Analysis Of Against The Odds And Against The Common Good

2119 words - 8 pages

The following two paragraphs are a summary of Gloria Jimenez's essay Against the Odds and Against the Common Good. States should neither allow nor encourage state-run lotteries. There are five major arguments that people use to defend lotteries. One is that most lotteries are run honestly, but if gambling is harmful to society it is irrelevant to argue if they are honest or not. The second is that lotteries create jobs, but there are only a small handful of jobs that would be eliminated if lotteries were put out of business. Another argument that would support keeping lotteries is that, other than gambling addicts, people freely choose to buy lottery tickets. This is true, however, there are misleading advertisements that may cause people to buy tickets under false pretenses.
A forth argument that defends lotteries is that the funds from lotteries benefit honorable causes like educational and social services. While this is true, there are other means that the government could make up for that money. This leads us into the last of the counterarguments, which is the fear that if the government gets rid lotteries they will have to raise taxes to make up for the lack of funding. Since most lottery tickets are shown to be bought by people with low income, raising taxes is a better option then letting these educational services be funded by mostly the poor people and gambling addicts. Getting rid of state-run lotteries and raising taxes would balance out who is funding these services. While it is legal to smoke, because it is harmful, it is not encouraged, just as it should be with lotteries. The state shouldn’t encourage or even tempt people to waste away their money in hopes of getting lucky and winning big.
Analysis: Jimenez uses some evidence to support her view of lotteries, including some statistics and an analogy. The main body is made up of the five common counterarguments which Jimenez considers and responds to. To support her side of the argument and to answer these counterarguments Jimenez share a few statistics. She tells us that the New York Times reported in 2002, that the state-run lotteries brought in a revenue of $20 billion dollars, and that this is only 4% of the states income. She also tells us about one study in a report from the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy that shows people who earned $10,000 a year bought almost three times as many lottery tickets than those who made $50,000 or more a year. This shows us that more poor people buy lotto tickets, so more poor people are paying the taxes that benefit education and social services.
In the second to last paragraph, the author uses an analogy that compares state-run lotteries to tobacco products. She says that tobacco is harmful, and the state puts heavy taxes on it. They use the revenue to treat people who have gotten sick from smoking and to persuade people not to smoke. She doesn’t apply this analogy to lotteries but assumes that we will think of how to...

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