March 10th, 2010
07:00 PM ET

$10 billion spent on cosmetic procedures despite recession

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

What recession? Despite record unemployment, rising health care costs and sinking home values - Americans shelled out more than $10 billion on cosmetic surgery and other procedures last year.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/10/art.botox.jpg caption="A woman receives a Botox injection. "]
The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery says there were almost 10 million surgical and non-surgical procedures done in the U.S. in 2009, that's down only two percent from the year before. At least we want to look good for the coming collapse.

About 85 percent of the procedures were non-surgical - things like Botox - which are cheaper than surgery. In total there were 2.5 million Botox injections, more than one million procedures with other chemical fillers and 1.3 million laser hair removals done.

As for surgery, the most popular procedure was breast augmentation. There were 300,000 of those surgeries - followed by liposuction and eyelid surgery.

Some insist there's a direct connection to the lousy economy. One plastic surgeon says a lot of people have cosmetic procedures done to increase their chances of finding a job; he says people think if they look better, they're more likely to get work, and beat out someone who doesn't look as good.

He says even the unemployed are getting work done: "That's their stimulus - spending money trying to get into the workforce."

What a country. As we told you yesterday in the Cafferty File - almost half of Americans have less than $10,000 saved for retirement, but millions of us are running off to the plastic surgeon.

Here’s my question to you: What does it mean that despite the worst recession since the Great Depression, Americans spent more than $10 billion on cosmetic procedures last year?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 7pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

Filed under: Cosmetic Surgery • Recession
soundoff (160 Responses)
  1. Kim Smith, Dodge City, Kansas

    It means that the rich may be getting richer, but they ain't getting any prettier. Vanity knows no limit or shame, Jack.

    March 10, 2010 at 2:15 pm |
  2. Bob Louisville

    Maybe the unemployed are trying to improve their looks in order to enhance their chances of finding someone to support them.

    Louisville, Ky

    March 10, 2010 at 2:20 pm |
  3. Mark Tomizawa

    In the Beltway today, from Brookline MA:

    Jack, clearly those Americans lack your natural good looks.

    Seriously, what CAN people invest in and believe in? A house. A college education. A retirement fund. A Toyota? All sure things; no more. Think of LA. People dish out big bucks on sexy cars and sexier clothes. Meanwhile they live in hole-in-the-wall apartments. Why? Because people see them when they're out and about, not when they're asleep. Well, not until the next morning...

    March 10, 2010 at 2:23 pm |
  4. AlphaPoe1

    The ironic part of this is a lot of those Americans are against healthcare reform. They're willing to spend $10 billion for vanity reasons, but don't want their taxes to go up for moral reasons. They should go straight to hell.

    March 10, 2010 at 2:25 pm |
  5. Cecile Kazemi

    What does it mean? The obvious. While the average American struggles on a daily basis, it would appear that the wealthiest Americans – those who can afford to have the majority of cosmetic procedures for purely cosmetic reasons which I suspect is the majority of the $10 billion – do not appear to have been touched by this country's economic situation. And to my mind, this statistic only further substantiates the disconnect between the rich... and even the not so poor middle class. No wonder congress- made up of predominately wealthy people – seems so out of touch with middle America despite their claim to "know" what America wants.

    March 10, 2010 at 2:29 pm |
  6. pat in michigan

    Half of that money was spent by republican congressmen and woman who needed the procedure to keep a straight face when telling Americans that they have our best interests in mind.

    March 10, 2010 at 2:30 pm |
  7. george coleman

    george from crofton, kentucky.
    it's a sign of our times. Americans have been dupped into believing if we look younger, we really are. Sex appeal is at the very core of this delima. As most people my age have become to realize, sex is still the motivator for living and loving. Power and greed are indicators of the desire for sex. So is cosmetic surgery. The old saying "as you think you are" is still alive and prospering.

    March 10, 2010 at 2:35 pm |
  8. Conor in Chicago

    Recssions don't touch the rich. That's why they don't care-and vote Republican.

    March 10, 2010 at 2:40 pm |
  9. Rick McDaniel

    There is no end to the vanity of humans.

    March 10, 2010 at 2:46 pm |
  10. Pete - Georgia

    No surprise here Jack. America is the most pronounced collection of vain "wannabees" on this planet. Lookin' for esteem in all the wrong places.

    March 10, 2010 at 2:47 pm |
  11. JENNA

    What does it mean that despite the worst recession since the Great Depression, Americans spent more than $10 billion on cosmetic procedures last year?

    It says to me that people are trying to look their best for the lacking job market.

    No lift for me! If employers can't see past the lines on my face that I earned then they are NOT worth working for!

