24 November 2009
"Botax:" A Brilliant Idea and its Critic
Sound the alarm! Now the mean old government wants to tax plastic surgery. Sounds like a good idea to me, but as soon as someone proposes any tax, even one that can be justified as a luxury, "sin" or even vanity tax, someone else pops up to explain how it will hold back economic growth. Sounding the alarm this time is Christopher Beam, a writer for Slate, whose main argument against taxing these procedures (apart from a lame attempt to claim that poor people have them, too) is that plastic surgery makes people more successful and, arguably, more productive. He can't even make that claim too confidently; objectivity compels Beam to acknowledge skeptics who suggest that prettier people may make more money due to favoritism rather than increased industriousness. But he thinks that the possibility that plastic surgery may improve productivity is reason enough to give up any idea of taxing the procedures. Best of all, though, this tribune against taxation wants Congress to commission a study on the subject before voting on the so-called "Botax." That sounds like money well spent, but where's it going to come from, genius? Maybe I should be more charitable this week, but Christopher Beam sounds like an Idiot of the Week candidate.