Monday, September 24, 2007

We Need More Hypocrisy on the Lottery

"hypocrisy is the compliment that vice pays to virtue."

I read Kane Webb's editorial the other day where he reversed himself and came out in favor of the lottery. Why? Because he personally played the lottery while in another state and he did not want to be "a hypocrite". That might make him "feel better about himself", but it does not change whether or not a state lottery is good public policy. Mr. Webb gave sounder policy advice on this issue back when his priority was advocating policy that was best for the state based on reason rather than advocating policy that allowed him to feel better about himself.

Even his analysis of the one fact he gave was skewed. He noted that those with over $75,000 a year in income spend three times the as much on lottery tickets as those with under $25,000 a year in income. He used that as "proof" that a lottery was not just taking advantage of the poor. It has been said that a lottery is a tax on stupidity, and you decide how much you pay. Still, people who make 75K and up have three times the money as someone who makes 25K or less. Why shouldn't they spend three times as much? The problem is the person who makes 25K has even less than one third the disposable income as a person making 75K.

When the poor buy lottery tickets it is the difference between feeding their children nutritious food and feeding them junk. It is the rent. Plus, there are a lot more people in this state who make closer to 25K than there are people who make 75K, so most of the money is still being extracted from the poor.

Webb argues that supporting the lottery is the libertarian thing to do, but even if libertarian ideas are always good, government creating a monopoly and getting into the lottery business is not a libertarian position. It is a statist position. I have already said why gambling is an immoral economic transaction. The lottery is much worse than horse racing. With horse racing at least it is only a seasonal thing. That greatly attenuates the evil which could otherwise come from it.

Hypocrisy is bad, but open wickedness is even worse. When we try to legitimize our own weakness by making it easier for others to be dragged down with us then we are less loving and respectful of our neighbor than when we say, "I know I slip up and do this once in a while, but it is still wrong and harmful and we should not make it any easier to get into." My preference is that we all be righteous, but none of us are. That leaves us with what is second best: We love our God and our neighbors more than our own feelings. We are willing to keep saying right is right and wrong is wrong- even when that means condemning our own wayward actions from time to time. Hypocrisy is not good, but give me a society of people who care enough about others to be hypocrites over one that is full of people who are openly and shamefully wicked, beckoning others to follow whatever paths of darkness they walk.

16 Comments:

Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

Let me add:

This is the same reasoning that people these days use to elect wicked persons over us. People want to "feel better" about themselves by electing leaders that make them feel comfortable with their own misconduct. Placing such feelings over the good of the country and the people in it may salve the feelings, but it adds to the wrong. If we are going to pull out of the nose-dive our country is in, we are going to have to get back to the place where we are looking for someone who lives up to our ideals, not our follies.

6:56 AM, September 24, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sellout. His newspaper's management probably sees a way they can profit from ad revenue or kickbacks.

8:23 AM, September 24, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

lottery = 4th greatest public policy fiasco ever, beaten out by notables such as letting the south back into the union, the vietnam war, and the election (in 2004, he lost in 2000) of Monkey Boy

lottery = regressive tax that falls on the poor

10:13 PM, September 24, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you like contributing to the budget of organized crime and increasing their presence in your state, by all means start up a lottery.

5:42 AM, September 25, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the democrat party IS the organized crime presence in this state, what difference does it make to me who the crime bosses are? on one hand you have lying, thieving, murdering thugs who put a knife in your back, and on the other hand you have lying, thieving, murdering thugs who put a knife in your chest... i'd rather take my chances with Cosa Nostra, at least they mostly leave you alone if you leave them alone. The democrat party comes to raid your paycheck and private property rights no matter how much you hide.

7:09 AM, September 25, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pre-GW Bush federal budget:
$1.9 trillion

Current federal budget (after 6 years of Republican control):
$2.9 trillion

Get off the party Kool-Aid.

A lottery amplifies and exacerbates corruption of all types, including and especially political corruption.

8:11 AM, September 25, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

pointing out the republic weakness does not hide the worse offense of the democrat

11:06 AM, September 25, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Take a good look at that number: $1,000,000,000,000.

Let its magnitude sink in.

That's merely the increase in spending after just six years of Republican control.

Democrats only dream of implementing such an increase. They tip their hat to those who distract and confuse the "conservatives" long enough for government to grow by such an amount.

We can't afford to have Republicans in control any longer.

11:29 AM, September 25, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

there has been an increase in spending, no doubt... but provide the source of your numbers... in context of the past (a graph for the folks in Rio Linda)... notice the current direction of the deficit... and while you are at it notice the direction of the deficit trend when Clinton left office... and also provide the information about the programs put in place by the Clinton administration (admittedly under the approval of an impotent Republican congress) that were growing out of control when Bush took office.

no friend, republicans have not been very responsible, but you sir are a liar if you think the democrats ever did anything better... in fact they made things worse. the U.S. economy is a big ship that takes 5 to 10 years to turn substantially. the shitty economy that clinton handed bush was enough that it should have sunk the republican party for decades if the democrats were not controlled by such insanely extreme radicals.

why don't you take your lies and damn lies for a hike. that statistic you want us to "take a good look at" is meaningless outside of the proper context.

if you want to simply say that the republicans have sucked at managing the budget. booyah! you are right.

but if you want to make the claim that a failure to implement the republican party principles is equivalent (or worse) than actively attempting to create a socialist economy of higher government spending and higher taxes ala the democrat party then you are not only trying to deceive others but also lying to yourself.

8:02 PM, September 25, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, I see. I'm supposed to be impressed with Republican ideology, while the implementation of that ideology has the same effect and outcome as the implementation of the Democrat ideology. In other words, don't judge the Republicans on their actions, judge them on their intentions, right?

