Saturday, December 19, 2009


There has been some consternation over talk of new taxation on cosmetic surgery.

Some feminist leaders popped up quickly to decry it as unfair and punishing to women. Other feminist reacted with surprise at this, and others agreed with the outcry.

One who found agreement talked about the unfairness of focusing in on women with a tax, and made some interesting points. Of note the use of taxation to pressure and bring morality to medicine.

But in looking at this and the concerns and arguments, I just have to disagree.

I do agree that I don't care for the government to try and force a view of society through tax breaks and burdens (to have marriage or families, etc.). But this is not the sole picture here.

First, the demographics. Men are a growing part of this cosmetic surgery customer base. Second various ethnic groups are growing in numbers to be found using these service. And finally, those making use of this service would seem to trend in to the middle and upper classes. This taxed group will be diverse sexually and ethnically, so not too much bias there. And more importantly they are a wealthy subset of the whole population.

And that is why this tax is being levied. It is on the rich. That is the view and impression. There could be an argument for it being placed on those that are deemed to be wasting money on vanity. But it is primarily being focused on those that are deemed to have excess of cash and a willingness to spend it. Hence the taxes placed on money luxury items. That is the view at the governmental top. And as the wealthy are more heavily hit, it is hard for most progressives to be particularly bummed.

Now, if this impacts needed (for healthy living) surgeries, that is bad. Likewise, the effect on gender changes deserves some consideration. But this is not a sin tax, just as import duties on luxury cars isn't.

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