Sunday, January 29, 2006

"Life's Lottery"


Back several posts ago I did a story on attending a Townhall meeting held by Republican Delegate Ben Cline of Virginia. During this meeting Delegate Cline spoke of his efforts to add an additional 10 State Troopers to patrol along Route 81. Money for these Troopers, estimated at $1 million, was to come from the large advertising fund that the Virginia state lottery maintains. In fact over $250,000 was spent to use the image of Donald Trump on one of the "Scratcher" tickets. Unfortunately the assembly of Virginia would not allow this money to be spent on the needed Troopers.

This post brought several comments and observations from friends about the Lottery's that are operated by each state and the benefits provided by the lotteries. Unfortunately there are also many incidents that harm those who play these games...

Many agree that money from these lotteries go on to benefit educational institutes in the states. "In Fiscal Year 2005, the Virginia Lottery hadrecord sales of over $1.3 billion. Of this total, the Lottery contributed $423.5 Million, or 31%, topublic education grades K-12. 58% went back to players in the form of prizes, 6% went to the retailers who sell Virginia Lottery tickets, and 5% went to operational expenses".

Other uses of lottery winnings were used in other manners: "Set-Off Debt Collection ActThe Lottery also participates in the Set-Off Debt Collection Act, in which prize payments are withheld to pay certain obligations that the prize winner owes. Examples of these obligations are state and federal taxes, child support and tuition from state universities or colleges. The Virginia Lottery collected $905,654 in FY 2005, for a total of more than $12.3 million since 1988."

Last week I stopped at the local 7-eleven to get coffee on the way to work. In line in front of me was a young woman 20-22 who was cashing in a winning lottery ticket for $25. No other purchases, just lottery tickets. She did not even get the $25 in her hands she just bought a ticket for $10 and three at $5 each. She did not talk, thank the cashier, or look up. As I left the store she was in her car rapidly scratching the new tickets looking for a winner... Everybody has a right to spend their money as they seem fit, but this reminds me of the phrase "Voluntary Taxation". As noted above, in Virginia only 58% of the money played goes back to the people playing...

Now I am not saying the lottery is a bad thing for it does provide a lot of funds for education. But it is unfortunate that the majority of the people playing these lotteries should be investing this money in more productive ways...

Remember Democratic Representative Dick Gephardt's reference to high income earners as "People who have won life's lottery"? Many people feel that life is unfair and their chance to make it big is by winning the lottery instead of hard work... Neal Boortz came up with some great examples in his book:

"I can't afford medical insurance. The government ought to do something".

"I need more job skills to move up in this company. The Govt should teach me those skills".

"My boss won't give me time off to go to the dentist. There ought to be a law".

"Day Care is getting expensive. The govt ought to help me pay for this".

Sometimes it's not a matter of "Winning" the lottery. It's a matter of hard work and dedication to improving yourself and not expecting someone else to do it...

In some cases: "The rich keep getting richer because they keep doing that which made them rich. Ditto for the poor. See how simple all this is?"

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm glad to see that you didn't use absolutes as in "all" and "every" Instead you used more accurate terms "some" and "sometimes."

RightsideVA said...

I have to admit that I play the lottery from time to time. Usually no more then twice a week and winnings go towards projects or donations. Unfortunately too many look at the lottery to pay the rent bill, gas bill, etc.
Money earned and spent wisely is a much better strategy....

too conservative said...

Great Blog Rightside!

I didn't even know you existed.

What were your thoughts on Tim Kaines liberal horrible huge-eyebrow raising speech last night?

The media bias does have to go-agreed.

send me an e-mail chairman@vatars.org

I will add you to our blog roll soon.