Mega Millions: The Lottery of Loss for Those Dying of Hunger
by Jane Olivier
Don’t do it! That lottery ticket—that “Mega Millions” one … or the “Powerball” … or in fact, any other. Just don’t do it! Put your money back in your pocket. In the U.S., the chances of you winning the lottery are 1 in 146.1 million. Did you get that? One in 146.1 million.
And in the meantime, you lose. And even in winning, you lose. And you’re being about as “in the moment” as a shark in a fishbowl.
I have a friend in the U.S. who has to survive on his monthly social security payment of $1,243 per month. He beggars himself by staying in a place he cannot afford to upkeep, in a tiny village/town far from anything and needs to drive everywhere to buy whatever he needs at great fuel cost. He has applied for all sorts of grants from various levels of government, yet at least twice a week he does the 15-mile round trip to buy his lottery tickets in the hope of one day winning something.
While I was visiting, he would ask me to go and buy them. I did a few times, then refused, trying to speak sense into his supposedly intelligent noggin’, trying to show him that the $50 or more he was spending on lottery tickets could be used on food. But I couldn’t get through his “if you don’t buy you can’t win” thought processing the fact that by not buying he was already winning.
Why did I refuse to do him this favour on my way back or to somewhere? I was perpetuating a whole bunch of things I’m totally opposed to and, as such, not living my truth. Among them:
- Hope is a waste of energy.
- I live in the now and this precludes hope of any kind.
- I will not take hand-outs from a government—it makes you dependent.
- We pay enough to governments in taxes on food, fuel, clothing—all sorts of things. Money that is spent without our permission on things of which we do not approve—war, oil drilling, nuclear arms, salaries for incompetent leaders, bribery and corruption on a scale more massive than we could ever comprehend. Oh yes… and on insurance!
- I will not allow my freedom to be compromised.
- I will not throw money away when there are millions dying of starvation. Millions!
How was I perpetuating these? By buying these tickets for him, I was assisting him in his grant requirements, thus approving and applauding his actions.
And I don’t. Not in any way or means.
The number of lotteries worldwide is staggering, and the amount of money thrown at them even more so, in the hope of hitting the jackpot. And who do we think IS the jackpot? Correct, we are.
Listen carefully: WE ARE THE JACKPOT!
Not strictly true. YOU are, I will have nothing to do with this.
Allow me the opportunity to smash your delusions.
Of every $1 you spend, about $0.50 goes to prizes and $0.50 goes to the euphemistic “overheads” (administration and advertising) and to the state governments. So, of the leftover half of the money you have thrown away, 19.71 cents goes to pay off fixed prize winners—the little guys, the $2-$whatever—and the rest—about $0.30—goes into the jackpot. The more people bet and the more drawings that go by with no winner, the larger the jackpot gets. The only people getting paid are the government and the administrators.
And on the very, very minuscule chance that you may win something larger than the teller where you bought your ticket can supply, here is the palaver to go through to finally get your winnings. For prizes over $600, winners must fill out a claim form and present two forms of valid identification. Whoever is sending the payout, must be able to verify the winner’s identity and Social Security Number (SSN), therefore; at least one form of identification must specifically identify the SSN. The preferred forms of acceptable identification are a valid driver’s license with current address and a Social Security card.
Then there’s the fact that ALL lottery winnings are subject to Federal taxes; many smaller jurisdictions also levy taxes. The IRS requires at least 25 per cent of any gambling wins in excess of $5,000 be withheld. And here again, the net for a major winner is misleading. You win big? You pay big… to the government, as you will now find yourself in a much higher tax bracket than the withheld 25 per cent.
In order for a jackpot to reach $540,000,000, you out there… and you know who you are… have paid in $1.8 billion. That’s with a “B”! And we’re only talking one jackpot here—the Mega Millions which stood at $540 million in March this year.
The bait of easy money was thrown into extremely fertile waters and they netted YOU, and you remain caught in this web that you’re constantly spinning. You and hundreds of millions of others have gone without so you could win, now you have, so “thank you and pay us to hold you prisoner while we shake out your pockets again and again and again.”
And here is an uncomfortable statistic: Today almost 22,000 (when I last looked)—and a whopping 10.5 million so far this year—died of starvation. Not the silly “I’m dying of hunger” phrase dying, haphazardly thrown out when we’re an hour over our perceived feeding time. The real dead-never-to-walk-this-planet-never-to-touch-the-grass-with-bare-feet-or-smell-the-sea-breeze kind of dying.
$1.8 billion would have fed them for 171 years!
That is what your “hope” could have done. It could have created joy, relieved anguish and suffering, quietened a scream, whispered “thank you,” dried many tears. It could have put a smile on a whole lot of faces that will never smile again.
But it didn’t.
Look at the image below and let it burn a hole through your cornea into your soul. And the next time you go falsely “hoping,” remember this image and remember these words.
You cannot say “I didn’t know.”