NOW THAT'S FUNNY
Did you know that the United States pays our Olympians for the medals they earn? A gold medal brings $25,000, a silver gets $15,000 and a bronze is worth $10,000.
The prize money is awarded by the United States Olympic Committee, and includes all medalists in all sports. At this writing, (no spoilers) the current tally for medal winners in the United States is 38, 18 of which are gold. That’s a lot of money, and of course, the IRS wants its share.
Did Gabby Douglas know that when she flashed that beautiful smile?
As reported on Yahoo Sports, medalists will have to pay taxes on their medal money. For athletes with multiple wins (Michael Phelps, Missy Franklin), that could really add up. Calculated at the highest rate, taxes on one gold medal alone could be $8,986.
However, the highest tax rate (35 percent) applies only to people making $388,350 per year. Most Olympic athletes don’t make that much, and if they do, they also have hefty expenses that they can deduct to offset those earnings and bring their tax rate down.
In addition, other countries pay their athletes much more money than we do for Olympic medals. As CNBC details, Italy pays $182,400 for each gold medal. No wonder that country is going broke. China pays $31,400 per gold; Britain pays nothing.
Some people feel that it is not right to tax this prize money, and in fact, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) has introduced a bill to exempt it from taxation.
According to Snopes.com, three members of the House of Representatives have also introduced similar bills. This is typical of Congress, why have one bill introduced on an issue when four would do? The race is on! Who will win the sprint to get their bill passed? Who will work hard only to see their prize go to someone else?
It’s a tough competition with many different events. First up is the Partisan Name Calling Contest. Those who think Olympians should be taxed on their earnings will be called unpatriotic socialists who think all rich people are evil and racist. Those who think Olympians should be exempt from earnings on their medals will be called ruthless one percenters who want to shred the food stamp program in order to bail out a few more banks. Competitors get point deductions for showing sensitivity to other viewpoints or considering compromise.
Next Up: Fawning Media Coverage Marathon. Depending upon party affiliation, Congressmen book themselves on Sean Hannity or Rachel Maddow. Whoever gets his or her ego inflated to the point of pompous self-satisfaction from being surrounded by “yes men” TV personalities advances to the next round.
Final Round: The Cash Grab Vote Buying. Contestants make backroom deals, filch money from other programs, accept lobbyists’ donations and solicit grass-roots support via the internet. It’s an all-out steeplechase for every last vote, with promises made in all directions, but the winner will be the one who gets his hands on the money, er, I mean, the wall, first. No matter who wins, John Boehner will cry.
Wait! I’m so sorry, sports fans. This thrilling Olympic showdown is now on hold. Congress just recessed for vacation.
Pam Lobley writes the “Now That’s Funny” column. Her book, “You Definitely Know You’re a Mom When …” is now available on Kindle. Follow her on Twitter @plobley.