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Subject: The poor tithing money to the government? rss

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Chris R.
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I guess there's another big lottery happening as I see a few recent articles linked to think study:

"Households earning less than $13,000 a year spend a shocking 9% of their money on lottery tickets, Henry Blodget relays from a PBS report. ... It could be wrong, of course. Still, the idea of a typical poor family spending $25 a week on lottery tickets doesn't strike me as literally incredible."

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/03/amazing-...

Wow, I always wondered how the lottery was funded.

(I guess government really is the new church.)

...

http://badmoneyadvice.com/2010/06/a-tax-on-people-who-cant-d...

Lies, damned lies, and statistics: This article believes that the 9% figure is more of an urban legend and that the figure is closer to 3%, but the average income for a household making less than $13,000 is never really determined. There could be quite a range as I assume some people with little money probably never play the lottery while others probably go nuts.
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Hey, if Sheldon Adelson tells us that running a gambling operation which preys on the least savvy counts as supporting charity, self-reliance, and accountability, who are we to argue?
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Blorb Plorbst
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I've seen people plunk down $200 for Lotto even when the Jackpot isn't considerable. Not apparently well to do people either; working folk.

Makes Shirley Jackson's story seem a bit more literal.

I'd prefer to see Lottery games go away entirely but they've been around for centuries (millennia maybe?) and I don't expect that to happen.
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The Powerball money odds were so high tonight that if you didn't buy a ticket you qualify as one of the stupidest gamers on the planet. Of course I didn't buy any.
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David desJardins
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If you read it as "spending $12 per week on entertainment" it might seem slightly different.

Personally, I think buying lottery tickets is a stupid form of entertainment. But, hey, so is smoking marijuana and I'm told I need to defend to the death the poor people's right to do that.
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Boaty McBoatface
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Of course the poor try more often, they have more need of the money. It's a tax on desperation and hope.
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Josiah Fiscus
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bjlillo wrote:
The lottery is just a tax on people who can't do math.


Old adage, but true. The Democrats often talk about the poverty cycle and how most of the poor simply CAN'T get themselves out of poverty (and there are poor people for which this is true). The GOP is much more likely to talk about how if the poor would just work harder instead of relying on welfare, they too could live the American dream (and there are poor people for which this is true). However, the vast majority of the poor, in my opinion, aren't trapped by the system or simply lazy; rather, they simply don't understand how to manage money. They get credit cards with outrageous interest rates, shop at rent-to-own stores for furniture and electronics, buy a disproportionate amount of lottery tickets, etc. Capitalism is a system that, more than taking advantage of people's poverty, really takes advantage of their stupidity. You can educate all you want, but short of taking away people's right to do what they want with their own money, I'm not sure there's really a solution to this. People have to be allowed to make their own choices.
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J
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happyjosiah wrote:
The GOP is much more likely to talk about how if the poor would just work harder instead of relying on welfare, they too could live the American dream (and there are poor people for which this is true).

Since welfare is actually a welfare-to-work program and has been for over 15 years now, the poor cannot just rely on it instead of working.
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Josiah Fiscus
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jmilum wrote:
happyjosiah wrote:
The GOP is much more likely to talk about how if the poor would just work harder instead of relying on welfare, they too could live the American dream (and there are poor people for which this is true).

Since welfare is actually a welfare-to-work program and has been for over 15 years now, the poor cannot just rely on it instead of working.


Right. And since murder has been on the books for years, no one gets away with it either.
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Ken
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bjlillo wrote:
The lottery is just a tax on people who can't do math.


In a group of friends that I have, we call it the "Stupidity Tax." That said, when one gets to $500+ million, even I'll be a little bit stupid.
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happyjosiah wrote:
jmilum wrote:
happyjosiah wrote:
The GOP is much more likely to talk about how if the poor would just work harder instead of relying on welfare, they too could live the American dream (and there are poor people for which this is true).

Since welfare is actually a welfare-to-work program and has been for over 15 years now, the poor cannot just rely on it instead of working.


Right. And since murder has been on the books for years, no one gets away with it either.

False equivalence
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perfalbion wrote:
bjlillo wrote:
The lottery is just a tax on people who can't do math.


