Home / General / Right-Wing Talking Points in Sports

Right-Wing Talking Points in Sports


Some dude won $75,000 by making a half-court shot at a basketball game.

The story on ESPN: said dude has to pay, gasp, taxes on his earnings!

The horror. The horror.

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  • MikeJake

    You know, in Somalia no one has the opportunity to make half-court shots for money.

    Just one of those little advantages to living in a stable, democratic country.

  • Book

    Proof of the war on lob creators.

    • efgoldman

      FTW, already.

    • Jewish Steel


  • efgoldman

    The biggest part of the story when I first saw it was LeBron jumping the guy with a full body hug, and both of them rolling around on the floor. Of course, LeBron could have given the guy 75 large out of the cash in his couch cushions.

  • Steve S.

    It’s bad to tax hard-earned income. It’s bad to tax dumb-luck income. It’s bad to tax investment income.

    Buy bonds. On sale in the lobby during intermission.

  • Informant

    This is one area where socialist Canadians are ahead of the US: gambling winnings aren’t subject to tax, IIRC.

    • They should be subject to tax.

      • efgoldman

        They should be subject to tax.

        The Canadians seem to be doing fine without it, eh?
        Or are you making a moral argument?

        • Not a moral argument. It’s income, it should be taxed.

        • Vance Maverick

          I was going to make the same comment, and yes, I believe they ought to be subject to tax. I don’t know if I’d call it a moral argument: I believe it would be good policy to tax them (and of course if the tax is levied, one has a moral obligation to pay).

          • efgoldman

            It’s income, it should be taxed.

            I have no problem with that, and it is in the US and some states.
            But its their country, and in a lot of respects they do things better than we do. Who are we to say how they should run their tax system, eh?

            • I have trouble even accepting Canadian sovereignty. 1813 is still the worst year in American history. So their tax system, whatever.

              • SamR

                Freaking William Hull, am I right?

            • djillionsmix

              Who are we to say how they should run their tax system, eh?

              people who are having a discussion, initiated by Informant, above, on the relative merits of the canadian and american systems.

              try to follow along, dear.

      • AGM

        Australia also doesn’t tax winnings. It’s because, given the small nature of a lot of gambling and so much of it is done in cash, administration of the tax would probably cost more than it would raise. Plus if gambling winnings are earnings are gambling losses deductible?

        It makes sense to collect it on the other side of the equation with higher taxes on casinos and high licencing fees on poker machines.

        • Pooh

          So does a professional gambler pay no taxes? I should have moved to Canadia when I was a poker player…

          • JKTHs

            Yeah I’d figure a better policy would just to be exempt a certain amount so, say, winning the WSOP main event doesn’t become a great tax shelter.

          • McKingford

            Canada treats gambling differently than Australia, apparently. Lottery winnings fall under the category of “windfall” and are untaxed. Gambling winnings may be subject to tax.

        • (the other) Davis

          Plus if gambling winnings are earnings are gambling losses deductible?

          If I’m remembering the code correctly, yes — but only in the same year they’re incurred (no carry-over), and only against gambling winnings.

          • cpinva

            you remember the code partially. gambling losses are deductible, to the extent of winnings. winnings are reported on F1040, pg.1, losses are an itemized deduction, on sch. A. conceivably, you could have taxable winnings, and get no benefit from your losses, depending on the amount of your total itemized deductions. plus, you need to keep records (lotter tickets, race track tickets, etc.), to support your claimed losses. race track tickets, with footprints on them, are frowned upon.

            • (the other) Davis

              Thanks for the correction — it’s been two years since I took Tax. I should have just looked up the code section, but sometimes laziness wins out.

  • dan

    Note that the guy says that “half” the money will go to the government, and the writer of the article grudgingly concedes that it won’t be quite that much. The numbers in the article come out to less than a third of the total winnings being used to pay taxes even with state income tax included.

    • FourTen

      When I won $20k+ on WW2baMillionaire? (~yay) I ended up paying about $6k on it in taxes (30%) once all my income from that year was worked in.

      Best of my knowledge that classic fable of paying “half you winnings” applies only if you win an obscene amount of money (like 1 million) that pushes you up into the Phil Mickelson bracket, but just for that year.

      The feeling that big prize winners are being ‘ripped off’ comes from the fact that no withholding was taking place on this lump sum income, so it feels like you are being bushwhacked.

      • SamR

        I think what happens is that for some of the bigger prizes the announced prize is actually based on 25 annual payouts, the lump sum is smaller (by 20-30% or so) and then you pay tax on that.

        So on that $100,000,000 mega millions win, the sole winner “only” gets $46,000,000.

        My heart bleeds.

  • Warren Terra

    Brutal government jackboot confiscations like this one only act to discourage the fluke windfalls we need. Why should our hard-watching sports fans bother to participate in fluke-making enterprises knowing they’ll only get to keep the lion’s share of any windfalls they unexpectedly and unpredictably receive? Indeed, the far more sensible Republican plan is to get out of the way and foster an environment conducive to fluke winfalls; in fact, it appears that only by assuming the successful engendering of a veritable rash of fluke windfalls can we make Republican economic theory seem to work.

