poor and/or stupid people.

I generally feel the same way, and thought it was a keen insight when I heard then-Gov. Mario Cuomo blast the NY State Legislature for "trying to balance the budget on the backs of poor people."

However, I have since moderated my view a bit, and there is a part of me that feels strongly that adults should be allowed to decide for themselves how they want to blow their money, no matter how objectively stupid it might appear. I think that there is some pleasure to be derived from buying a lottery ticket and dreaming of the possibilities, although I do not myself enjoy gambling. I am in Frannie Liebowitz's camp here: I view my chances of winning the lottery as the same, independent of whether I buy a ticket or not.

I do, of course, feel sad when I hear about people who spend a sizable fraction of their paychecks playing the lottery, and even worse when I hear people who make it plain that they truly do not understand the odds against them, or who seem unable to comprehend that winning a hundred bucks with one scratcher ticket does not balance the thousand bucks they have already spent. Maybe the worst thing is being in a convenience store and seeing someone winning with a scratcher, who immediately takes the winnings in more scratchers.

But, in the end, I'll let my inner libertarian carry the day on this, particularly if the proceeds from the games are directed towards some worthy program, like schools.