Local Boy Makes Good

I’m opposed on principle to government-sponsored lotteries, but occasionally they make for entertaining stories. As in the case of Neal Wanless, a single, 23-year-old rancher who lives with his parents near Mission, in my home state of South Dakota. Wanless bought a PowerBall ticket in the aptly-named town of Winner and won an $88 million jackpot, after taxes.

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The New York Post is naturally all over the story. The Wanless family appears to be well-respected in Mission, but they have fallen on hard times lately, and their trailer home has been repossessed. They are now living in this smaller trailer:

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However one feels about lotteries, it is impossible not to enjoy the Wanlesses’ good fortune. Here is an interesting sidelight: a commenter at the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s web site pointed out that if Wanless had lived in Minnesota rather than South Dakota, he would have paid an additional $8 million in taxes. [UPDATE: Actually, I think it should be more like $11 million, but you get the idea.] Of these two neighboring states, guess which one is losing jobs to the other.

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