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If You Tax Them, They Won’t Come.


Whether or not you believe that life imitates sport, we can be sure that sports are a  business. Keeping this in mind, it should be alarming to the United Kingdom that European golfers are considering backing out of the Ryder Cup because of the outrageous UK tax policy. Considering the European team’s success in the Ryder Cup has been attributed as much to players’ camaraderie as their skill, this unrest among the players is arresting. The concern by players who take great pride in being on the Ryder Cup team hints at how invasive the tax policy is. 

Perhaps this could be considered a leverage ploy by the European golfers if Usain Bolt had not also backed out of racing in the UK due to their taxes. Bolt was willing to pay the 50% tax on his earnings in the UK, but they planned on taxing his endorsement deals and earnings outside the UK as well. As a consequence, not only were the British people were deprived of a chance to watch the fastest man in history and one of the premiere entertainers in the world, they suffered an economic loss. There is no doubt an economy flurry would have accompanied the immense fanfare that Bolt attracts. 

Sports teach numerous life lessons, but this is first one that I’ve heard that relates to the tax code: if the government overtaxes, it deprives its people of business. The United Kingdom’s economy is floundering, yet they are driving athletes to take their business elsewhere. Do they expect entrepreneurs or corporations will be inclined to act differently? Our government should take note that a single minded determination to collect revenue ultimately impedes business opportunities and job creation.