If the dollar has little value, then donate a few.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The reverse income tax

In Georgia, people are starting to realize lotteries are similar to an income tax, only in reverse. It takes from the poor and gives to the rich.

a recent study in the Journal of Behavioral Decision Making confirmed what we sadly already know: that lower-income people who can least afford to play the lottery are often the ones who do.

The study found that lottery revenue "comes disproportionately from lower-income residents, who shelled out a larger percentage of their pay on the games than wealthier people," Bloomberg News reported.

And the toll seems especially high among our neighbors to the south in Georgia.

Georgia residents on average spend a higher percentage of their income on lottery tickets than residents of any state except Massachusetts. And that is typically money that flows out of the pockets of low-income residents to provide college scholarships and other benefits -- often to people who are not from low-income families.

"It's a pro-rich wealth-redistribution technique in Georgia," said Charles Clotfelter, a professor of economics at Duke University.

We're certainly not against college scholarships and some of the other good things that lotteries fund. But states simply shouldn't be promoting the vice of gambling, however noble the purposes behind the lotteries.


  1. I have always described the lottery as a tax on the poor to pay for rich kids to go to college. It has always been that way, yet it always seems to be liberals that argue in favor of legalizing these things. Cohen - my Congressman - should have to answer for this support of the lottery bill. I bet overall it has been a net loss for his district.


Here are the rules for comments. Know them. Live them.