This year’s federal deficit will be about 10% of GDP. Let’s put that figure in perspective. Since World War 2, there have only been three or four years that the deficit has exceeded 5% of GDP. Former Vice-President Dick Cheney famously said that “deficits don’t matter” but they do – for governments, for companies, for individuals.
States have employed lotteries to fund a number of programs, including education and state parks. The federal government should have a lottery to help pay off the deficit. The prize? A 10 year holiday from federal income taxes for 50,000 winners. High income earners would buy a lot of lottery tickets, paying back the $2 trillion in tax cuts that they were awarded in 2003. If 146 million U.S. taxpayers bought just one $99 ticket, that would raise $14 billion less expenses. How many tickets would you buy to get a 10 year reprieve from federal income taxes? The federal government could “kick the can down the road”, forsaking some future tax revenues for some instant revenue.
Although high income earners would benefit the most by winning, the lottery would generate sales among those of all income classes. Lottery tickets would have to be tied to an individual’s social security number to prevent a secondary market of buying and selling of tickets.
The federal government could sell broadcast rights to the prime time night of the lottery drawing , thus earning additional revenue. The number of viewers would probably exceed that of any Super Bowl, presenting a bonanza opportunity for networks to sell premium advertising time.
If we are going to have big government, let’s have smart government. Let’s have fun government.