|Posted: July 10, 2009, 2:50 pm - IP Logged|
You sound like someone who has never won a big prize, and thus never saw most of it taken away by the government. That experience would probably alter your viewpoint. Myself, I don't need to wait until I win to know what it would be like. The "selfishness" and tyrannical attitude of the government, assuming they can steal from one group of people and bestow it on another, is not American. Sorry, it's not.
I can hardly describe the agony of lying awake at night while my heart bleeds for those poor people who win enormous amounts of money and only get to keep 60% or more of enormous.
Seriously, anybody who's up in arms about this and isn't one of the (very few) people actually affected must not have a clue about the real impact. The way lottery prizes are structured most of the prize money in most games is reported to the IRS, but the vast majority of winners aren't reported. Here's a breakdown of what can be expected for Mega Millions.
For every 175,711,536 tickets sold we can expect:
1 jackpot winner
45 2nd place winners
255 3rd place winners
That's a total of 301 winners whose winnings will be reported and taxed.
There will also be:
11,475 4th place winners
12,750 5th place winners
208,250 6th place winners
573,751 7th place winners
1,249,460 8th place winners
2,349,084 9th place winners
That's a total of 4,404,770 winners whose winnings won't be reported. As a practical matter that means that their winnings won't be taxed.
The 301 who will be paying taxes represent 0.00684% (1 out of every14,620) of all winners. Of course only 1 in every 39.9 tickets wins anything at all, so the 301 who will pay taxes only represent 0.00017%, or 1 of every 583,338 players. Let's assume that you're one of the few players buying 1000 tickets every year. Statistically you're still only going to have to pay a tax once every 583 years. If that possibility actually bothers you, you just aren't thinking very clearly.
As for the attitude of the government, whether everyone understand it or not, the government is the people, and that's the real problem. People in large groups aren't efficient, whether they're running a city, a state, a country, or planning an office birthday party. That they have to try to keep everyone happy just makes it less efficient. The majority of our politicians are not serving their first term. Whose fault is it that the people running the show are making decisions that the voters (and of course the non-voters) don't like?
The real selfish attitude comes from the people who clamor for reduced spending but don't want any of those cuts aimed at the things they're interested in. The real selfish attitude comes from the people who think that some of their income should be tax exempt for some special reason. The real selfish attitude comes from the people who cheat (or try to cheat) on their taxes by not reporting income they know is taxable, including unreported gambling winnings. In short, the real selfish attitude comes from people, period, because it's human nature to look out for our own personal interests.
Prob988 has it exactly right. We're all in it together, and between all of us we have to pay the bills. Some of you may think some people are being asked to pay more than their share, but that's because the vast majority of you don't have to pay your own share. If they don't tax lottery winnings the vast majority of you will get to pay more of your share.