Should IR$ Tax Olympians For Winning And Representing U.S.?

I’ve been watching some of the Olympics and some of the stories of how some of America’s athletes have struggled to reach the pinnacle event for their sports.  Many of them have had to sacrifice years of ‘normal’ growing up in order to train, train and train some more.

For example, Michael Phelps has been swimming since he was 9 years old.  Now at age 27, Phelps has devoted 18 years or two thirds of his life, to become the greatest medal winning athlete in Olympic history.

John Orozco, member of the U.S. men’s gymnastics team sacrificed a lot to get to the Olympics, and so did his family.  At one time, the family didn’t know how they were going to pay the mortgage: John got a job and gave them his entire check, telling them to pay the mortgage.

There are many similar stories of personal and family sacrifice that went in to training these young men and women for the Olympics.  So in light of all the sacrifice, personal and financial, made by our athletes and their families, the I.R.S. is ready to pounce on every medal winner.

As it turns out, the United States government will pay each medal winner an honorarium for representing the country.  A bronze medal worth $5 earns the athlete $10,000, a silver medal worth $385 earns the athlete $15,000 and a gold medal worth $675 earns the athlete $25,000 per medal.

When you consider all that has gone into training for the event, it hardly seems enough, but it’s better than years ago when the athletes received a medal and nothing more.  Yet to add insult to injury, the I.R.S. will be taxing each winner 35% of their earnings.  That means a bronze medal winner will pay the I.R.S. $3,502 in taxes, a silver medal winner will pay $5,385 in taxes and the coveted gold medalist will pay a whopping $8,986 in taxes for both the medal value and the honorarium.

I personally believe that this is a travesty and insult to our athletes and their families.  If our government is going to tax the athletes that represent our nation in the world’s biggest sporting competition at the rate of 35%, then that should go with all of the politicians in Washington who also represent our nation on the world’s arena.  Barack Obama should then have to pay 35% of his salary and all of the perks that go with the presidency.  If the athletes have to pay on the value of their medals, then Obama should do likewise on the value of everything he is given.

Let’s see, how much does it cost the country to house him, his family and his mother-in-law in the White House?  Shouldn’t that be taxed at 35% also?  Oh, yeah, there is also the prize of using Air Force One when flying via jet and Marine One when flying by helicopter.  Shouldn’t Obama be taxed 35% of the cost of each flight (fuel, pilots, Secret Service, food, etc?  What about the $400,000 plus vacations taken by Michelle Obama?  Shouldn’t she have to pay 35% tax on those costs also?

After all, Obama is constantly saying that he wants to raise the taxes on the wealthy and make them pay their way and a president should lead by example, shouldn’t he?  I believe it’s only fair if they are taxing the Olympic athletes for winning, that the same rules should apply for Obama and others.