Archive for August 1st, 2012

Olympian Taxes

On this (imaginary) episode of Pawn Stars:

Customer outside of store: My name’s Michael, and I’m here at the Pawn Shop to sell my Olympic bronze medal. I’m hoping to get enough to pay the back taxes on the 15 gold medals that I won, and maybe have a little left over to have some fun at the tables before I go home.

Rick (to camera, in warehouse): I’m really excited to see this come in here.  Olympic medals don’t just walk into the store all the time.  I mean, this is a piece of history, and Olympic memorabilia is highly collectible.  But I don’t care how good it’ll look sitting in my store, it has to be for the right price.

Rick (back at counter, to Michael): The US is one of the only countries to assess a prize tax on its athletes who win Olympic medals.  Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida is supposedly introducing a bill that’ll change that, but right now, winners have to pay about $9000 per medal.  Although there’s no truth to the rumor that the tax was instituted because it was a windfall, since, “they didn’t really win” the medals.

Chumlee: Yeah, isn’t that the real reason that the ’72 US basketball team didn’t pick up their silver medals?  They’re all amateurs, and they couldn’t afford the taxes.

Rick: Shut up, Chum.

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About That Battleground States Poll

The MSM is making much of this morning’s Quinnipiac/NY Times/CBS poll allegedly showing President Obama moving ahead in the battleground states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida.  This poll should carry more weight, since it is a poll of likely voters, probably identified by whether or not they voted last time, and whether or not they voted in the primary.  But as is often the case with MSM polls, the internals belie the conclusions.

The poll shows President Obama leading Governor Romney 50-44 in Ohio, 53-42 in Pennsylvania, and 51-45 in Florida.

Obama actually won these states 51-47, 54-44, and 51-48, respectively.  That in itself should raise some suspicion.  I don’t know of any other significant polls that show Obama running ahead of where he did in 2008.  Nationally, he won by 7 points, and Rasmussen’s daily likely-voter poll has shown only occasional movement from a 47-44 Romney advantage.  I suppose it’s possible that concentrated saturation-bombing could move polls in individual states, but I’ve seen such tactical strategies in the past, and they almost always come from losing campaigns.

The other odd number is how people claim to have voted in 2008.  These are, respectively, 53-38, 54-40, and 53-40, or +11, +4, and +10 vs. how those states actually went.  Even assuming people moved around, the numbers for Ohio and Florida are huge, and the number for Pennsylvania is still significant.  While people are more likely to remember themselves as having voted either for a winner, or for their current preference, even if they voted the other way, it’s hard to believe these are representative of the people likely to vote in this election.

Lord knows, I’ve been wrong about polls before.  Tomorrow morning at Denver’s First Thursday Breakfast, pollster Floyd Ciruli – a Democrat, but you’d never know his party affiliation from his commentaries – will be speaking.  I’ll ask him about these conjectures then, and report what he has to say.

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