Sponsor the Social Policy Center

We are seeking potential partners who are open to sponsoring this and other blogs. For now, we are using PayPal™ and Chip-In™ for our readers to directly support our activities.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

A Tax On Those Unable To Do Math

The Colorado Powerball Lottery is $210 million tonight. God only knows what it will be if no one hits it tonight. State lotteries are an interesting subject when one considers the odds of actually hitting the jackpot. The odds in Colorado are 1 in 146,107,962. Seem like pretty long odds, eh? But consider the current jackpot. Technically, even if you bought one ticket for every possible combination to ensure you would win, you would still be over $50 million ahead, providing you were the only one to hit the jackpot.

For the most part, those who purchase lottery tickets are doing little more than paying additional revenues to the state, usually used for educational and recreational support in the state. In a day when people are so against raising taxes more than they already are, they are more than willing to purchase a chance at instant millionaire status, regardless of the odds. Why this duality in thinking? Instant lotteries are more or less taking the place of the original American dream.

It unfortunately reflects the growing laziness of our society. Rather than work hard and earn our way to prosperity, people find it easier to gamble a dollar (or fifty) on a chance of instant prosperity, even though they have better odds of getting hit by lightning or a tornado. The funny thing is, with only a handful of contrary experiences, winning the lottery usually brings more problems than solutions for the winner.

The first experience of most winners is long lost relatives climbing out of the woodwork, scrambling for some small portion of the winnings. Then they frequently deal with hard luck stories asking for help in the mail and even legitimate requests from truly worthy nonprofits asking for major donations. Add to this the lack most people have of using money wisely and one can see where the problems quickly build.

The lure of instant success is an almost overpowering temptation, one which few people are prepared for. This problem reflects the growing demand for instant gratification in our society. We ask our politicians one year to fix major problems that have taken years or even decades to build, and then replace them a year or two later for not successfully solving the problem in that time, for example. We also expect financial investments to begin returning sums two, three or more times greater than our general economy is returning. The basic emotion behind all this is greed, the demand each of us has within them for all our wishes to come true yesterday if not sooner, with as little input and effort from us as possible.

This is NOT what made America the Mecca for success seekers from around the world. America was built on the blood, sweat, and tears of our forefathers. They invested everything they had and everything they were to give us the greatest nation on earth. It is up to us to continue this grand tradition. By putting our backs into it, we can rebuild the strength of America back to what it once was.

Gambling in any form is little more than giving away our hard earned wealth to lazy elitists and a grossly bloated government with little or nothing to show for it. The only thing, in truth, that we gain from gambling is the entertainment value, when it comes right down to brass tacks. The odds of actually winning anything significant from such gambing are stacked against us.

All that being said, with the jackpot over $200 million, I figure it is worth a little long-shot risk. At the moment, I am waiting for the drawing with five lottery tickets in hand. Wish me luck!

No comments: