Today I think I bought the first lottery ticket I’ve every purchased — and it was pretty obvious to the guy I bought it from.
Normally I pay no attention to lotteries. Ohio has had one for years, but I’ve never played it because it seems like a sucker’s bet. I didn’t play even when Ohio joined the “Powerball” lottery some years ago and the pots got bigger. When the jackpot gets north of half a billion dollars, however, I’ve got to dip my toe into the legalized gambling waters. Why not? Even though the odds are astronomical, the payoff is, too. What’s a few bucks when you could conceivably win enough money to set your family up for generations? I’m with UJ on this one.
I was in Cleveland today, and on my way back I stopped at a gas station along I-71 to buy a ticket. I figured that this helped my chances, because the winners of these big lotteries always seem to buy the winning tickets in a small town. Unfortunately, when I got up to the counter I didn’t have the slightest idea how to buy a ticket. I didn’t know the name of the lottery, I didn’t know how many numbers you had to pick, and I didn’t know what it meant when the guy asked me if I wanted the “megaplier.” So, I just asked him to pick the numbers randomly. For all I know, he pocketed the cash and gave me some tickets from last week. I wouldn’t know the difference.
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Occasionally you will see a story that just makes you shake your head in dismay about what it says about the human condition.
For me, at least, so it is with a story about a guy in Michigan who won $2 million in the state lottery TV show called “Make Me Rich,” but nevertheless remains eligible for food stamps — and continues to use his food stamp card to buy his food. The man in question, Leroy Fick, says he doesn’t feel bad about still using taxpayer money to buy his food. Fick’s $2 million lottery winnings don’t disqualify him from a program that is supposed to help the poor because, under current law, food stamp eligibility is based on gross income and lottery winnings are considered liquid assets. As a result, a guy who has more money in the bank than the vast majority of taxpayers is happy to have those taxpayers pay for his groceries. What a greedy jerk!
I recognize that this is an extreme case, and obviously the “liquid assets” loophole needs to be fixed. But what it really sad about this story is that a guy who has had a stroke of incredible good fortune has absolutely no regrets about taking advantage of that loophole, and thereby taking advantage of his fellow citizens. Why doesn’t “Lucky Leroy” Fick have a conscience that causes him to realize that using his food stamp card under these circumstances is just wrong?
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