Baby steps

22 Aug 12

I think that when I am unable to articulate the principle behind an opinion I hold, that opinion isn’t very strong. My true opinion is probably, ‘I don’t know.’

During the Olympics, there was a Facebook conversation about countries that pay prize money to their medal winners. Some Americans moaned that their athletes had to pay income tax on their winnings. (US gold medal winners get US$25,000.)

The opinion: IRS Should Not Tax Olympic Medal Winners’ Prize Money!

I was interested in the thinking behind the opinion that this sort of income should be exempt from income tax. I asked some of them, ‘What is the principle behind this opinion?’

I think no one understood what I was asking, because no one answered. That, or they thought it was a boring question. 🙂

If I had to write a general rule, how would I express it?

People who win Olympic Medals should be given tax free prizes? (But not people who win the lottery?)

People who win prizes through their own hard work and achievement should not have to pay tax on the prize? (But not the Nobel Prize?)

I was trying to understand why Olympic medalists are ‘special’. And not military service men and women, teachers, and tennis players. (For instance.)

I left unexamined the question of why the medalists should be paid anything at all. Would they not be motivated enough without it?

I called this posting, ‘Baby steps’, because I’ve been away from this blog for a long time.



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