You're not educating anyone on this blog to the fact that the Democrats are fiscal losers, so stop trying to focus our attention on them. Start defending your party's actions or kindly shut up. After all, you are the one who hijacked this discussion to point fingers at the supposed real thieves in government.

By the way, the excuse that "Bush had no choice but to keep spending at the rate Clinton did" is laughable. And he didn't just keep Clinton's spending rate, he exponentially increased it!

8:33 PM, September 25, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

go away liberal democrat troll, you are not fooling anyone in your attempts to drive a wedge between the conservative ideologues here and the conservative pragmatists.

furthermore, you make the assertion that bush "didn't just keep Clinton's spending rate, he exponentially increased it!" prove it. show me the facts. when you do, you will see that is not true. you will see that the spending was LINEAR and even that included the cost of the war... even with the cost of the war, the deficit has currently turned downward and is decreasing.... that is if he sticks to his guns and VETOS all the liberal big government spending the democrats are currently sending his way

as pissed off, as most of us are, at bush's position on illegal immigration, BUT we are way more pissed at congressional spending habits....

anyway, as much as most of our asses are burning sitting in this frying pan of republicans acting like democrats.... none of us are stupid enough to jump into the fire

liberal jerks like you think you are so smart, but we see through your crap... both the camps of the conservatives that hang out here have the liberals figured out... and we will fight you together and fight each other once we have kicked your butt.

answer my questions... prove your assertions chump

by the way.... you said I'm supposed to be impressed with Republican ideology, while the implementation of that ideology has the same effect and outcome as the implementation of the Democrat ideology.

see this is where you are supremely stupid. you say the "implemenation of that ideology has the same effect and outcome as the implementation of the Democrat ideology." When what I essentially said was this:

The FAILURE to implement Republican ideology has the same effect and outcome as the implementation of the Democrat ideology.

BIG DIFFERENCE YOU DIMWIT

11:17 PM, September 25, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just a simple Google search would help you in your confused state:

"Republicans protecting the taxpayers from the tax-and-spend Democrats. It’s a golden oldie. But it doesn’t have much relevance in the past decade. As the chart below indicates, spending has risen more than twice as much in Bush’s first seven budgets as it did in Clinton’s eight years."

Source (including chart): http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/2007/09/24/bush-the-budget-warrior/

Non-defense discretionary spending for Bush's first term: an increase of 36%.

Non-defense means you can't blame the so-called war on terror for these numbers, because it's not even included. That's right, we get nailed even worse when you factor in the cost of Bush's war.

"Annual increases in federal spending have been much higher than in the 1990's."

"Real discretionary spending increases in fiscal years 2002-2004 are three of the five biggest annual increases in the last 40 years."

Source: https://www.cato.org/pubs/briefs/bp87.pdf

The largest transportation budget, the largest education budget (not even a federal responsibility), the largest farm budget. You cannot seriously expect anyone here to believe that the Republicans have done any better than Democrats in the area of fiscal responsibility. Oh, but they intended to, right?

You've had over a decade of Republican control, much of that in ALL THREE BRANCHES. They've been implementing their ideology just fine. They just keep telling dupes like you that they'll get it right next time, if only you re-elect them. And you believe them, because Rush told you so.

You are a fool if you think you'll get any other outcome by voting Republican. Just look at your top tier candidates for president- what jokers!

But pinch your nose and vote for the liberal with an 'R' by his name, because Hillary makes you so skeeered! As predictable and dupable as a starving rat.

2:49 AM, September 26, 2007  
Anonymous Rick Candler said...

Anon,
Bush has been nothing special when it comes to the budget, but a few things stand out in his second term. If you subtract spending on the war and the Medicare D program he is in line with Bill Clintons second term on spending.
The difference between the two is Clinton had the largest tax increase in history and gutted the military. Bush had a huge tax cut, 2nd only to Ronald Reagan, and is fighting a war.
There is a great article with charts from the Congressional Budget Office at redstate.com. Go to The Champions of Discretionary Spending story.

6:11 PM, September 26, 2007  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

Bill Clinton taxed and spent and had a balanced budget (which he was practically forced into by Newt's Congress). Bush borrows and spends, leaving the burden on the next generation.

Can you really say the latter is more moral than the former?

The federal government is too big. And it spends too much.

3:54 PM, September 30, 2007  
Anonymous Rick said...

Mark,
No, one is not more moral than the other and I agree the federal government is to big.
But my question to you is do you think Clinton would have had a balanced budget despite his tax increases if he had chose to fight the war on terror instead of leaving it to the next President?
An argument I hear often is our debt compared to the % of GDP is lower than ever therefore not bad. Whats your take on that?

5:09 PM, October 01, 2007  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

Rick,

Clinton was dragged to a balanced budget by the GOP Congress- he wanted to nationalize health care and that would have sunk us. I am not here to defend Clinton, and I consider the government of the last 18 years to be the Bush-Clinton administration. Clinton believed in endless war against other countries too, he just chose to attack DIFFERENT countries that did not attack the United States than Bush did. The principal of empire is the same.

The money Bush has spent on the WOT has been "spent stupid". If Clinton had "spent stupid" too then I guess he could not have balanced the budget, but we can only guess whether he would have or not. Even excluding the WOT, Bush dramatically increased spending, including the biggest new entitlement program since FDR ( prescription drug program).

The stat about the national debt being lower is rigged and does not take into account all of our unfunded liabilities. This nation is being crushed by debt and it is a way bigger threat to our economic well-being than Al-Quida.

We are on the hook right now for about $350,000 PER TAXPAYER. My wife and I don't have the $700,000 that is our share, so we are going to have to ask you to pick most of that up in addition to your own, OK?

7:18 PM, October 03, 2007  

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