In a prime example of how irony is lost on politicians, lawmakers in North Carolina are proposing to prohibit people receiving welfare from playing in the lottery.
Perhaps the legislators aren’t aware of what state lotteries are, in effect if not intent, designed to do: redistribute the income of mostly poor Americans to a handful of other citizens—and to the state’s coffers.
Nevertheless, the lawmaker’s moral intuitions seem to be leading them to good intentions. As Rep. Paul Stam says, “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.”
Okay, so maybe the irony isn’t lost on every politician.
You might be wondering how they could actually implement such a ban since it’s not obvious who is on welfare. According the Christian Post, at present the proposals seek to ban lottery ticket merchants if they “knowingly” sell a lottery ticket to someone on welfare. So the lawmakers are hoping that cashiers and sellers would be able to recognize locals who use food stamps, and therefore should refuse to sell lottery tickets to those people.
In other words the government wants to punish business owners for helping facilitate government sponsored gambling to people on the government dole.
I have a better idea—not a good idea, mind you, just a better idea that the punish-the-innocent approach that the government wants to take.