The Corner

Against the Cosmetic Tax

The Senate version of the health-care bill has a cosmetic tax. The idea is to make the rich (who are assumed to be the ones consuming plastic surgery) pay for the cost of the health-care reform. Wrong. First, according to Laurie Essig:

Cosmetic surgery is now primarily consumed not by the rich, but by the working and lower-middle classes, sometimes even by the poor. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), about 1/3 of cosmetic surgery is consumed by people who make less than $30,000 a year.  About 70% of it is consumed by people who make less than $60,000 a year. It is mostly women (90%) and mostly white, middle-aged women (80% and between 35-55 years old).

Plus, why tax a good that increases people’s happiness permanently? According to Will Wilkinson (and based on very serious academic research), plastic surgery (breast implants in particular), unlike expensive cars, increases people’s happiness in the long run.

And George Mason University’s Robin Hanson adds that it increases the level of trust in society.

Hat tip to Tyler Cowen over at Marginal Revolution.