    Roseville CA

    March 10, 2010 at 2:48 pm |
  12. Kevin Hancock

    It doesn't mean anything! The rich glorified welfare recipients are still floating on the money given them from the bailout monies!
    I have a question: what does it mean that anyone getting a government wage or welfare check from local, state of federal levels are getting full coverage healthcare, while this Socialist President and his cronies are making it mandatory that the self-employed will be forced to pay for substandard Healthcare policies when they have already funded the governments bloated entitlements!

    March 10, 2010 at 2:49 pm |
  13. Kevin Hancock

    It doesn't mean anything! The rich glorified welfare recipients are still floating on the money given them from the bailout monies!
    I have a question: what does it mean that anyone getting a government wage or welfare check from local, state or federal levels are getting full coverage healthcare, while this Socialist President and his cronies are making it mandatory that the self-employed will be forced to pay for substandard Healthcare policies when they have already funded the governments bloated entitlements!

    March 10, 2010 at 2:50 pm |
  14. Simon, Orlando

    It means that if we put a 50% tax on voluntary cosmetic procedures, we could get $5 billion to help pay down the national debt.

    March 10, 2010 at 2:51 pm |
  15. John from Alabama

    Jack: Vanity, Vanity is our name. We all want to look our best, but the amount of money for surgery and cosmetic lotions is out of site. I can not believe the TV series like nip/tuck, and how to become a model do so well in the ratings. Economic recession makes a person re-evaluate their life style. The things we actually need, like food, shelter,clothing, and simple transportation are the important items, and not expensive procedures and face creams.

    March 10, 2010 at 2:57 pm |
  16. Chris J

    It means that we live in a superficial, self-absorbed society. The poor keep getting poorer, and the rich keep getting breast and buttock augmentations.

    March 10, 2010 at 3:05 pm |
  17. Michele Braun

    We have a lot of young looking stupid people.
    Try giving some of that money to the elderly that just want to
    eat & afford their meds. It will catch up with you one day no matter what you do. I think the elderly are beautiful with grace & a lot of living in there faces & a hell of a lot more brains.
    Michele Shawnee KS

    March 10, 2010 at 3:06 pm |
  18. Remo, from beautiful downtown Pflugerville, Texas

    What some people are willing to do to get a job!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 10, 2010 at 3:10 pm |
  19. Susan Frost

    It means they're narcissistic, silly and irresponsible – but aren't those the traits that helped cause the recession in the first place?

    Tuscaloosa, AL

    March 10, 2010 at 3:13 pm |
  20. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    Vanity is a true flaw in our makeup but what the hay, if you've got the bucks then go for it. Of course this drives up health care costs. However there are some good things that come about this method of help.

    March 10, 2010 at 3:14 pm |
  21. Tom in Desoto, Tx

    Concentrating on the superfluous instead of making sure you’re home is paid for and other essentials proves that many are in denial of the state of their personal financial affairs. On the up side, they will probably be the most youthful looking homeless people in a few years.

    March 10, 2010 at 3:18 pm |
  22. Liz, Los Angeles, CA

    What it means is that some Americans are as vain as they are greedy. Frankly, I don't think a nose job would help me get a job: I'm a 65-year old caucasian female so pretty much unemployable anyway in the eyes of the boob jobs that do the hiring these days.

    March 10, 2010 at 3:21 pm |
  23. Kevin - Austin, TX

    When a Tylenol costs around $100, what can you really get for 10 billion? A nose job, some new breasts, one calf implant and a hiney lifts, that's about it.

    March 10, 2010 at 3:23 pm |
  24. Gina in Eugene Oregon

    It means it takes more effort to keep that smile going.

    March 10, 2010 at 3:23 pm |
  25. Dave, Brooklyn, NY

    That’s a hell of a lot of vanity going around. I wish I had that kind of money just to look good. Fact is that lots of other people are hurting, not just here, but around the world, and these self-centered fools would rather squander billions on themselves than help others. It is truly a shame that they will never know the true meaning of real happiness, the kind that can only come from giving.

    OK sermon's over.

    March 10, 2010 at 3:27 pm |
  26. Pisher From Harrisburg

    This gives new meaning to "putting lipstick on a pig."

    March 10, 2010 at 3:48 pm |
  27. Sandra in Temecula, CA

    There are a lot of Hollywood elite and they are trying to stop the aging process. Amongst us little people it is priorities. Everyone wants to look good and we are willing to pay for it, while we push responsibilities aside. We justify it by saying it is necessary to look good in the business world. Sadly we have become a very self indulgent society, judging people by their exterior appearance.

