RANGER AGAINST WAR: Fleecing the Lambs <

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Fleecing the Lambs

Oh, I don't claim to be no gambler people

Oh, I don't know much about the dice

--Gambler's Blues
, B.B. King

Here's a lovely bit of hypocrisy from the Sunshine State.

It concerns absconding with people's hard-earned money, writ small. These are not Wall Street deals, but they are transacted every week at your local grocery or convenience store. The big tabs ($50 and up) occur on paydays. This is how you fleece the lambs -- the lottery, or, the poor tax.

The Florida Lottery's Homepage is like a blaring, flickering Pachinko machine. The
Lottery Department's annual report shows total assets at the end of fiscal year 2007 of $2.8 B (down from over $3 billion the previous year.)

To counter addictions to such losing propositions is the
Florida Counsel on Compulsive Gambling. The counsel makes do with donations and a $1 million budget from the state appropriated from Lotto earnings. That's roughly .ooo3% of the Lotto's annual take.

There are those who argue that people should be allowed to be as stupid as they want to be. But in the current atmosphere of astronomical bailouts going to those who knew better but did not act better, one wonders how much aid should also be sequestered for those who will never be in that league but nonetheless pay a disproportionate amount of their income in this poor tax.

Lotto's advertising budget wasn't clearly available on their annual report, but we'll wager it's a damn sight more than the pittance given to the gambling help association. Governor Charlie Crist has
proclaimed the second week of March as Problem Gambling Awareness Week within the State of Florida.

What more could he possibly do?

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Anonymous Publius said...

Unless one's done a Rip van Winkle and has slept through the past 40 years, one likely doesn't expect any type of fairness, morality or compassion from any American governmental body. It's now 2009 and it's pretty hard to muster any outrage about government does.

Our Rip van Winkle would be surprised to learn that numbers runners no longer skulk around in back alleys and are no longer subject to arrest. Instead, they work openly in every convenience store, preying on the poor. One thing that hasn't changed, however, is the corruption. But now instead of beat cops looking the other way for a small payoff, government rakes in big $$ from the numbers.

I'm not big on sin regulation. I have no problem with gambling. In fact, I played poker tonight, in a regular neighborhood game. But I have a serious problem with the state running the gambling. If they can do that, why not open their own whorehouses? Or their own bars and drug shooting parlors? All the same to me.

Government shouldn't be in the business of making a profit off the citizenry. Government should stick to running government.

Friday, January 16, 2009 at 12:55:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

go ahead and drink your whiskey
run around and stay high all the time
it's your body and your soul
you save yours and i'll save mine

a man should never gamble(3x)
more than he can stand to lose
more than he can lose

straight life just ain't your life
go out and make your own rules
shoot the dice and wear a blindfold
you're not afraid to look a fool

a man should never gamble...

go ahead and sip your champagne
do the dance with diamond lil
you'll never pay the piper
dude, just put it on my bill

a man should never gamble
a man should never gamble
a man should never gamble
more than he can stand to lose
more than he can lose

(i played that for the person it was written for...

he said "shut up and deal")

Friday, January 16, 2009 at 12:59:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Govt should provide vital services based on revenue collections/taxes.
Lotto is a corruption of the cocept of liberal govt.It fleeces the lambs but since were christians then that must be a virtue.
The citizenry may not have slept for the past 40 years but they've got their heads securely up their own asses.


Friday, January 16, 2009 at 10:14:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Old Bogus said...

Such paternalistic concern for the poor and other gamblers. Maybe these incompetents should also loose the right to vote.

Friday, January 16, 2009 at 11:06:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

old bogus,
I doubt that poor people really ncare about voting.There are heirarchy of needs before democracy has any meaning.Hunger trumps rights every day of the week.
What % of the electorate bothers to vote in a Presidential election?
I even question the validity of voting when the issues are based upon emotions rather than substance.The last Pres. elections are prime examples.When duds like Bush can be elected then we need to reconsider the philosophic basis of our national system.We're dying on the vine and we don't even see it.

Friday, January 16, 2009 at 11:22:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous sheerahkahn said...

Greed is not limited to the rich, or the middle class, it infects all stratas of society.
The pursuit of easy riches has been the staple of many a story of fast wealth in our country.
Just look at wall street today.

Friday, January 16, 2009 at 11:49:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Wall street wealth is based on being in the flow and in the know. It's based on something other than chance and luck. And this is the only thing that will help the poor.Luck and lotto. Sounds as catchy as -god, guns and guts. To appeal to the right we can say-lock, load and lotto.Now thats bipartisan.

Friday, January 16, 2009 at 12:33:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

There's one great line from the otherwise idiotic musical "1776". John Dickenson, who in the story is portrayed as a plutocrat obsessed with maintaining his own position, laughs at the notion that the poor and the disenfranchised will work together to try and make the new American government something other than a lever for the rich, the well-born and the able to keep their boot on the neck of the great unwashed.

