Olympic Gold Means More Gold for the Government

This is the transcript of episode nine of The LAVA Spurt podcast. You can listen to the audio of this Podcast episode here:


Olympic gold means more gold for the government. Thank you for joining me on the ninth episode of The LAVA Spurt, The Taxation is Nationalism Edition.

Olympic athletes are the very best at their sport, and they don’t get that way by accident. They spent thousands of hours perfecting their bodies, their technique, and their mindset to get where they are. They do this for their own personal glory, but, at least for Olympians, they also do it for nationalism.

Olympic athletes receive rewards

The rewards for the best of the best are enormous. They receive national spotlight, their names become household names, and they often get huge deals worth millions of dollars to become the face of some product. And, they get medals. What’s not as well-known is that along with those medals, the athletes also get a cash prize, paid for by the United States Olympic Committee. They get $25,000 for gold, $15,000 for silver, and $10,000 for bronze. This is a pittance compared to what some other countries pay athletes who medal in the games. Kazakhstan pays $250,000 for a gold, Latvia pays $192,000 and Italy pays $191,000.

These bonuses don’t include the metal value of the medals. Believe it or not, the gold medal is not actually made out of gold and hasn’t been since the 1912 Summer Olympics in Sweden. It is made of 494 grams of silver and 6 grams of gold. The melted price of these metals is worth about $587 at current market price. The silver medal is worth around $300 and the bronze is worth essentially nothing. It would have cost more than $2 million to make all of the gold medals actually out of gold, but for Olympic games that cost around $50 billion in total, that seems like a drop in the bucket. Why go cheap on the rewards for the athletes?

Olympic rewards are taxable income

What rustles my jimmies about all of this is that the United States government, after paying the athletes this reward for their hard work and their nationalism, actually charges the athletes a tax on their bonus, and taxes them on the value of their medals, as taxable income. This comes out to about $9,900 for gold, $5,940 for silver, and $3,960 for bronze. In other words, thank you, peasant, for working your fucking ass of to make this country look great. Now pay us for that privilege. Michael Phelps, for example, will have to pay about $55,000 for that privilege. Katie Ledecky will have to pay about $45,000 and Simone Biles will have to pay about $44,000.

This is so ridiculous that even federal legislators have seen the ridiculousness of it. You know if they can recognize it, then it has to be pretty much off the charts insane. In 2012, Marco Rubio tried to get a bill passed that would remove these taxes, but that failed. This year, Senators John Thune and Chuck Schumer are trying again, and so far the measure passed the Senate in July and awaits a vote in the House.

The benevolent government knows best

This is just another disgusting example of the government penalizing success in this country. You work hard all your life to get ahead and what is your gift for that? You get some of your money stolen from you by your benevolent government because they know the best way to spend your money. In a system where everything you do is taxed, from flushing your toilet first thing in the morning to turning the light off at night, we live in a country where our rulers think they own our money, and therefore the time we used to make that money. This is slavery. And don’t think you can get away from taxes by dying or moving outside of the country, because you can’t.

The best we can hope for in this day and age is to move to a place where your tax burden is as low as possible. New Hampshire has the benefit of being one of only two states with no sales tax and no state income tax. The other is Alaska, which lives primarily off of federal government subsidies.

As long as the government has the right to tax even 1% of your income, they have the right to tax 100% of your income. Taxation truly is theft.

Until next time… keep striking the root!

For more podcasts episodes and to subscribe to The LAVA Flow and The LAVA Spurt, go to http://thelavaflow.com.

Rodger Paxton
Rodger Paxton
Rodger, who runs the LAVA Flow Podcast, is a long-time libertarian activist and former Chairman and Secretary of the Libertarian Party of Arkansas. Rodger and his wife Jessica are Free State Project movers who unschool their children at home.