A tax on the stupid

Duke Economics Professor Michael Munger, from his blog Kids Prefer Cheese:

Why is the “news” that “Man Wins $1 million Picasso with $138 lottery ticket“?

Why isn’t the news that 49,999 people won nothing at all with $138 lottery tickets?

After all, if you multiply 50,000 x $138 you get more than $6.5 million.  So the “news” is “Somebody makes $5.5 million from bunch of chumps.”

Focusing on the winner makes it sound like such a great deal.  I suppose, if given the chance to buy the WINNING ticket, $138 is cheap.  I’ll try that for the NC Lottery:  please sell me a WINNING ticket.  I’ll pay double for that!

Every lottery ticket sold except one in several thousand, sometimes one in several million, is always a chump tax.