Taxing Americans' breast implants isn't as hot an idea as it may seem. That's because our assumption that richie-richie New Jersey housewives are the ones getting it isn't quite right, writes Christopher Beam for Slate. This is an industry that services people who can't afford it—credit card is the payment of choice for 85% of procedures. And because it's "well established" that good looks correlate with good salaries, if going under the knife makes you better looking, plastic surgery has the potential to make people—and the country—better off.
Beam acknowledges that there aren't stats to back this up, but adds "there's plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest that a larger cup size (or smoother nasal curvature or tighter buttocks) leads to a higher tax bracket." Says one surgeon, "People come to us between jobs or after losing their jobs to freshen up, look alert—to be or at least feel more competitive, which makes them more competitive." Congress should try to figure out if there is a correlation, writes Beam, because "taxing cosmetic surgery could turn out to be like the surgery itself: a superficial fix for a deeper problem."