A lottery worth playing

Even if my father hadn’t referred to government-sponsored gambling as a Stupidity Tax, my basic understanding of the laws of chance tells me the only difference between buying Powerball tickets and flushing money down the toilet is that the first option doesn’t require enlisting the services of a plumber, unless frustrated players opt to dispose of their losing receipts via the commode.

Another reason to avoid legalized pickpocketing: the possibility of winning. The prize is always a whole lot of money, and the internet is teeming with stories, some of which are even true, of instant millionaires who, after hitting it big, went bankrupt, became addicted to drugs or ended up incarcerated. But not before they were hounded for free handouts by sponging relatives, fair weather friends, and scamming strangers who subsequently sued them for causing their own drug addiction, bankruptcy, and/or incarceration.

But if there’s ever a national lottery to determine who’ll become the emperor of the United States, I’m in!

When I win, my first unilateral edict will be to install term limits. Under my absolute rule, no elected official in the country could serve a term of more than two years. History shows career politicians excel at lining the pockets of themselves and their friends, but having fresh legislators every two years will eventually make buying influence from the biennial parade of new mayors, governors, senators and representatives too expensive for those who currently lobby lawmakers for their own selfish interests, rather than for those of ordinary people.

Under my emperorship single-use plastic and/or metal containers will be outlawed. This won’t just help repair the environment; it’ll discourage consumption of libations fraught with sugar, caffeine, intoxicants, or other harmful and addictive substances. Cutting back on such drinks will ultimately lessen the cost of health insurance, since cases of diabetes, alcoholism, and similar maladies would all drop sharply, diminishing the need for so much expensive medical care.

My next reform: no more drive-up windows! Banning them won’t just reduce air pollution from idling autos whose drivers can’t do without artery-clogging fast food and/or designer coffee; it’ll also help curb obesity-related issues. Banking business can be done online, or better yet at the bank itself, where actual human beings will serve helpfully and happily. Another hidden advantage of the drive-thru window’s demise: people will start scheduling meals ahead of time, rather than rushing around and eating on the fly. The extra exercise they’ll get from walking into a restaurant or bank lobby is another plus. And the amount of traffic accidents should plunge, since more pre-planning means fewer drivers hastily making bad choices because they’re running late.

My first directive for the auto industry: all non-electric cars will be required to get a minimum of 100 miles per gallon of gas. The second: all vehicles must come equipped with a device that disables cell phones and computers while the car is being used. Fewer distracted drivers will lead to fewer dead ones.

My new national maximum salary law will codify that no person running any business can make more than four times the average annual salary of their employees. It would still be okay for corporate CEOs to pay themselves a billion dollars yearly, just so long as their employees each earn $250,000,000.

My last-ever edict will have two parts. First, the “Become America’s Emperor” lottery will take place only once every two hundred years, and secondly, the term limit for the winner will be fixed in perpetuity at one day.

The law, as I’ll remind the nation in my farewell address, applies to everyone.

Even benevolent humanitarian dictators.

Andy Young
August 6, 2023

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