Lottery of Death

I am sorry to report that I am not the winner of last night's $370 million "Mega Millions" jackpot. I'm not a regular player. However my boss, who is a very kind and generous man, occasionally buys tickets for everyone in our office and says we will split the money if somebody wins. I got a ticket that way and still came up empty-handed.

The odds of hitting the jackpot were, according to this story, 1 in 176,000,000. Tell this to a lottery fan and the reply usually is "Yes, but somebody will win it." True enough, but look at it another way: your chance of winning the jackpot is quite a bit less than the chance you will be hit by a truck and killed on the way to the convenience store and back home.

In fact, we can say with statistical near-certainty that several people in the U.S. did die that way yesterday. Playing the lottery cost them their lives and they still didn't win. No one thinks about this, of course, because the media focus on the winners.

The lottery is a bad idea for other reasons, too. Generally speaking, I oppose anything that provides the government with additional revenue because they will simply use it to oppress people in new and more creative ways. The lottery is just another kind of tax. You may say it is voluntary, but it's really not. Let's call it what it is: a tax on people who lack basic reading and math skills. Stand in line at the Quickie Mart on Jackpot Day and you will see what I mean.

Now why do these people lack basic reading and math skills? Because they are the product of public schools! See how it all works together? First make sure the public is dumb, then steal from them. This strategy takes time but after a couple of generations it works really well.

Even if you do want to raise money for your state, the lottery is not a very efficient way to do it. Only about 35% of the proceeds go to the government. The rest goes to the winners, the retailers who sell tickets, and the promotional budget.

If 90% of this 35% is wasted on pointless and counterproductive government programs, then only 3.5% of the lottery sales actually go toward doing anything useful for society. We would be better off just leaving our spare change in little buckets for the state to collect.

Gambling is fine for people who understand what they are doing and can afford to lose the money. For them, it is just another form of entertainment. Government lotteries are intrinsically evil, in my opinion, because they are specifically designed to take money away from people who usually don't understand what they are doing and can't afford to lose the money.

See the difference? So next time the jackpot hits nine figures, just stay home. You'll be safer and much better off.

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