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An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. "A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy.

"It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil—he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego." He continued, "The other is good—he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you—and inside every other person, too."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

First People - The Legends. Cherokee Legend of Two Wolves. November 16, 2004. [accessed April 7, 2012].

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Gambling on Prince George's County

               Here we are, heading into the 21st century, and    Prince George's County is thinking about becoming the cash-cow for extra government revenue for the State of Maryland with some extra income thrown in for the county government to help reduce today's budget gap and tomorrow's revenue demands. Bringing the gaming industry with slots and as well as other gambling enhancements and quiddities will supplement the state lottery well that is already in place. Gambling in Prince George's County will help create over 3000 $11.25 per hour jobs, put a few local hospitality businesses out of business while at the same time greatly increase the marketability of National Harbor indirectly supporting the addition of more businesses and service jobs.[1]

               While these are all commendable goals that at the moment only Prince George's County is clamoring for, I have an another idea given the power elite current thinking that Prince George's needs gambling: "Saving Lotteries". Eight Michigan credit unions started a "Save to Win" program a couple of years ago, "which works both as a lottery and as a savings deposit program. Under this setup, Michigan residents have to open a one year share certificate with at least $25 deposited every month. The program gives out monthly prizes ranging from $125 to $1,000 and all active accounts qualify for the grand prize of $100,000 after the "Save to Win" program period is over."[2]

               This version of gambling would directly impact county households; Americans  spend about $500 annually in lottery tickets. The attraction and appeal reportedly is especially strong among those with lower incomes.[3] According to the Washington Post, "...the credit unions declared that for every $25 someone saved, the saver would earn an entry into a drawing for a $100,000 prize one year later. At the same time, they gave out monthly prizes of up to $100. The credit unions also hoped to attract new members and expand their deposit bases. So as part of the program, people could join a credit union and open an account to bid for the prize at the same time."[4]  

               The trouble with my idea here in Prince George's County is that any type of savings lottery would directly compete with the proposed gambling initiative and program and therefore would impact to some extent National Harbor and to a greater extent the State and County government revenue streams. So an idea that would allow individuals to save and win, to create wealth enough to start small businesses of their own and support our local banking system will not get off the ground. We are too busy looking to yesterday for solutions to tomorrow's problems. The art of politics as practiced in Prince George's County was known in the Roman Empire: Ratio civilis est ars cavendi ne homines curent quod ad se pertineat.[5]

[1]  Optimal Solutions Group. The Economic and Social Impacts of Racetrack Video Lottery Terminals on the City of Baltimore and Prince George’s County. Commissioned By: The Presidents’ RoundTable, Inc. & Greater Prince George’s Business Roundtable, Inc. February 2004. [accessed January 22, 2012]

[2]  Naresh Kumar. Banks Create Savings Accounts That Double As Lottery Tickets. PSFK. April 16, 2010 [accessed February 15, 2012]

[3] Anne Stuhldreher. Credit unions launch a savings lottery, and everyone hits the jackpot. Washington Post. February 7, 2010. [accessed February 15, 2012]  

"Some estimates suggest that more than 80 percent of lottery revenue comes from households making less than $50,000 a year -- the very people who have the hardest time saving. In fact, 38 percent of people earning less than $25,000 a year think the lottery is the most practical way they'll accumulate a few hundred thousand dollars in their lifetimes, according to the Consumer Federation of America."

[4] ibid. Washington Post 2010

[5] politics is the art of seeing that people do not become interested in that which concerns them

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