Friday, June 29, 2012
Dallas NAACP Wants Lottery Abolished
But there's another group that has now come out against the lottery being continued -- the Dallas NAACP. The Dallas branch of the NAACP recently voted unanimously to oppose the legislature renewing the lottery, saying too many poor people spend their money on the lottery and the lottery hasn't been a good enough supporter of public education. Juanita Wallace, president of the NAACP's Dallas branch, said, "People with very little money are spending their money on the lottery. This has been bothering us for a while. People oftentimes make decisions not in their best interests. We have to look out for those people."
I have been a supporter of the NAACP for about 40 years now. They're a great organization that's done a lot of good in this country -- especially in the areas of civil rights and voting rights. But I cannot agree with this latest decision by the Dallas branch. It smells like a "nanny state" initiative. That people are too stupid to make their own decisions, so the government should make those decisions (and basically tell people how to live their lives). That's a big change for an organization that has been dedicated to freedom.
People have always made some dumb decisions, and probably always will. But in a truly free country, it is just wrong to try to legislate any kind of social behavior. people should have the right to make their own decisions -- even dumb decisions, and even if they are poor. Just because someone doesn't have as much money as you do, doesn't give you they right to make decisions for them -- even if you disapprove of their decisions.
And as far as education goes, the lottery was never meant to be a cure-all for it. It was just meant to supplement other state funds, and it has done that. The lottery has put $14 billion into the education of Texas children -- $1 billion in just the last year. Education in Texas is not in trouble because of any failure of the lottery, but because Republican legislators slashed over $5 billion from education funding in the last legislative session. Blame them, not the lottery.
NOTE -- For those of you who may not know, here is how lottery funds are distributed:
63% goes to paying off prize winners
25% goes to the school fund
5% goes to retailer commissions
5% goes to administration costs
2% goes to other state programs