PowerBall Hucksterism

@thinkprogress has a posting that describes the swindle of the PowerBall jackpot. By recently raising the size of the field of numbers that must be matched to win, the odds of betting but not winning are now, at least, astronomical, if not almost infinite. Like almost all gambling supported by the State, this is one of the most regressive of all taxes because those who can least afford it are the ones who waste their money on it. It is, of course, economic insecurity that motivates the lemming-like plunge into the lines of hopeful purchasers.

It seems at least the season, if not the era, for insecurities and anxieties as prime motivation for masses of respondents. How else could Donald Trump be so far ahead of his Party’s fellow-hucksters? The chances of their obtaining the pay-offs he proclaims are nearly as remote as their winning their PowerBall purchases. That is not to say that he cannot be his Party’s nominee. One has only to remember the post-Weimar demagog who exploited the anger and angst of Germans with the promise of a reign of a thousand years of prosperity.

“There’s a sucker born every minute.” That phrase has been attributed to P.T. Barnum, but I doubt he’d so disparage his own customers. Even Mark Twain has been credited as its author. Wikipedia attributes it to a David Hannum against Barnum. The truth of the phrase remains whoever first said it. We will witness its truth as political rallies proliferate in the months ahead and even sooner when the PowerBall lines form again.


Filed under PowerBall, swindle, Trump

6 responses to “PowerBall Hucksterism

  1. Joyce Hinton

    But you see . . . the American dream. A chance at “something” other than where we are or what we have. The trek to find gold, God, infinite sunshine. Its a part of us to spend a dollar and hope for the best. It cost a dollar to imagine the dream coming true. Donner party comes to mind. What the hell . . . a dollar for a day of “maybe it could be me!”

  2. Lara/Trace

    Whoever wins that jackpot could end world hunger – but that won’t happen

  3. Fahy Mullaney

    Yeah, Powerball is all that you’ve written. It’s an amazing, counter intuitive phenomenon….as the odds become exponentially smaller (From nearly no chance to positively no chance) the lines for tickets grow longer. “Oh, now my chances are zero??? Yeah give me five dollars worth of that!”

    • I wonder if we could get some of that cash coming our way? I’ve know for a long time that I have little to nothing to offer but I didn’t realize that it was worth something.

  4. I watched “The World Wars” on the History Channel this weekend and I can see Trump repeating history as a modern-day Hitler. It seems about a third of the populace regularly polls as the type of people who would follow a Hitler. So very sad.

  5. Ron:
    It’s thought lotteries have been around 205 and 187 B.C. during the Han Dynasty in what is today China. I think it can be seen as NOT a regressive tax because participation is optional. But of course, as you say, in reality it is essentially a statistical impossibility to actually win except for the government coffers. And sadly, like a gambling habit it is, people throw money they need away at impossible odds. But I did buy 1 ticket. But that’s not really your point, I know.

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