Marco Rubio has been studying the American tax code, and at last he's discovered the scourge that's been dragging down the U.S. economy. No, it's not Obama's higher taxes on the top-one percent, and it's not Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy.
It's Uncle Sam's tax on Olympic medalists, who, yeah, apparently get cash bonuses for bringing hardware home from London. Rubio filed a bill in Congress yesterday to stop taxing the prizes given for Olympic glory.
It's rarely discussed, but it turns out the U.S. Olympic Committee attaches prize money to medals, handing out $25,000 to gold medalists, $15,000 to silver and $10,000 to bronze winners like our own hometown hero Danell Leyva.
That money counts as income, meaning it's taxed at the usual rate by the IRS. Rubio's bill would add an exemption, making such prizes tax-free.
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"Athletes representing our nation overseas in the Olympics shouldn't have to worry about an extra tax bill waiting for them back home," Rubio says of the bill.
Really, you have to give Rubio credit for doing what Mitt Romney couldn't: scoring political points off the Olympics. (Not that Mittens didn't try on his recent trip abroad; Romney ended up with his foot in his mouth after claiming London wasn't as prepared for the games as Salt Lake City had been when he ran the show.)
(Cue the ominous music on the next attack ad: "Why does Bill Nelson HATE AMERICA'S OLYMPIC CHAMPIONS?" Cue dramatic photos of weeping gymnasts.)
Of course at a logical level, the plan doesn't make a ton of sense. Rubio's statement slams the "complicated and burdensome" tax code, yet, as the L.A. Times points out, his bill would make it even more complicated by adding a whole new exemption to the books.
But "logic" isn't really the point. Score one for Rubio on Romney's new "Who's going to be my VP" ap.