In a group of friends that I have, we call it the "Stupidity Tax." That said, when one gets to $500+ million, even I'll be a little bit stupid.


I'd like to be as stupid as the person in Arizona and Missouri who won $200 million each. Or even the 58 other stupid people who won a million each. I don't think math seems too important to them today, other than figuring out how much tax they have to pay.
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Daniel Edwards
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So poor people buy lots of lottery tickets.

That purchase is a tithe for some reason.

The government has the receipt of the tithe and thus is a church.

Got it. Makes perfect sense.
 
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Ken
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happyjosiah wrote:
However, the vast majority of the poor, in my opinion, aren't trapped by the system or simply lazy; rather, they simply don't understand how to manage money.


If managing money is important, don't you think we should provide a bit more in the way of coverage in school curriculum? How many schools actually talk about analyzing different purchase options for an item? The "real" cost of credit cards?

Quote:
I'm not sure there's really a solution to this. People have to be allowed to make their own choices.


OK, but we might contemplate helping them understand how to look at different options more effectively. The math courses I've run across, for example, rarely "connect" different ways of applying what you've learned to real-life situations.

The underlying assumption for our form of government is that the citizenry will be adequately armed to participate. I'm not sure that we're doing that all that well today.
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happyjosiah wrote:
Right. And since murder has been on the books for years, no one gets away with it either.


Oh, good lord. If you're going to carry on about the stereotypical "Welfare Queen," then you're going to get the standard "show that there's significant, let alone widespread abuse." The fact that Welfare has been modified to push people towards working and that the number of people that receive it dropped right up until the recession is pretty easy to demonstrate - there's reports for state and federal government on the programs that do just that.
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Ken
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PinkPiggy wrote:
If I'm really going to play the lottery, which is a long shot, I might as well ask Kate Beckinsale to sleep with me. The odds of payoff are probably the same.


I think the odds that Kate will say yes are much, much better - so take the better bet.
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Jeff Brown
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perfalbion wrote:
happyjosiah wrote:
However, the vast majority of the poor, in my opinion, aren't trapped by the system or simply lazy; rather, they simply don't understand how to manage money.


If managing money is important, don't you think we should provide a bit more in the way of coverage in school curriculum? How many schools actually talk about analyzing different purchase options for an item? The "real" cost of credit cards?


Given that this is what I teach in school I highly agree. I really don't know how many other schools offer the same kind of curriculum, and it should be all of them.

However I think its also counter productive that the Government is encouraging bad money habits and taking advantage of glitches in the way the brain processes things. Marketing tactics for the lottery absolutely encourages this.

I show and discuss this video http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_gilbert_researches_happiness.ht...
in my financial literacy class on how glitches in the brain are used against us to encourage us to spend money on stupid things. The lottery is discussed specifically at one point (5:58 on the counter).

Of course its not just the lottery that trys to trigger these glitches, but marketers the world over do this as well. It gets frustrating because I know that even if I educate kids to make better decisions a lot of them will make stupid financial decisions. The culture of marketing around us is constantly encouraging us to do this, and our brains are in some ways predisposed to this. I often feel that I'm swimming upstream in trying to help people to be smart with their money.
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DCAnderson wrote:
happyjosiah wrote:
bjlillo wrote:
The lottery is just a tax on people who can't do math.


Old adage, but true. The Democrats often talk about the poverty cycle and how most of the poor simply CAN'T get themselves out of poverty (and there are poor people for which this is true). The GOP is much more likely to talk about how if the poor would just work harder instead of relying on welfare, they too could live the American dream (and there are poor people for which this is true). However, the vast majority of the poor, in my opinion, aren't trapped by the system or simply lazy; rather, they simply don't understand how to manage money. They get credit cards with outrageous interest rates, shop at rent-to-own stores for furniture and electronics, buy a disproportionate amount of lottery tickets, etc. Capitalism is a system that, more than taking advantage of people's poverty, really takes advantage of their stupidity. You can educate all you want, but short of taking away people's right to do what they want with their own money, I'm not sure there's really a solution to this. People have to be allowed to make their own choices.


I agree, but I don't think it is merely stupidity. When you're chronically poor you pick up a lot of your bad spending habits because they actually serve you well when you're living paycheck to paycheck, but are self-destructive when you actually make enough money to have a reserve in your bank account.

