The "news" is awash with stories about the Indiana Lottery, Indiana's casino industry, and efforts by our State's lawmakers to enact measures the only substantive effects of which would be to further the "war on drugs."
I guess our lawmakers did not watch "The Godfather" (or, as Tony Soprano and associates called it, "GF1). The "numbers racket"---i.e., lotteries---were low-capital/high profit endeavors run by Vito and his buddies. Once States started to legalize lotteries, the "numbers racket," as run by Vito, etc., took a "hit." As long as odds and payouts of the lottery are such that an illicit numbers game cannot compete---there is the advantage to the State lottery of collection; how could one sue Tony Soprano and remain with limbs intact?---and one aspect of organized crime is crippled. There should be no ad campaign that equates the lottery with a retirement program. Instead: (1) Show us (ion those ads) where the State's profits go and (2) Lower the odds so more people win, while the State still profits.
Ah! Casinos! We are in competition with other States, I guess. Free market theories mean: we must compete. Move a couple of casinos here to Indy, free restrictions on whatever games are at issue, and let the bankruptcy lawyers rejoice. (While we are at it---get rid of the Bush-era restrictions on bankruptcy.) If we are to compete, let us do so unfettered.
As for the War on Drugs---that was lost long ago. Some States even have legalized marijuana. It is time we legalize the rest of the drugs in question. We license distribution---sorry to all you anarchists out there, but this really is a sensible move---and tax the sales. Prices still will be far less than those at which an illicit distributor (a/k/a "dealer" or (archaic) "pusher) can afford to sell. And guess what? Gun violence is markedly reduced without having to touch any aspect of the Second Amendment. If drug gang turf wars give rise to gun violence, and one does away with the illegality of drugs, suddenly there is no reason for gunfight over turf. Also, the billions of tax dollars we waste when we incarcerate people for drug-related offenses can be used to eliminate deficits or just go back to the taxpayers.
Some might say---what about the incipient use of drugs and the ways in which people will behave oddly, even violently? There is one drug that figures at the center of killings, beatings, rapes, debt, and all sorts of scandals. That drug? Alcohol. When it was made illegal by Constitutional Amendment (the 18th), we saw what happened. A dozen years later the 18th was repealed (by my second favorite amendment, the 21st).
If we concern ourselves with such silliness in the General Assembly, our State will not get very far. The members of the Gene4ral Assembly will miss the important issues, like: (1) protection of the privacy of a farmer from photographs or videotapes by strangers of activities on his/her/(more likely) its property; or (2) the necessity of inserting a camera into a woman's vagina to let her know she has no expectations of privacy. A corporations and its GMO livestock have more rights than a female human being in the Hoosier State. This is the 21st Century. South Bend still is in the north. North Vernon still is in the south. And French Lick ain't what you think it is.
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