Sunday, January 10, 2016

$1.3 Billion Powerball Jackpot?

by JASmius

I'm not going to tell anybody else what to do with their money, and if any of you want to piss it away buying Powerball lottery tickets in the hopes of attaining a ten-figure grand prize that (1) you never will, (2) exceeds the annual municipal budgets of most large cities and (3) is, in practical terms, incomprehensible and literally more money than any normal person could ever spend in their entire lifetime, go right ahead.

I'm not suggesting that the PB grand prize have a ceiling put on it, either.  But doesn't $1.3 billion enter the realm of the ridiculous?:

No one won Saturday's record jackpot of nearly $950 million in the multi-state Powerball lottery, officials said, driving the haul for a winning ticket in the next draw to $1.3 billion, lottery officials said.

Millions of Americans anxiously checked their tickets for the winning combination of six numbers - 32, 16, 19, 57, 34 with a Powerball number of 13.

"No Powerball jackpot winner," the Texas Lottery announced on Twitter hours after the numbers were drawn.

"Since nobody won tonight's staggering $947.8 million jackpot, it has rolled to an estimated $1.3 billion for January 13th," said a statement from officials in California, one of the forty four states, together with Washington D.C. and two U.S. territories, that participate in Powerball.

If there ever were a winner, they would have the choice of a thirty year annuity of $43.3 million a year or a lump sum payout of $558 million.  Now take just the federal taxes out and those numbers shrink to a $780 million annuity or a $335 million lump sum payout.  Now for some perspective: Based on my family's current base needs, we could live on that annuity for 46,801 years, or over four times as long as Hillary Clinton's maximum Emailgate jail sentence.  If the New Horizons spacecraft were on course for the Alpha Centauri system, it would be within hailing distance of Proxima Centauri when that cash finally ran out.

In terms of my wife's and my reasonably expected remaining lifetime, that's approximately fifteen hundred times more than we need.  Even sitting down and making a wish list - which, though it is not in my nature to do such things - I have done so on occasion, just for kicks, and including paying my father's assisted living costs and my daughter's student loans and my son's long-deferred post-secondary education on top of home and property refurbishments and the honeymoon we never got to take and perhaps a full-fledged radio studio - I only come up with an estimated price tag of, at most, a couple of hundred grand.  Or three days' worth of the after-tax annuity described above.  Leaving the question of what to do with the rest of it.

Would we have to continue to live at subsistence levels?  Of course not.  But, maybe it's the congenital frugality of my German heritage and my upbringing, but even "living it up" wouldn't raise our expenses all that much.  Eating out every day?  Sure.  Seahawks season tickets?  I doubt I'd live long enough to actually reach the top of the waiting list, but why not?  A Lear jet to commute back and forth from SoCal for Constitution Radio, perhaps with a second domicile down there for convenience?  It'd dovetail nicely with becoming the big-money donor to the Constitution Association that never seems to materialize despite the big supportive talk of so many deep-pocketed conservatives down there that never reaches their wallets.  And, of course, the list of Christian missionaries in need of support is a long and worthy one.

But even all of that would be a drop in this bucket - not much more than a month's worth of that Powerball annuity.  So then....what would I do with the rest of it?  Philanthropy, I'd imagine.  Charitable foundations.  Scholarship funds.  When I ran out of ideas, I'm sure I'd have a never-ending supply of "new best friends" to keep 'em in-flowing like a zero-point energy perpetual motion machine.

And we'd have no more anonymity.  One of those things, like air, that you never think about until you no longer have it, after which it becomes kind of unappreciatedly important.

Again, I'm not telling anybody not to shoot for that moon.  If you want to become a billionaire, go for it.  Just be aware that there may well be such a thing as too much money, and if any of you ever managed to actually win this Powerball jackpot, you'd simply be running the risk of exchanging one set of problems (that can be solved by a large cash infusion) for another that cannot.

And that you're far more likely to wind up just squandering gobs of money on worthless tickets - Did I mention that the odds of winning are 292,000,000 to one? - in the mean time.

Exit thought: Okay, I'd add this to the wish list as well:

Who knows?  It might be cheaper than the Lear Jet.  And nobody would annoy or screw me over any more, that's for damn sure.

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