Cosmetics, Capital Gains Tax, and Bourgeois Dignity

Cosmetics, Capital Gains Tax, and Bourgeois Dignity

Today in the News
October 19, 2011

Cosmetics

In recent months, environmentalists have publically questioned the safety of cosmetics.

CEI responds to environmentalists' accusations in a newly released study by Dana Joel Gattuso.

"As part of their effort to ban the use of synthetic ingredients from skin products, these environmental extremist groups are working to incite fear among consumers, making outrageous and bogus claims that we are poisoning ourselves by using lipstick, makeup, deodorants, skin creams, and even baby products. Specifically, they claim that the additives can cause cancer, create neurological disorders, or cause hormone disruption—even though they are present in trace amounts. In fact, these preservatives protect users from bacteria. Present in quantities so small—typically, less than 1 percent of a product’s total weight—they are added to prevent contamination and to protect consumers from the buildup of dangerous bacteria."

 

Capital Gains Tax

In The Wall Street Journal, Amity Schlaes recently argued that cuts in the capital gains tax helped innovators like Steve Jobs.

Senior Counsel Hans Bader comments.

"I wrote earlier about double standards contained in the capital gains tax, which result in it being higher and more burdensome than people commonly assume; and how it effectively punishes investors for investing during periods of inflation, since the government ignores inflation in calculating the cost of your investment. Moreover, while capital gains are taxable, capital losses often are excluded from consideration, and cannot be taken into account, in calculating your overall income for the year in which they occur; for example, you cannot list more than $3,000 in net capital losses on your tax return, but you have to list all of your net capital gains. That results in a 'heads I win, tails you lose' situation in which the government effectively rips off investors."

 

Bourgeois Dignity

In Bourgeois Dignity, economit Deirdre McCloskey argues that growing respect for innovators in the Western world paved the way for modernity.

Fellow in Regulatory Studies Ryan Young comments.

"Deirdre McCloskey thinks that a shift in rhetoric and public opinion is what made possible what she calls the Great Fact – the tenfold rise in global per-capita GDP from $3 per day in 1800 to around $30 today, and growing. The average person in rich countries make over $100 per day, more than a 30-fold increase. Remember, even the mighty U.S. was once a $3 a day nation. We had to start somewhere."