A tax on the stupid

Donald Trump thinks you’re very dim.

When I was a graduate student in the mathematics department at MIT, I heard this saying:

Gambling is a tax on the stupid.

Unless you have an actual edge (like a card counter), the house always wins. There is no system that will beat the house. You might win, but you are far more likely to lose. So. . . . gambling is a tax on the stupid.

Twice as many chances to win?

Donald Trump just sent this email to his “supporters” like me.

In case you’re wondering, I’ve never given him a dime, which apparently makes me one of his “most reliable” supporters.

Let’s suppose that there are 2,000 Trump fans responding to an email like this, hoping to win a chance to meet the President. And suppose, also, that this is not a scam, and there actually is a VIP ticket to his rally in Iowa at stake.

What are your chances of winning? One in 2,000.

But wait, now you’re going to get two chances to win. They say that will double your chances to win.

Your chances are now two in 2000, or one in 1,000, right?

How many other people got this offer? Everyone. Everyone got two entries. There are now twice as many entries.

So what are your chances to win? Two in 4,000. That is, one in 2,000. The same as before.

See what I mean?

They’re trying to raise more money from stupid people.

Trump fundraising is a tax on the stupid.

If this were an actual lottery, this would be prosecutable. But I guess Trump assuming you’re too stupid to notice that he’s conning you is just standard procedure.

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  1. Hmmm….interesting. There are strict rules and regs here in Australia regarding the offer of prizes/gifts/incentives/etc, no matter what the cause. Each state has the equivalent of a gaming authority. I believe the threshold for requiring to obtain a license is in the low thousands of dollars of total prize value. Basically, to try and protect the stupid, where possible.