Drink and Gamble for the Good of Culture!

The Latvian Culture Minister Dace Melnbārde has suggested using revenues from taxes on casinos, tobacco and alcohol to fund culture. The daily Diena (February 4) comments:

“The culture minister’s goal is understandable. She is striving for financial security, and wants cultural funding to be independent of political games. From the point of view of the public, it seems entirely plausible that culture should be financed by smokers, gamblers and drinkers: it’s only logical to want to fund culture through forms of consumption that degrade people intellectually….

“At the same time, the culture minister is getting caught up in a web of contradictions. Does she really want the Latvian people to drink more, smoke more and spend more time in casinos?”

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4 responses to “Drink and Gamble for the Good of Culture!

  1. David Schatzky

    Every year in Ontario, $1.8 billion of profit from the Ontario Lottery Corporation (lotteries and casinos) goes towards health care and local charities. Why not to culture here, too?

  2. Historically, sin taxes have been stable, so why not?

  3. Elisabeth Ecker

    Latvia has a very high flat tax, with the result that there is a thriving underground economy. This might be a tax they can collect or maybe not.

  4. Casinos are expensive to regulate, promote white collar crime, and facilitate money laundering, including the financing of terrorism. If governments are stuck with an ongoing operation that they cannot legally close down (as Equador did!), then tax the hell out of it. However, you do not want to expand the activity to support basic public services or make key services dependant on increased casino activity. Lotteries are the worst redistributive tax imaginable, preying disproportionally on the ignorant who can not calculate odds and are prey to the manipulative commercials. Gamble to support Stratford or Shaw? Have we no morals or scruples left?