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Blog

    Reid, Casinos and Internet Gambling

    12/07/2010

     

    Democracy and Power 114:  The Power Players

    Who actually controls the force of government?   The politicians and interest groups control the American political process.  As stated, the politician seeks power.  Special interest groups – big business, small business, unions, education, seniors, and a multitude of others - seek favors: tax breaks, subsidies, exclusive legislation, etc.  Interest groups give enormous money to political campaigns, and receive gigantic benefits in return.

      

    Reid, Casinos and Internet Gambling

    Kevin Freking of the Associated Press reports:

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is pushing behind the scenes for lame-duck legislation that would allow poker games over the Internet but restrict initial licenses to casinos and racetrack operators that have been in businesses at least five years.

    Essentially, a few years ago Congress outlawed Internet gambling by restricting American banks and credit card companies from paying money to gambling websites.  Resultantly, off shore gambling operations earn about $5billion a year.  This is a gigantic example of a purportedly moral legislation that has unintended consequences.

    Now to power politics, Reid from Nevada received over a quarter of a million dollars from the gambling industry for his recent re-election.  Until the end of the month, Reid and Pelosi control the Senate and the House, and he is attempting to use his power to repay the casino industry.  The casinos supplied money and votes for Reid, now he intends to legislate a $5billion return on their investment.

    Gambling, lame-duck sessions and the corruption of power publicizes many issues harming a governance system dedicated to freedom: 

    • In a free society, should government restrict gambling between consenting adults?
    • The 20th Amendment intended to prohibit lame duck sessions from enacting legislation except in an emergency.  Reid is determined to have Congress enact legislation, where 20% of the Members have been repudiated or are retiring, and not subject to the concerns of the voters.  This is not an emergency and could have been enacted anytime prior to the last election, which of course might have spoiled Reid’s re-election. 
    • Unions, big business, small business, seniors and hundreds more of interest groups support political candidates with the expectations of gigantic returns.  Reid is attempting to provide gigantic returns to the casino industry.

    Tragically, Reid and most politicians (Democrats and Republicans) are unconcerned with constitutional restraints, and see their duty as public officials to enriching their supporters.  The politician achieves this by obtaining a position of power.  Compare the ultimate power players, Bush versus Obama.   Bush rewarded oil businesses and Obama rewards unions. 

    This is the depressing state of democracy in America.  There is hope, however.  The public has become aware and repulsed by these political shenanigans.  Basically, the last three elections have voted out the power elites.  Generally, the public knows much more than voting the bums out must occur.  A start is the public’s support for The Contract From America6, relating the opinions from America to their elected representative. 

    However, this is not enough, and America must seek structural changes, constitutional changes to the abuse of power.

    Historically, the pursuit of freedom has been violent and uneven, and always in peril.  Human history is the relentless pursuit by tribes, religions and nations to obtain and preserve their power.  Alas, retaining power is achieved by pandering to interest groups, which corrupts the governing institution.  Reid and the casino industry have corrupted our system of governance, as have hundreds of special interest groups and complicit politicians.

    Still, America best advocates for freedom.  Our duty is to find additional institutional restraints dedicated to restricting the abuse of power by government.