Hey, I figure one good turn deserves another, right?
So anyway I grabbed a Lowell Sun this afternoon during lunch and started working through the front-page article about casino gambling. I nearly dropped my Big Mac when I saw this quote from Tim Cahill, Independent Candidate for Governor.
"If the governor vetoes this bill, or if he sends it back and it's unsignable or unworkable with the Legislature, he owns this recession. This is his recession," Cahill said.
I know there is a long and storied history of politicians saying dumb things, but this one really takes the cake as far as my recent political memory goes.
I'll admit there are many sides to the casino debate. I'll admit that places like Mohegan Sun draw people with the gaming, but then have great attractions like the WNBA, Jerry Seinfeld, and Billy Joel. I'll even admit that having something similar in Massachusetts -- an actual 'destination' where gambling was just part of the bigger show -- might be a net gain for the Commonwealth.
But ending the recession? First of all, the recession is caused by so many national factors that are so far beyond the Governor's control that they're not even worth taking the time to point out.
Yes, casinos would create some jobs -- both in the initial stages (i.e. construction and plumbing) and in the operational stage. But let's have some broader-picture perspective -- the statewide unemployment rate is roughly 9 percent, and there are over 5 million working-age folks living here.
I'm no mathematician, but a few blackjack dealers aren't really going to dent that.
What I do know is that anyone searching for a budgetary panacea in a business whose sole purpose is to TAKE money from people who mostly need it and GIVE it to those who mostly do not is not thinking with a level head.
Casino math tends to dictate otherwise -- everyone I know who regularly goes to Foxwoods swears to me that they're "up" over the course of their gambling lifetime, yet somehow the Mashantucket Indians are so wealthy that they can pay every single tribe member $250,000 annually just for getting up in the morning. Despite the testimonials of anyone who seems to ever have been dealt blackjack in Ledyard, I'm inclined to say 2 and 2 still makes 4.
On the 'racino' slot issue, I think Gov. Patrick deserves a lot of credit for something we all say we wish politicans did, but then sometimes like to complain about when they do -- acting on his conscience.