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Obama Backs Olympian Tax Cut

President Obama would sign bipartisan legislation introduced in Congress that would end taxes on medals and prize money won by U.S. Olympians, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said today.

“He supports that bill,” Carney said. “If it were to get to his desk he would support it.”

Olympians receive honorariums of $25,000 for a gold medal, $15,000 for a silver and $10,000 for a bronze, which they are taxed on. They also face a tax of as much as $9,000 on the medal itself.

Ironically, a Senate version of the bill was introduced by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who is in the running to be Romney’s vice presidential pick.

I sure do love our Olympians, but I’m not quite sure why they shouldn’t have to pay taxes on their winnings. A lot of average Americans put in Olympian efforts at their work and with their businesses. Many of them make more than $250,000 a year, because they’ve really, really succeeded. Like the Olympians. And Obama is trying to raise their taxes.

Sorry Olympians. You’re wonderful, but so is the guy trying to make ends meet while holding a marriage and a family together.

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35 Responses to Obama Backs Olympian Tax Cut

  1. Ironically, a Senate version of the bill was introduced by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who is in the running to be Obama’s vice presidential pick.

    Keith, I think you meant Romney’s vice presidential pick

    obama is stuck with crazy joe

    • Unless team “dirt bag” ubama hussein can dig up enough buried poopies (which they wouldn’t have far to look) on joe blow, then threatening to “out” him. He’d more likely quit on his own… ushering the way for team “dirt bag” clinton to stroll in… but then ,does she truly desire to work in a WH operating in such an immature mode?

  2. Olympians are definitely the 1% when it comes to winning medals. Sure they worked for it and they overcame obstacles and hardships to win.
    But lots of athletes work hard. Lots of athletes are smart.
    Didn’t they use our public roads? Our public schools? Our public airports? Our public swimming holes? Our public Javelin parks? Our public soccer fields? Our public tracks? Our public basketball courts? Our public telephones? Our public bathrooms? Our public libraries? Our public beaches (to play volleyball)?

    Of course they did. Didn’t they?

  3. I’ve been following the Olympic games for 50 years and never knew until today that a monetary honorarium was part of the medal awards. I also didn’t realize that the IRS considered winning a medal at the Olympics as earned income and wanted their due.
    Huh.
    If this proposal to exempt Olympic medal winners from paying any taxes on their earnings had been presented last year, or anytime in the past, it wouldn’t have the impression of pandering to gain approval from the sports-loving public that it has today. Winning or earning at any activity is currently taxable and exempting one but not the others will just open the door to special interests. We have enought special interests already.

  4. I work really hard at my casino table. I put in an Olympian number of hours playing. How come my winnings are being taxed? /sarc/

    If it weren’t for the gargantuan amount these athletes will be making on product endorsements I might just go along with this exemption.

  5. My understanding is that we are the only country in the world (or perhaps the “developed world”) that taxes income from outside the country – not sure if that is correct. In other words, they would always have been taxed on the income in the US but not if won in another country. If they aren’t going to tax the income for any Americans from outside sources that would be the proper direction – however, that would mean that the very rich would be getting tax breaks that they don’t need…..remember – this is all about fairness and the 99%. This is only directed at Olympic athletes. Once again – a feel good story for the President to tout – why I agree with this; but certainly not for the very rich. One might argue however, that the people who participate in horse events (the Romney’s) are rich so they aren’t entitled to that tax break and therefore shouldn’t get it. Either make all “income” earned out of the United States taxable or not but don’t pick and choose who does and doesn’t get the break.

  6. I would be inclined to agree with the exemption if they only won the medal and had to pay tax on the value of the medal and didn’t receive any monetary award. It would suck to come out of your pocket to pay tax on winning the medal. Instead they are winning a cash amount so they are paying a percentage of that plus the value of the medal. We need to quit creating carve outs in the tax code. That’s what has turned it into the monstrosity it is.

    • Like srdem65, I was not aware the athletes received any cash award. Given the endorsements an American athlete in particular will receive if a medal winner, lets not contribute to the monstrosity JBH refers to. Can you imagine LeBron, Kobe et al getting a tax break at their income levels?

