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Tom the Dancing Bug, by @RubenBolling.

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Originally posted to Comics on Thu Nov 28, 2013 at 06:50 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Heh™! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TerryDarc, Calamity Jean

    I've been handing over small amounts of my hard-earned cash to the Illinois State Lottery since 1984!

    Lately, I've just been playing the Lucky Day Lotto. Minimum prize is $100,000, before taxes. Last night's jackpot was $450,000, and it didn't roll over. Maybe...?

  •  Absolutely brilliant! The fact that the (8+ / 0-)

    drawings are held in conjunction with local news programs is disgraceful. State sponsored scam!

    "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

    by Lily O Lady on Thu Nov 28, 2013 at 07:02:37 AM PST

  •  I only play when I feel I can afford to (6+ / 0-)

    get a dollar's worth of entertainment daydreaming about what I would do with the money if I won.

    That isn't very often.

    If it's
    Not your body,
    Then it's
    Not your choice
    And it's
    None of your damn business!

    by TheOtherMaven on Thu Nov 28, 2013 at 07:02:40 AM PST

  •  They Incessantly Advertise on Radio & TV (4+ / 0-)

    That's big bucks because I hear lottery spots at least twice an hour on radio stations. How much money are they spending on advertising?

    The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.

    by The Lone Apple on Thu Nov 28, 2013 at 07:05:29 AM PST

    •  Whatever it is, it's got to bring in tons (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW, The Lone Apple, a2nite

      more money. Our state lottery was passed to provide money for education, but of course as time goes on there just isn't enough for the original purpose so cuts are necessary. Even this kind of taxation is subject to cuts.

      "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

      by Lily O Lady on Thu Nov 28, 2013 at 07:12:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Maybe a $104 annual bet isn't nuts.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, 73rd virgin

    ...that would equal betting the minimum bet in each week's drawing...

    The chances of winning are slim-to-nonexistent, but the potential return is quite high, and the chances of winning go to exactly ZERO if you don't ante up the buck.

    "Ronald Reagan is DEAD! His policies live on but we're doing something about THAT!"

    by leftykook on Thu Nov 28, 2013 at 07:08:29 AM PST

    •  Ask not what those dollars do for you... (11+ / 0-)

      ask what they do to your state.  

      Namely: allow them to reduce taxes on the rich and replace that funding with a regressive system that disproportionately drains money from the poor.

      Sure, somebody wins the lottery most every week. But the truth is, everyone loses.

    •  Expected Value (6+ / 0-)

      In statistics, there's a formula for "Expected Value",

      EV = PotentialGain*Prob(Success) - GuaranteedLoss*Prob(Failure)
      Take, for example, a $1 bet on pick-3-numbers game with a $500 payoff.

      PotentialGain = $500
      Prob(Success) = 1/1000
      GuaranteedLoss = $1
      Prob(Failure) = 999/1000

      EV = $500 * 0.001 - $1 * 0.999

      EV =  0.5 - 0.999 = -0.499, a negative number.

      So, you are correct when you to say, "... the chances of winning go to exactly ZERO if you don't ante up the buck."

      But it would also be correct to say, "... the chances of winning are LESS THAN ZERO if you DO ante up the buck."

      “Americans are fighters. We're tough, resourceful and creative, and if we have the chance to fight on a level playing field, where everyone pays a fair share and everyone has a real shot, then no one - no one - can stop us. ”-- Elizabeth Warren

      by Positronicus on Thu Nov 28, 2013 at 07:38:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I use a different calculation. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I'll consider buying a ticket when the odds are "50-50".  Powerball tickets are $2.  The odds of winning the jackpot are ~ 1 in 175 million.  Double that, for the price of the ticket. Now, guesstimate that, after taxes are taken out of the cash value of the jackpot, you'll have maybe 35% left.  So, when my chance of wnning are balanced out by the prize, I'll play.  That is, when the prize is $350 million / .35 = $1 billion, I'll play.

        In other words, never.

        I am become Man, the destroyer of worlds

        by tle on Thu Nov 28, 2013 at 08:19:13 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Maybe thirty years ago (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rja, JeffW, Positronicus

        back when this State Lottery madness was beginning to take off there was a case of a guy (in Pennsylvania, I believe) who sold his house and used the money to buy scratchers. At the time he gave interviews to the press wherein he asserted that buying a huge number of tickets was a surefire way to beat the lottery.

        AIR he got $100000 for the house (this was a long time ago), bought 100000 scratchers. Out of those he had winning tickets worth something like $40000 (leading to a net loss of $60000) which was almost exactly what the published probabilities would have lead one to expect. (The Law of Large Numbers strikes again).

