The blog book
: I’ll be contributing to the blog book project as soon as I find more than 10 minutes to finish the email/post I started. In the meantime, note VodkaSchpundit‘s well-worded take on the concept:
Jeff Jarvis takes another navel gaze at the warblogs, and comes up with some fine lint.
The point I found most interesting? Blogs work like Memento.
More lottery madness
: No, I’m not buying one.
: Jim Treacher saw the same TV piece about the lottery trailer-to-Tara tale that I saw (a few posts down). His take:
Probably bought his lottery ticket with his bottle deposit money or something. Rags to riches, the American dream, etc. That was less than eight months ago, and in that time, this genetic cautionary tale has bought three houses (the one they showed would make Liberace go, “It’s a bit much, dear, isn’t it?”), seven luxury cars, jewelry out the ass, plasma-screen TVs and computers in every room, robots, a customized golfcart made out of a humvee for his daughter… Makes Ozzy’s pad look like a studio apartment.
: Gregory Taylor, a Northwestern (may alma mater) law prof, asks whether I’m being hypocritical (a common state of being for me):
But isn’t it contradictory to object on the grounds that the lotto takes money from those that can least afford it (“trailer trash”) and at the same time complain that the winners waste the money because they come from the class of people who play? In other words, lotto is bad because it takes money from the underclass AND because it gives money to the underclass?
Ah, but it takes from millions of poor people and gives it all to one poor person, who spends it stupidly; see above.
: Matt Welch sends email on the lottery, taking a stand that is either moralistic or libertarian (who has been spiking Matt’s beer?); you decide:
Speaking of the lottery, my argument against it is this — the state should not be involved in actively promoting vice to its own citizens, let alone (maybe to a lesser extent) depending on levies from said vice to fill a budget. I don’t want the state spending money on anti-smoking billboards, and I don’t want the state spending money on pro-lottery commercials. I want the state to govern. How’s that?
: Got the NY Sun today. But it wasn’t easy. It was sold out already throughout Penn Station and nearby. That means somebody in the circulation department didn’t do a good job; that means lost sales. But there were guys in yellow T-shirts outside selling it. Too bad they don’t put any of it online for all you conservatives in Blogland.
: Read Ken Layne’s celebration of newspapers, inspired by the rising Sun.
: If the Sun did have a web site, I’d be able to point you to the text of Elie Wiesel’s speech at the pro-Israel rally in Washington yesterday. If the Sun had a web site, I’d be able to point you to its very good editorial explaining why the war in the Middle East remains a war against not just Israel but a war against Jews.
But the Sun doesn’t have a web site. How odd for a paper born of the web?
Redistribution of idiocy
: So the PowerWhatever lottery is up to $325 million heading higher, maybe to a record by the end of the day.
I find it tragic.
I sit on the PATH train from NY to NJ and see guys who clearly don’t have much money carrying a thick pile of lottery tickets — which means they now have even less money — as they head to the nearest newsstand to buy more tickets and lose even more money. I see the line at that newsstand, held in by police barricades, snaking around and around, packed with people — almost all of them minorities and, by all appearances, most of them poor. I come in my building and Bob the guard, who doesn’t have a bank account and pays $9 to cash his Social Security check, is shaking head head over missing the number… again.
This is the most regressive — the most cynical — tax ever created. The poor pay it.
But even worse is where the money goes.
I watched TV this weekend as it followed up on a guy who won $195 million in a lottery. All that money is going to fund the world’s worst interior design and most overpriced cars, a tribute to the taste of trailer trash.
It’s a tragedy to steal this money from the poor. It’s a tragedy to waste it on the stupid.
Imagine what you could do with $325 million if you had brains. You could start a company. You could employ thousands. You could create billions of wealth. You could pay billions of taxes.
I’ll just bet that a smart econ Ph.D candidate could write a helluva dissertation on that, proving that lotteries are helping to depress our economy, redistributing wealth in the most unproductive manner possible.
Hey all you economist bloggers — you, you, or you — tackle that one. Calculate the total amount of income — income at its most spendable — drained from the economy; how much spending power did we lose? Then look at where the winnings went; what did it build? Then look at the net income to the government for all this and who paid and how much it cost to generate that income. Then answer the question: Are we better off?