The elected officials of the North Carolina House (well, all but one), think they know better than you what you should be able to do with your money.
Yesterday, they approved a bill (SB 180) by a 116-1 vote that would prohibit certain "server based sweepstakes games." These games involve a person buying a pre-paid card (usually with long distance minutes) with different codes on it, then going to a computer screen and spinning a wheel to see if any of the codes matched winning payout. Basically, they were afraid that people were gambling (gasp!).
The lone vote of dissent was Rep. Earl Jones (D-Guilford) who argued that people should just be left alone.
Now, I’m not going to get off on a whole libertarian rant on legalizing gambling, but this bill points to the arrogance and paternalism involved in trying to tell people how to spend their own money. One lawmaker even pointed to the dangers of "you being able to lose your entire paycheck" (emphasis mine).
Well, if that’s what I want to do, why the heck shouldn’t I be able to do so? Who is government to tell me how to spend it? What’s next, a bill to make it illegal to get in my car and drive to Cherokee or Atlantic City, NJ? I mean, if there’s a possibility I could spend my entire paycheck there, we’ve got to pass a law to protect me from myself.
Well, in my case, maybe we should pass a law that says I can’t ever go to Costco or Best Buy since I’m equally as likely to spend my entire paycheck there.
It is especially hypocritical of any self-described conservative lawmaker to vote in favor of this bill and then stand up and oppose efforts from the left to redistribute wealth and equalize income. The arguments are basically the same — you don’t know how best to spend your money, so just let the government do it, we can help more people through confiscating and redistribution than you can through spending and saving.
I could be off base with this, maybe the lawmakers just wanted to make sure that if anyone was gambling in North Carolina they were using the State run operation to do so — the North Carolina Education Lottery.