Congress & the Lottery: a local perspective

There seems to be a parallel between “Winning a seat in Congress” (or any elected position) and “Winning the Lottery.” You have all these plans of the good you can do and benefits you can enjoy if you win… All the people you can help, access to the vast resource of our taxes, how you’d spend this flow of “other people’s” money, commitments you make to friends, family, community to make their lives better – The door to a brand new lifestyle. People are convinced you are the key to their welfare and a better, just, life!

But then… you win the election, or lottery. A pretty heady launch into self-importance and power (another form of inflation)! You are now expected to produce all that you promised when & if you would win this position… but how?

You feel obligated to the people who believed in you and gave you this position. So… it’s difficult to humble yourself and discover your own limitations. You become vulnerable to a path of unwise decisions – lavish spending, corrupt methods, eventual bankruptcy.  Decisions lead to Direction, lead to Destination!

I once was comparing my own budgetary challenges with that of the government. There are consequences resulting from how I handle my own income and expenses. What would happen if I allowed myself to go into debt not knowing what the future could bring. What if I lose my job, have an unexpected natural disaster, monetary requirements to help others in need?  Are the consequences for our government any different?

These consequences are not a “big deal” if there is an unlimited flow of “other people’s money” – but my resources are not. What are the resources of “the rich” dependent upon? Are they required to give them to us? Are our government resources really unlimited? What makes us think our country can survive if our elected officials use principles we are foolish to follow in our own lives?

When we put someone in office what kind of person will it take to handle this “lottery win” with wisdom and common sense? Evidence reveals at least 1/3 of those who win the lottery are bankrupt within a few years. Are 1/3 of our elected leaders taking us there as well?


Laura McGlasson, Libby Mont.


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