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August 05, 2012

Poll: Should Olympic Medalists Pay Income Taxes?

Last week Marco Rubio introduced a bill called the Olympic Tax Elimination Act that would exempt cash honoraria and the value of the medal itself from the federal income tax.

“Our tax code is a complicated and burdensome mess that too often punishes success, and the tax imposed on Olympic medal winners is a classic example of this madness,” the Florida Republican said.

Agreed. But while I'm a big fan of Rubio, I'd suggest that further complicating the tax code to provide a special exemption for Olympians is in diametrical opposition to the kind of overall tax simplification we should be pursuing.

“We can all agree that these Olympians who dedicate their lives to athletic excellence should not be punished when they achieve it,” [Rubio] said.

Sure. But what about the young adult working two jobs to pay his or her way through college? What about the small businessman who busts his ass to make payroll each week?

It's not like Olympians are being singled out by the tax code and specifically targeted with a special tax. They're just following the (often ludicrous) rules that everybody else in the country who tries to make an honest buck contend with each and every day.

If the result seems absurd, it's just an indication of how convoluted the system is to begin with. And, even worse, Rubio's response is an indication of how it got that way.

What say you?



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posted by Andy at 10:22 AM

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