By David Anderson, Community Matters
On June 30, Lakewood United will host Scott Kinney, Director of Communications for the Washington State Lottery on the topic: “Washington’s Lottery – Where the Money Goes”. That’s a good question.
Of course Kinney will answer ‘education’. A portion anyway. Or at least that’s what’s promoted on the State Lottery website. ‘Buy a ticket, support a school.’ ‘Your kid failing? Play the lotto.’
A better topic title would be “Why is the government in the gambling business?” That also is a good question. And Stephen L. Carter, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law at Yale, wants to know the answer.
“A government might provide a charitable service—food stamps, for example—as a way of guaranteeing everyone a particular level of life’s necessities” – i.e. protect and provide for the poor. Carter further suggests that protecting the environment, providing health insurance perhaps, and so on are certainly, unequivocally, unanimously, the rightful, dutiful, purview and responsibility of government. The health, education, and welfare of the people are – as Baloo and Mowgli in “The Jungle Book” sing – “the simple bare necessities”. But the lottery?
“The states that run lotteries today,” decries Carter, “wear away moral objections through a combination of heavy advertising and the trumpeting of huge jackpots by the complaisant media.” For what purpose? “Make no mistake,” Carter writes about state-run lotteries. “Profit is what the state is after.”
With what result?
According to Reporter Lindsay Peterson of “The Tampa Tribune” March 10, 2010: “The results show the lottery relies on the poorest and least educated.”
Now there’s a conundrum for you. The skinny from Kinney will be that the lottery supports education. And yet the evidence reveals the least educated play the lottery.
Talk about sick-lical.