Desperation and Morality: where to draw the line?

When people are desperate, some turn to crime. When governments are desperate they just redefine crime- now, online gambling is getting looked at as a tax source. Why not just go all the way- legalize prostitution and marijuana too? It’s ok to fleece billions on Wall Street- and get paid millions for failing- but, sell crack and get sent to the slammer.

So when the New York Times reports that online poker may be ready for prime time- look out- the Treasury is broke and they’re becoming flexible:

With pressure mounting on the federal government to find new revenues, Congress is considering legalizing, and taxing, an activity it banned just four years ago: Internet gambling.

Congress banned Internet gambling in 2006, but is rethinking its stand. Supporters say the shift could yield billions in taxes.

On Wednesday, the House Financial Services Committee approved a bill that would effectively legalize online poker and other nonsports betting, overturning a 2006 federal ban that critics say merely drove Web-based casinos offshore.

The bill would direct the Treasury Department to license and regulate Internet gambling operations, while a companion measure, pending before another committee, would allow the Internal Revenue Service to tax such businesses. Winnings by individuals would also be taxed, as regular gambling winnings are now. The taxes could yield as much as $42 billion for the government over 10 years, supporters said.

The two measures — which are backed by banks and credit unions but have divided casinos and American Indian tribes — are far from becoming law.

via Congress Is Rethinking Its Ban on Internet Gambling – NYTimes.com.

Of course, the whole “gambling” is something to protect the public from thing went away long ago. Lotteries were allowed- “to pay for schools”- and Casino’s “would bring jobs to Ohio” are the way those in power rationalize changing their tune.

Never mind they refuse to protect American workers from being either exploited or tossed aside- pretty soon, the United States will be a giant Gomorrah- because we’ve forgotten that the huge middle class was really what made this the country of opportunity- not our Military Industrial Complex or Wall Street.

I’ve never been much of a gambler in life. It’s only recently that I’ve learned how to play poker. I have zero interest in a cash game- but don’t mind playing in a tournament with a fixed buy in. The strategy of the game, especially when playing with good players- can be a fascinating way to spend an evening. Too bad the government still thinks this is a part of life they believe they need to control. Their efforts to ban it were as successful as Prohibition with alcohol, the “War on Drugs” with addiction and the non-smoking ordinances without enforcement in Ohio.

Go ahead- deal me in. Let’s start working on things that really matter in this country. This is only poker.

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