New Taxes Could Increase the Price of Beauty

Now that we’ve established that attractive people earn more money, apparently it’s not just academics who are beginning to notice a difference in lifestyle. With state and federal governments looking to introduce some novel tax legislation, being beautiful could eventually become even more expensive.

With state governments toying with the idea of taxes on fat food and sodas, particularly to supplement healthcare costs, being overweight could soon carry with it an added tax burden. New York state and city officials are touting the fat tax, which could soon become a reality. But what about those who are already working hard to look beautiful? If a new federal tax is any indication, doing all that maintenance could become more costly.


After originally considering levying a tax on Botox procedures in the recently-passed health care legislation, tanning enthusiasts are about to feel that hit. The new 10 percent tax on the tanning business was an unexpected replacement for the Botox proposal. That tax now has industry insiders crying everything from elitism to racism. But a closer look at some taxation trends might show that it isn’t so much white people who are being targeted, but beautiful people.

The idea of looking to the beauty industries in tax legislation isn’t completely foreign. In Kenya, the government actually lowered taxes on cosmetics products last year in an effort to encourage women to look beautiful. But the Western world hasn’t looked to tax cuts when it comes to approaching beauty.  

In his popular book, “Feosexual,” writer Gonzalo Otolora proposes a tax in his native Argentina on beauty, claiming beautiful people enjoy an unfair advantage in society. Otolora even openly lobbied Argentine President Nestor Kirchner to consider the idea. The concept seems unusual, but it is being taken seriously by some people. Before targeting the tanning industry, the U.S. Senate proposed a 5 percent tax on elective cosmetic procedures in a shift that is could be seeing more consideration around the world.

Last year, while both the U.S. House and Senate were looking into new taxes on the beauty industries, France was looking into its own new tax targeting the cosmetics industry. In fact, the very concept of the beauty tax dates back over 200 years with the writings of Dean Swift. So with the size of the beauty industry and the favorable lives of the beautiful well documented, could governments around the globe soon be hating you because you’re beautiful?

3D printing might save your life one day. It's transforming medicine and health care.

What can 3D printing do for medicine? The "sky is the limit," says Northwell Health researcher Dr. Todd Goldstein.

Northwell Health
Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • Medical professionals are currently using 3D printers to create prosthetics and patient-specific organ models that doctors can use to prepare for surgery.
  • Eventually, scientists hope to print patient-specific organs that can be transplanted safely into the human body.
  • Northwell Health, New York State's largest health care provider, is pioneering 3D printing in medicine in three key ways.
Keep reading Show less

Lama Rod Owens – the price of the ticket to freedom

An ordained Lama in a Tibetan Buddhist lineage, Lama Rod grew up a queer, black male within the black Christian church in the American south. Navigating all of these intersecting, evolving identities has led him to a life's work based on compassion for self and others.

Think Again Podcasts
  • "What I'm interested in is deep, systematic change. What I understand now is that real change doesn't happen until change on the inside begins to happen."
  • "Masculinity is not inherently toxic. Patriarchy is toxic. We have to let that energy go so we can stop forcing other people to do emotional labor for us."
Keep reading Show less

For most of history, humans got smarter. That's now reversing.

We were gaining three IQ points per decade for many, many years. Now, that's going backward. Could this explain some of our choices lately?

The Flynn effect appears to be in retrograde. (Credit: Shutterstock/Big Think)
popular

There's a new study out of Norway that indicates our—well, technically, their—IQs are shrinking, to the tune of about seven IQ points per generation.

Keep reading Show less

Lateral thinking: The reason you’ve heard of Nintendo and Marvel

Here's why generalists triumph over specialists in the new era of innovation.

Videos
  • Since the explosion of the knowledge economy in the 1990s, generalist inventors have been making larger and more important contributions than specialists.
  • One theory is that the rise of rapid communication technologies allowed the information created by specialists to be rapidly disseminated, meaning generalists can combine information across disciplines to invent something new.
  • Here, David Epstein explains how Nintendo's Game Boy was a case of "lateral thinking with withered technology." He also relays the findings of a fascinating study that found the common factor of success among comic book authors.
Keep reading Show less