Being poor sucks, which is why it's nice to escape it sometimes by losing yourself in booze, cigarettes, strippers and instant scratch-off tickets. But if State Senator Tom Libous gets his way, impoverished welfare recipients would be denied such time-honored diversions, at least when they try to use the government's money to pay for them. Libous has introduced legislation that would prohibit using EBTs (Electronic Benefit Transfer) debit cards on such necessities as lap dances and Lady Carltons. Handguns purchases, of course, would still be allowed.

The buzzkilling Republican from Binghamton says outraged constituents have been complaining about watching welfare recipients at Walmart and liquor stores buy cigarettes and alcohol. If his law passes, federally funded welfare recipients who violate the ban would lose benefits for one month, and if they're caught again, they'd lose benefits for three months. A third violation would permanently deprive the scofflaw of all benefits. But surely by strike three they'll be living large on all those Lotto winnings!

The Post reports that Arizona, California, Colorado, Indiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Pennsylvania and Washington have already passed such restrictions, and it appears they're legally required to do so. A federal law is requiring states to prohibit welfare spending on "sin activities" by 2014. Failure to comply means forfeiting 5 percent of the welfare funding, which in New York amounts to about $120 million. And we need that money to pay for precious man caves!