The economies of the world suck. Everyone is hurting. Different countries have adopted different measures to deal with their troubled economies. The Brits decided to fall back on their stiff upper lips only to discover a collective need for Viagra. The people of Greece, the birthplace of democracy, decided this week to give anarchy a chance. And in the U.S. the economists can’t decide if taxing the rich is a good thing or not so we’ve been giving them tax breaks while we sort the matter out.
Most of the world’s governments have opted to slash their national budget, otherwise known as hocus-pocus economics since what is slashed with one hand reappears in someone else’s. And not surprisingly, whether the burden is placed on the rich, on the poor, or on sinners, imposing new or higher taxes to raise funds is, and always has been, one of government’s favorite pastimes. Well thanks to Japanese economist Takuro Morinaga, a new tax system has been floated that governments may want to adopt to increase their revenue.
The Dokkyo University professor has suggested his country needs to tax beautiful men. It’s an economic system that deals with the 99% in a whole new way. Currently, Japan’s income tax is based on income brackets. Morinaga suggests increasing tax rates for hot men while reducing the rate for the ugly.
Under the good professor’s system, the tax department would set up a beauty committee who would judge and classify Japan’s men into four categories: beautiful, normal, moderately ugly, and very ugly. Each category would be taxed differently. The beautiful would be taxed at the full current rate plus an additional percentage to offset the benefits of being good looking. The very ugly would see a 20% reduction in their taxes. It’s trickle up economics with the government and society benefiting in the long run.
“What shocked me the most during the last census was that almost 50% of Japanese men aged 30 to 35 years are still single,” says Morinaga. “This is due to the collapse of the lifetime employment system in our country since the bursting of our economic bubble in the early 1990s.”
Morinaga believes the practice of marriage for life, a traditional custom in his country, collapsed along with Japan’s economy. “In the past, neighbors or the wife of a superior offered to play matchmaker for young men, even for those who were unattractive,” he says “The matchmaker could convince young women of marriageable age to consider the ugly as a suitable spouse with the argument: “Although it is not very attractive, he works in a good company. Marry him and you’ll be set for life!””
Today’s reality in Japan is that only a handful of men have both the job security and income stability of the old days, both of which compensated for the lack of physical attractiveness. Now length of employment and income are based on merit. The professor says this means since women can no longer judge a man’s long term prospects they instead focus on the hot guys, those whom they are attracted to at first glance. “Currently, in Japan and the United States, the economic gap between the 1% of winners and losers of 99% is problematic, but there is a much greater disparity between men based on their ability to seduce women,” he says.
Morinaga believes money alone can reduce this gap, that by making ugly men richer and reducing income for the beautiful the playing field would be balanced. Morinaga refers to it as balancing revenues. He says a survey he conducted among female students at Dokkyo University in the suburbs of Tokyo showed an equal propensity among them for choosing between a handsome poor man and an ugly rich one. But in fact, a study done in his country that calculated the number of married men in the 25-30 years age group depending on income levels, showed that over 70% of men with annual incomes of more than 10 million yen (about $125,000) were married. However, the more income fell, the number of marriages decreased and, as at the one million yen ($12,500) level, only one in six men were married.
“Taxing the beautiful – especially those who have high incomes – will weaken their position and increase the chances of the ugly,” says Morinaga. “The ugly, for whom marriage was an unlikely prospect, will be more confident because of the increased income due to a tax reduction.”
Morinaga’s new tax system is in answer to two problems that plague Japan: The bankruptcy of the national pension system and a low birth rate, which is due to a smaller number of people marrying and having a family. Even as far back as 1941 the Japanese government seriously considered taxing unmarried men in an effort to convince them to get hitched. That’s not the way to go according to Morinaga. “If we tax the single, all men, including moderately ugly and ugly wishing to marry, will be taxed and penalized … so they will be even poorer, losing any chance of finding a wife,” he says. The professor believes taxing hunks is a more egalitarian approach.
Morinaga says that by adopting his system the women of Japan will revise their criteria in selecting a mate. The ugly and very ugly men who today are not considered acceptable will become prime husband material thanks to their new found wealth. That will lead to more marriages, and a higher birth rate. And economically, the additional revenue collected off the beautiful can be used to fund social programs as well as the national pension fund. ‘Taxing the beautiful will result in a brighter future for Japan,” he says.
Morinaga’s tax plan does not address the benefits it might provide to his country’s gay men. Nor does it cover what to do about ugly Japanese women, But then ugly women have never been a concern to anyone.
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