The White House said Monday that President Obama would support exempting Olympic medalists from the taxes they'd typically pay on their winnings, backing up a proposal Sen. Marco Rubio's proposed last week. After the conservative Americans for Tax Reform released (problematic) stats on the tax bills Olympians must pay on their winnings, Rubio introduced legislation saying, "Our tax code is a complicated and burdensome mess that too often punishes success, and the tax imposed on Olympic medal winners is a classic example of this madness." Folks like Bloomberg's Josh Barro noted that an exemption for a small community of athletes doesn't exactly work toward Rubio's other goal of simplifying the tax code. Barro wrote:
Rubio said just last week that America needs "real tax reform that simplifies the tax code." That's true. So why is he proposing to introduce a stupid new complication into the tax code? Tax reform means removing deductions from the tax code, not adding them.
Obama, at least, isn't spending as much time talking up a simplified tax code. In a July speech he said:
Once the election is over, things have calmed down a little bit, based on what the American people have said and how they've spoken during that election, we'll be in a good position to decide how to reform our entire tax code in a simple way that lowers rates and helps our economy grow, and brings down our deficit.
Until then, tax cuts for Olympians have at least two big fans.