"The common man" he says to Tom Jefferson "would do anything to preserve the fantasy of becoming rich rather than face the reality of being poor."

Welcome to our state government's part in helping to fuel that fantasy.

Oregon, too, is addicted to lottery money. I think of it as an additional tax on stupidity. If you're gambling to enjoy yourself that's one thing. But "fun gambling" to me means having a good time with friends shouting at the doggies at the greyhound track or having a pal's poker night. The "fun" in frantically scratching off a bunch of lottery tickets in hope of improving your fucked up trailer home life seems just sad...

Friday, January 16, 2009 at 2:38:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

It's not so much paternalism, Old Bogus, as the governmental hypocrisy. As Publius says, why not state-run whorehouses and opium dens?

Freedom's great -- play poker tonight if you will, if you're enjoying the game and the comeraderie and feeling a bit flush. As MB's song says, "a man should never gamble more than he can stand to lose."

Sheerahkhan is right -- avarice is one of the Seven deadly sins. Chief's quote from 1776 is spot-on. We have a nice little fallacy in the U.S. -- "Anybody can grow up to be president." Uh, not exactly.

Obama is no example of that. Obama says, if you are part black, and have graduated Harvard, you may be in politics. If your momma's a crack whore and you've got a few courses from Broward Community College under your belt, not so much.

Paternalism, Old Bogus, only in that I believe people should be educated to know where they are, and what they may realistically have, and how they can achieve it.

It is pathetic and desperate to see the people stand at the counter feverishly scratching off the numbers.

Friday, January 16, 2009 at 3:19:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Publius said...

"The common man" he says to Tom Jefferson "would do anything to preserve the fantasy of becoming rich rather than face the reality of being poor."

A very telling line. We all know the unfortunate reality is that the poor will always be with us. And here's where I part company with Lisa, who's all over that education business. Lisa, we've been there, done that. We've literally invested trillions of dollars in the "War on Poverty" (remember that war?), yet we've made no real headway.

Inasmuch as it's clear—at least to me—that we're just not going to reach those poor souls who dream of the big score in the lottery while meanwhile frittering away any chance at real workaday success, wouldn't it be logical to believe that the paternalistic state might just refrain from preying on them?

Nah. After all, the state has its needs. And inasmuch as it's afraid to raise taxes on those who can afford to pay the freight—after all, such people actually read newspapers and vote—it's much easier to extract money from those who are unable to recognize the scam for what it is.

"We're dying on the vine and we don't even see it."

Amen, Ranger.

Saturday, January 17, 2009 at 12:31:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Somehow one of my concepts was left out of this post.My position is that ALL the governors and lawmakers of lottery states are addicted to gambling .
The audit and control of lotto funds is a real shaky house of cards.Just try finding out the Lotto budgets and all you get is enron type reports that are mouthsful of mush.Sure money goes to education but where else does it land? And here in FL. little boy Charlie actually has the balls to have an anti-gambling week. I wonder if they'll shut down the lotto that week? I'll give odds on that bet.!

Saturday, January 17, 2009 at 10:47:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

The Horatio Alger myth is based on hard work and ability with a bit of greed thrown in the mix.The lotto scheme is nothing but greed mixed with desperation with a very ,very small bit of luck thrown in.
I can't count the times I've heard people discuss what they're gonna do when they win the Lotto. If i were capable of emotion it'd make me sad.

Saturday, January 17, 2009 at 10:52:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


I like it when you bait me.

You say, "We've literally invested trillions of dollars in the "War on Poverty" (remember that war?), yet we've made no real headway.

". . .we're just not going to reach those poor souls who dream of the big score in the lottery while meanwhile frittering away any chance at real workaday success"

Implicit here is the idea that the lotto jockeys are malingerers who fritter away their days. Not so. Many work a hard 40-hr. week at minimum, and fritter the money in lotto, because that is their idea of investment, or getting a return on their investment.

When I speak of educating people, I mean a real-world education about where you stand and how you can get more. I remember a C.C. teacher waking us up one day; "You are not going to Harvard, and will not have the same opportunities as those who do." Wow -- truth! Now, what to do with that.

As for the War on Poverty, that has been roundly gutted due to lack of continuity. Children in the Head Start program make good progress through 3rd grade, when the funds are chopped, at which time they begin a quickly begin a descent.

If you really want parity between the kids who live in homes without books and the others, you provide support all the way through.

We don't. We say, "We gave them breakfast and after-school tutoring for a few years. Now we feel better." And the street beckons.

Saturday, January 17, 2009 at 11:45:00 AM GMT-5  

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