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Tax break for Olympians is gold medal politics

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney may have offended the British during his visit to the London Olympics by questioning whether they were ready for the Games. But one of his potential vice-presidential picks, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, has managed to be quite savvy in gaining popularity on the tails of Olympic fever. Rubio has proposed a tax exemption for honorariums American medalists receive for an Olympic victory. It’s a good enough idea, and it’s medal-winning politics.

The United States Olympic Committee gives cash awards to Olympic medalists: a gold brings $25,000. Because it is “prize” money, the IRS will bill a winner up to $9,000. That’s chump change for the likes of the endorsement-laden Michael Phelps, but for the lesser-known athletes in more obscure sports, it is a significant hit.

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