        In other words: Probability works. Magical thinking doesn't.

        •  There was an article in the NYT... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          ...a couple of years ago, that suggested that if you bought 100,000 tickets, you came comfortably close to, if not right up to, winning.

          But think about the logistics of buying that many tickets. Especially if you wanted to prevent repeats of number combinations that would dilute your range of winners.

          Another thing: that Lucky Day Lotto game I mentioned above. The minimum grand prize is $100,000, before taxes, If I found $100K, I'd buy myself a new car, $2 worth of tickets for the next drawing, and bank the rest towards costs on our new house.

          The jackpot last night was $450,000. After taxes would that would not only get me a new car, but Calamity Jean and I wouldn't have to worry about how much we would get for our crumbling bungalow, in order to add the second dome on our new house for my workshop.

          No, I haven't checked the numbers: they'll keep until we head to the store next Tuesday.

          Oh, and just to reduce my spending money on the Lottery, I usually get dollar coins and $2 bills from the bank, since the player activated lottery terminals don't take them. I refer to the terminals as the "no-armed bandits".

      •  UHH, you sidestepped a little there.... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Your "chances of winning" are not less than zero, your RETURN would be -- and THAT, only if you actually bought 501+ tickets instead of the one.

        ODDS V. RETURN are apples/oranges.  You'd still be getting a RETURN of $499, you'd just have to (theoretically) repeat the process 1000 times to GET it.  The "expected return" is what one person gets V. total expenditure.

        Fun math, though.

        The actuality is, though, that each and every time you play, the odds stay the same, they don't improve as you go along -- you know that, too.

        •  I sidestepped a lot (0+ / 0-)

          for rhetorical purposes. :)

          “Americans are fighters. We're tough, resourceful and creative, and if we have the chance to fight on a level playing field, where everyone pays a fair share and everyone has a real shot, then no one - no one - can stop us. ”-- Elizabeth Warren

          by Positronicus on Thu Nov 28, 2013 at 12:50:14 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  i started doing that (0+ / 0-)

      when i quit smoking. it was a way to stay involved with my smoker buddies at the local newsstand without buying smokes, and it costs me considerably less.

      so, overall, i'm already a 'winner', and if i ever hit a jackpot it would just ice the cake.

      "What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say"~Ralph Waldo Emerson

      by 73rd virgin on Thu Nov 28, 2013 at 09:27:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Double-Down Nation (8+ / 0-)

    From all the way back in the mists of 2007.

    Gambling spread rapidly starting in the 1980s at the same time that Reagan took the stage.  This might seem counterintuitive.  After all, aren't conservatives supposed to frown on gambling?  Maybe, but decades of experience have shown that conservatives really have only one commandment that counts: thou shalt cut taxes.  Everything else is secondary.  With trickle-down economics trickling away the budgets of states and localities, most conservatives were more than willing to look the other way as lotteries and casinos filled in the budget gap left from vanished taxes.

    Gambling is intrinsically regressive.  A casino is nothing but a very large machine, and the purpose of that machine it to extract money and bring it to the casino owners.  By its very nature, gambling cycles money from the poor to the rich.  This would still be true even if the rich participated in gambling at a higher rate than the poor -- which they don't.  In moving a state's or locality's funding from taxes to gambling, the rich gain enormously more than the poor.

    •  I work with people who practically (0+ / 0-)

      live at a casino. I always hear stories of how much they win, but I never hear stories of people losing money...

      I'm living in America, and in America you're on your own. America's not a country. It's just a business.

      by CFAmick on Thu Nov 28, 2013 at 09:33:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  And yet, they're still WORKING. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        If I thought (and was correct about it) that I could make more in the casino than on the job, I'd never see a time clock again.

      •  Yeah, back in the early days of the CA lottery (0+ / 0-)

        I knew several people who had "systems" for playing the lottery, and would always talk about how much they'd won. I'd ask them if the ratio of how much they'd won to how much they'd spent was greater than one, and point out that if it wasn't they were still losing. That usually ended the conversation.

  •  I get better odds hitting on 16... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wilderness voice

    with a dealer who has a 5 showing.

    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Thu Nov 28, 2013 at 07:11:26 AM PST

  •  Stupidity Tax (7+ / 0-)

    Lottery is essentially a stupidity tax. It's better than other forms of taxes, coz you have a choice.

  •  The Lotto is a tax on people who don't do math. (10+ / 0-)

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Thu Nov 28, 2013 at 07:12:02 AM PST

  •  I've heard the lottery described as "a tax on the (8+ / 0-)


    It's just a state-sponsored version of the same ole "numbers racket" that the underworld has been running in poor neighborhoods (and getting rich on) since time immemorial.