This guy explains it well:
http://www.cracked.com/blog/the-5-stupidest-habits-you-devel...


It's not just the poor either. You may not have noticed it, but we're a very debt-happy country and it's not only poor people. It's the way our economy works.

I'm very debt-averse, but I do have a small student loan and now a car loan. I just graduated college and was going out in the real world and going to make actual money (enough to like.... SAVE MONEY! I hate not having savings, I want to hoard my money like a dragon). So I started looking around, what do I do now, how do I plan responsibly with my money, what if I want to buy a house in a few years. Everywhere you look on the internet, every financial adviser, "get a credit card! get a credit card! you totally need a credit card! and some loans! lots of loans!" It's everywhere, it's expected. It's something even responsible adults raised by middle-class money-responsible parents get into and then if you lose your job well you're in this debt spiral because if you don't pay off your car payment your credit is F'd and your rates will be jacked up and aaaaahhhhh.

You have to have credit to do anything, and since reporting to the credit reporting things costs money you don't get credit for paying your rent on time for 10 years because landlords don't bother with reporting. You only get credit if you take on DEBT. Which is why when we went asking about a car loan, I had no credit at all. Thankfully my husband has really good credit (because he did manage to avoid being screwed TOO hard by the car loan & CC payments, and his parents helped him out) so we got a really good rate and now I'm building credit by paying off this loan, and my student debt.

Millions of people in this country and others rack up a huge debt JUST FOR CHRISTMAS SHOPPING. Being irresponsible with your money and getting screwed by the financial system is just the way it is for a lot of people, poor and not. But yes, proper financial planning education in high school is very important--including a discussion of student loans, and what it means to take loans to go to private school if you're planning a not-that-high-paying career.
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Dave G
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alexiscarlough wrote:
DCAnderson wrote:
happyjosiah wrote:
bjlillo wrote:
The lottery is just a tax on people who can't do math.


Old adage, but true. The Democrats often talk about the poverty cycle and how most of the poor simply CAN'T get themselves out of poverty (and there are poor people for which this is true). The GOP is much more likely to talk about how if the poor would just work harder instead of relying on welfare, they too could live the American dream (and there are poor people for which this is true). However, the vast majority of the poor, in my opinion, aren't trapped by the system or simply lazy; rather, they simply don't understand how to manage money. They get credit cards with outrageous interest rates, shop at rent-to-own stores for furniture and electronics, buy a disproportionate amount of lottery tickets, etc. Capitalism is a system that, more than taking advantage of people's poverty, really takes advantage of their stupidity. You can educate all you want, but short of taking away people's right to do what they want with their own money, I'm not sure there's really a solution to this. People have to be allowed to make their own choices.


I agree, but I don't think it is merely stupidity. When you're chronically poor you pick up a lot of your bad spending habits because they actually serve you well when you're living paycheck to paycheck, but are self-destructive when you actually make enough money to have a reserve in your bank account.

This guy explains it well:
http://www.cracked.com/blog/the-5-stupidest-habits-you-devel...


It's not just the poor either. You may not have noticed it, but we're a very debt-happy country and it's not only poor people. It's the way our economy works.

I'm very debt-averse, but I do have a small student loan and now a car loan. I just graduated college and was going out in the real world and going to make actual money (enough to like.... SAVE MONEY! I hate not having savings, I want to hoard my money like a dragon). So I started looking around, what do I do now, how do I plan responsibly with my money, what if I want to buy a house in a few years. Everywhere you look on the internet, every financial adviser, "get a credit card! get a credit card! you totally need a credit card! and some loans! lots of loans!" It's everywhere, it's expected. It's something even responsible adults raised by middle-class money-responsible parents get into and then if you lose your job well you're in this debt spiral because if you don't pay off your car payment your credit is F'd and your rates will be jacked up and aaaaahhhhh.

You have to have credit to do anything, and since reporting to the credit reporting things costs money you don't get credit for paying your rent on time for 10 years because landlords don't bother with reporting. You only get credit if you take on DEBT. Which is why when we went asking about a car loan, I had no credit at all. Thankfully my husband has really good credit (because he did manage to avoid being screwed TOO hard by the car loan & CC payments, and his parents helped him out) so we got a really good rate and now I'm building credit by paying off this loan, and my student debt.

