Brian Emmett, a self-described space buff (who has even attended space camp) won a trip to space in an Oracle competition, but he won’t be able to take the ride. That’s because the government counts contest winnings as income, and the tax on the ride would be about $25,000–a huge chuck of money that the average person (including Emmett) cannot afford to pay.
In an interview with CNN, Emmett said, “There was definitely a period of mourning. I was totally crestfallen. Everything you had hoped for as a kid sort of evaporates in front of you.”
This is a sad story that should be recalled not only in the lead-up to tax season. We should be asking what precisely the government planned to do with that $25,000. Social security is broken, the health care system is a mess, and the education system is failing miserably. It’s time for citizens to demand that government become less wasteful and more accountable.