I'm sure most of us here know the names Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt, Muhammad Ali, etc. These athletes prepare for years, spend time training, sacrificing almost every other aspect of their lives, in order to compete in premier sporting events, often culminating in the olympics. Gold medals are obviously the highest prize at the olympics.
Well, I'm here to say the athletes shouldn't get gold medals. Not even silver or bronze. Why? Because they reap the benefits of being in first, second, or third place anyway. TV ads. Contracts. Books. Royalties from merchandise. Speaking engagements. There are countless ways for these athletes to reap the rewards for their hard work. Why give them a medal if they worked so hard and came out on top? Doesn't it just rub it in to those who did not win?
Am I serious? Of course not.
Try this on for size, though: a college student works tirelessly, maintaining a 3.9 GPA, spending a good chunk of money on tuition, fees, and books. Every waking hour is spent working a job, attending class, studying, or doing student assistant work. After an internship with a premier company, the student is hired on even before graduating from college.
Thankfully the federal government realizes the money that is poured into this endeavor, and offers tax breaks or tax credits for the money spent becoming a more educated person, so down the road the student can contribute more to the economy and workforce.
After the student is hired by the company, though, the tax breaks and tax credits stop. Why? Because the company, who values the student, pays a livable amount of money, putting the student above the cap for the tax breaks on education.
Now, I spent just as much time and effort - if not MORE - than my peer students who did not land a job. Yes, I am far better off for having the job - but it looks like the IRS doesn't want to reward me, or recognize the amount of effort and money I put in to my education, even though they continue to give tax breaks to my peers who didn't put the effort I put in. Why doesn't the IRS give 4 years worth of credits, so long as the student is enrolled full time for those four years, regardless of how much he or she earns? Am I not putting in the same effort? The only difference is I "won" and got a job before most of my peers.
Looks like the olympians shouldn't get those medals after all - at least if the IRS had anything to do with the matter.