Whatever the answer to that question might be, the “education lottery” remains a gimmick — one that works only because it has officially sanctioned approval to rig the odds against its users, who happen to be the residents of the state of North Carolina.
There are those who will quibble about the mechanics of how the General Assembly is distributing lottery funds, but a larger truth remains painfully clear: the lottery is a multibillion dollar perversion of every moral principle of responsible government.
After all their happy talk about the evils of the North Carolina State Lottery, Republican leaders in Raleigh did what they always do: put money ahead of morals. They had a clear chance to kill the lottery, but took the easy way out. It's hard to say what is more disgusting ... all their sanctimonious blather about family values or their despicable cowardice.
CORNELIUS, NC - People hoping to strike it rich by winning the NC Education Lottery have less than 11 months before their luck runs out. That's according to an early morning Tweet by Republican Speaker of the House, Thom Tillis, who later confirmed his plan to end the controversial program on December 31, 2013.
Thinking back to the battle over starting up state-sponsored gambling here in North Carolina, I seem to recall a hell of a lot of Republicans who swore up and down they'd do anything necessary to end that evil scourge. It was a moral issue, they said, and I for one agreed with them.
Fast forward to 2013, with those same Republicans now calling the shots in both houses of the General Assembly and the Governor's office. Those oh-so-moral men finally have the chance to put an swift and brutal end to the lottery. Will they? It probably depends on which they hate more: taxes, poor people, or teachers. From where I sit, it looks like they hate all three, and will therefore keep the lottery in place.
Time will soon tell whether these are truly moral men. I'm guessing not.
The contortions that editorial writers have to go through to make a case for banning video poker in North Carolina would be funny if they weren't so sad. Today's half-baked advocacy in the Greensboro News-Record is telling.
I don't envy Governor Perdue. Like every other governor, she's facing a disastrous economic situation, inherited from free-marketeers who held our nation hostage for eight long years. But that dire situation doesn't justify breaking a promise to the people of North Carolina about how the state will spend its gambling proceeds.
And it turns out that the staff at the lottery commission will receive a five percent raise next fiscal year, well above the likely increase for most state employees. Lottery Director Tom Shaheen says that state workers who want more money should apply at the lottery commission. He is the quite the team player.
My friends are sick of me talking and writing about the lottery. And when one of my fellow front-pagers recently won a thousand bucks on a $20 ticket, I confess to thinking, "awwww, maybe it's not so terrible." But the truth is, the lottery IS so terrible, as Steve Ford, the editorial page editor at the N&O. wrote today.
To pirate a line from "All the King's Men," North Carolina's state lottery was conceived in sin and born of corruption. We may never learn all the gory details surrounding its passage, but to say that its supporters in the General Assembly finagled it through by hook and by crook pretty much conveys the spirit of the thing.
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