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Welfare Lottery Ban Proposals Includes Alcohol, Tobacco, And Porn

Welfare Lottery Ban Proposals Includes Alcohol, Tobacco, And Porn

COMMENTARY | The proposed welfare lottery ban in North Carolina has sparked a controversy all over the Internet. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, the proposed welfare lottery ban would keep welfare recipients and people in bankruptcy from playing the lottery. But other states are trying to limit what types of things welfare recipients can purchase with their EBT cards.

According to CreditCards.com, state Representative Shaunna O’Connell of Massachusetts is a leader of that state’s effort to reduce EBT-related scams:

“The fraud and abuse is obscene. Taxpayers are willing to help people who are in need. With people getting into the system fraudulently, money is not being used for its intended purpose.”

Lawmakers contend that about $30 billion in cash assistance was distributed to 4.4 million people by the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program in fiscal 2011 and they estimate that several billion dollars every year is diverted to a variety of illicit purposes. The going rate for exchanging cash for food is 50 cents on the dollar. This government money is then used to go to strip clubs, casinos, and purchase items like tobacco, alcohol, and tattoos. But one major difference is that these other states are cracking down on the gambling done in privately owned casinos, but not necessarily lotteries run by the states. So what makes the North Carolina welfare lottery ban so different?

There seems to be two sides to the welfare lottery ban debate. One side says the government should not be overly intrusive by investigating a person’s financial well-being and the welfare lottery van is another example of how America hates the poor. Of course, one issue with that statement is that, in order to receive food stamps in the first place, individuals must truthfully disclose their current financial condition in total. Otherwise, those people are committing fraud and thus any argument over privacy is rendered moot.

The other side of the debate points out that food stamps and lottery tickets are privileges in this country, not rights. Food stamps are given under the assumption that an individual is so destitute that they have no other option in order to survive. In effect, any frivolous spending is being subsidized by other taxpayers. A problem with this argument is that it assumes the right to discretionary spending is waived when one is receiving welfare.

The argument over discretionary spending gets more complicated when the welfare lottery ban is compared to the current ban against those on food stamps using their publicly provided money to purchase alcohol, cigarettes, and porn. So this comparison could be used as justification for how the welfare lottery ban promotes the public good. Yet, at the same time,I would find this slightly hypocritical since the alcohol, cigarettes, and porn ban was enacted because these items are considered “bad” by the government. Yet, in the case of the lottery, the government itself is providing the gambling opportunity.

One might also ask, if the welfare lottery ban is enacted, where does it end? Should welfare recipients be banned from all forms of gambling? Should they be banned from purchasing other items considered frivolous or unnecessary for their survival? What about government public servants whose income relies on taxpayers…should their daily lives also be micromanaged? Where does the government intrusion into our lives end?

Still, despite these qualms, I do not doubt that the intentions by lawmakers were well-meaning. The lottery is often called a tax on the poor for a reason. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, states involved in the Powerball lottery have been changing the rules in order to generate more sales. Lottery tickets tend to be bought by people who are poor and/or jobless. As a result, the Powerball lottery really tends to act more like a voluntary tax than a game.

There needs to be some sort of grace when considering this issue. After all, it’s said “there will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.” But this statement is also balanced by the fact that we’re not called to subsidize the laziness of others, who should be attempting to work to feed themselves if capable.

So far, the best middle ground solution I’ve seen is the idea that if a welfare recipient wins the lottery they would be required to refund the government for any monies received during that time frame based upon the assumption that the government subsidized the lottery winner’s ability to purchase the tickets in the first place. What do you think about the welfare lottery ban proposal in North Carolina?

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Comments

12 Responses to “Welfare Lottery Ban Proposals Includes Alcohol, Tobacco, And Porn”

  1. Natosha Cralley

    Not every person that receives food assistance is lazy or jobless..

  2. Heather Johnson

    Yes, those receiving assistance should be buying only the necessities. All other time should be spent looking for a job to get off of welfare. I am all for helping those in need get the basics. I do not want my tax money going to lottery tickets, alcohol, tobacco, porn, or anything else frivolous. If people have a problem with that, then I say do away with the welfare system.

  3. Tim Childers

    Better be careful common sense has no place in politics. They will tar and feather you after they vote down your common sense approach.

  4. Kim LaCapria

    Heather, surely you're clever enough to realize that money is a fungible resource, and that much of this is political posturing based on assumptions.

    There is no way to stop someone from spending cash assistance on the things money can buy, but overwhelmingly, people receive SNAP. Which cannot even be spent on diapers or toilet paper, much less alcohol and "porn."

    I was under the impression you had like, a masters degree or two. Surely you understand the role of properly culled data to reach these conclusions versus "Sean Hannity said it so it must be true?"

    They've TRIED things like drug testing welfare recipients, and found not only did the program NOT save ANY money, but drug use rates were roughly half that than in the regular, not welfare receiving population.

    It is the HEIGHT of ignorant privilege to say to do away with welfare, and luckily for us, lawmakers are able to reason with nuance and no one has proposed such a ridiculous, harmful thing outside of Facebook idiocy.

  5. Bruce Stewart

    Do you think that taxpayer's are comfortable supporting the gambling addictions of welfare recipients?
    I think not.
    The only people comfortable are Left wing politicians who want to buy votes with taxpayer's money.
    I say, screw 'em.

  6. Vicki Parker

    I was unemployed for two and a half years and was surviving on food stamps and child support and a state quarter collection I had started a few years earlier. It was a very depressing time and it was so easy to lose hope. I found out that hope had a price. One powerball ticket per draw, 2 per week. They cost a dollar each at that time so hope cost 2 dollars a week.I cried when Bush was reelected because I couldn't see my employment situation getting any better. Granted I found a job in January of that year but it was several dollars less than I was making and only 30 hours per week. I do on less than I was before I lost my good paying job but I don't have the stress at work I did then. And I only occasionally buy a lottery ticket now but back then, when I had lost all hope, I did find I could buy hope for 2 dollars a week. And occasionally I won a dollar.

  7. Scott Cunningham

    If you rely on the work of others to buy your food and support your lifestyle then YES your life should be micromanaged. Keep it on a debit card, don't give them a cash refund and let the State choose which stores can accept welfare.
    If you're on welfare you don't have money to play the lottery and you can quit smoking and start walking a couple miles a day to live a healthier life. If you want to smoke or not have people tell you what you can and cannot buy then act like an adult and get a job and pay bills with your OWN money, not the money taken from hard working Americans

  8. Natosha Cralley

    I worked 7days a week. Had 2 jobs an paid ALL my own billd while raising 2 children on my own but yet i still needed foodstamps to make sure my children could eat properly everydayi did not recieve cash assistance or go to food pantries nor did i recieve child support. Any extra cash i had went towards my children getting to go to the public swimming pool or county fairs. It took me swallowing alot of pride to even apply for assistance because of judgemental people like ive read on here. Just because someone recieves assistance DOES NOT MEAN THEY ARE LAZY AN DO NOT WORK there are honest working people that NEED the assistance so for most to assume everyone on assistance is unhealthy lazy an donot work is a very untrue statement more people should realize this an have a bit more heart before they pass judgement on others. No matter how much you work one day you may also need a state assistance program that u once judged someone else for recieving ..

  9. Scott Cunningham

    Doesn't mean those paying for you have no right to know where the money you are being given is being spent.

  10. Natosha Cralley

    Giving to me?? They take more from my pay than i recieve in assistance so in the defense of thoes THAT WORK an recieve assistance its not really them GIVING us anything for the fact we also pay in for that assistance to even be availiable.