Lotteries suck

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I don’t get lotteries. And I really don’t get ‘dream home’ lotteries. I know, they’re usually the centrepiece of a fundraising campaign for a good cause, like hospitals. I suppose people buying $100 tickets might be thinking of it as a donation, and nothing more. Still, surely many (most?) ticket buyers wouldn’t have made a donation – certainly not a donation that large – if they hadn’t had an incentive. Which is where my confusion comes in. A hundred bucks is a hundred bucks. Even wealthy people know the value of a C-note. It’s not a sum I’m throwing into a gamble where my chance of winning is extremely remote.

For example, 227,500 tickets have been sold in the Princess Margaret lottery this year:

Why would I buy a ticket to this? A hundred bucks is a nice night out for two, a pair of shoes, a couple new shirts, a toy-shopping spree for the kids, an armload of books.

Dream home lotteries are successful, though. They raise money for good causes. It’s a chance for people to give to a good cause and also dream of a wealthy future. ’Nuff said, right?

But while it may be all of those good things, it’s also a lie. I don’t blame the hospitals, but I’m not buying in. If you want a donation, tell me you want a donation, and I’ll decide whether to give and how much to give. A hundred bucks is a good donation to a cause you believe in, sure – but as a lottery ticket, it’s ridiculous. If you’re rolling in cash, I guess it’s harmless fun. For the rest of us, though, it’s a foolish way to spend money. Donate what you feel is the right amount to donate, but don’t be lured into $100 by the absurd promise of unearned riches. Do something sensible and put your hundred bucks away for your kids.

In other fiscal foolery, the Conservatives have thrown up their hands in defeat:

Federal debt has increased a cool $125-billion over the last few years, and Jim Flaherty has finally come clean and admitted the debt won’t disappear for a long time – as in, three decades. But don’t worry, he’s forecasting budgets will see a surplus starting a few years from now.

That won’t happen either. Honestly, I’m getting nervous. It’s like watching a slow-motion car accident. All that hubris Canada has had as Europe and America have floundered financially, and my guess is there’s a good chance (albeit not a certainty) we’ll be in the same spot in a few more years.

The bureaucracy is out of control, unions want money that simply doesn’t exist, and voters demand everything and want credit cards to pay for it.

Radically cutting government spending isn’t Right-wing. It’s sanity. Yet a majority Conservative government finds it impossible to shrink spending. And any cut to any department or service, even modest (yes, any cut less than 10 per cent is very modest), is greeted with a war cry: “Don’t touch my stuff! How dare you expect me to accept less!”

Ontario’s Liberals drove that province into the ground. And now that it’s gasping beneath the weight of debt and entitlements, its leaders have simply left the building:

One of the few sensible things Dalton tried to do was take on the doctors and teachers, and it was one of the nails in his coffin. Now no one is running the shop, the legislature is shut, and spending continues unabated. Where will it end? In a deep dark hole.

Don’t kid yourself: Canada can be Greece. It’s waiting for us, if we don’t act now. Forget death by a thousand cuts. This will be death by a million entitlements.

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Recent comments

  • Lotto winner
    October 25, 2012 - 12:47

    I'll get the last laugh when I win the Porsche in the Home Lottery and spin donuts in front of the Amherst Daily News until the tires fall off.