  7. Thank you Keith.

    I don’t get this tax cut thing either. Why shouldn’t they have to pay taxes on the money? Taxing the medal itself, I could see saying exempt. But the cash? Let them pay the taxes. Joe Schmoe pays taxes on the lottery or if he hits a hole in one at some company outing with a 10k prize, let the jocks pay too.

    Now, if you want to know what is unfair, take the case of the 17 year old swimmer who cannot take the cash for her 3 medals because if she does the NCAA will consider her professional and not let her swim. She is the one getting screwed in this; that is what the public outrage should be about. Not the paying or not paying taxes.

    barkleypontree.blogspot.com

    • I thought Olympians could be professionals now.

      Look at Serena and Venus strutting their stuff at the Olympics. Remember the Dream Team of pro-basketball types at the last one?

      I think this ruins the Olympics – there are plenty of professional venues for professionals to play in. I want to see accomplishments by a new set of achievers, not the same old names and crip walk dances.

  8. Keith, I kinda like your take on US Olympians..
    Being a PROUD PATRIOT (USN Vet, Conservative college student, Registered “Republican”) I am all for US Olympians NOT ‘paying overseas taxes’…
    Yet, part of me understands your Article/argument…

  9. This should be no surprise. The government picks winners and losers depending upon who is in control. And we know this gesture is simply a way of garnering votes for Obama, making it appear he cares about at least someone’s survival after he collapses the economy.

  10. I never knew Olympians were paid cash prizes along with their medals either. Congress is all up in arms about Olympic medal winners paying taxes on their winnings, like this is the first they ever heard about it. Well duh, who writes the tax laws? It certainly isn’t we the people. If it was, betcha a good many of us would like to do away with the maze of tax laws Congress has issued and institute a flat or fair tax.

    These politicians know the American people admire our Olympians so this is their idea of compromise across the aisles to repeal this piece of the tax code. I wish the politicians would just close down business in Washington, D.C. until after the election, so they won’t be dreaming up any more ridiculous feel-good initiatives they think will endear them to the people they represent. This smacks of political pandering for votes from both sides of the aisle.

    • She does seem to be from another planet, srdem. Unfortunately, both she and her husband are economic illiterates. America can’t survive as a service economy, and they both know that. Surely they are intelligent enough to realize that if people don’t have jobs, they can’t go out to dinner. What do they expect from us? Are we all supposed to become teachers and restaurant wait staff in order to fulfill their Marxist utopian ideal?

      I really had to laugh at Mooch’s claim that King Kardashian cut taxes 18 times for small businesses. I’m calling BS on that malarkey.

    • This explains why she and her husband eat out and cater in so many fancy meals. They are just disciplining themselves to make a practice of helping the economy.

      And I thought they were greedy nouveau riche pigs grabbing for all their hands could hold.

      My shame is boundless.

  11. I’m sorry we worry about such things. Didn’t Gabby get a 90M contract with Wheaties? I know some do not get that much in endorsements, but they get something.

    I’m still worried about jobs, cost of goods, all the politicians slight of hand (r&d), and how we keep out freedoms. Olympians paying taxes aren’t worry. Hell, I pay plenty of taxes and I have no medals.

    Upnote – my newly “graduated music educator” son got a job! He now has his own apartment and health insurance. We have something to celebrate at my house, for a (hope and) change!

  12. After watching the Olympics for decades I had absolutely no clue they were given a financial payment in addition to the medals until just recently. I do remember my Dad working tirelessly year in and year out and on one occasion when he won a sales contest was then hit with the tax bill on the value. I was just a kid then, but was like “huh” The government taxes my dad when he is successful and wins. That is when I became a conservative.
    By the way last time I saw Phelps on a special between olympics he was driving a range rover. He seems to be doing ok- tax him like the rest of us.

  13. What was Rubio thinking? And of course Obama jumped on the band wagon for political press time. I am extremely proud of these Olympic athletes but if anyone deserves a tax break it is the brave men and women who put their lives on the line serving in the United States military. These athletes have certainly worked hard for their Olympic medals but they also now have unlimited opportunities to become millionaire celebrities. They are not American heroes in the true sense of the word!