    March 10, 2010 at 3:51 pm |
  28. Jim Z..Ft. Worth...Texas

    Jack, don't you know it has been in vogue for decades, if not centuries, to look like a million buck's, even if your in the poor house? No problem...next question, please, while I put on my male makeup... Jack...don't forget yours.

    March 10, 2010 at 3:52 pm |
  29. Terry, Chandler AZ

    Betcha won't read this. Jack, this is a simple question to answer. The people who are having plastic surgery procedures do not have to worry about the cost of food or gas or other living expenses. The are making plenty of money and live in their million dollar homes and drive their expensive cars and play golf and tennis at plush country clubs. I am curious how many cosmetic procedures Nancy Pelosi and a few other members of Congress have had.

    March 10, 2010 at 3:55 pm |
  30. frank

    Two words: Tax deductions.

    Keep your mug the way it is.

    I got an idea, how about Pat Buchanan on how much stuff costs? Nose job, wrinkle, jowls, do one, get another body part after the story hits the air.

    March 10, 2010 at 3:56 pm |
  31. Ed

    Except in rare instances, only the rich get cosmetic surgery and this highlights a more disturbing fact: the number of millionaires in America increased 16% in 2009, the result of policies over the last decade which have enabled the rich to get richer while the rest of us are getting poorer.


    March 10, 2010 at 4:08 pm |
  32. Ryan- Galesburg, IL

    I guess that the 1% of the country that controls 95% of American wealth still isn't happy? The rest of us will soon be showing the price of not even having dental insurance...

    March 10, 2010 at 4:09 pm |
  33. Bud Rupert

    It means that there is a lot self absorbed, scared, boring and pathetic
    people that will do almost anything to stay young looking and attractive to the opposit sex.

    March 10, 2010 at 4:10 pm |
  34. Greg in PA

    Well two things Jack, 1st some people just like to spend money on that stuff, 2nd not everyone is as handsome as you are.

    March 10, 2010 at 4:12 pm |
  35. Bizz Quarryville, Pennsylvania

    Spending $10 billion on cosmetic surgery a year means there must be a lot of ugly people out there. The next time I take a trip to the mall, I will try to see how many people I can spot with a large ball of skin tide surgically behind their neck.

    March 10, 2010 at 4:13 pm |
  36. stephen blesofsky

    That folks can still "afford" luxury , vanity items and yet cry about too much taxes. Spare me from the whiners!! There has not been enough pain when folks are down to their last tummy tuck.

    March 10, 2010 at 4:17 pm |
  37. Greg in Cabot, AR

    This is proof that the divide between the haves and the have not-s is getting wider and as someone that has been laid-off for over five months, I'll bet my bean soup that the people getting cosmetic procedures belong to the haves and are probably the ones that DON'T want health care reform.

    March 10, 2010 at 4:28 pm |
  38. Rob

    It either means that vanity is immune to American's personal financial woes or a nip and a tuck along with a bigger boobs greatly enhances your chances during the job search.

    March 10, 2010 at 4:36 pm |
  39. Tina Tx

    How stupid. I came into this world wrinkly and I am going out wrinkly.

    March 10, 2010 at 4:37 pm |
  40. richp the poconos

    That our 40 year old practice of putting warning labels on products succeeded and we managed to increase the number of vain and stupid people in this country that have that kind of money to spend. Ten Billion boggles the mind, that is a lot of bottom and top work.

    March 10, 2010 at 4:38 pm |
  41. Mr. D

    That's a lot less than the government spent on cosmetic procedures last year trying to "fix" things. People are frustrated with in general, so many of them try to fix what they think they can, such as their appearance. They can at least get some results. This could also have a lot to do with people being out of work and having to look for new careers.

    March 10, 2010 at 4:43 pm |
  42. Jill

    Society has become more narcissistic, as witnessed by the Facebook explosion, and more superficial.

    March 10, 2010 at 4:52 pm |
  43. Ann from Hampton, New Jersey

    Most Americans that lost their jobs are middle-aged or older. Would you hire someone with baggy eyes, wrinkles and a sagging chin? I like my wrinkles but more power to the ones who want to fool Mother Nature.

    March 10, 2010 at 4:53 pm |
  44. bonnie from NJ

    Isn't is obvious, the rich are doing just fine. No recession at the top!

    March 10, 2010 at 4:55 pm |
  45. Mari, Utah

    This IS funny, Jack! The media is always crying that the "sky is falling" in the meantime people are spending billions on cosmetic procedures!

    The Great Recession is receding, all one has to do is go out to dinner, to the movies or the mall...... its packed!

    We are in recovery..... even though the naysayers want us to believe otherwise!