    • Uncle Ebeneezer

      He should take his ball and go home. Or move to some unregulated Libert-opian island.

  • Rick Massimo

    Dude EARNED that money. He’s a PRODUCER. A MAKER. If the tyrannical Obamafascist government keeps this up, if you can only make $50K for sinking a half-court shot, all the half-court shooters will go Galt. And THEN where will we be? Sleeping in refrigerator boxes and eating rats, that’s where we’ll be.

    Remember the talking point: I’ve never gotten a job from a non-half-court shooter.

  • MikeJake

    Sadly, this isn’t even the worst current sports/dumb right wing talking point story in the media right now.


    • Warren Terra

      Oh no. If the idea of progressive taxation loses the support of that subset of golf fans who don’t understand the issues at stake, where will we be?

      • Unsympathetic

        Mickelson is going to voluntarily earn zero dollars because he is tired of filling swimming pools with the hundreds of millions of already-taxed dollars he’s earned? Oh, the horror. Incidentally, this is zero-sum: His quitting just means someone else will take the payday — not that golf will actually stop being productive. So, even in the fauxtrage article.. Republicans swing and miss at actual economic theory.

        • SamR

          I guess the argument is that he creates wealth for others b/c he’s exciting, but I think both Rory and Tiger are far bigger draws than Phil (definitely Tiger).

          Also he’s doing something that not only is a leisure activity for most people who participate in it, but a leisure activity they pay a good amount of money to do. How would Phil go Galt? Play tennis instead?

    • swearyanthony

      It’s well known that golf is the most popular sport of the regular folks out there.

  • Crackity Jones

    All income from whatever source derived. Don’t want to pay tax, decline the prize.

  • Crackity Jones

    In the US I believe you can deduct gambling losses, but not anymore than offsets your winnings (I think). If you could deduct gambling losses like you can business losses, you could theoretically end up not paying tax. That’s terrible policy. Gambling is not running a business. Deducting only to the extent it zeros out winnings is more than fair.

    • You gotta have records, which accounts for the guys picking up losing tickets at the track.

      • cpinva

        the IRS has been on to that scam for years.

        “You gotta have records, which accounts for the guys picking up losing tickets at the track.”

        losing tickets from the track tend to have footprints on them. there was even a tax court case decided by that very issue.

  • Nocomment

    Wife won a brand new Cadillac in October.

    $34K taxable value. Vendor paid the state sales tax.

    Federal tax to be paid up front as gambling winnings. State tax obligation to follow. Changed our tax bracket also. We are retired.
    After tax “earnings” from this win came in at $18K.

    Not complaining but.. sure would feel better about the whole episode if I had the confidence that people who rake in interest income in the 6 or 7 figure range were treated the same..our tax obligation was closer to 1/3 of winnings. Ummm … somewhat more than the familiar 13%.

    Where’s Mitt Romney’s accountant when you need him?

    • Vance Maverick

      I think he might cost you a bit more than 20% of $34K.

    • cpinva

      the state sales tax, paid by the vendor, is also taxable income to you. sorry.

      • Nocomment

        Quite so.

  • uncle rameau

    Here in Upper Canadia, the Mighty Dutch Woman I married has for 20 years always bought the $100 hospital fund-raising lottery ticket. This year, she won a $20,000 trip to Thailand, which we have no interest in visiting. We’ll take the $16,000 cash equivalent and put it in a TFSA and her RRSP. Just another reason to be glad I escaped from the land of the free and the home of the brave 35 years ago now.

    And 1813 was an awesome year – will be enjoying the commemorations on the Niagara frontier all summer long. Fort George and Stoney Creek should be fun.

  • Ken

    Have Canada and Australia carefully defined “gambling winnings”? Because if we exempted them from taxation here in the U.S., I’m fairly sure that within five minutes someone would start arguing that investment income was gambling winnings.

    Mind you, they wouldn’t be entirely wrong…

    • JKTHs


  • Uncle Ebeneezer

    I bet this guy doesn’t get crap from the neighborhood kids, when he’s shooting baskets.

  • JKTHs

    Not that I’d actually bother reading the comments on the story but I’m sure about half of them are blaming Obama as if he invented the income tax or the half-court shot prize money tax which is contained in that legislation that enacted cap-and-trade, single payer, and FEMA death camps.

  • cpinva

    unless i’m mistaken, that would be $50k more than he had, when he walked through the arena turnstile that night. of course, i’m of the opinion that all income should be treated as ordinary, and taxed at ordinary rates. why should “joe sixpack”, working his ass off on the assembly line, get taxed at a higher rate than mitt romney, on his investment or interest income?

  • Peter VE

    If the Mittster had made that shot, he would have sold the rights to the winnings to a non profit for $74,000, and paid 15% capital gains taxes taxes on the $74,000 (minus the $100 fro the ticket to the game).

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