Millions of people in this country and others rack up a huge debt JUST FOR CHRISTMAS SHOPPING. Being irresponsible with your money and getting screwed by the financial system is just the way it is for a lot of people, poor and not. But yes, proper financial planning education in high school is very important--including a discussion of student loans, and what it means to take loans to go to private school if you're planning a not-that-high-paying career.


My wife and I are unusual among the folks we know in that we don't buy anything on credit except the very large purchases we can't afford to make with cash--our home, our rental property, and our cars. We don't own a credit card, and we don't use financing for anything else. We save up cash for vacations, new furniture, electronics, etc.--all the things people seem to buy with credit cards or store financing. It means we don't always have all the stuff we want exactly when we want it, but it also has meant a relatively stress-free financial life for us because we're never in over our heads.
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Jasper
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It may be my penny pinching nature, but I consider car-loans something of an extravagance. The only debt I have outstanding is for my home, and that already causes me enough stress. The need to take on a loan is an absolute barrier against any purchase that would require it.

Besides, I like driving clunkers .
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Kelsey Rinella
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Venga2 wrote:
Besides, I like driving clunkers .


With you. I bought a used Kia when we wanted a minivan–driving an inexpensive car with a few minor blemishes leaves me at peace with a lot of things which might otherwise cause anxiety (like my son banging on the car with a stick, or my son banging on the car with a shoe, or my son banging on the car with his bookbag–the list goes on).
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You just wish he would stop banging on (about) the car, eh?
 
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David desJardins
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perfalbion wrote:
If managing money is important, don't you think we should provide a bit more in the way of coverage in school curriculum? How many schools actually talk about analyzing different purchase options for an item? The "real" cost of credit cards?


You have to be careful what you wish for. The question is, if your public school has such a curriculum, do you trust it to be what you would want it to be? Unfortunately, a lot of "financial literacy" curriculum is heavily influenced by the financial industry itself. This probably shouldn't be terribly surprising.
 
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djgutierrez77 wrote:
My wife and I are unusual among the folks we know in that we don't buy anything on credit except the very large purchases we can't afford to make with cash--our home, our rental property, and our cars. We don't own a credit card, and we don't use financing for anything else. We save up cash for vacations, new furniture, electronics, etc.--all the things people seem to buy with credit cards or store financing. It means we don't always have all the stuff we want exactly when we want it, but it also has meant a relatively stress-free financial life for us because we're never in over our heads.


We do almost the same thing, but almost the exact opposite: we use a credit card for most purchases, but then pay it off every month, no matter how much we've put on it. So it's minimally deferred payment with no finance charges but with the added benefit of 1%-3% "cash back" on the cards we use - which we can then put toward funding my cruise ship casino losses.

Back to the lottery: Basic math says that if the odds of winning are 1 in 170 million, then as long as your dollar ticket will net you more than $170 million, the ticket is worth at least the dollar you pay for it. Unfortunately, you have to factor in the possibility of multiple winners diluting the prize pool, your tax obligation, and possibly the time value of the annuity when you make that calculation, so it probably has to be at least three or four times that $170 million to make your ticket's value a full dollar. On the other hand, if you're willing to pay a dollar for the enjoyment of dreaming about what you would do if you win, then that's pretty cheap entertainment.
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DaviddesJ wrote:
You have to be careful what you wish for. The question is, if your public school has such a curriculum, do you trust it to be what you would want it to be? Unfortunately, a lot of "financial literacy" curriculum is heavily influenced by the financial industry itself. This probably shouldn't be terribly surprising.


I think that this is true for just about anything, though. So I'm willing to risk their influence for the opportunity to get a curriculum pulled together where other people have a voice as well. Would I inherently trust such a curriculum? No - but I'd love the chance to discuss/debate it at a school board or similar meeting.

Because the world isn't a "cash only" place any more, people are going to run across many different ways to incur debt. Debit cards can create this with overdraft charges, credit cards, PayPal, etc. We aren't doing our kids any favors by not covering the topics at all.
 
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