As we Americans peer out over the Fiscal Cliff, we wonder whether we are going to fall over or get pulled back. Right now it’s like watching an MMA
fight night with two camps going at it, you have the Republicans and the Democrats, and the night is headlined by Boehner vs. Obama.
The Republicans want to extend all of the Bush tax cuts while Obama wants to end them for the wealthy. Republicans want to cut more social programs
and government spending while Obama wants to preserve the programs. Both sides know they are going to have to meet somewhere in the middle.
Why do they have to? Why can’t both sides get what they want by seeking out other sources of income? Isn’t that how the business world works?
Companies diversify to maximize profits. Certain products may produce more than others. In your home if you’re pinching from check to check you
either have to cut something from the budget or take another job, or you may think of some other ways to raise money. You may have a garage sale or
sell some stuff on Ebay. Better yet, maybe you are good at poker and you decide to play some online, if it were legal of course, which brings me to my
The government could use online poker and other vices to raise money instead of raising taxes. Before I go on I just want to point out that I am a
conservative and the normal thought process for conservatives would be to staunchly stand against gambling and other vices, but I’m also a believer
in people’s right to live as they wish. If I choose to play online poker in my living room, it's not hurting anyone else. That’s why we make
laws, for the public good, for the welfare and safety of citizens. How does my playing online poker jeopardize the safety and welfare of the
I believe our government should regulate online poker and other vices instead of paying outrageous amounts of money every year to try to stop grown
men and women from doing as they purely desire.
Now I know that taxing our vices won't raise near enough to solve the nation’s problems right now, but it’s a great start and it would ease the
burden on the taxpayer. Think about it, instead of taxes going up on everyone without a choice, it would only hurt those who choose to have a vice.
I may choose to throw some of my money into an online poker pot and if I win, I’d expect that some of that pot is going to get raked first by the
Analysts predicted a few years back that online poker could raise $2 billion a year, but they went by the numbers of people that were playing at the
time. These were the millions of Americans who were throwing their money into illegal websites with no regulation. We at the time didn’t know if
we’d get paid adequately, or if opponents were able to see our hands. We simply had to trust that everything was on the up and up. Also, we had to
hope that the Feds weren’t going to kick down our doors and arrest us for playing because it was illegal. If it was legalized and regulated, I
believe that more Americans would play than ever before. We’d feel comfortable knowing that the site operators had someone to be accountable to,
and we’d know what we were doing is legal. So, $2 billion is a small figure.
How would the government make money from online poker? They would put a small tax on each pot that is played in cash poker games. For example, when
you play in a casino, the casino rakes each pot up to 10%, or $4 or $5 maximums. Online is similar. Say the government chooses to place a 1% tax on
each pot with a $1 maximum. There are literally hundreds of thousands of hands per hour played in the online poker world. The government would also
charge a licensing fee to the operators of each online poker site.
Still not a large amount considering we spend over a trillion a year.
There are other vices government could tax and regulate that would add a little more to the federal coffers. Also, each state that allows these vices
would tax as well off-setting their own budget shortfalls.
Of course, there would have to be some federal spending cuts. America is hurting right now so I’m not for cutting out spending on social programs
to help the less-fortunate. First, let’s create more jobs then we can look at program cuts. But, what do we do to curb spending until then?
Let’s take a look at some pork barrel spending that would be just plain hilarious if it weren’t so disgusting. During elections people always
bring up social programs to be axed if a Republican wins, but why doesn’t anyone ever bring up these ridiculous pork barrel projects?
$107,000 to study the sex life of the Japanese quail.
$1.2 million to study the breeding habits of the woodchuck.
$150,000 to study the Hatfield-McCoy feud.
$84,000 to find out why people fall in love.
$1 million to study why people don't ride bikes to work.
$19 million to examine gas emissions from cow flatulence.
$144,000 to see if pigeons follow human economic laws.
$219,000 to teach college students how to watch television.
$2 million to construct an ancient Hawaiian canoe.
$20 million for a demonstration project to build wooden bridges.
$160,000 to study if you can hex an opponent by drawing an X on his chest.
$800,000 for a restroom on Mt. McKinley.
$100,000 to study how to avoid falling spacecraft.
$16,000 to study the operation of the komungo, a Korean stringed instrument.
$1 million to preserve a sewer in Trenton, NJ, as a historic monument.
$6,000 for a document on Worcestershire sauce.
$10,000 to study the effect of naval communications on a bull's potency.
$100,000 to research soybean-based ink.
$1 million for a Seafood Consumer Center.
$57,000 spent by the Executive Branch for gold-embossed playing cards on Air Force Two.
$3.1 million to convert a ferry boat into a crab restaurant in Baltimore.
$6.4 million for a Bavarian ski resort in Kellogg, Idaho.
$13 million to repair a privately owned dam in South Carolina.
$4.3 million for a privately owned museum in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.
$11 million for a private pleasure boat harbor in Cleveland.
$6 million to repair tracks owned by the Soo Railroad Line.
$320,000 to purchase President McKinley's mother-in-law's house.
$2.7 million for a catfish farm in Arkansas.
$3 million for private parking garages in Chicago.
$500,000 to build a replica of the Great Pyramid of Egypt in Indiana.
$850,000 for a bicycle path in Macomb County, Michigan.
$10 million for an access ramp in a privately owned stadium in Milwaukee.
$1.8 million for an engineering study to convert Biscayne Boulevard in Miami into an "Exotic Garden."
$13 million for an industrial theme park in Pennsylvania.
$500,000 for a museum to honor former Secretary of State Cordell Hull.
$33 million to pump sand onto the private beaches of Miami hotels.
$6 million to upgrade the two-block long Senate subway.
$350,000 to renovate the U.S. House Beauty Salon.
$250,000 to study TV lighting in the Senate meeting
$130,000 for a Congressional video-conferencing project.
So ATS, you can see that if we cut spending in the right areas, we don’t hurt the people who need it the most, which keeps the Democrats happy. And
if we found other sources of income, such as taxing and regulating online poker, rather than taxing our incomes, we’d keep the Republicans happy.
This is all IMO. I’d love to hear what you all think.