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Death once had a near-Sarah Palin experience.

calendar   Wednesday - May 18, 2011

Fifty Seven And One Half Percent

Fox News runs the story and misses the real point.

Michigan Man Wins Lottery, Still Uses Food Stamps

A Michigan man who won $2 million from a state lottery is reportedly still eligible to receive food stamps.

Leroy Fick of Bay County, Mich., said in an interview with WNEM-TV that he still uses his bridge card at stores despite winning a jackpot on “Make Me Rich!” last June.

“I even called them and asked about the bridge card and (the Department of Human Services) said you can go ahead and keep it if you want to,” Fick reportedly told the station.

Fick claims he paid more than half of his winnings in taxes—leaving him about $850,000—according to the station.

State Department of Human Services spokeswoman Gisgie Gendreau told MyFoxDetroit.com that under federal guidelines, lottery winnings are not counted as income if a person receives a lump-sum payment.

This is just another one of those not-really-news articles designed to keep people riled up, and it works quite well that way. The comments are immediately hate filled and racist (the guy is white, doncha know). The point that the vast majority of commentators miss is that Mr. Fick is completely following the law. He was aware that it didn’t seem right, so he checked it out and that’s what the authorities told him to do.

The real news in the story that no one is reacting to is the part that should really get people riled up. Large lump sum distributions get taxed 57 1/2 percent.  Far more than half. That’s highway robbery. I don’t know how Michigan does it, but in many states the lottery winnings are exempt from state tax. So that 57.5% is all the federal bite. “Tax the rich” indeed. Outrageous.

On the other hand, 850 grand in my pocket sure would soften my life up a great deal. Yours too. But I’d like to see some “truth in advertising” applied to the lottery payouts. Calling this one a $2M prize doesn’t seem very forthright. Hey, how about a new numbers game called Forty Two Five? That’s your slice when all is said and done. Make TV ads to push the game that stress how your winnings help pay down the federal deficit by taking huge amounts of money out of your state and sending it to DC. You could also call the game Fair Share. Everybody would be eager to play, right? Win big, and live like the rich folks do: pay more taxes in one shot than you otherwise will your entire life combined.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 05/18/2011 at 08:41 AM   
Filed Under: • Taxes •  
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