NO MORE BS: Truth About Casino’s and Lotteries

Government Largess 4In the late 1980s, I was a newspaper delivery boy for the Bangor Daily Newspaper.  My route included Bayside, home of the Northport Yacht Club, the marina, and the cottages that make up this secluded community.  One day, a yacht-owning customer bought a paper, then asked me about the hottest topic, Maine was about to adopt a lottery program to “help pay for K-12 education throughout the state.”  As a kid of 11, I had no opinion on this topic; I just sold the newspapers.  But, the conversation got me thinking, and that following Sunday, I sat down to the editorials and read both sides of the contest.  Including a political cartoon that has never left my mind.

Stupidity-TaxAs I have aged and experienced, this cartoon returns to mind quite often.  As does the premise behind lotteries and casinos, the house always wins.  While living in New Mexico, the gaming commission complained that with revenues from lotteries slumping, less money could be paid to the state for K-12 education, causing a cash shortage requiring higher taxes for public education.  With their high six-figure salaries, their enormous cash outlays, and income, the gaming commission could not find sufficient money; I am not buying the excuses!  But, the house always wins.  Believe it or not, the announcement that higher taxes were looming because of a slump in lottery buying led to higher sales of lottery tickets, and the “cash crisis” was obverted.

Worse, casinos saw an increase in gambling attendees, which also helped to avoid a cash crunch causing higher taxes.  The increase in sales on lottery tickets and casino gambling also saw an expontential increase in gambling debts, gambling addictions, and gambling-related crimes to feed the people’s gambling obsessions, worsening the public burden on gambling support programs and increasing the costs of these programs.  The house always wins!King of Id-Casino

Richard Brookhiser authored “What would the Founding Fathers Do? (Our Questions Their Answers), and on pages 97-99, discusses President Thomas Jefferson’s debt and his pitch to the Virginia Legislature to hold lotteries arguing both for and against state-sponsored lotteries.  In Jefferson’s remarks, we find the trouble and the social consequences of state-sponsored lotteries.  Pres. Jefferson stated, “If we consider games of chance immoral, then every pursuit of human industry is immoral; for there is not a single one that is not subject to chance.”  Further pointing out that farmers bet on the weather, Captains of ships bet their lives and crew lives, builders bet on market conditions, etc.  Jefferson’s second point on state-sponsored lotteries makes two compelling points to today’s discussion, that of the addicted gambler and the responsibility of the state to protect them against their actions, and that building, shipping, trade, farming, etc. all produce or handle real products and services that pay off the debts; but games of chance are pure diversions and thoroughly unproductive.

Lottery Tax QuoteBrookhiser noted, “Libertarian Jefferson saw chance everywhere; Republican Jefferson saw the damage that pursuing games of chance create, and both Jeffersons dueled to Jefferson’s death.”  Worse, both of President Jefferson’s ideas are found in current society and the gambling crisis prevalent in every state in the American Union!  We find thoroughly unproductive state lotteries raking in cash through tickets and casinos, balls, and scratch-offs, creating a regular addicted population of gamblers for the government to expand to take care of, protect, and guide.  As a conservative, I ask continually, why is it the government’s job to protect and guide the addicted through their own choices, behaviors, and lifestyles?  If President Jefferson were here today, I would ask him why he considers it the government’s job to engage in thoroughly unproductive lotteries and games of chance and why the addicted need government intervention?

Detective 4Since President Jefferson is not here to ask, I put the question to you.  With the expense of holding games of chance, casinos, and lotteries, is this money well-spent by the taxpayers?  Since these games of chance, lotteries, and casinos breed social problems, creating poor people, and destroying morals, ethics, and values, is the government responsible for the addicted people crushed by gambling?  I have worked on Indian Reservations, where gambling is a significant industry, and I witnessed how much casinos create trouble, damage, and chaos.  My heart wept at the lives destroyed, the potential wasted, and the land blighted through gambling, and I cannot shake wondering why the state would allow and support the gambling and games of chance.

Brookhiser quoted President Jefferson, “… As in those of insanity, idiocy, and infancy, etc., it is the duty of society to take gambling addicts under its protection; even against their own acts, and to restrain their right of choice of these pursuits, by suppressing them entirely.”  I say NO!  If you choose to gamble until you are addicted, it is not the responsibility of anyone but yourself.  Sure, you will need help to overcome the addiction, but society should not foot the bill!  Like every other addiction humans become entangled with; society should not have to foot the bill to help the addict.  Helping the addict is the role of the church and non-profit, non-government-supported relief agencies, not the taxpayer!  The house always wins.

