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Three Card Monte

On Friday, as I was perusing the Albuquerque Journal this (subscription) caught my eye:

To get around that problem, Richardson is recommending that lawmakers extend the time for phasing in personal income tax reductions enacted in 2003. His proposal has the effect of freeing up $32.5 million in revenue next year that could cover his package of new tax cuts for individuals and businesses.

“I’ve compromised a bit. I recognize that. But I want the tax cuts to pass. There has got to be tax cuts in this budget,” said Richardson.

The problem that Richardson was trying to address had to do with how to pass new tax cuts, increase the budget by more than six percent and still achieve the constitutionally mandated balance. Based on his proposal, it seemed Governor Richardson learned a trick or two on the streets of New York when he served as Ambassador to the United Nations. You see, it is not uncommon in NYC to find a man setting up a game of three card monte on a street corner. The way it works is that the man has three cards that he shuffles back and forth while he announces to passersby that anyone can step up and double his or her money by selecting the queen.

Now it is difficult to draw attention in NYC, and even more difficult to get people to trust you, so according to this is what usually happens:


  1. Two or more people are standing around a cardboard box on a busy street trying to win money by choosing the correct card out of the three cards shuffled.
  2. You notice that someone seems to be winning; this person is usually working with the dealer to lure people in. People who work these scams know that it will be less suspicious to plant a women or someone in a business suit in the game.
  3. The shuffler will purposely lose the first few rounds to get you to bet more money.
  4. At this point, if you take your wallet out, someone may grab it and run -OR- it will be pick pocketed as you watch the game.
  5. If by some fluke you win, you may be followed and mugged.

How to avoid this
The hand is quicker than the eye and these are pros. Don’t play – YOU CANNOT WIN!

Notice this last line. The New Mexico legislature wisely heeded this advice. In the budget they just sent to Governor Richardson, who up to this point had been one of the best high stakes three card monte dealers I’ve ever seen, they refused (subscription) to play his shill:

SANTA FE – Legislators on Sunday approved a nearly $4.7 billion state budget that does not include room for tax cuts sought by Gov. Bill Richardson or as much money as the governor is seeking for a proposed pre-kindergarten program.

Now, I would have preferred to see a budget increase that was limited by inflation, but at least they sent a clear message that the Governor is going to have to find another partner if he wants to continue duping the mainstream media, New Mexico taxpayers and some conservative think tanks.