Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Dyche Gambles With Libertarianism

The libertarian case for casino gambling in Kentucky demands the kind of opaqueness John David Dyche utilizes in promoting it in his Louisville Courier-Journal column:

The debate about expanded gambling divides each party and produces some unusual bi-partisan constituencies. Among Republicans, libertarians focused on freedom generally favor it, but social conservatives concerned primarily with virtue generally oppose it.

That's generally true, but the conventional wisdom on this doesn't square with the facts and shouldn't survive greater scrutiny. Casino gambling is a boon primarily to out-of-state casino owners and secondarily to big-government politicians. Those who come up short are both the gamblers who choose to impoverish themselves and the taxpayers who wind up picking up the public tab for those bad choices. Where this becomes problematic is that the public costs greatly exceed the promised revenue that comes into the state coffers to be spent quickly on politician-enhancing projects.

This recipe for disaster is by no means worthy of dreamy libertarian ballads.