LOTTERY POWERBALL JACKPOT
Lottery Tickets. All it takes is a dollar and a dream. Yes, $1 will buy you a dream, but probably not much more beyond that. Its important to dream, be positive and even fantasize. However, don’t weigh to heavily on it as if its going to happen tomorrow and all your problems will go away, financially or otherwise. One of my favorite television commercials is the e-trade baby laughing at the guy scratching off instant-win lotto tickets and he says “Wow, you didn’t win? You know the chances of you actually winning are being mauled by a polar bear and a grizzly bear the same day?” For those of you who don’t get this, its a regional thing. In North America, you would have to be near a zoo which has a polar bear and live in the northwestern USA for this to happen. Or, you would have to be in the Yukon and be near a zoo that has a grizzly bear, OR you have to be somewhere on the border of Canada where both a grizzly and a polar bear escaped from a local zoo and simultaneously malled you the same day. Being mauled at a zoo by an animal is one in a million, being mauled by 2 animals from a zoo twice in one day has never happened, let alone 2 wild animals from thousands of miles away to meet you in one location to maul you. But yes, its only $1 and a dream, and yes, you have to take that chance, because ultimately, someone, somewhere, has to win, even if its second place and they only get $1 million.
I am not a statistician, I suck at math, but the chances of being struck by lightning is one in one million. The chances of knowing someone struck by lightning over the course of a lifetime, lets say 80 years, is one in 10,000. So when the odds of winning are 1 in 175,000,000 – let face it, we are contributing to a charity. And the charity in this case is worthy, half the money spent by the gamblers benefits educational systems and institutions. Not a bad way to gamble your money. Its only $1-10 for you, but you multiply that by millions of people and enough revenue was generated to carry an educational system for another year at least. Some financial experts like Dave Ramsey will say this is a tax on the poor. Which, it actually is. Because a great deal of people who bet on the lottery are lower class income people who are just dreaming and hoping for a way out of economic slavery and depression (economic and psychological depression). I do feel bad for them, although, they get more hope from that $1 than I do spending $10 once a year when its at a “historic high”.
For the inner city lower income people winning a lottery means better housing, good, fresh food, maybe a nice vacation after 12 months of hard work, and a good education for their children. It means, instead of coming home to a noisy apartment surrounded by noisy or even thug neighbors in a bad neighborhood, to coming home to a nice place to have dinner with family free of sirens, robberies and you can be sure the lights are on and there are no pipes leaking water onto your dinner table. Sounds dramatic? Well, its reality. Not for me, but for many. For me, its just being able to pay off my mortgage, credit cards and then expand my business so I can kill off some of the unorthodox competition and live by my rules, not theirs, and even take a loss, but know that I did the right thing in the end by my associates, employees, and clients.
So, having read the last paragraph, who is more in need of this lottery money? Its obvious to me, its the lower income families just looking for better education, a safe neighborhood to live in and quality of life. For middle class like me, its to continue working on my own terms. Let’s face it, wealthy people don’t play the lottery because they know its a senseless gamble, even if they did win, it would not increase their wealth. So, in this instance I agree, its a tax on the poor. They pay into it more than anyone, they never or only once in a million get something out of it and yes, if the money does go to the educational system it does benefit them. Again, yes, this is a voluntary tax on the poor. Me, as a dreamer only bought $10 worth knowing I probably wouldn’t win, but they, in desperation and hope bought $20 worth of tickets. If it was not obvious before, it should be now as to who is paying the price. $10 to me is nothing, $20 to them is a lot more than double.
Let’s take this one step further. Political Comedian Jon Stewart joked today that Congress bought a Powerball ticket hoping to win and prevent the USA from running off the Fiscal Cliff. If only it were that simple. And now, that no one has one out of millions of people, I have to go to the far fetched wild Twilight Zone side of government conspiracy. I didn’t select any numbers, the computer just punched them out, as did they for nearly every one buying tickets. Even if I picked my favorite numbers like my birthday, my mothers, my fathers, etc etc, still, its a stretch. So, let’s just say that in some strange bizarre world that every time someone goes to place their own numbers, those numbers are eliminated from the computer to be selected? Let’s just say that what goes into that central computer spits you out a ticket that excludes numbers that will never ‘hit’? Yes, I know, its crazy, its insanity, but how is it that with over hundreds of millions of users never win? Yes, we see the bubble of balls being popped up into the topper to come into sequence to see who wins, but this is 2012, what can’t be rigged electronically? Stop playing? No, if you have $1, play. If you don’t, then especially play, but don’t go out and spend $100 on something you know you can’t win when that money can be spent on gas, food and clothing. Its just a dream, remember that, and perhaps one day the system will fail and you will win, but just remember, thats all it is, a fantasy, a dream, and that is more than $1 can buy these days in most cases. Even when you drive up to the fast food places, you know you are not getting out of there for less than $5 from the value menu. So spending $1 on a fantasy or dream is well worth it, as long as you don’t do it more than once a week or once a month. You cannot put a price on hope, fantasy and inspiration, and if you could, it certainly would cost more than $1/week.