Paragraph to Ponder

Economist Tyler Cowen interviews Ralph Nader. Prof. Cowen always asks interesting questions typically from two buckets: 1) the hard truth questions and 2) the questions no one else is asking. This falls into the second camp mostly but it is an insightful question and Mr. Nader gives a very interesting answer with a good deal of theological sophistication.

TC: If someone cited to you religion and American churches as the sector of our society
that has best resisted corporatization, would you agree or disagree? And if you disagree,
what would you cite instead?

RN: They’re resisting less. They’ve given up on gambling, and the main bulwark against
widespread gambling—outside of Las Vegas—and against government-run lotteries, was
the churches. But then Bingo started in church basements, and the gambling interests
went to work on the churches. They claimed that their businesses in Atlantic City would
help the elderly throughout New Jersey. The churches lost their credibility.

A society riven with gambling is one that bets on the future rather than builds the future.
So what countervailing force is there? Labor unions are weaker. We have a tremendous
disruption of the community civic values that used to hold commercial values in check. I
only see this emerging left/right alliance against the corporate state that I wrote about in
my book, Unstoppable. It’s the only political realignment that is possible over the next
ten to twelve years. It has the support of public opinion and sentiment. You see bipartisan
reform of the juvenile justice system; a dozen state legislatures are beginning to challenge
the extension of these global, corporate-managed trade agreements in Congress; and
there’s growing opposition to more wars of choice overseas. You’re beginning to see 70–
80 percent support for an inflation-adjusted minimum wage. You can’t get that kind of
poll result without a lot of conservative workers. And the poll results come in at about 90
percent in favor of breaking up the banks that are too big to fail because we fear that their
speculative octopi will get us into another recession.

Election Day – One Note

I want to first state an analogy.  People rarely die from AIDS.  That is not meant as an inflammatory statement, but the simple acknowledgement that what AIDS does is kill the immune system.  When the immune system is lowered, all kinds of ugly diseases come forward, and we are really fragile creatures.  The word analogy – Secondary disease:AIDS::Casinos:Local Economies – what the secondary diseases are to AIDS, casinos are to local economies.  When a local economy is already diseased and weakened, along come the Casinos to finish the job.

Here is Ross Douthat with a quotation about the fundamental nature and outcomes for places that gain Casinos:

This is clearer in the case of casinos, whose consequences for the common good are straightforwardly disastrous. As the Institute for American Values report points out, the alliance of state governments and gambling interests is essentially exploitative, and the tax revenue casinos supply comes at the expense of long-term social welfare. Casinos tend to lower property values and weaken social capital in the places where they’re planted, they’re more likely to extract dollars from distressed communities than to spur economic development, and their presence is a disaster for the reckless and the addiction-prone.

Casinos are not about the economy and growth. They are about exploitation and impoverishment. A Christian who has it within their power to stop such or prevent them should. The voters are the immune system of the body politic.

And that is what you, the voters of New York, are on Tuesday, November 5th. On the ballot is proposal #1 to amend the constitution. That link is the full text of the proposed change. The abstract from the board of elections says this

Proposal One – Authorizing Casino Gaming

Abstract: The purpose of the proposed amendment to section 9 of article 1 of the Constitution is to allow the Legislature to authorize and regulate up to seven casinos for the legislated purposes of promoting job growth, increasing aid to schools, and permitting local governments to lower property taxes through revenues generated.

You are a fool if you think the reasons are as stated. You have the ability to vote no on this amendment. And that is what you should do. If you want to gamble, go to Atlantic City or start your own small stakes poker game at home. The problem isn’t gambling on such a scale, it is the institutional crony corruption that casinos and politician bring preying on your community. The responsible vote is no on proposal #1.