Meddling With Kathy Posner

Olympic Medal

I have as much interest in sports as I do in the process to make head cheese. (FYI- head cheese is not a cheese but a terrine made with flesh from the head of a calf, pig or sheep that is set in aspic. The parts of the head that are sued vary, but the brain, eyes, and ears are usually removed. The tongue, and sometimes even the feet and heart, may be included.) I know that head cheese exits, but I would rather not think about it. I know sports exist, but except for the importance of the exercise factor, I find competition boring and overrated. Especially The Olympics.

A big deal is made about the sacrifices that Olympic athletes make to represent our country in the quad annual games. I am more impressed when sacrifices are made by young people to get a good education because once an athletic hits their late 20’s their “career” is over. Exercising the brain is what I respect.

I learned recently that American Olympic medal winners get an honorarium for winning. The levels are: Gold─$25,000, Silver─$15,000, Bronze─$10,000. Both state and federal tax codes require that athletes add the honorariums to their regular income. Since the winner of cash for a Nobel prize has to pay taxes, why shouldn’t Olympic athletes?

Recently, U.S. Representatives Mary Bono Mack (CA-45) and G. K. Butterfield (NC-1), who serve respectively as Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade, introduced legislation exempting U.S. Olympic medalists from paying income taxes on these honorariums.

Bono Mack and Butterfield issued a joint statement that said, “Taxing the Olympic medals of U.S. athletes is like Scrooge putting a tax on Christmas presents. It’s just wrong. Our athletes work and sacrifice for years to reach the pinnacle of their sports and to proudly represent the United States of America in the Olympic Games. Only the U.S. tax code can turn the ‘thrill of victory’ into the agony of victory. We strongly urge our colleagues in Congress to join us in this effort to salute our U.S. Olympians. When they’re standing on the podium, they should be savoring the moment – not calculating their taxes. This is just one small way to say thank you to our Olympic medalists for their efforts and achievements.”

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2011 was divided, one half jointly to Bruce A. Beutler and Jules A. Hoffmann "for their discoveries concerning the activation of innate immunity" and the other half to Ralph M. Steinman "for his discovery of the dendritic cell and its role in adaptive immunity". I don’t know what that means, but I guarantee that is a lot more important to humanity as a whole than whatever American won a swimming gold medal. These gentlemen had to pay taxes on their Nobel Prize, so athletes should pay taxes on their medals.

The Illinois Department of Revenue has said that they will follow the federal government’s lead on whether or not to tax Olympians.

Under legislation filed last week by Illinois House Minority Leader Tom Cross (HB 6208), Olympic medal winners who pay taxes in Illinois would be allowed to deduct any money they receive for winning a gold, silver or bronz. .Cross spokeswoman Sara Wocjicki Jimenez said, “The Olympians do the country a great service when they perform well and the world is able to see what our American athletes are capable of and in return we tax them for it.”

House Bill 6208-Synopsis As Introduced

Amends the Illinois Income Tax Act. Creates a deduction in amount equal to any amount received by the taxpayer during the taxable year as an honorarium associated with competing in the Olympic or Paralympic Games. Effective immediately.

Talk about special interest legislation! When education costs become tax deductible, then maybe it won’t bother me as much that athletes are treated as heroes when they have done nothing more than swim or run faster than someone else. They have discovered nothing new that will affect the world; athletes are basically meaningless to the continuation of life on the planet.

EDITORS NOTE: I agree with Olympian Kathy Posner.  The Olympics hold no interest to me, and it seems more important to these elected Congressional nuts to vote on a gold medal tax, than to figure out how to fix this country. It also figures that she is a Republican. Since she won't vote on anything to help the country, I guess the Olympians make her look like she is doing something important. It looks like she wants a medal for not doing her job, and not be taxed on it!