The Olympics have been going strong for a week now and some of my neighbors in a small town just south of here are anxiously waiting for tomorrow’s sailboat race in the Star Class. Going into the medal round, the North American sailing center seemed positioned to crews from their boats on each of the podiums. Out of the sixteen boats in competition, thirteen were built in Richland, MI. Right now, the top five boats were built by the center. These boats sailed by crews from Great Britain, Brazil, Sweden, Norway and Portugal. Ironically, the boat in the sixth position, flying the American flag, was built by an Italian boat maker. That’s right, the United States didn’t want to pony up the extra $25,000 that the North American Sailing Center asks for their boats. The price range for these 22 ½ foot long keel boats are between $85,000 and $90,000! It will be interesting to watch the finals and see some local fiberglass craftsmanship at work on the water.
Marco Rubio, a Senator from Florida who wants to been seen as the savior of athletes, is proposing that Olympic medal winners not be taxed. All over my Facebook feed, folks are “Liking” advertisements for anti-tax groups trying to jump on the bandwagon and make political hay out of the issue. These ads suggest that a gold medalist could pay nearly $9000 in taxes just for winning the gold. That is nonsense. First of all, the ads make it appear they have to pay that much just because they got a gold medal. According to one account, there’s only $644 in gold and silver in the gold medals, much less in the silver and bronze. What these ads are not saying is that the winners of the gold medals receive a $25,000 bonus from the U. S. Olympic committee and that is taxable. Furthermore, the $9000 tax bill, even for $25,000 in extra income, seems a little out of line. Not only would the athletic have to be in the top earnings bracket to receive this amount (which a few are as their endorsements are significant), but that they had no deductions to offset the tax bill. As I said, this is some organizations trying to make political hay. There needs to be a barn fire under such nonsense. At least we should demand they honest and clearly state that they are not taking about the value of the medal… but then who would “like” their ad, especially for those who get paid hundreds of thousands of dollars or more for endorsements?
While I am on my rant against the anti-tax folks, I have a compromise to suggest about the Bush-era tax cuts. The Republicans want to keep them all and the Democrats want to keep them only for those earning less than $250,000 a year. My suggestions, let’s end all those tax breaks. We can all sacrifice a little for the well-being of the Republic and at some point we are going to have to pay off our borrowing for that Bush-era war in Iraq.
Okay, enough about politics and taxes. It’s time for me to get back on the water!