Let’s not be tempted by easy bucks

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 2, 2010

When economic times get tough, taking the easy way out tempts otherwise good, right-minded people.

Facing record budget shortfalls this year and no sign of the tide coming back in soon, a few state lawmakers yet again are considering a statewide lottery.

It’s always an easy sell.

Lotteries are popular and they generate lots of cash.

Selling illegal drugs is, too.

Young men and women across our country must face the temptation of going into the criminal enterprise for easy money and a fast way to a rich lifestyle.

Parents try to teach them that taking the easy way out isn’t the answer. Money should be earned, through work, not gambling.

Like those young people, lawmakers, too, must make a serious choice.

Should Mississippi take the easy way out, get directly involved in gambling and encourage its citizens — many among the poorest in the country — to contribute their hard-earned dollars for a one-in-a-million shot a riches?

Clearly not.

Rather than getting in the business of selling hope to those near the bottom of the income scale, perhaps our state leaders should begin seriously working toward the other side of the budget crisis — cutting spending.

Those parents who encourage their children to follow the straight and narrow path have also set the lead here. They, like many of us have curbed spending when incomes dropped.

The latest lottery bill, House Bill 337, was discussed Monday, but no action was taken. The deadline for the bill to leave committee is today.

If no action is taken the bill will die, at least until the next time temptation calls.