A bunch of employees down at the NY Homes and Community Renewal Agency play the lottery regularly. This time, they win– and get to split $300M.
That might seem like a non-story, and after March 29 it should have died. But the press goes for one more level– and find the guy who didn’t contribute to the office pool.
ABC News tracked Kosko down as he was walking to work and asked the “colossally unlucky guy” about his misfortunate decision. He insisted he’s “not upset” and that he feels “very happy for the seven who won. I’m very happy for them.”
First, I don’t know what misfortunate is. Second, this happens all the time. In any office pool that wins, there’s always the guy who didn’t have the cash, or was sick, or just bailed. And, in fact there were five people from the office who didn’t play that day. So why do we care about this now? Oh yeah, America’s broke.
The story’s appearance on Good Morning America and everywhere else are designed, of course, to get you to put on a uniform in the class war: should the winners give this guy some of the money? Perhaps it even reminds you of your favorite HuffPo article: look, here are a bunch of rich people, who got their money the way the rich do– through no real talent of their own– and withhold it from other, equally deserving people. Don’t you think so?
The lottery smiled on some guys– shouldn’t they extend the kindness?
But these are all distractions so you don’t ask the better question: where does that $300M jackpot come from? Answer: out of the pockets of poor people. MegaMillions sells about $2B in tickets a year, a good amount of which are losers. Rich people usually don’t play the lottery, the poor do, working class, the disabled and welfare recipients. Hence, the lottery can be viewed as a tax on the poor, which, in this case– in most cases– is redistributed to people who already have jobs. Who, by the way, will give half of that money back in the form of taxes.
That’s a racket, the media’s the barker, and we’re the rubes.
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