Green Piece

The simple musings of a man who thought he knew everything . . .

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Lottery: A Tax On People For Being Bad At Math

Lotteries are one of those little things that, for the most part, are harmless but still drive me crazy. For one reason, just as the title of this Blog implies, lotteries are little more than another way for the government to take money from the people, i.e. a tax. Here are some of my criticisms.

1. You are not going to win. Some people think "hey, I will buy 9 or 10 tickets so my chances of winning are greater". This is actually a fallacy. While it is true that your chances are technically 10 times higher they are still not that much different (i.e. 1 in 35 million isn't much different from 100 in 35 million).

2. If you win it won't make you happy. Relationships get strained, your friends treat you differently, people are trying to leech money from you. This is very different than if you had earned the money yourself. Lottery winners commit suicide, divorce their spouses, get robbed, get arrested, go broke, become recluses, and in many other ways become miserable.

3. The lottery helps to spread the idea that it is a good thing to get something for nothing. We don't need any more of this in America. If hurricane Katrina helped us to learn anything about this it should be that doing anything to make people more dependent on the government is a really bad thing.

4. It takes money from poor people. Most of the people I work with/hang around with aren't hurt by the 1 or 2 dollars they may spend every now and then on the lottery. However, there are people in this world who, because they think it is their only shot in life, will spend $20 or $30 a week when the lottery gets big. A study showed that 20% of all lottery players comprise roughly 82% of lottery revenue and that the 20% was made up disproportionately of lower income people. The lottery truly is a way for the government to prey on the desperation of poorer people and it is despicable.


  • At 4:14 AM, Blogger K said…

    I agree that lotteries are a tax on the mathematically challenged.

    Yet the 3-4 times in my life I have purchased a lottery ticket, I have been so excited I couldn't stand it (which is why I never buy them).

    If you remember in Orwell's 1984, the fictional lottery was the one hope of the masses to get out of their wretched existences. I am certainly not implying that our government is trying anything similar - I think they are just going with a good revenue opportuniity - but I can see how some people get carried away with the purchases...


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