Tuesday, January 30, 2007

2/3rd for the students

And while we're on the subject of the lottery. Thursday's (1/23/07) Tennessean tells us that the Tennessee Lottery sold "$1 billion in tickets in its third full year of existence...$2.8 billion since it was launched." I'm supposed to be happy that $778 million was provided for education. I'm not. It should have been more like $1.96 billion.

$778 million divided by $2.8 billion = 28%. Less than a third of all that money people are spending for lottery tickets actually begins to benefit any student. 2/3rds of this money benefits the bureaucracy that runs it. This enterprise is so bloated with administrative costs that Charity Navigator would score it this way:

We believe that those spending less than a third of their budget on program expenses are simply not living up to their missions. Charities demonstrating such gross inefficiency receive zero points for their overall organizational efficiency score.
So if the effort is 'not living up to their mission' and the poor among us are getting shafted--what's the upside? Oh, yeah---lots of adults are making a very good living from this enterprise and...
“What it says is that poor people are sending wealthy kids to school, children that will be going to college anyway,” [State Senator Thelma] Harper said.
That's a broad statement that's not entirely true but you get the drift. If we're going to keep the lottery--we've got to see that percentage of money going to student rise dramatically. The numbers ought to be flipped 1/3rd for the bureaucracy and 2/3rds for the students.

1 comment:

Eric Holcombe said...

I'm surprised it is this rosy a picture. I remember before the vote that the lottery revenue was estimated (by proponents) to be used 50% for winnings, 35% for "administration" and only 15% actually going to the scholarships. Regardless of how you stood on the ethics of the "stupid tax", this seemed so inefficient I couldn't believe the public went for it. It didn't seem to bother anyone that more than twice the money for the scholarships would be going to "administration" especially when the scholarships were inadequate as proposed.