Read More »"/> Read More »"/>
President Obama has signed the United States Appreciation for Olympians and Paralympians Act, which “eliminates a tax penalty imposed by the Internal Revenue Service on medals or other prizes awarded to Team USA athletes during the Olympic and Paralympic Games,” according to a press release from Bob Dold (R-IL). Olympic athletes with adjusted gross incomes of more than $1 million will still be subject to the “victory tax,” so members of the USA men’s basketball team get no relief for winning the gold medal in Rio.
The sole opposing vote in the House came from Connecticut Democrat Jim Hines, who told reporters the act “makes an unpaid-for carve out, is most likely to benefit the richest athletes and further complicates an already complex tax code.” Supporters contended that the athletes make considerable sacrifices and that eliminating the victory tax would help them defray expenses. Taxpayers may find that instructive.
By allowing athletes to avoid the victory tax, the government does not thereby give them anything. They simply retain more of what they earned, but athletes are not the only ones who make sacrifices. Parents also do that in the course of raising a family, but still face punitive taxes. The harder they work and the more they earn, the more the government takes from them, while calling the tax system “progressive.” Worse, the government gets workers’ money before they do in the form of withholding from their paychecks, a system that dates from World War II and was supposed to be temporary. With an election approaching, no candidate wants the workers to have the money they earned before the government gets it.
Politicians and candidates may talk of eliminating the IRS and installing a flat tax, but none has dared to make the attempt. Government remains like Auric Goldfinger, played by Gert Frobe in the 1964 James Bond film. Goldfinger supported any enterprise that would increase his stock of gold. Government may allow some Olympic athletes to avoid taxes on their gold medals, but government still grabs as much as possible from the workers. As this column shows, they proceed to waste the money in countless ways and leave fathomless debt for generations to come.