Originally published October 31 2015
Even if you win the lottery, the government can refuse to pay your winnings (because they're broke)
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) Generous benefits policies in the state of Illinois — enacted over years by left-wing big government statists to pacify key voting blocs — have so demolished the Land of Lincoln's economy, that now, elected leaders there are openly committing fraud and, in doing so, essentially daring residents to do something about it.
As reported by Inside Edition, a group of Illinois residents became incensed after state officials refused to pay out $288 million in lottery winnings — despite the fact that the state is still selling lottery tickets as evidenced by televised ads.
State officials claim they can't afford to pay out the winnings until a current budget crisis is resolved — but of course, that undermines the notion that state lottery earnings are stand-alone funds that are off-limits to budget planners in the state legislature and governor's office, as they should be.
Susan Rick, one lottery winner, told Inside Edition: "We won. We finally can have a comfortable life. Suddenly, you're going to pull the rug out from underneath us? We had a ticket for $250,000."
Also, a group of city employees in Chicago who joined a lotto pool won a million dollars, but they haven't received a dime of it yet, either.
And Rhonda Rasche, a 49-year-old hospital clerk, said following her winnings of $50,000 from a scratcher ticket, officials told her she'd get a check in the mail in four to six weeks. But that was months ago.
"I've been waiting for a check for $50,000," she said.
Too bad, so sad — you get nothingShe has joined other lottery winners in a lawsuit against the state to collect what is owed them.
"If any private business would engage in this kind of conduct selling tickets and not paying out the winner, the state would shut them down and indict them for fraud," said their attorney, Tom Zimmerman.
Indeed. But as is increasingly the case in post-constitutional America, governments — and government officials — hold themselves above the law, while ordinary citizens are fined, arrested and imprisoned if they violate state laws and regulations.
But the lottery winners may have a long time to wait before the state of Illinois makes things right — if it ever will. According to the Illinois Policy Center, the state really is "broke."
"Illinois is broke but if you are a regular visitor to our site you already knew that," writes John Tillman, in a blog post for the center. "But you may not know just how broke our state is and that one of the root causes of the problem (there are many) is unsustainable public employee pensions."
It's the criminality, stupidAccording to an analysis by the Commercial Club of Chicago, the state's lawmakers and Gov. Pat Quinn have only recently taken on the crisis via Senate Bill 1, described as a "landmark pension reform" measure:
"The pension crisis has been one of the most pressing issues facing llinois as public pensions have continued to eat up a bigger portion of the state's budget every year. The savings generated from SB1 will free funds that can instead be invested into education, health care and social services. Equally as important, the bill also helps secure the retirement of Illinois' public employees."
However, judging by the state's balking at paying out lottery winnings, there is much work to be done before Illinois is back on sound economic footing.
Still, it's the criminality of defrauding lottery winners — for any reason — that should upset not just Illinois residents but all Americans, because the same thing could happen to us at any time.
The myriad of scandals that have occurred just during the Obama administration — Fast and Furious, the IRS targeting conservatives scandal, Benghazi, Obamacare — have all punished Americans in one way or another, yet, to date, virtually no one has been held to account, and certainly not those most responsible (as in, the top decision makers...).
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