ArizonaUsing Arizona as an example, the Arizona Lottery gave back to the community $226.14 Million in 2020.  In 2019, the Arizona Lottery, using a Multi-State Lottery Association scheme, exceeded $1 Billion in revenue.  Speaking of how the house always wins, see the disparity between raised and given back?  More than $8000 Million went to overhead, salaries, and other sources, but somehow Arizonans are expected to feel grateful for the $226.14 Million in crumbs returning to Arizona.  Why again is the state sponsoring games of chance, creating new and “exciting” games of chance, and helping gambling addicts created through state-sponsored lotteries?

In researching for this topic, I have reviewed resources for and against lottery winners’ ravages, from the lottery’s curse, where people have gone broke and are worse off than before winning to the exact opposite where up to a decade after winning, the winners are better off financially and emotionally.  The deciding factor always comes back to the individuals involved’ attitude and choices, just like everything else in life, how you choose, how you evaluate consequences, and what you do with this information determines your destiny.  Yet, I return to the same questions, time and time again, why is the state sponsoring games of chance?  Where does all the rest of the money go?  Why is the state involved in addiction recovery programs when they caused and supported those populations becoming addicted in the first place?

Stupid People TaxA “Liberty FIRST Culture” needs to be asking more challenging questions and demanding more answers that make sense logically, that open doors for success, not addictions to unproductive behaviors.  I learned early that gambling was a tax on stupidity and have avoided the lure of lotteries.  The curse of gambling addiction has affected my family, city, state, and country for far too long without accountability from the state for their abhorrent actions and behaviors in supporting lotteries and casinos.  We, the citizens of America, need to understand and have clear information to improve choices and government directions.  Where casinos and lotteries are concerned since the house always wins, who owns the house?

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

America – Let’s Elect a Few More Bastards

Non est vivere sed valere in vobis …. merentur melius quam tu tibi semper sit.

Finest HourPersonally, I am tired of soft speakers who speak platitudes and inwardly are ravening wolves.  Pres. Obama spoke softly, carried no sticks, drew red lines without consequences, and America is far worse for having had him as a president.  President Clinton also spoke well; but, severely lacked morals, courage, a sense of honor, and America suffered.  Both President’s Bush spoke well but lacked intestinal fortitude, grit, backbone, and ultimately were bad presidents for America.  President Reagan had grit, spoke eloquently, was respected, and was a bastard whose enemies honored him and feared him.  President Trump for all his good qualities is plain and abrupt.  But, inwardly he has a spine of iron, and demands accountability first from himself, and then from those around him.  Recently, I heard President Trump referred to as a “Bastard of a Bully!”  I think we need to elect a few more bastards.  People with grit in their teeth, iron in their spines, tongues that can lash and whip, and hands with calluses from doing actual work.

Anthony Liccione is quoted as saying, “A company of wolves, is better than a company of wolves in sheep’s clothing.”  For too long America has been electing legions of wolves in sheep’s clothing.  People who can utter pleasing words, but lack a spine, morals, convictions, and calluses from doing hard work.  We have elected the political poison we currently suffer because they make a good speech.  I remember an election, in fact, it is the only time I ever voted for Senator John McCain.  His opponent was lackluster, the race was a non-presidential year, and I had heard a couple of speeches and thought Senator McCain was worthy of my vote.  Not two days after McCain’s victory, I witnessed how spineless and useless McCain truly was and my eyes opened.  McCain was a traitor to America, and unfortunately, he had excellent company in the long-term emplaced members of Congress on both sides of the political aisle.  I am glad to say, I never made the mistake of voting for McCain ever again.

Grit is a MarathonAs an independent thinker, armchair historian, and a morally upright citizen, I have been doing more work every election to scrape the shield of whipping cream off the crap sundae the electorate is handed, and know who is being offered for election.  The more I scrape, the more worthless those running for office appear.  Terry Pratchet is quoted as saying, “He was the sort of person who stood on mountaintops during thunderstorms in wet copper armour shouting ‘All the Gods are bastards.’”  That is the type of person America needs in political office.  Not the namby-pamby, wishy-washy, flim-flam artists, but people who insist that the government needs to be smaller, thus consequentially more flexible in crisis.  We need people who have suffered under the rule of bureaucrats and beat the hell out of them to achieve, despite the bureaucracy.  We need more grit!

