Skip to comments.Stifling a scam
Posted on 02/02/2013 11:56:22 AM PST by Graybeard58
Paul "Skip" Stam, a Republican state lawmaker from North Carolina, is taking some heat for his proposal to ban people on welfare from buying lottery tickets. His bill also proposes to drop "Education" from "N.C. Education Lottery" ads because profits fund many government expenses unrelated to education. Moreover, the state shouldn't use "education" to promote "something that is essentially a scam," he said. It's good to know Connecticut wasn't the only state duped into creating a lottery "for the children" only to see the proceeds diverted for a plethora of political, non-educational purposes.
Enforcing Rep. Stam's ban would be problematic, however, because it would fall to ticket sellers, often young convenience-store clerks making minimum wage.
Still, he makes a valid point about selling tickets to government dependents: "We're giving them welfare to help them live, and yet by selling them a ticket, we're taking away their money that is there to provide them the barest of necessities." Indeed, any lottery agent can tell you ticket sales are brisk the day welfare checks arrive.
Some politicians and government officials are worried Rep. Stam's bill would prohibit more than 1.7 million North Carolinians on food stamps from buying lottery tickets, thereby punishing the poor and reducing the government's take. What's unfair is governments in North Carolina, Connecticut and every other state with lotteries know full well that many welfare recipients spend their benefits, funded with tax dollars, to play lottery games that promise great riches but offer jackpot odds as high as 176 million to 1.
Rather than raising invalid objections and defending welfare fraud, opponents should work with Rep. Stam to determine how much welfare money is being laundered back to the government through the lottery and find workable ways to ensure welfare recipients spend their benefits wisely and lawfully.
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Here is a novel idea, why don’t we ISSUE FOOD COUPONS instead of DEBIT CARDS??? seems to me that it would solve almost ALL of the WELFARE MONEY being spent on the Lottery.
I don’t know a lot about welfare but I thought that people who live off of tax payers got a monthly check, in addition to food stamps. If so, it would be difficult, if not impossible to keep them from spending it any way they wanted to.
I think a better alternative might be a little crafty. A different sort of gambling game that is a trick to encourage the poor to help improve themselves. A lot better odds, of course.
Not easy to do, but at least it will be doing something good, or at least better.
Selling lottery tickets to welfare parasites is actually a very good idea; it helps to recycle tax dollars by at least inducing them to pay a voluntary tax.
They’re called prize-linked savings accounts, and they’ve been successful in other parts of the world. Instead of each customer getting paid negligible interest, all the interest is pooled and given to a few lucky winners. But win or lose, you keep your principal.
State governments, which in most states have a monopoly on legal gambling, have not been warm to the idea.
I wouldn't buy a lottery ticket even if every dollar went straight to my county school district, because I don't want the country school administration to have more of my money. They're a bunch of spendthrifts, when they're not out-and-out crooks.
In the same way cigarette packages have to carry a warning, every advertisement for a state lottery should be required to have a mandatory statement of the following sort: “The state lottery is North Carolina’s official tax on the stupid” (modify as needed for your own state).
And in addition, each state should be required to state what the likely after-tax amount paid out will be, especially for those folks who take 20-year payouts as a lump-sum.
One need only to check out a given state’s web site to see how incredibly crumby the odds are, especially for the instant games.
And those few people who do win big? A surprising number of them end up ruining their lives with their new-found, unearned wealth.
“proposal to ban people on welfare from buying lottery tickets.”
- common sense.
“drop “Education” from “N.C. Education Lottery” ads because profits fund many government expenses unrelated to education.”
- common sense.
“ISSUE FOOD COUPONS instead of DEBIT CARDS”
- common sense.
Nothing is more surely written in the book of fate, than that such common-sense measures will never be supported by an entitlement-addled electorate.
Good luck with that. Bet that if they were spending their own money that they WORKED for, this would be a non-issue and no further gov't money or program would be needed.
The simplest solution is a change in the eligibility requirements
Of winners. People that claim large prizes that are found to be welfare recipients are ineligible.
