Regressive taxation schemes and J&D psychology sneering aside, this proves we have the best job imaginable

Mar 30 2012 Published by under Academics

You may have noticed lottery mania has reached a bit of a peak lately what with the over $640 Million prize anticipated in the 42-state Mega Millions drawing.

Of course if you win tonight and take the cash payout on the $640 million, you'd get $462 million, according to the lottery. Or you could opt to receive annual payments of $24 million a year for 26 years (before taxes).

The Lefties will inform you of the great evils of lottery as a replacement for a more progressive tax scheme. Point out that it is mostly the unwashed, poor and working-person crowd that throws down the most support for lottery. Bah, you say, "buzzkills!". Well, perhaps......

Likewise, the Judgment and Decision experimental psychologists will blather on about how lottery playing is a sucker's game. And yes indeed it is. Because the stats don't work out as optimal in gaming the end stage of large amounts of play. Of course, people who actually know something about judgment will tell them that when the entry price is low (like a buck a ticket) and the payoff is not just the chance of a fabulous, lifechanging amount but also the pleasant fantasy part in anticipating what you would do with the money....

genomicrepairman indulged in a little bit of fantasy himself and I do admit that is a damn fine idea.

I thought about this long and hard for about three seconds on my drive in today after scanning GR's post at a stoplight.

I conclude this.

$24 million per year for a quarter of a century....hmmmm. Ok, let's just ballpark the taxes as half and round down to $10M. That's some chazange. And I'm sure a spouse would have something to say about the prize so let's drop that to a cool $5M per year. And let's suppose some of you are out there in institutions with 100% overhead for charitable giving. That leave's you with $2.5M to pour into your laboratory's direct-cost fund each and every year!

Imagine that. No more worries about funding your lab. No need for a grant at all. Pure, endowed chair and endowed slush fund. Schweet.

All you have to do is make it to tenure and the University would have a damn hard time getting rid of you for just about anything. Even if you fail to publish for a year or two while you are working on some harebrained idea you had.

Are you telling me you would quit your position to tour the earth? Hell, if you have a half decent lab manager and a post doc or two you could still tour the earth, surfacing every couple of weeks in an obscure Internet cafe in Barbaloot to check in!

There is no way in hell I'd quit my job if I won this lotto. Take the financial headaches away and it turns from being a damn good job to the best thing to do in the entire world, if you ask me....you feel any differently?

__
ps. It would have to be like this.

We said we would tell no one. We would hire an attorney and anonymously collect our winnings under the cover of a trust. We would not take any publicity photos or announce our newfound wealth with conspicuous consumption. We might get a pool because we all love to swim and it’s good exercise. But generally no one would guess that my husband and I had struck it rich.

There are just too many examples of former lottery winners who end up losing their millions because they overspent and overindulged themselves.

sekrit trust, right. otherwise the postdocs wouldn't work hard enough....

13 responses so far

  • anonymous postdoc says:

    Our lab has a pool going on for the drawing tonight for exactly this reason. My PI said that if we win s/he would endow a named chair, the Primary Investigator Chair in Bunnyhopping, and be the first and only holder of said chair.

    My PI did not mention whether their spouse would also be the recipient of a named chair, but given their spouse's naysaying on the odds of the lotto, maybe not. ;)

    But it would never occur to me to quit science - it would just be nice to take it at a sane pace and tell the Kerns to go screw, knowing I could make a position for myself at some fine institution by making it rain.

  • physioprof says:

    Dude, if you win you're totally buying me a new fucken Bentley! AMIRITE????

  • drugmonkey says:

    Dude, if you win you're totally buying me a new fucken Bentley! AMIRITE????

    No. But I might get you a Fiat and a personal chef to teach you how to snap asparagus properly.

  • Odyssey says:

    No need to buy me a Bentley. I'll take beer, really good beer, for life. 'K?

  • physioprof says:

    Dude, no fucken way am I riding in teh back of a fucken Fiat!! Besides, my chauffer would fucken quit if I made her drive a fucken piece of shitte like thatte!! C'mon dude. My current Bentley is getting a little long in the tooth.

  • Jim Thomerson says:

    A lady near here has won the big lottery three times, according to a newspaper article. I have the idea that there are several multiple large lottery winners. I do know that odds of winning are much greater if you buy a lottery ticket compared to if you don't. A geneticist friend suggested there is a normal curve for how lucky people are, and that it would be a good strategy to identify lucky individuals and copy their actions.

  • physioprof says:

    A lady near here has won the big lottery three times, according to a newspaper article.

    Scratch-off lotteries can and have been hacked.

  • becca says:

    Yeah, and in 10 years you'd be whinging that 2.5 million just ain't what it used to be...

  • D. C. Sessions says:

    It's much easier to continue working at $COMPANY with all the toys and support staff than it would be to manage all that shit on my own. Besides, customers are a great source of fun problems to solve.

  • I would finish my PhD, find a university with no current genomics program, and with some kickass skiing nearby, and buy them a 3rd-gen sequencing set-up and a cluster, and sequence the genome of whatever cool thing was in the news that week.

  • eli rabett says:

    You too can get lucky. From Kent Wilson's obit in Nature

    In mid-career, Wilson became increasingly frustrated with the time and tribulation of applying for research grants. On a sabbatical leave in 1985, he came up with an extraordinary solution,discovering “a mapping between parts of physics and economics”. Boldly betting on his theory, over the next few years he invested in the stock markets of 25 countries. This succeeded so well that he was able to resign all his federal grants,thereafter using his own funds to support his sizeable research group and provide laser and computer instrumentation

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