Lottery Tickets, Welfare Recipients, and "Taliban Stam"

Paul Stam's broader effort to curb lottery practices could point the way towards public policy of some merit. His initial statement on the matter was, "We're giving them welfare to help them live, and yet by selling them a ticket we're taking away their money that is there to provide them the barest necessities." This is in many ways a reasonable and concise description of the function of lotteries in the United States. They are a regressive tax, meant to target the "undeserving" among the poor, functioning as what a Maryland legislator once called "welfare in reverse."

Read More