Fiscally Responsible or Economic Discrimination?

Tennessee looks to cap lottery winnings at $600 for poor

While I applaud any state looking to prevent fraud and waste in their budgets, I cannot help but wonder if a more sinister agenda is in play with this Tennessee bill. The bill seems odd primarily on two counts: targeting all those receiving welfare (even if working) and placing a limit on how much the individual could claim. It appears the bill is a draconian measure meant to ensure that those who are stuck on welfare remain there. It also appears that it would, in fact, harm scholarships and grant funds available from the state as a result of these lottery sales.

Why not simply ban the money from being able to buy lottery tickets outright? Thus those working poor could use their own money to by lottery tickets, should they choose to do so. Would it not be more reasonable that should one on welfare use welfare to buy a lottery ticket and they happen to win a large sum that they receive the winnings minus whatever amount of welfare they have received for the fiscal year at that point and are immediately removed from those welfare rolls? This should of course be contingent on the amount of money won, as it would be unfair to remove someone from welfare rolls for winning a small sum (say 10,000) compared to a larger sum (say 1 million+). Why not also require some sort of financial classes for winners so they are better educated in the decision they may make with any winnings they receive?

Should those on welfare be using their funds for lottery tickets? No, not in my opinion. But it’s far more dangerous to allow the government to decide such a thing for the poor, especially the working poor who simply do not make enough to survive on. It could start that state on a slippery slope of government interference in private citizens lives. Next the government could be decided to interfere with who and how unemployment insurance, medical insurance and decisions, and so on is used, further needlessly invading the American people’s lives. Citizens should not have their lives (and potentially their rights) infringed on simply because of their economic status.

The growing statist attitudes that “government knows best” that permeate all levels of government in this nation must stop before the nation takes the path of dictatorship as all statist regimes are wont to do. Perhaps, instead of wasting time employing statist ideology to restrict citizens, governments (if they insist on imposing themselves) should be looking for ways to uplift citizenry through education, training, and job assistance, so the poor may get off and stay off government welfare, preferably through charities and private organizations dedicated to such tasks.


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