If someone who would rather have $5 of "non-approved" stuff than $10 worth of groceries knows another person who would rather have that $10 worth of groceries than $5 cash, requiring that the $10 be used to buy groceries simply means that instead of giving the first person $10, one instead gives the first person $5 and gives the second person a $5 discount on $10 worth of groceries.
A much more fundamental problem is that the mechanisms used to means-test welfare effectively prohibit welfare recipients from doing things which would allow them to get off welfare. Someone who is given a certain amount to spend on groceries, but is allowed to bank anything that isn't spent, will miraculously be able to get by on a far smaller grocery allowance than someone who is given an allowance that they must either use or forfeit. If someone can live on less money than he receives as a welfare allowance, saving the balance might seem like it would make more sense than spending it on lottery tickets, but welfare rules won't allow someone to slowly build a bank balance. The only way to get $5,000 cash is to win it all in one go.
To be sure, even if welfare recipients were allowed to save money, many would still blow it on lottery tickets. That doesn't mean, however, that the system should encourage them to do so.
Lottery tickets are bearer instruments. Anyone on welfare who trusts any particular person who's not on welfare (e.g. a relative) could simply sell the ticket to the other person (with payment to be made after the ticket was cashed--hence the need for trust).
Why was Honorable Senator Bob Dole representing the state of Kansas known as the “King of Food Stamps”? Is Kansas, with its dozen of populous metropolies, each with a sizeable ghetto of poor oppressed minorities, a major recipient of foo stams?
Who then benefits most from foo stams? Do their recipients hire powerful lobbies in D.C. to represent their interests? (And do they pay for their services wif foo stams?) Axe yourself!
Gee I wonder if we actually REQUIRED POSITIVE IDENTIFICATION to use Food Coupons or Necessity Coupons, if that would fix MOST of the Fraud immediately. AS for the means testing I see no problem allowing someone collecting welfare to get a JOB and RETAIN THOSE EARNINGS for a prescribed period of time, say 90 days, and then WELFARE is TERMINATED and ALL UNUSED coupons are invalidated immediately.
Everything I proposed could be done RIGHT NOW, a High School kid could write the software necessary to do this, or borrow Visa’s. All of this could be done so easily it’s not even funny. the only down side I see is it will not help anyone’s precious self esteem nor will it help even one horny 12 yr old to learn how to use a condom.
One could argue that they are simply handing their discretionary funds from welfare payments—or overpayment—back to the government.
Bingo! Brilliant idea.
You will never make it in politics.
How do you plan to ensure that the people who redeem food coupons are acquiring food for their own consumption, rather than buying it for someone else who will pay them cash for it? The person to whom the coupons are issued would be the person redeeming them, and unless you want to claim that the government owns the food up until the time it's eaten I don't see any basis for saying that the people wouldn't be free to dispose of the food as they see fit.
I agree it will not stop all fraud, however it will reduce greatly the amount of fraud, this is my second choice by the way. My first option would be to Establish Welfare Camps at various Golf Courses or Race Tracks like Santa Anita. 3 hots and a Cot LITERALLY. Allowing for them to come and go to look for work or other “Necessities” only. If you want MY MONEY here are the RULES to receive MY MONEY, if you don’t like it, GET A JOB or STARVE and DIE IN THE STREET.
The fundamental problem with welfare isn’t fraud, but rather the fact that it there’s a major discontinuity between being “poor enough” to qualify for welfare and earning enough to work one’s way up. I would much rather have a system which phased out benefits more gradually even if it meant that in the short term more people were receiving some assistance, because I strongly believe that increasing the marginal benefit of working, and reducing the portion of that marginal benefit that must be paid by employers, will greatly reduce unemployment, and because I believe that such a system would result in people gradually working their way up the ladder.
Basically, as I see it, the system seems to be run with the philosophy that those who can’t perform enough productive work to support themselves should be paid enough to live on, without having to do anything. I would much rather take the view that someone who can perform enough productive work to earn half of what it takes to survive should be given somewhat more than half of what it takes to survive, so that they’ll end up with more than if they didn’t work at all. Even if they don’t yet have the skills or work record to earn enough to survive by themselves, taking a job which pays them something will help get them there.