California’s Lottery Commission has spent upwards of $8.4 million to promote the state’s newest initiative aimed at siphoning money from the poor: Powerball, which begins on Monday. Running commercials across radio and television urging citizens to “BELIEVE IN SOMETHING BIGGER” – not God or hard work, but random chance – the state of California plans to rake in the cash from its naïve citizens.
The commercials run by the state depict white Powerballs falling from the sky onto delighted Californians, Californians jumping into pools filled with Powerballs, and Californians bicycling through a hailstorm of Powerballs, grinning all the while. But that’s not the worst of it. Giant billboards carrying the word “BELIEVE” have cropped up all over Southern California. The state has linked Powerball “believing” to believing in women’s suffrage, the fall of the Berlin Wall, putting a man on the moon, Robbie Knievel jumping the Grand Canyon, and Bethany Hamilton surfing with one arm. In other words, belief begets accomplishment.
Which would be nice, if only it were true. The odds of winning the Powerball in California currently stand at 175,233,510 to 1. And the unsuspecting rubes who actually “BELIEVE” in Powerball are by and large people who cannot afford to be wasting their money on lottery tickets. According to studies, poorer people buy lottery tickets disproportionately; one study showed that households earning $13,000 per year spend a whopping 9 percent of their cash on lottery tickets, or well in excess of $1,000.
California has the highest unemployment rate in the nation, some of the highest taxes in the nation, billions of dollars in debt, and a fictional high-speed rail. No wonder they’re asking citizens to believe in the possibility of a 175 million to 1 shot at the Powerball. There’s a better shot at winning the Powerball than there is of the current California government giving citizens a real shot at prosperity.
Ben Shapiro is Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the New York Times bestseller “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013).