Grit - DefinedWhat is “Grit” you might ask; well, since America has not seen a lot of grit, please allow me the opportunity to describe this precious commodity. Grit is a positive, cognitive trait based on an individual’s perseverance of effort combined with the passion for a specific long-term goal or end state.  At least, that is what the academics call grit.  Of all the people America remembers who have had a positive and long-lasting influence upon American culture, John Wayne is near the top, and if anyone embodied grit, it was John Wayne who is quoted thusly, “True grit is making a decision and standing by it, doing what must be done.  No moral man can have peace of mind if he leaves undone what he knows they should have done.”  In understanding grit, I have oft called upon T. S. Eliot, “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”

As a child, I once watched the Boston Marathon, it was as interesting to me as watching a dandelion grow, only the finish line really mattered.  As an adult, I saw nonedited pictures of runners during a marathon and understood that which I could not see as a child.  I saw men and women who had bowel movements, torn large pieces of skin away and were bleeding copiously, or thrown up on themselves and still kept running, and I came to understand why grit involves the mindset of living life as a marathon and not a sprint.  Marathon runners are not pretty at the finish line, they know about heartache, failure, blisters, torn muscles, dog bites, shoes failing, weather changes, and so much more.  The marathon is effort incarnate, planning that fails, sorrow, misery, and a finish line.  A marathon is grit embodied, sticking to a plan day in and day out, not for a small period of time days/weeks/months, but months/years/decades, because the goal is worth the effort.

On the Maine coastline, just south of Belfast, is a marina called Bayside.  As a child, I spent time delivering the Bangor Daily News to Bayside homes and got the honor to meet and talk to several of the lobstermen who came and went through Bayside’s docks.  I never expected to see professional lobstermen and fishermen in Bayside.  I was told Bayside was where the rich Boston people had summer homes and playboats.  One very senior lobsterman taught me a lesson one day about grit that I never forgot, “Without grit, pearls are impossible.”  He talked about how small amounts of grit wore down large rocks, that lobsters used grit to clean, and how grit polished.  My grandfather a few summers later taught me how to polish steel until it shined using grit.  I look at President Trump, and for all his faults, I can also see how grit has polished him until he shines.  Maybe a little more grit, that comes with 4-more years as President, can soften more of his abrasive character; but, when I see the growth that the first 4-years has brought, I cheer for President Trump!

PatriotismAmerica, I think it is time we learned a valuable lesson where the selection of politicians is concerned, “Be a good enough person to forgive the losers elected in the past, and smart enough to never trust them again with political office.”  America has lived the words of Soren Kierkegaard, “There are two ways to be fooled.  One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to accept what is true.”  It is true, at all levels of government, poor choices have been made, rotten and unintelligent boobs have been placed in power above their ability.  In the military, we called this “being promoted to a person’s maximum level of incompetence.”  Well, this is an election year, and we will have another next year and the year after.  We have been cheated and abused by the smooth-talkers long enough.  Let us elect some true bastards!

Let us elect people who buck the system, who take the bureaucrats on and win.  Let us elect some people who have grit, backbone, and knowledge from experience, not just a degree from a wealthy school and experience as a lobbyist.  We need police officers who know about laws, we need farmers who know about growing things, ranchers, and dairymen who know about long days and short pay because of taxes and dumb decisions made in capitals that kill their businesses.  We need manufacturers who make things, and we need people who do not want to live their lives in the capitals of America feeding off the work of others as a parasite, but who work while elected and long to return to doing what they love.

The Duty of AmericansGeneral George Patton was a bastard; but, he is remembered for being the biggest bastard of them all in WWII, and when the chips were down, he won by being the biggest, grittiest, most hated bastard America had ever sent to war.  I suggest ripping a few pages from General George Patton and Ayn Rand’s book, and electing people who have trod the gristmills of life with bloody feet and callused hands, who live the following: “The question isn’t who’s going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me!”

America, you are the superheroes in your own story, rise!

Thomas Watson said the following about friends, but it applies to politicians desiring to lead just as well, “Don’t make friends who are comfortable to be with.  Make friends who will force you to lever yourself up!”  Politicians should be forcing us to leverage ourselves up, to rely upon ourselves, not the government, and the politicians America needs, know that government is a necessary evil and nothing else!

Lever Up

© Copyright 2020 – M. Dave Salisbury

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