So, our politicians want us to be all proud that Pennsylvania is #1 in gambling revenue. Well excuse me if I'm NOT impressed.
Story link HERE.
Look, I think gambling is a basically a way to tax stupid people. I've said that before, as have others, do I don't claim it as an original thought. If you want to gamble, then please be my guest. Mind you the odds are better you will find more money laying on the street than you will ever winning in a casino, but so be it. I do know some folks who seem to enjoy the activity, so basically I don't care...from that perspective. I've played slot machines four times in my life. That's pretty much enough, as I know the house ALWAYS wins in the end. You see, in Pennsylvania, the state basically acts like a mafia protection racket for the gambling industry. Think about it: the state protects territories and gets a big share of the profits. I seem to recall seeing stuff like that on The Sopranos.
What I do care about though that our political leaders want us to think that this whole business is somehow great, good, noble, etc. Yes, I'm sure that the subliminal message here is "just think how much we would be in the hole if we didn't have gambling revenue", but I prefer to think that this is just another, more subtle, form of taxation to fund a bloated state budget. Put another way, gambling revenue has yet again forestalled the inevitable day of reckoning when politicians actually have to find ways to fund their promises in real time. See the pension disaster for a good example.
Wait, I have a thought. Here's an analogy for you: Gambling revenue is to Pennsylvania's budget as Methadone is to Heroin. Yes, it can help solve the addiction, but alone (without counseling and other forms of intervention) all it does is substitute one vice for another.
Our political leaders...in both ridiculous caucuses...have no interest in actually dealing with the root cause of Pennsylvania's budget problem, namely that the state simply spends too much money on the wrong things. Gambling revenue simply helps hide the mistake. A little bit.
A final thought. For all you moral up tights out there, if gambling revenue is okay, then how about we go for the big one and legalize prostitution too? That way we can beat Nevada all the way around. Hey, a vice is vice is vice. Do we really think gambling is that much more moral of an activity than prostitution? Hell, I'll take it one step further: legalized prostitution...with proper controls in place...is probably less harmful to society than the sale and use of tobacco products.