“I pledge allegiance to the dollar and to the Republic for which money rules, one nation, controlled by Washington and Wall Street, with corruption and greed for all.”
The American Dream has turned to balls – Powerballs. There’s always a frenzy when we hear of a giant jackpot. It’s the dream of “Easy Street” and being financially secure. We all want the 1.5 billion jackpot. It’s a fantasy to be swimming in money and living the lifestyle of the rich and famous.
Who doesn’t want the experience of overnight wealth? Don’t we all want to trade in that trailer for a double wide? Wouldn’t it be awesome to move up from Walmart to Neiman Marcus? It’s the fantasy of freedom from bills and being able to buy whatever we want. A lavish life is only a two-dollar investment away.
It’s good to dream, and fantasies are fun. However, we must come back to reality and know that the odds of having a winning ticket are astronomically against us. The chance of winning the Powerball (5 numbers + the Powerball) are 1 in 292,201,338.52. Not a likely occurrence in any stretch of the imagination. You’re not Charlie Bucket and there’s no golden ticket. Even his chances were very slim. Just ask Mr. Wonka.
To put it into perspective - The odds of being struck by lightning this year are one in 1.19 million, making it about 246 times as likely as winning the Powerball jackpot. With an estimated one in 12,500 chance, an amateur golfer is about 23,376 times as likely to make a hole in one. I know everyone says “you can’t win if you don’t play,” but is it really worth it? If you're using your savings to purchase tickets, the “hole in one” is in your head.
“Money is Power.” We all want to feel in control of our lives, but millions of us feel powerless as we watch the middle class disappear and financial struggles increase. Winning the Powerball is stress relief from healthcare costs, mortgage payments, student loans, car payments, etc. It’s the allure of being debt free, so we can buy our silverware from Tiffany and have MTV come check out our crib. If we really think it’s going to happen, just go stand in a field and wait for lightning to strike.
People spend tons of money on the lottery, but it’s a fool’s paradise. In that quest for wealth there is a certain amount of greed ingrained in our psyche. It’s natural. We grow up in a country where greed flows from the highest one percent down to the lowly poor who are trying to exist from paycheck to paycheck. Why shouldn’t we feel greedy? We want to be the wealthy guy when there is such a disparity in the economic levels in this country.
We witness greed and corruption on Wall Street and in Washington, and we believe that’s the way to derive power. Wall Street and top financial executives brought the US economy to its knees in 2008. The government bailed out the large banks, and top Wall Street executives were given a slap on the wrist. No lessons were learned; no top level CEO’s went to prison. Business went back to the same corrupt practices. If you search the internet for economic collapse, you will find that economists and political commentators, say we are heading into another more serious crash. Here is an excerpt from an article published on marketwatch.com.
“The United States is more vulnerable today than ever before including during the Great Depression and the Civil War,” says Thom Hartmann, in “The Crash of 2016.” Why? “Because the pillars of democracy that once supported a booming middle class have been corrupted, and without them, America teeters on the verge of the next Great Crash.” Thanks to an obstructionist GOP, hell-bent on destroying Obama the past six years. His indictment hits hard, but matching something you might hear from Rush Limbaugh on the Right.
“The United States is in the midst of an economic implosion that could make the Great Depression look like child’s play,” warns Hartmann. His analysis is brutal, sees that “the facade of our once-great United States will soon disintegrate to reveal the rotting core where corporate and billionaire power and greed have replaced democratic infrastructure and governance. Our once-enlightened political and economic systems have been manipulated to ensure the success of only a fraction of the population at the expense of the rest of us.”
With this forecast and predicted crisis, shouldn’t we all want to win the lottery so we can stash away our fortune for bad economic periods? If we only have a microscopic chance of winning the Powerball, perhaps there are other ways to fatten our bank accounts. We can go on Twitter like Kanye and ask Mark Zuckerberg for $1 billion. Although, you might have a better chance of catching Mark’s attention on Facebook.
There are no get rich schemes that really work – just ask Bernie Madoff. Ultimately, if we want to see practical financial rewards, like minimum wage increases, we need to involve ourselves in the political process. Rollup our sleeves and work to eliminate the corruption that fills the capitol of this country. It’s certainly a daunting task, but being apathetic, or complaining about it, will only continue to give us more of the same. We have to educate ourselves about the real issues, and not just listen to the media’s political sound bites.
There needs to be an upheaval in the US Senate, and voters need to make their disgust for the status quo known. It isn’t done by standing in line for eight hours to buy Powerball tickets, it’s done by standing in line to vote. If you believe it doesn’t matter, that nothing will change, then inaction will prove you right. We need to give credence to our individual voices.
So many things are seriously wrong with the political process in this country. From lifetime politicians who only serve lobbyists, special interest groups and not their constituents, to the Citizens United act. Citizens should be selecting the candidates for political office not corporations, unions and billionaires.
Give up the “cult of personality.” Turn off the TV. The Kardashians and Real Housewives don’t care about you, but there are candidates running for political offices that really do. Take time, do some research and find them. This is the year of the presidential race – in case E! or Bravo haven’t featured it. As we watch this clown car of finger pointers and spin doctors speed toward Washington, we need to focus on the ballot not a quick pick form.
Having money is a good thing, but it’s for comfort, not happiness. Investing in the future is more vital and and brings greater satisfaction. It’s about becoming part of the process - being an agent for change. Be one of those people who raises their head and hand up in a crowd and says “I’ve had enough. It’s about growing a pair – not Powerballs, just brass ones.