Money Drop Government 02/02/2011
I don't often suffer from insomnia or practice amateur psychology, but when I do, I do it while watching tv.
It was during this state that I caught the Fox show “Million Dollar Money Drop” while waiting to go to work. What I found was an interesting study in human nature and money.
If you haven't seen it. Contestants start with a pile of one million dollars and are given questions. The contestants then place the money on whichever answer (or answers) they feel are correct. On the squares with the incorrect answers the money falls through the floor, and they move on to the next round with whatever money they have left.
During the initial questions, when there's a large pile of money, the contestants treat it just like it is: a large pile of cash.
“Should we put a little on this box just in case?”
“What about 80 grand?”
“Yeah, just 80 grand. Hey, let's just spread it all around”
But it's funny how as the pile gets smaller, it's value somehow increases and the decisions get harder. What used to be whimsical moves are now a matter of heated debate. It's like watching multiple lottery winner riches to rags story within the span of an hour.
When you've got a big ol' stack of cash staring at you, you can afford to make a rash decision here or there, but when what used to be just 8 percent of your funds will now be 80, suddenly that's a lot of money to risk on something you're not sure of.
Maybe I find it so interesting because I can relate. When I get my tax returns, it's as if the sky is the limit. A box set of DVDs? Sure. A couple late nights out on the town? Why not. But as the funds decrease my discretion increases and I find myself once again debating between two brands of toilet paper and checking the price per ounce at the meat counter.
It also reminds me of our current budget situation in the government. When things were good, we always thought that big pile of money was going to be there. We thought we could afford to place just a “bit” of our money on a square, not being all that concerned with whether it worked out or not. There was no question that couldn't be answered with funding, we were in the days of early round Money Drop Government. Well, now we realize that the pile is getting smaller, and the decisions are getting harder, and it's starting to really matter where we put our money when it comes time for the drop. The days of late round Money Drop Government are upon us. Or are they?
Will I now change my spending ways after this realization? History says no. But we'd better hope our government has. If not for the sake of our nation's future, at least as justification for me losing some much needed sleep.