Last month U.S. Senate majority leader Harry Reid proposed a 5 per cent tax on elective surgeries and procedures to help pay for the $848 billion health care bill. As expected, the wealthy cried “Robin Hood” on the new tax. These wealthy claimed they were being forced to pay for those who can’t afford health care. Those who could afford Botox and face-lifts felt they were subsidizing the poor. This new tax is expected to bring in $6 billion over ten years.
Unexpectedly, very low- to middle-income Americans have taken to the streets to protest what they are calling a “Bo Tax”. Protesters are claiming that this tax infringes on a perceived enshrined right to smooth foreheads and increase the size of their breasts. One sign in the crowd read, “Washington leave our boobs alone”.
Irma Cadiz, a 33-year-old hairstylist (who claimed she was saving up for a $7,000 tummy tuck) told the New York Daily News, “The tax directly affects me… If I have a heart attack, will the tax that too?”
In support of people like Irma Cadiz, the National Organization for Women, the largest feminist lobby in the US, has claimed that this tax unfairly targets women. The claim 90% of cosmetic surgery recipients are woman. Especially middle-aged women facing workplace discrimination who rely on these procedures, which can be risky, to “freshen” their image.
This is a puzzling stance for the National Organization for Women, who have had a long history of resisting pressure for women to conform to rigid beauty ideals.
National Organization for Women president Terry O’Neil has defended the stance telling the New York Times: “I know a lot of women whose earning power stalled out or kicked down as they entered into their 50s, unlike their male counter parts’, whose really went up.”
Anticipating much more bad press to come, legislators have reversed their position on the “Bo Tax” and decided to place a tax on indoor tanning beds instead. This new “Tan Tax” is expected to raise less than half as much money for health care.
Laurie Essig, a sociology professor at Middleburry Collage says industry statistics reveal one-third of cosmetic surgeries are performed on those earning less than $30,000 a year. While some 70 per cent are done on those making less the %60,000 a year.
She also says that the working poor’s access to facelifts is supported by predatory lending practices of “medical credit” at 30 per cent interest.
Stating that the turn to cosmetic surgery is a reaction to social and economic insecurity, she said: “People got that they were facing downward economic mobility and that their kids were going to be worse off, so they responded with forms of [debt-fuelled] consumption-[taking out] a subprime mortgage or a high-interest collage loan or a medical loan for a boob job, thinking, ‘If I do this, there’ll be some reward.'”
Daniel Hamermesh, an economics professor at the University of Texas at Austin who has conducted the most-cited studies of the correlation between beauty and income, concludes that while better-looking people tend to earn more, attempting to improve attractiveness, e it with new clothing, cosmetics or surgical intervention, has little impact on earnings. Women who go under the knife make an extra 5 cents per dollar, he says, backed up by research by Soohyoung Lee, an economics professor at the University of Maryland.
What I think is overlooked is the fact that often the reason employers prefer employees who look young is because they are young: cheaper to hire and easier to dispense with.
Capitalism will always try to make a profit. Capitalism and its masters will try to make money off you anyway they can. They will exploit any and all insecurities you have about yourself. These are the same people who make money off penile implants. Although, promoting surgery to enhance a male’s appearance is far less effective than on a woman.