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Alex Hammer

Gambling is Like a Tax
By Alex Hammer
Jul 26, 2007 - 2:36:51 PM

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If you think about it in terms of where the money starts out, and where it (some of it) ends up. All taxes are voluntary (theoretically speaking, not practically) in that if we don't want to pay them we simply don't buy anything, earn anything, or own property, etc.!

In Aug. 3 of last year in the Magic City Morning Star, in an article entitled, "Gambling and TABOR",, I wrote in part" "Gambling is a get rich quick type of mentality, while in fact success is most often much slower and hard earned."

Related to economic development I added (minor edits): "Gambling is an attempted shortcut to true economic development. It is, in fact, a lazy man's (or woman's) approach to economic development. Here's why. True economic development strengthens the bonds of community. Gambling weakens them. True economic development provides needed goods or services, creating value. Gambling creates its output through a recycling of the resources that the community already has. Yes, I will concede that gambling brings in some outside individuals and also that it provides some form of entertainment. However, its role as economic development is predicated upon the view that a process that is not value-added for the individual (and in fact can be destructive) becomes value-added for the community. How can you separate out the individual from the community in this way? To my mind that is a disconnect that doesn't hold up."

I realize that this is, perhaps, a bit of a mouthful (I've never really mastered the art of speaking in small sentences!)

In regard to the second part of that article, TABOR, it occurs to me now that some people's description of TABOR (which as we all know came relatively close to passing) as "the wrong solution for the right problem" could describe gambling quite well. I am very pleased in regard to what seems to me (personal observation only) to be increasing regularly over time the recognition in Maine of the need for economic development investments to help economically transition Maine successfully into the 21st century (petty point perhaps, but check if you want into who has been using this type of language first, and who second).

Often in Maine we hear about the number of jobs created. But more so even than the number I am most concerned about their quality. When less of we Mainers (I hope that is respectable grammar) are working more than one job, and at a more lucrative wage and with good benefits, then we'll have Maine job metrics that are more meaningful.

They say that drastic times can call for drastic measures. I say that drastic times would call for extraordinary measures. The difference between the two (extraordinary versus drastic) is one of quality. And of course that is the critical dimension.

They say also (whoever "they" are, I suppose), that "the future is what you make it". To the degree that we may find some truth in that, individually and/or collectively, is that something that you are prepared to gamble with?

Gambling and taxes. We're Mainers (there he goes stating the obvious). We're smart.

Let's find a better way.

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