From Tax to Entitlement

Sal Capaldo, of Attleboro Falls, has an interesting idea and suggestion:

For those politicians who have walked through Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun on any weekday, they would have observed folks mindlessly sitting at slot machines waiting for a financial score that never comes.
The folks filling these venues are regularly found buying cigarettes, playing Mega-bucks, standing in line at the welfare office or perhaps doing nothing productive at all. Additionally, let’s not forget our senior citizens who flock to these casinos to deposit their Social Security checks. Why don’t we move every senior center across the state to a central location at Foxwoods? I can see it now — vans as far as the eye can see and acres of handicapped parking spots next to a propane filling station. Now that’s a vision …
Since we are now offering government subsidies for everything from dental appointments to bus service, why don’t we stop the madness and just give low-income Rhode Islanders free lottery tickets and cigarettes? Let’s face it, long-term it would be cheaper than asking our state brain trust to offer up incentives to small businesses looking to expand and hire.

From government officials’ perspective, such a plan might be win-win. They would claim the permanent votes of people addicted to gambling and nicotine, then when years of idleness and smoke inhalation are inevitably reflected in the health of the subsidized, politicians will have an issue on which to demagogue in order to take upon themselves the authority to further micromanage the healthcare industry — especially its financing.
The fatal flaw, however, may be the government’s up-front reliance on the money that gambling and tobacco enable it to extract from working class citizens and seniors without having to vote for broad-based tax increases. Some (central) planning would have to be done to transfer that burden to the chosen minority.

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13 years ago

According to the Tax Foundation study in 2007 the average USA national lottery sales per capita was $194.54 however, RI leads the nation in per capita lottery sales including video lottery terminals with an unbelievable $1,712.82 per capita.

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