I have always believed in counterpoint, or whatever the proper name is. I define it as reading from someone or something that is totally opposite of what I believe in. I do this for a few reasons, first to see where their point has logic so that I don’t become completely one sides. Also to see what is in the mind of the person I may one day debate.
This year, as you know, is a presidential election. I am a republican, I have always voted republican, and I plan to do so. I simply don’t believe that the government should be in our personal lives as much as they are. And every democrat I have ever heard wants the government to have more control, more rules, more of my money, and do more things that I disagree with.
Now that all of this has been said democrats OFTEN come up with interesting points. I have been a subscriber to the MoveOn.org newsletter for over 4 years now, but recently I have have been reading and writing blogs, one that I found early on, and is full of good info is one by Jon Taplin. I will say that most of the time I totally disagree with him. But when he is just stating facts, his facts are very interesting. Today he posted an article about ‘The Lottery Class” You will notice something VERY interesting. The poorest people spend over 5% of their money on the lottery. These people also spend at least 5% of their income on transaction costs that the rest of us usually get for free. I mean, they pay to cash checks, then they pay to buy cashiers checks. Also many of them pay a huge amount of their income to very high, and often abusive fees for borrowing very small amounts of money.
I have never been able to understand the logic that many of these people have. I had a good friend that was like this. Was always borrowing at 20% per month interest rates and such, he never had money and over 10% of his income was going to these things.
About a week ago YouTube featured a video that was made by and about this subject. It was crazy, but so real in the subject matter. Please watch this video. It helped me understand this underbelly of our economy a bit more.
Now what should be done about this. Well first off even if rates were lower these money loaning companies would be still highly profitable. Here in Arizona they are getting ready to regulate these much more. I am PRO government regulation that protects people, I am against government regulation that makes the burden on all of us higher, such as having to file a Tax Return.
Lottery’s are almost always ran by the government and the profits go to the government at the expense of the poor. State and local government have gotten very used to the money they receive from this. (Not to mention the 8% or so that the place selling the ticket gets) Now you should not totally get rid of the lottery because a certain amount of our society will resort to illegal betting to get their fix, but you CAN have the government stop promoting it. They can stop all forms of advertising, they can stop listing the numbers on the news broadcasts. You could also limit the number of places sell it, to say only places that have a liquor license. That would remove the kiosks in the malls. And of course they should remove the automated vending machines that people under 18 use to buy the tickets.
I have not played the lottery in a decade or so, and in my whole life I have spent under $50 on tickets. But the lottery is such a rip off, they only pay back 45% or so of the money to the winners. And even when they do that the government takes 40% of the winnings of major winners in taxes. Basically half of all money spent on lottery tickets is a donation to the government, and comming from the people who can least afford it.
That being said I am not so strict on gambling. Games of skill such as poker are much more fair, you can have a positive expected return based on your skill. And games that payback almost all of what they take in are better, they are more like entertainment. For example craps, if you play the passline, pays back about 98%. So if you bet $10, and do it 100 times (Which would take HOURS), on average you will only lose $20. Sounds like a lot of fun for a small cost. Black jack is about the same if you play correctly. Even slots are MANY times better than the lottery, though MUCH more boring.
In the end people need to think a lot more, keep their eyes and mind open. Too many people walk around, close minded, they do things in the old ways and get the old results. Poverty and being out of control of their life.