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Sometimes a person needs a dose of truth. If you gamble for fun, you know the odds are against you. But if gambling is an addiction, you can hear the truth, know it is the truth and still ignore those facts. Addictions are about physiological responses, not intellectual exegesis.
While I am not a gambler, I don’t have any moral objections to it, I’m just cheap. But I have a certain awed interest in the kind of people who will throw money away in the hope that they will somehow, despite the evidence of history and mathematical fact, strike it rich on the next bet. For example, some people believe that if you flip a coin and it comes up heads nine times in a row, you have a great chance of getting tails on the next flip, so they will continue to bet on the toss, even though they have continuously lost, are running out of money, and ought to be paying the gas bill. You can explain to them that since a coin only has two sides the odds of getting a head or a tail is never more than 50% on any toss. Getting nine heads in a row doesn’t change the 50% chance of getting a tail on the next toss. But they will ignore that fact and act on their driven fantasy every time. This is called “chasing your losses.” It is the sign of an unbalanced mind. It is the sign of an addict.
There are lots of symptoms of gambling addiction and most of them mimic other addictions. Guilt and shame make people alternately depressed and aggressively belligerent as they try to defend their addiction. They define themselves as martyrs or free spirits. They have higher than usual levels of stress hormones and deficits in attention as well as frontal lobe functioning effecting neurocognitive performance. In other words, they don’t think, they feel. Emotion takes over for intellectual examination.
Here are some facts that you might like to examine.
- Wages in 2020 were growing at a rate of 3.2%. In 2024 that rate is 4.3%. Middle- and lower-income households have shown the highest gains.
In the past 12 months, real wages overall have grown faster than they did during the Trump administration.
- In 2020 inflation was rising at 1.4%. Then COVID hit and when the world started spinning again, people returned to work, began earning salaries and inflation hit hard. After rising to 7% in 2021, inflation is now at 3.4%
- Because wages are rising higher than inflation, household purchasing power has increased. Despite the price of eggs and gasoline coming down slower than we want, they still are going down and wages are going up.
- We have 2 million more people working than we did prior to the pandemic. Those people are spending money, which will continue to keep inflation from dropping as fast as we would like, but it will continue to drop.
- This robust employment and decreasing inflation are uniquely American. Our country is outperforming other economies around the world. We have been through the fire and the fire did not consume us.
Yet, despite these facts, you still have people who don’t want to admit that the economy under Joseph Biden has been a good one. These people do not want to admit that the former president, the man they backed, Donald Trump, was a miserable performer. They won’t admit that Trump is a dishonorable American, a traitor and a racist. They gambled on Trump and can’t stand the fact that they were tricked, used and manipulated. They keep chasing their losses because it is less painful than admitting their error.
For all of you who are addicted to Trump, the man who says it is “acceptable for the man in power to step over the line sometimes,” I suggest a dose of truth, a long look in the mirror and a commitment to finally keep the faith.
Louise Butler is a retired educator and published author who lives in Edinburg. She writes for our Board of Contributors.