Considering the payout is less than half, yes that's pathetic. Consider the following players:
In Canada and Europe if the jackpot is listed as $30M you get a check for that amount. It's value is the same as the listed jackpot prize.
In Megamillions the prize listed as $30M means it's cash prize is $18M and after tax is around $12M. That last number is the actual value the prize has.
In Powerball the prize listed as $30M. It's cash value is 14.7M and after tax is around $10M. Assuming no state income tax for either prize.
That post tax amount will drop if a Democrat is elected in 08 and adds the 4% for social security plus the high cost of public health care. Canada and Europe already have public health care but don't tax winnings from state run lotteries.