Sunday, December 23, 2012

Lotto Madness

The  "Lotto Madness" that has swept across America reveals something about our culture. While this might not reach the level of needing a post event "debriefing" a closer look at how these large lotteries effect our culture may be important. A close inspection of how people react to the idea of winning a large sum of money exposes more then a few flaws in our values and the way we think. It seems that we reached the point where the road to riches is not through the valley of hard work and savings and that we by-pass the important area known as sacrifice.

This has even influenced television shows like the animated comedy "Family Guy" where in a recent episode the family finds themselves living on a strict budget until a local news story on the lottery influences Peter to buy a ticket in hopes that he will win and set the family on a better financial platform. Peter reveals to his family that he has bought several thousand lottery tickets, admitting that he has taken out a second mortgage on the house in order to buy them. After watching the results of the lottery that night, they discover that they have indeed won it yes, they have obtained the American dream.

When weekly periodicals are placed as inserts in Sundays papers across the nation with front page revelations of comparison incomes comparing salaries.  An athlete making $15,900,000 a year, next to a government employee making $130,000, a CEO at $120,000,000 a year, and a business owner at $24,000 dollars a year causes pause.  No wonder we as a society are totally screwed up.  We must question our values, we must question the fairness.  It is hard to measure the discontent generated by irresponsible articles like these.

 Many people feel the trade offs we face in life within our free market-consumer based society. The fact is economic growth is accompanied  by  “wheel spinning”, inefficiencies and waste.  While the benefits of our system often outweigh the negatives we find society is paying a toll through increased rates of addiction, depression and economic inequality.  On the emotional side many people are not achieving the degree of being content or happy they had hoped for and are left with feelings of insecurity.

Government sanctioned gambling and especially lotteries send a message to the populace that conflicts with many important values.  These messages promote a "let it roll" mentality.  Simply allowing such activities and promoting them are two different issues.  Government has climbed into bed with the devil to gain revenue from taxing these activities.  Gaming does not benefit the average man.  Truth is the laws of nature and the odds are against you, that’s why they call it gambling and not winning.

Huge sums of money from lotteries are unmanageable by the average man and often cause adjustment difficulties, resulting in pain and not happiness.  Large jackpots also result in a disconnect in true and associated values causing unrealistic expectations.  Thoughts that jackpots in excess of one hundred million dollars can be ours gives a false impression of reality that is harmful in cultivating positive work ethics and makes a mockery of those who toil to produce a better life.

Our modern consumer based society has made us slaves to material objects and producers of waste.  Many economist urge us to consume, even when we must borrow to do so, saying it creates ever more jobs. We follow Governments and leaders that we often neither like nor trust.  Today’s youth growing up besieged by marketers, are now vilified for being materialistic, marred by too little perspective, they find themselves angry and disappointed. During the latest lotto that sported a massive well publicized jackpot people used money that was intended to be used to pay rent and even the food stamp money given to them by tax payers to buy tickets. This is indeed madness.

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