I know there are some out there that will say, “hey you were whining the other day about taxing the winnings of Olympians”, weren’t you? And now a politician plans to fix it and you bitch?!”
Yes. Yes, I do. Because this is exactly the wrong way to go about it:
Sen. Marco Rubio introduced a bill Wednesday to eliminate the federal government’s tax on Olympic medals, saying the levy amounted to yet another way the government tries to punish those who succeed.
Athletes who win a gold medal also earn a $25,000 honorarium — and with it an $8,986 tax bill to the IRS, according to Americans for Tax Reform, which crunched the numbers. That covers both the honorarium and the tax on the value of the gold in the medal itself.
The silver medal tax comes to $5,385, and the bronze medal tax is $3,502 — including $2 for the value of the bronze medal itself, and the $10,000 honorarium.
That could leave amateur athletes — in many cases still teenagers — facing stiff tax bills when they return to the U.S.
Mr. Rubio said that shouldn’t happen.
Of course you can make special pleadings for all sorts of types of special interest taxpayers, can’t you?
But isn’t taxation supposed to fund the legitimate functions of government and be fairly applied to everyone?
How does exempting special constituencies because of their, well, “specialness”, do that?
Certainly Olympic level (and other) athletes compete in other competitive venues and it wouldn’t be at all unusual for them to win some sort of honorarium there. So why is that taxable and this isn’t?
Quite simply visibility and outrage.
That’s no way to run a government. There’s nothing rational about this exemption. It is as arbitrary as many of the taxes we suffer under.
Important issue? After the economy is up and running again, it is time to push – and push hard – for a total revamping of the tax structure and code in this country.
We suffer one of the least representative and certainly the least fair or equitable tax codes in the world.
Time to take it apart and start over again. And this time, let’s make it impossible for Congress to fiddle with it in terms of rewarding or punishing special constituencies arbitrarily at its whim
Are you watching the Olympics? Did you enjoy the gold medal performances of the US women’s gymnastics team?
It was nice to see them bask in the glory of the fruition of all those years of hard work and sacrifice. They reached the peak of accomplishment. They took the gold. The stories of the athletes were as interesting as the victory. Years of monetary sacrifice, hard work, dedication and practice. Families, who moved to avail their daughter of coaching, who lived from paycheck to paycheck to ensure money was available for their daughter’s training, the hundreds of meets and competitions, etc.
But hey, we all know they “didn’t build that” themselves. They traveled on roads to their practice sites and meets, used other common infrastructure improvements and now they get to pay the piper.
It’s time for them to pay up for winning those gold medals, and the IRS will ensure they do.
At today’s commodity prices, the value of a gold medal is about $675 according to Americans for Tax Reform. And the gold medal brings with it $25,000 in prize money. The IRS will tax them at 35%.
So for all those years of hard work, sacrifice and performance, our gold medalists will pay the IRS $8,986 for each gold medal they win. The silver will cost them $5,385 ($15,000 prize money, and $385 for the medal) and bronze $3,502 ($10,000 prize money, $5 for the medal).
Of course they’ll be about the only athletes in the world so treated because you see, the US is one of the few countries in the world that takes it upon itself to tax the world wide earnings of its citizens.
Because, you know, that infrastructure is everywhere and it’s expensive. </sarc>
But I’m sure we’ll hear from our usual apologists for intrusive government trying to spin these taxes as something both necessary and proper.
Just a note to them – most Americans don’t at all agree with the sentiment that they didn’t build what they now have. But you have to hope the Democrats keep trying to sell that. Our Olympians and their tax experience make as good a case against that as any I can imagine.
In this podcast, Bruce, Michael, and Dale discuss the Obama Enigma, the current state of politics, and Iran’s progress towards nuclear weapons.
The direct link to the podcast can be found here.
The intro and outro music is Vena Cava by 50 Foot Wave, and is available for free download here.
As a reminder, if you are an iTunes user, don’t forget to subscribe to the QandO podcast, Observations, through iTunes. For those of you who don’t have iTunes, you can subscribe at Podcast Alley. And, of course, for you newsreader subscriber types, our podcast RSS Feed is here. For podcasts from 2005 to 2007, they can be accessed through the RSS Archive Feed.