Jewish World Review
Sept. 8, 2011
/ 9 Elul, 5771
Things are looking good for ugly
A Texas economics professor argues that because unattractive
people earn less money over the course of a lifetime than attractive
people, unattractive people should be identified as having a disability
and be compensated by the government.
Kind of leaves you speechless, doesn't it? And on so many fronts.
Who determines unattractive? Is there a margin of error? Is there
an allowance for a bad hair day?
Once you are classified as ugly, as the professor calls it, can
you ever be reclassified as not-so-ugly, or even just mildly attractive?
If you are upgraded and you previously received money for being
ugly, do you have to return your ugly money?
Does this nullify what your mother used to say about everybody
being attractive to somebody?
If University of Texas professor Daniel S. Hamermesh's ideas
should become reality and the economy remains weak, what is to keep
people from throwing themselves on the steps of Congress and pleading
The professor's idea is bizarre, not to mention borderline cruel
and condescending. What's more, he completely overlooks the power
of a makeover. Never underestimate the power of a good haircut and
losing 10 pounds.
That said, the professor does have the sense to recognize that
government funds, already stretched thin (an inherently attractive
quality), are unlikely to cover subsidies for the unattractive.
The solution to this dilemma is simple. Tax the Kardashians.
The Kardashians are a group of women who constantly throw themselves
before cameras in various stages of undress in order to be on magazine
covers and reality television. I could be wrong, but I do not believe
they have any marketable skills beyond applying eye liner and constantly
changing clothes. They have become rich and famous because they
were born with good bone structure.
Naturally, in these days of reallocating resources and leveling
the playing field, it only makes sense that the government take
money from the inherently attractive and give it to the inherently
The real question is, who will determine who is attractive and
who is ugly. The professor claims it is possible to assemble panels
that can agree on levels of attractiveness based on a five-point
scale with near unanimity. Of course it is possible. It happens
every year and is called the Miss America Pageant. Still, this doesn't
mean that most Americans want to have their looks judged by a panel,
let alone compete in the swimsuit competition.
Wouldn't it be something if the War on Obesity was joined by
the War on Ugly and the government offered free chemical peels,
liposuction, dental caps and nose jobs along with the now free birth
"I pledge allegiance to the flag, and to the spa for which it
The professor asks how we should remedy this disparity between
the good looking and not so good looking and his answer is money.
How sad that his answer does not encourage basic respect for one's
This is one case where most people may not want to hear, "The check
is in the mail."
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© 2009, Lori Borgman