Did you buy a Powerball ticket before the big drawing on Wednesday? Isn’t it funny that some people won’t buy a ticket when the jackpot is only a few million but man oh man, if it gets into the hundreds of millions then it’s worth the investment. Does that mean they wouldn’t be happy with a couple of million versus 500 million? Of course not.
But, for many people they just don’t think about it until the media hypes the fact that the fund has entered into another stratosphere of possibilities. Then they jump on the bandwagon and buy that one ticket that will take care of all their problems (if it’s a winner).
The sad part is that many of those that win huge jackpots end up in bankruptcy in a very short period of time and end up worse off than if they had never won. Why? They never had to deal with that much money before and they go wild spending without any thought of what happens when the money runs out. And the money can always run out if you spend more than you make.
Kind of reminds me of what is happening in Washington at this very moment. Only in this case the lottery is called taxes and many spend our money with no thought of what happens when they run out. And, no matter how much money you print there is always a day of reckoning when the IOU’s come due.
For Greece that day is now. For the United States we may not be far behind if we continue spending money we don’t have on things we can’t afford. I’ve heard people in Jefferson City say that if you add a million dollars here and a million there then eventually you would be talking about real money. The sad part is that a lot of politicians think that very way.
They think that you really shouldn’t worry about the small budget items because it really doesn’t mean that much.
And, are they really that much different than the average American? I know that a lot of Americans live paycheck to paycheck and count every penny but how many others waste their money on little things because they just don’t think it matters. Well, to take the analogy of the politicians and downsize it, a dollar here and a dollar there and eventually you are talking about some real money.
But, that doesn’t seem to be the American way anymore. Many in our society just live in the present without any real thought to the future and many of our elected leaders follow that same philosophy. And, those that don’t are ostracized by the left-leaning liberal media as being cruel and heartless – just because they don’t want to spend money we don’t have on more government spending.
Page 2 of 2 - Just as is the case with the lottery winners, eventually the money has to run out and then what do we do? A lot of people are now starting to worry about the fiscal cliff that we are about to charge off of. Folks, if our leaders don’t come up with some quick solutions, then taxes will increase, programs will be slashed and all of us will suffer from the economic fallout. Our fiscal day of reckoning is coming quicker than most people realize.
So, what’s the answer? Most people say that we need a combination of additional revenue and cuts in spending. My very real fear is that we will end up with a compromise that increases taxes without any true cuts in spending. I remember John McCormack asking me one time on his radio show if we were actually cutting spending in Jefferson City or were we merely cutting the amount of the increases in spending. At the time we were actually reducing government spending but most of the time in government it is the latter.
I know that I didn’t win the Powerball jackpot on Wednesday (and yes I was one of those that bought a ticket) so I don’t have to worry about what to do with a windfall of cash. I just hope and pray that our national leaders will somehow come to understand that they haven’t won the lottery either. That the money they are spending belongs to the American people and we expect them to spend it wisely.
But, unfortunately, many of our leaders follow the example of Popeye’s friend Wimpy when he said “I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.” My friends, Tuesday is here for our federal government and we don’t have enough to pay for that $14 trillion hamburger. But that won’t stop them from ordering another one and worry about paying for it the next Tuesday. How many more hamburgers are they going to buy on credit? My guess is a whole bag full and more and that’s what truly scares me.
Kevin Wilson writes a weekly column for the Daily News.