Two lucky individuals won $587.5 million last night by matching all six numbers in the Powerball lottery. This represents the second-largest jackpot in U.S. lottery history.
To put this amount in perspective, and to shed light on the United States' spending problem, the math below shows that the federal government's pace of deficit spending would consume this amount in just four hours.
In fiscal year 2012, the debt of the U.S. government increased by $1,275,901,078,828.74, according to the Treasury Department. That equals about $3.5 billion per day, or $2,430,555.00 per minute.
Based on these numbers, the federal government would blow through the lottery winnings in just 4.0 hours.
Even the largest jackpot in history would only buy the government an extra half-hour of deficit spending.
The largest lottery ever won in the U.S. was $656 million on March 30, 2012. Even with these winnings, the federal government could fund itself for just 4.5 hours.
The winning tickets were sold in Missouri and Arizona. At the time of this post, only the Arizona winner has come forward. Lottery spokesman Gary Gonder said, the Missouri ticket holder has 180 days to claim the prize.