Friday, February 27, 2009

Barack’s bracket bonanza

Barack Obama’s stimulus package has all sorts of problems. It costs too much, it’s money we don’t have and nobody trusts Congress to pass out the money. But the biggest problem with the plan is it’s boring.

Is there anybody whose eyes don’t glaze over when hearing about the details of the stimulus plan? Roads and bridges? Welcome to Yawnville.

We need to combine the stimulus plan with American’s loves. Not so much mom, apple pie and Chevrolet, but more gambling, capitalism and March Madness®.

Rather than letting Congress decide how to dole out the money, why not a lottery? We can ensure it is fair by using a tool people already are confidant is fair.

Give every taxpayer a ticket to pick one of the teams in a nationwide March Madness pool. Everyone who picks the winner divvies up the trillion bucks. Pick a favorite, the prize pool is going to be divided thinner, pick an underdog, and unknown riches can be yours.

Pick UCon and they win, maybe you win $20,000. Pick Gonzaga and they go all the way perhaps you end up with a billion. Even assume every taxpayer (138 million) picks the winner, which would still be $7,246.38 from a trillion dollar pool.

March Madness also passes the fairness test. Even anti-gambling fanatics have been known to drop a Ulysses S. Grant on an NCAA March Madness pool.

The best part of the March Madness stimulus plan in it gets money back into the economy quickly.

This reporter can verify: Money won will burn a hole right through your pocket if you don’t spend it fast enough. It doesn’t take a genius to realize why they put $100,000 watches and mink capes in the casino shops in Las Vegas.

The stimulus money trickles up to Rolex, Porsche and drug dealers, beginning the process of getting the cash into the economy. States tax the winning and therefore get their own stimulus.

There are problems with this stimulus plan, but try to come up with a fair system of handing out a trillion bucks that doesn’t have a few problems. At least the March Madness plan has problems that can be overcome.

You’re probably wondering how we could possibly keep the games fair? Right now we can dig kids playing basketball for the love of the game and NBA scouts. But if every American takes a keen financial interest in the games, perhaps these college kids could be brought to the dark side.

We’ll just have to wait to announce the plan until the 64-team field is set. Then we need to sequester the players and coaches. It’s going to be expensive, but even should we take a billion bucks we will still have lower overhead than the Obama plan.

Another potential problem is people buying and selling their tickets. But rather than seeing this as a problem, let’s embrace the idea. If your team makes it to the Sweet 16 do you try and sell your ticket to the highest bidder on eBay or do you hold onto it and see it jump in value if they make it further into the brackets?

If you picked UCLA and they make it into the Sweet 16 will you be willing to part with your ticket for $10 grand, or hold onto it hoping it will go up in value, knowing if they lose in the next round the value of your ticket drops to zero? Beautiful capitalism.

If the March Madness plans works, the concept can be used for other national issues.

We can’t afford universal health care, but we can afford health care for everyone who picks the winning car at the Indy 500.

When the government needs to give tax breaks we all know Congress picks those that donate to their campaigns as the recipient. Why not a tax holiday to everyone with the winning horse at the Kentucky Derby?

Save social security. Only give it to anyone who can pick the winner of the Super Bowl..