I always thought that true conservatives eschewed the use of government to enforce so-called ‘personal virtues’. Representative Campfield, who I’m sure would be honored to be called conservative, has sponsored Nanny Bill 981 (aka House Bill 981) to help shepherd poor people into the tent of financial responsibility. If he isn’t shepherding, then he’s just trying to punish people for being poor, and that just seems too cruel, especially for a man who claims the Bible as his favorite book.
House Bill 981 in its essence says that if you collect any kind of governmental assistance such as WIC, TennCare, Food stamps, etc. that you can’t collect lottery winnings. You can buy all the lottery tickets you want, you just can’t win…
Deep in the thread of Terry Frank’s diatribe against WKRN for casting aspersions on her Iraqi uranium exclusive (I’m not talking about THAT right now, but if she had re-framed her intro, she does have the outlines of an interesting story), Campfield explains the purpose of his lottery bill:
My lottery bill will be for winnings you have to mail in for (I think the number is over $500.00 in prize money) If you cant afford food ect. and the state has to pick up the bill for you then you shouldn’t have the money to play lotto.
SEE…The Rep is chiding the poor much like a hen clucks her chicks into safety. I’m not sure the collective poor have asked for this kind of help, but The Rep is HERE, and he’s HERE to protect YOU, YOU, and YOU…(whoohooo).
At one point a couple of years ago, two of our children were full-time students in college, and the other child was a part-time student. Only one of them was matriculating at an institution that offered us the $3,000 per year from the lottery to offset tuition costs.
We’re middle-class kinda folks. I work for the state. My wife is a teacher. We’re not going to get rich in our professions, but we CHOSE those professions and we get to live with the consequence of the pay-scale of those professions. We have NO complaint about that pay. On the other hand, that three thousand bucks was a welcome relief to our financial situation.
I’ve often pondered the irony of what is supposedly mostly a lower income population subsidizing the college tuition costs of the middle class and rich citizens of Tennessee. I don’t know the breakdown, but I believe the anecdotal stories that the lottery is largely funded by the lower-income strata.
We take the money anyway. Why to we accept this regressive funding source? BECAUSE NOT ONE PERSON IN THIS STATE HAS TO PLAY THE LOTTERY. No guns, no blackmail, no force, other than advertising.
Guess what…poor people get to make stupid choices just like I do. I have rarely played any kind of lottery or ‘instant winning’ game because I know it’s a suckers bet. The ‘pick 3’ game gives me a ‘1 in a 1000’ chance to win. I’d have better odds of perusing a Campfield blog piece that doesn’t contain any spelling mistakes.
I won’t pretend to know Campfield’s real motive here. Perhaps he has a biblical inspiration to protect and succor the poor. Maybe he’s just trying to punish them for the choices that he thinks they made that led to their economic state.
I do believe that government sometimes needs to be protective of us in ways other than police and defense. Seat belts save lives and cut down on my insurance rates. I don’t want to have to smell and ingest your smoke at my place of work (on the other hand, if you go to a bar, you should be able to smoke).
But, when it comes to making personal choices about how I spend my money or you spend your money, we have the right to be stupid. Campfield, supposedly a conservative who wants to keep governmental intrusion from our lives, should know better.