As an occasional treat to myself, I get a large, 23 oz. coke at the gas station caddy-corner to my house. This treat is more often than not turned into a depressingly eye-opening event as I am presented with a sample of the population that actually purchases lottery tickets ahead of me in line. I used to be in the pro-lottery camp; it seemed like I great deal for education funding. I pictured secretaries buying them as gag gifts for their bosses, or middle class moms buying them with a knowledge that supporting state education is far more enticing than the slim prospect of winning. I had heard the lottery jokingly referred to as “a tax on people bad at math.” What the lottery really is is a tax on people whom our education system has missed. Who are these people? Low-income families. “Don’t spend your money on this!” I want to scream. “You should be saving up for the health care you won’t be provided!”
Further, I didn’t know the kind of lotteries that would be offered. The things people are buying (at least at my convenience store) are those scratch-off cards where I think there is a better chance you’ll win. Those cards are more devious as it is not one-in-a-million style odds – which even the unemployed could probably guess is a bad idea.