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"Losing my faith in humanity ... one neocon at a time."

Friday, January 07, 2005

A Breast Implant Tax?

posted by Jazz at 1/07/2005 01:32:00 PM

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Libertarian Girl has come up with a ... well, quite frankly, a bizarre idea. Before commenting on it, I'll let her pitch it to you herself.

I agree with the National Organization for Women that breast augmentation surgery is a bad thing. An unnecessary medical procedure obviously brings needless health risks to the person undergoing the surgery.

Being a libertarian, I believe that people should be allowed to do whatever they want provided no one else is harmed. But does breast augmentation surgery harm others? I believe the answer is yes.

Breast augmentation surgery is a negative sum game. The surgery increases the recipient's attractiveness (because men are so stupid), but only at the expense of other women whose natural breasts become less attractive in comparison to the increasing population of surgically augmented women.

If every woman got breast augmentation surgery, it would not change the overall female attractiveness of society (because men would quickly become desensitized to seeing bigger breasts), but would have negative health effects because large numbers of women would suffer from post-surgery complications.

The typical liberal response might be the desire to make the surgery illegal. But I disagree. If a woman wants the surgery badly enough, she should be allowed to obtain it, but only if she pays back the externality she causes.

So I call for the implementation of a breast implant tax. Four thousand dollars for a pair of implants seems like an arbitrarily acceptable amount. With about a quarter of a million surgeries performed every year, the breast implant tax would raise a billion dollars of revenue annually.
Have you ever heard something, and your immediate reaction is to think, "No. That's just wrong." but you're not exactly sure why it's wrong? That's how I reacted to this until I could think it over.

Right out of the gate, I don't see how we could consider taxing breast augmentation and not tax all other cosmetic surgery similarly. Face it, having bags under your eyes and crow's feet is not a life endangering condition. Do we tag a few thousand dollars on face lifts?

Next, I have grave doubts about these "damages" to other women who don't have implants. I'll fully grant you that men can definitely experience a rapid drop in IQ around a spectacular set of chest ornaments, but that doesn't make the non-augmented female "less attractive." She's just the same as she was before. Is it fair that women with more money can afford to look "better" via this procedure? No... but when did life suddenly become fair? Did I miss a memo? Rich people have always had more options and opportunities than the financially challenged.

I'm sorry, but this is just a silly idea.