    In the end, reality always wins.

    by Lenny Flank on Thu Nov 28, 2013 at 07:34:58 AM PST

  •  I think of it as (0+ / 0-)

    voluntary tax payments from the poor, who back in the good old days might have put the couple of bucks in a savings account which would offer them 5-6% interest, and maybe even a free toaster for opening an account.

  •  Life is enough of a gamble as it is. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wilderness voice

    Beside if by some chance one actually wins, the result is often a disaster. Nope, I may be a non-Christian, but some distain for the love of money and for easy money rubbed off on me from my early training. I'm also too cheap to spend money on such.

    Lotteries will never get a dime from me.  I'd rather donate, or better yet be taxed directly then follow the get rich quick fairy and spend money to get money that I have close to a zero chance of acquiring and which might ruin my life if I got it.

  •  Dollars are a figment of the imagination. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xxdr zombiexx

    The only reason we think they are scarce is because Congress rations their distribution and Wall Street hoards them.
    Ideally, currency would be managed like a utility and distributed as needed. Imagine if we still rationed script and printers were limited by the number of letters in their box. Or reading and writing were restricted to certain classes.
    Why does the Congress ration the distribution of dollars, despite them having been liberated from the bands of gold? Because contracts and grants have replaced the various resource "rights" they used to dole out to their supporters and friends.
    How did lumber and coal and railroad barrons get their assets? Congress doled them out of the public purse. The transfer of public assets into private wealth was never a happenstance. Monetization lets us all know the relative value. But, how many dollars are used is entirely arbitrary.

    Obamacare at your fingertips: 1-800-318-2596; TTY: 1-855-889-4325

    by hannah on Thu Nov 28, 2013 at 07:49:35 AM PST

  •  Who knew? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wilderness voice, nextstep, JeffW
    After American colonial times in the 1700's, the lottery was a favorite past time, especially of America’s founding fathers. Benjamin Franklin financed cannons for the Revolutionary war using lottery money. George Washington operated a Virginia lottery to finance construction of roads to the west. A debt-ridden Thomas Jefferson once held a lottery to dispose of his property and find some badly needed cash.

    Of course, all of these lotteries are now defunct. Amazingly, the Netherlands Lottery, which was founded in 1726, is still in operation today. It is officially the oldest lottery in the world.

    Lotteries really took off in the United States after the adoption of the constitution and used to fund over 300 schools and 200 churches. The lottery helped found universities such as Columbia, Harvard, Princeton and Yale. The game was used to fund civic improvements, including orphanages, libraries, hospitals, jails and courthouses. This trend began to lose momentum in 1820, when corruption began to plague privately owned lotteries, which often advertised big jackpots and then awarded no prizes at all.
  •  Perspective (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Statistically, the odds of your numbers coming up are the same as the odds of the next drawing having exactly the same numbers as the previous one.

    Given that absurd realization, I wonder how many people would stop buying tickets, and how many would just use "enter last week's numbers" as a strategy.

    Use every man after his desert, and who should 'scape whipping?

    by UncleDavid on Thu Nov 28, 2013 at 08:02:14 AM PST

  •  reality (5+ / 0-)

    The sentiment of this comic is true, but it's misleading.  Poor people often gambled before lotteries in the US.  I was a poor kid in NYC in the 1950s, people bought Irish Sweepstakes and played the numbers.  When life is bleak, people need a dream; at least state lotteries result in money going to the state, and not a bookie.  Also, we should allow gambling on sports--again, it's happening anyway, might as well get some good out of it.

    Actions speak louder than petitions.

    by melvynny on Thu Nov 28, 2013 at 08:18:38 AM PST

  •  Poor minorities are far more likely to blow (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    money on lotteries, more than their poor white peers. It's one place where they feel there is no prejudice against them succeeding. (I heard this on NPR many years ago. This was based on sociological studies done at Columbia or NYU, can't recall which University)

    Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree. -Martin Luther

    by the fan man on Thu Nov 28, 2013 at 08:19:25 AM PST

  •  Lottery not as bad as you think. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wilderness voice, the fan man, JeffW

    Consider the case of a person who is not entrapenural, not on the track of successive promotions, not doing things to significantly improve their value in the marketplace, don't save and invest, and no wealthy relatives - and not likely to change how they live their life.  

    That person's best shot ( or one of) at significantly improving their economic wealth, even financial independence could very well be the lottery.  This would especially be the case if the cost of the ticket came from fewer smokes, soft drinks, beers, snack foods, movie tickets, etc..

