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New York Times Room for Debate

 

Do What Most People Do

November 29, 2011

By Nicole Gelinas

Why do people play the lottery? Because it’s a cheap way of fantasizing about escape from your life. The fact that Timothy Davidson, Brandon Lacoff and Gregory Skidmore bought a ticket shows that the 1 percent aren’t so different from you and me -- if, indeed, these three guys were even that rich before they won.

What should the trio do with their winnings? They should do what most people do with their money: pay their taxes, save some, invest some, spend some and give some away. Save, and your savings help someone get a mortgage. Invest, and you may finance a breakthrough invention. Give money away -- whether to a food bank, an animal shelter, a think tank or an environmental group -- and you help people (or animals) and create jobs. That’s how an economy works.

Of course, it doesn’t work so well when the economy is unhealthy. That is, when the government is directing too much money into the housing market or into bad banks, hampering growth elsewhere. Or when scared middle-class people, suffocated by debt, curtail their spending. Or when people who cannot find jobs overwhelm charities. Or when spending supports jobs in countries that illegally subsidize their private industries.

But three people can’t fix that. Only an enlightened populace can fix it, through the democratic process.

Original Source: http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2011/11/29/how-to-spend-the-lottery-winnings/do-what-most-people-would-do-with-the-lottery-money

 

 
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