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Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016

Irresponsible choices should not be funded

Sunday, December 2, 2012

There's a new study out this week - already disputed - that says low-income families (those making an average of $14,000 annually) spend on average $1,100 each year on scratch-off lottery tickets.

Now if this study is true - or even close to true - the issue of poverty in this country is clearly a larger issue of personal responsibility.

With talk of some mysterious "fiscal cliff" looming for all Americans, it should be a time to reflect on the underlying issues to address our economic concerns.

But the one elusive problem remains personal responsibility.

Kids often perform poorly in school because of a lack of parental responsibility. That fact is not in dispute.

And at least some of the issue of poverty is also based on the lack of personal responsibility.

But this is the one taboo that will go untouched by our federal government. And the reason is simple - you cannot mandate responsibility.

But we seem to reward irresponsible activity.

As much as I would love to avoid any political discussion, the reality is that the political arena currently in this country is in disarray. And we'll all eventually pay even more to support lifestyles that are clearly irresponsible.

We have only ourselves to blame.

Every single study will show that the rich are not the primary purchasers of lottery tickets. That territory belongs largely to the poor who pin their hopes on hitting some big jackpot to change their circumstances.

But that hope is not a long shot. That hope is an unrealistic and irresponsible approach using taxpayer-provided funds to chase some elusive dream.

If it looks too good to be true, well, you know how that story ends.

I'll reserve judgement on the study that shows massive spending by the poor until I have additional facts.

But, as I said, if even a portion of the study is correct, our problems are deeper than perhaps politics can resolve.

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Michael Jensen
Michael Jensen