    The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

    by nextstep on Thu Nov 28, 2013 at 08:24:26 AM PST

  •  Funny how all the moral outrage against (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nextstep, xanthippe2, JeffW

    the "numbers racket" went poof when the state started running it, no?

    I'll tell you right out, I am a man who likes talking to a man who likes to talk. - Kasper Gutman

    by rasbobbo on Thu Nov 28, 2013 at 08:25:20 AM PST

  •  Lotteries have replaced employer pension plans (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    What's interesting is the fact that as employers terminated their employee pension plans, state governments began offering the scams of state lotteries. Working people in the'60's and 70's could work at a company with an expectation of a comfortable retirement and the ability to provide university educations for their children.  The 1/10 of 1% have effectively destroyed the reality of the American Dream and replaced it with the wishful thinking of the state lotteries.

    My wife, daughter and granddaughters should have more privacy in their doctor's office than I have buying another rifle or shotgun.

    by NM Ray on Thu Nov 28, 2013 at 08:57:10 AM PST

  •  Funny anecdote in Texas (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    At the start of the 2013 legislative session, the Texas Lottery was actually defunded for a period of time.

    The 'moral crusaders' pushed for it, and for a time they received their wish...

    ...until it became clear that the language would have scrapped Church Bingo since it is a form of gambling as written in the legislation.

    Long story short, that didn't sit well with many who saw a revenue stream cut out from under them.

    The Lottery funding was brought back shortly after that.

    "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross." -- Sinclair Lewis

    by relikx on Thu Nov 28, 2013 at 08:57:29 AM PST

  •  I clicked through just so (0+ / 0-)

    I could tip this.

    The power of the Occupy movement is that it ....realizes a fundamental truth about American politics… there is no way to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs.

    by orson on Thu Nov 28, 2013 at 09:06:25 AM PST

  •  Every now and again someone (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, smartalek

    around here wins a sizable amount of money.  Boy do people get up in arms when they learn that most of them are on public assistance.

    What are they thinking?  Why wouldn't the poorest be attracted to the possibility of getting a break?

    The religious fanatics didn't buy the republican party because it was virtuous, they bought it because it was for sale

    by nupstateny on Thu Nov 28, 2013 at 09:14:07 AM PST

  •  What do you do when... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    you are too disabled to work, no matter how much you want to…or too elderly. You have no hope, as Obama refers to the poor, of ever making it into the middle class. You know all you have and all you will ever have is what the government gives you? What do you do when you see that what little the government does give you LESS THAN $7,000.00 A YEAR TO LIVE ON AND LESS THAN $1.30.00 A MEAL A DAY TO EAT, is going to be taken away piece by piece until you have nothing? What do you do when already with this “HUGE” amount you are getting to live on isn’t enough for both rent and utilities and you have to live without such “LUXURIES” as electricity, being able to do laundry, stay clean or afford toilet paper and toothpaste?

    You know the hope of a job isn’t coming because you’re too old or disabled to take one if it does come, even if it’s the most fun, best paying job in the world and something you’d want more than anything so what do you do? You live without any hope at all and wait for the government to take away what shelter you can afford and what little food you have or you take a dollar, a dollar that will not pay your electric bill or even buy you one roll of toilet paper or any kind of food except for maybe a small size candy bar and you buy a lotto ticket. You’re not an idiot. You know your chance of winning is over a hundred million to one, but it’s still more hope than you have in any other part of your life. So you buy and for a few days at time you have the only hope in life you will ever have.

  •  I never forget the explanation that (0+ / 0-)

    the lottery is a tax on stupid.  That said, I confess to buying the occasional ticket when the payout is larger than the odds.

    You can't spell CRAZY without R-AZ.

    by rb608 on Thu Nov 28, 2013 at 11:32:31 AM PST

  •  This thread is more true than you know...!!!!! (0+ / 0-)

    When you work 45+ hours a week and can stay even but can't get ahead...the lottery seems like a pretty damn good option.  The only option other than Trump's, Steve Wynn's, or Sheldon Adelson's slot machines.  

    And yes, this is the fault of the US government and it's protection of millionaires.  There is no more money.  Either you're born rich, or get used to economic slavery.  Slavery in the name of Capitalism.  
    How's that for the "American Dream"...???

    •  thanks for this (0+ / 0-)

      If the government is going to be in the gambling business, we should do it right: use it as an incentive for other things, like paying taxes on time or buying health insurance. I've felt for a while that a better approach than the individual mandate for O-care would have been a public option that included a lottery as an incentive. Winning could be handled like any other adverse event. What does an actuary care?

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