Taxes for everything?

The cost of a nose job could soon be nothing to sneeze at in New Jersey.

People who have unnecessary cosmetic surgery in the state will soon have to start paying a 6 percent tax for their procedure if Gov. James McGreevey signs a budget that was passed last week by the state Legislature.

It will be the first time a tax has ever been placed on a surgical procedure in America.

Here is the full story. CAT scans and MRI procedures will be taxed as well.

If you think that “beauty competition” is a zero or negative sum game, such taxation might seem like a good idea. More likely, absolute increases in beauty make everyone better off. To paraphrase my friend Bryan Caplan, would it simply be a “wash” if every woman in the world suddenly looked thirty years older?

I am also disturbed by the privacy aspect of this legislation. Imagine the government looking through your medical records to see if your surgical procedures were for medical or aesthetic reasons.


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