Our cleaning lady was smiling widely as she polished our dining room
table. And she was in such a good mood she didn’t drop or break a
single goblet or plate on the granite kitchen counter – as was her
custom – usually two a visit.
Had she finally found her prince charming? I impulsively asked,
Betty, let’s call her. “Why so happy?”
“I’m gonna win the Tennessee State Lottery,” she giggled. And then
uttered that infamous declaration immortalized by losers: “Somebody’s
gonna win – might as well be me.” Evidently, the booty amounted to a
couple hundred million because counter to the mantra, nobody had won
for eons. Today they’d pluck the lucky number out of a barrel. And
Betty had twenty-five tickets. How could she lose? They only sold
approximately 100,000 or so.
Lotteries? A verification of Bastiat’s contention that the state's one form of expertise is “plunder.” Whatta racket – you’ll find better
odds at your local racetrack or casino. And to heighten the state’s
hypocrisy: Gambling is illegal for you even in your home. The letter
of the law says you and your Wednesday night Poker club can end up in
jail subsisting on grits and bread crusts.
It wouldn’t grate so badly on my sense of justice if the State
solicited gambling gangs in a formal competition in which the main
variable was payout vs ticket income. As an 87% libertarian, I
believe people should be allowed financial ruin if they so desire.
But it should not be sponsored by the State that prohibits gambling.
They prohibit theft, too, of course, but their main source of revenue
is taxes – a euphanism for theft. Theft is theft and so what if they
patch my street with tar every three years. They provide schools,
too, but the real value of roads and schools and such services never
quite equals the “take” from taxes. And you can’t sell Hootch, either,
but the State can.
By the way, I’m quite proud that my state, Alabama, amid flagrant
corruption from the gambling lobby, rejected a lottery. It’s
Tennessee that caved in. Coincidently, the purchase of mansions,
yachts, barrels of caviar, and Rolexes by state legislators
skyrocketed. Supply and demand, you know. I’m waiting for the states
to open up a string of escort services. Quite legal if run by the
The humor of Ted, the Scribbler on the Roof, appears in newspapers around the U.S., on National Public Radio in Huntsville, Alabama and numerous web sites.