Friday, March 18, 2005

Do liberals support expanded gambling?

This week, liberal Washington Post columinst, E.J. Dionne wrote the following:

"Liberals see gambling interests as preying on the less well-to-do, and argue that the growing dependence of state and local governments on revenue connected to gambling is a cop-out by politicians unwilling to finance government programs through general tax increases."

He went on to say that conservative, sans social conservatives, support gambling because it enriches corporate interests. He offered no proof or even compelling statistics.

While I have no data to support my position, I contend that Dionne is at best mis-guided. In fact in their effort to expand government, liberals, and some conservatives, have pursued a policy of expanding gambling "opportunities" for both rich and poor. Of course the unfortunate outcome is that gambling negatively and differentially impacts the poor. The most ardent advocates for expanded gambling are those who cherish big government.

As of January 2005, the following states do not allow casino gambling within their borders: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia and Wyoming . Of the 19 states, only six, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island, awarded their electoral votes to the Democratic (Liberal) Party in the 2004 elections. This is certainly not definitive, but it is more evidence than offered by Mr. Dionne.

More on this issue in forthcoming essays.

Ernie Goss

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