Sports and politics rarely co-exist.
It's usually best that neither enter into the others domain, unless there is just cause.
Senator Marco Rubio of Florida (R) has dropped both feet into the fire by proposing a bill that would eliminate taxes Olympic athletes have to pay for the money earned as a medalist.
As it stands, Gold medal winners receive $25,000, Silver-$15,000, Bronze $10,000.
These athletes are taxed at a 35% rate.
In short, Rubio contends the tax is an example of what's wrong with our country's tax code.
Our Olympic athletes, which includes the likes of highly-paid NBA players representing our country in London, should get a hall pass.
I'm sorry, but I couldn't disagree more.
On ABC Action News at 11 last night I brought an example to light, drawing reference to our U.S. troops.
While they receive tax-free pay during combat, or stationed in a hostile environment, they are taxed when not engaged in the aforementioned.
As Senator Rubio pointed out, the Olympic medal winners should not be taxed because they volunteered their services to represent our country.
So have our troops.
Why isn't their pay totally tax-free, whether they are engaged in combat or back in the states awaiting deployment?
I believe they volunteered their services, AND DEVOTION TO PROTECT, our country.
Moreover, our troops aren't sponsored like many of the top Olympic athletes in high profile sports.
They gain fame through their Olympic endeavors. That usually leads to endorsements.
When was the last time a member of our armed forces was on a Wheaties box, or a Gillette commercial?
These Olympians are not amateur athletes. They go into these Olympic games knowing full well they could be taxed on the money paid to them by USOC.
Sure, I'd love to pay less taxes. Who wouldn't?
Giving our Olympic athletes a tax-free break like this doesn't make sense.
What Rubio should propose is this: Give the Olympic athlete a choice to take the money or not.
If the athlete is a true amateur and compelled to compete on an amateur basis , then they won't take the money.
However, if they want to receive compensation for their feats, then tax them.
Freedom of choice. We all have that right and we all live with the consequences of that choice.
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