In a few hours from now, the Powerball numbers will be drawn. The jackpot is presently at $1.5 billion (and growing). But not everyone is happy about it.
Michelle Malkin calls Powerball “a government-sponsored gambling racket.” Malkin objects the cut state governments receive from Powerball and other lotteries. Yet I can’t help but wonder if she too has bought a ticket. Or two.
I wonder if Malkin would prefer Canadian lotteries. They are tax free. Granted the jackpot isn’t as large. Lotto 649 (it’s called that because you can pick six numbers between 1 and 49) sold its largest winning ticket worth $64 million (about $45 million in U.S. Dollars) last October. Canada’s federal and provincial governments get none of that money. Again, $64 million Cdn isn’t a $1.5 billion U.S. but it belongs solely to the winner.
Regardless of the size of the jackpot, money cannot buy happiness. P.J. O’Rourke once said you can only lease happiness.
In recent years, we have read horror stories about the misfortune faced by people who have won large sums of lottery money.
About 20 years ago, one of my Dad’s students won $3 million in the Lotto 649. Weeks later he was on the verge of a nervous breakdown and was rapidly losing weight due to stress. He sought out my Dad for advice because Dad was probably the only person who hadn’t asked him for money. He explained to my father that he had been giving family and friends gifts like cars and trucks and they were invariably unhappy with these gifts. Dad told him that he needed to take charge of his affairs or they would take charge of him. This man would move from Thunder Bay to Ottawa, invested his money, started several businesses and eventually became a successful entrepreneur in his own right.
While money can solve many problems, it can also create many more. Money not only doesn’t buy you happiness, it can’t buy you character or common sense. Whoever wins the Powerball jackpot will need an abundance of both.
As for me, I’ve bought half a dozen Powerball tickets over the past several days. I harbor no illusions. I’m more likely to go out with Lady Gaga than I am to win this jackpot. But so be it. No harm done. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
But if fortune does smile across my face, I shall cross that bridge and make sure to hold onto the railing and watch every step.
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