Sunday, October 19, 2008

I See... The Ultimate Bailout Plan

The ongoing financial crisis has cast an immense shadow of fear over the life of almost every American. The bailout plan is being marketed as the solution to rampant fearmongering via government assistance.

The government’s answer minimizes risk and restores trust for almost everyone. There is one sector of society, however, underserved by the present bailout plan, that needs immediate attention: gamblers. Those who gamble have been losing billions of dollars for years, long before the financial crisis reared it ugly head, and its time that the government bailed them out.

I am concerned that as the money supply continues to dry up and credit tightens, those who gamble will no longer possess the necessary financial resources to invest in their addiction. This trend would wreak financial havoc for both the casinos and their patrons. I propose a gambling bailout plan, where the government would automatically and immediately insure all losses incurred during authorized games of chance.

I haven’t worked out detailed cost estimates yet, but I imagine such a plan would involve creating an entire new government-owned and operated electronic financial system, where all casino patrons would possess a special credit card linked to their bank accounts. Every time they swiped their gambling card through the card reader at the one-eyed bandit or the blackjack table, then ended up losing a sum of money via a game of chance, their loss would be immediately reimbursed via an EFT (electronic fund transfer) from the IRS.

Something must be done for them now! The amount of financial loss incurred through gambling is staggering and continues to rise at a rate that threatens to undermine the financial security of millions of Americans. Currently gambling losses are running at least 40 billion dollars a year. The average debt per gambler ranges between 15,000 and 90,000 dollars. Gambling losses hit the young and the poor particularly hard- “players” with incomes under 50,000 dollars per year are three times as likely to bet in lotteries, and 76 percent of teenagers gamble.

My proposal would cost the government only 40 billion dollars a year, and even if it was indexed for inflation and the resulting meteoric rise in gambling, it would cost much less than the current financial bailout plan. Millions of families adversely affected by crushing gambling debt would be blessed. Players could participate in games of chance knowing that their family finances are safe and protected.

Now, I know that on the surface, there may be some that object to such a plan merely on grounds of morality and personal responsibility. I say, however, let’s not let morality and personal responsibility get in the way of saving the family finances of millions of Americans.

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