The lottery is a voluntarily tax on the poorest people

You need to study math so that you don't end up doing this your whole life
You need to study math so that you don’t end up doing this your whole life

Here is a good article on basic economics by Arthur C. Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute (a free market think tank).

He writes in the Wall Street Journal:

Powerball—the lottery shared by 44 states, the District of Columbia and two territories—is just one of the sweepstakes run by 47 jurisdictions in the U.S. These games produce nearly $70 billion a year in government revenue and enjoy profits of about 33%—much higher than margins in the private gambling industry.

Who are these lotteries’ most loyal customers? Poor people. Lots of folks buy the occasional ticket, but studies have long shown a steady association between poverty and lottery play. Many scholars report that the poorest third of Americans buy more than half of all lotto tickets, which is why states advertise so aggressively in poor neighborhoods.

Harmless entertainment, you may say, but poor people don’t see it that way. They tend to view lottery tickets as an investment. Duke University social scientists Charles Clotfelter and Philip Cook reported in a 1990 study that people earning less than $30,000 a year are 25% more likely to say they play the lottery for the money rather than the entertainment.

[…]Even if someone feels compelled to throw a financial “Hail Mary,” the lottery is a terrible choice. The odds of winning last week’s jackpot were about 1 in 292 million. And the average return from $1 spent on lottery tickets is 52 cents, according to a 2002 paper by Melissa Kearney, an economist now at the University of Maryland.

But this isn’t easy to see for those with low levels of education. My own analysis of survey data from the National Gambling Impact Study Commission suggests that someone who didn’t attend college may think the return on lottery tickets is 40% higher than the estimate given by a person of similar demographics who holds a degree.

If you took a poll of how people who bought lottery tickets voted, I’m certain that you would find that 90% of them are Democrats. This is because Democrats are economically illiterate, judging for their support for minimum wage increases and opposition to free trade. I suppose there would be a fair number of Donald Trump supporters in there, too. People can can do math don’t buy lottery tickets. It’s much better to pay off debt and then start saving for your retirement. Although public schools used to teach math and basic economics, now they are so busy teaching young people to hate their parents, their God and their country that there is no time for teaching math and basic economics. Even if the public school teachers knew math and basic economics, which they probably don’t, judging by how members of teacher unions vote.

Apparently, people on the political left now oppose teaching math, because it’s racist or sexist or something.

The Daily Caller explains:

Is math sexist? One Vanderbilt University professor believes that it is.

Writing in an academic journal last month, the professor complained about the masculinization of math and how it causes the oppression of women.

Describing mathematics as a “white and heteronormatively masculinized space,” professor Luis A. Leyva insists that factors including teacher expectations and cultural norms “serve as gendering mechanisms that give rise to sex-based achievement differences,” per Campus Reform.

[…]In the article titled “Unpacking the Male Superiority Myth and Masculinization of Mathematics at the Intersection,” Leyva says that teachers “contribute to the masculinization of the  domain that unfairly holds students to men’s higher levels of achievement and participation as a measure of success.”

In other words, being held to a high standard keeps women down.

Do you ever wonder why Democrats want to halt all education reform? Well, people who can’t do math tend to be awful at earning and saving money. And do you know what happens to people who are terrible at earning and saving money? They become dependent on welfare and they vote for bigger government, i.e. – Democrats.

The Pew Research Center, a liberal organization, actually did a study on this uninformed voter problem.

Excerpt:

So Republicans are more knowledgeable than Democrats, contrary to what many would like to believe.

According to whom?  None other than the Pew Research Center, a left-of-center organization.  Moreover, Pew’s latest survey only reaffirms previous surveys demonstrating the same result.

In fact, the results weren’t even close.

In a scientific survey of 1,168 adults conducted during September and October of last year, respondents were asked not only multiple-choice questions, but also queries using maps, photographs and symbols.  Among other subjects, participants identified international leaders, cabinet members, Supreme Court justices, nations on a world map, the current unemployment and poverty rates and war casualty totals.

In a 2010 Pew survey, Republicans outperformed Democrats on 10 of 12 questions, with one tie and Democrats outperforming Republicans on just 1 of the 12.  In the latest survey, however, Republicans outperformed Democrats on every single one of 19 questions.

[…]Those Pew results are confirmed by some surprising other sources.  According to a New York Times headline dated April 14, 2010, “Poll Finds Tea Party Backers Wealthier and More Educated.”  Shattering widespread myths, that survey revealed that Tea Party supporters were more likely to possess a college degree than their counterparts (23% to 15%), and also more likely to have completed post-graduate studies (14% to 10%).  Tea Partiers were also more likely to have completed “some college” by a 33% to 28% margin, and substantially less likely to have not completed high school than non-supporters (3% versus 12%), or to possess only a high school degree (26% versus 35%).

I hope no readers of this blog drop math before they go to college or trade school, and you all better be studying something that pays if you do go to college. I don’t want to catch any of you buying lottery tickets as your retirement plan. I want to encourage you all to make a long-term plan for your retirement, and make sure that the pieces in the short-term fit with that long-term plan.

One thought on “The lottery is a voluntarily tax on the poorest people”

  1. #1 Regarding lotteries, John Stapleford in “Bears, Bulls, and Golden Calves” addresses this: https://books.google.com/books?id=sVdbCAAAQBAJ&pg=PA216&lpg=PA216&dq=lottery&source=bl&ots=tKyl3Zxldh&sig=q0UT8ri4GpIFxJz3PssE_YLI9xk&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj7q8zZrpPWAhXm6YMKHfNoBhgQ6AEINDAC#v=onepage&q=lottery&f=false
    A quote from the book, p. 221:
    “The poorest neighborhoods are where the most lottery tickets are sold. Dissatisfaction with current income is the major reason for buying a lottery ticket. Formal education and occupational level are inversely related to lottery purchases.” And so on.
    It’s a false hope. I have an atheist friend who used to be a math professor (SB MIT Mathematics, Ph.D. Cornell in Statistics). He has a great job now being the staff statistician on gambling and gaming addiction — but there’s a lot of interesting stuff he’s come up with. In any case, he had his students calculate the expected value off scratch tickets and Powerball and other gambling and lottery games — while you might purchase a ticket for a dollar, the expected value is significantly less than a dollar: translation — you’re paying the companies that run the lottery.
    Some people may make the plea that “some of the money goes into charity” but if you really wanted to donate to a charity, just write a check and give it to the charity directly.
    We can discuss more rabbit trails like legalizing casinos in my state (which happened fairly recently).
    #2 “Is math sexist… Describing mathematics as a ‘white and heteronormatively masculinized space,’ …”
    And schools like Caltech and MIT don’t have a significant Asian population? (Caltech: 42% Asian, 29% White, 9% International ref: https://www.registrar.caltech.edu/academics/enrollment and MIT ~25% Asian, ~12% Hispanic, ~10% International ref: http://web.mit.edu/facts/enrollment.html ) And those math-loving MIT females, currently representing 47% of the undergraduate body, they must be very repressed …

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