    March 10, 2010 at 4:55 pm |
  46. Lee - Houston TX

    Maybe it reveals that we still got our priorities out of balance. I hate to say it but as bad as the great depression was, it seemed to produce a generation of great men and women of whom my grandfather and grandmother were among. My grandfather would cry when speaking about his experiences doing the depression, and said on many occasions that he couldn’t live through another. So I am glad we were able to stave off this last one but looking at my grandfather and his generation I believe that they lived in a correction to a society that made them better people.

    So maybe we temporarily staved off another great depression but most liking we also staved off a greatly needed correction in the attitudes and habits of our present society.

    March 10, 2010 at 4:58 pm |
  47. Chris in Philadelphia

    I should rethink my decision to become and ER doctor.

    March 10, 2010 at 4:58 pm |
  48. Homeless D in Atlanta

    It means that there must be a lot more STUPID people in this country than I had previously imagined!

    And, too bad that money has not 'trickled down' more. there are a LOT of people who could use some cosmetic procedures, including myself!

    March 10, 2010 at 4:59 pm |
  49. Darren - Detroit

    The poorer you are the more the worse recession since the Great Depression effects you, e.g. our elected officials only know there's a recession do to the complain letters they still receive from their constituents.

    March 10, 2010 at 5:00 pm |
  50. Chris in Philadelphia

    Either vain people will live in a cardboard box before passing up the chance to get a boob job and tummy tuck or claims of a bad recession were premature.

    March 10, 2010 at 5:01 pm |
  51. Gary H. Boyd

    Jack, it all started with Adam and Eve. Back then it was apples, now it's botox. Whatever it takes, whatever it costs, beauty is the holy grail. Besides, Americans are noted for nonsensical extravagance so what's the big deal? After all, Viva Viagra.

    Gary in Scottsdale, Arizona

    March 10, 2010 at 5:06 pm |
  52. Leslie

    Well if you are going to be broke and depressed you might as well look good.

    March 10, 2010 at 5:15 pm |
  53. Doug - Dallas

    It means the 80% that are still working are at least supporting part of the economy.

    March 10, 2010 at 5:16 pm |
  54. George,New Jersey

    Well Jack,
    China and the Insurance Companys are not getting the money
    so I guess it could be worse.

    March 10, 2010 at 5:24 pm |
  55. Diane in Allentown

    Hey Jack,

    Can't you see this mindset? – Unemployed, depressed, may as well look good! What the hell!

    Priorities – sometimes it really makes you wonder.......

    March 10, 2010 at 5:28 pm |
  56. Jim

    It proves that American vanity is not dead, particularly if you are wealthy, since most insurance companies will not cover cosmetic surgery.

    March 10, 2010 at 5:28 pm |
  57. Lance, Ridgecrest, Ca

    Jack, Well-DUH! It means that not everyone is having money problems, and people with money still want to be looking GOOD! More power to them. It also means that everyone with money is trying to get their cosmetic surgery done before Obama starts taxing it with his health care reform bill. Once the elective surgery tax takes hold in the U.S., you can bet that more jobs will be going "off-shore", outsourced to escape the oppressive taxes here in the states. D.C. never learns!!

    March 10, 2010 at 5:29 pm |
  58. Cliff Glass - Rego Park, NY


    Personal vanity paid for with private funds is not anyone's business. However, taxpayer-funded hypocrisy as evidenced by the Peter Pan-like features of politicans who denounce greater health care access for all Americans is a different story.

    March 10, 2010 at 5:32 pm |
  59. Loren, Chicago

    Exactly what the cosmetic surgeon thinks, if we're going down with the ship, we're at least going to look good.

    March 10, 2010 at 5:33 pm |
  60. Rich McKinney, Texas

    Vanity spares no expense. Beauty lasts five minutes Jack. Maybe a few minutes longer if you have a good plastic surgeon.

    March 10, 2010 at 5:34 pm |
  61. Bertina

    Good place to increase taxes.

    March 10, 2010 at 5:35 pm |
  62. Alex in Gig Harbor

    10% unemployment means 90% are still working. If you have the money what's to stop a person from getting cosmetic surgery? The wives of financial folks getting multimillion dollar bonuses are not worried about hard times!

    March 10, 2010 at 5:35 pm |
  63. Rob in NC

    That Americans are superficial and vain. We see all the commercials to fix everything about us and we assume that we have no value unless we are "perfect". Who cares about other people – or our own families – as long as we get what we want. It is a sad spiral we are in today. Rob in NC

    March 10, 2010 at 5:36 pm |
  64. Lori - PA


    I'm shaking my head. People have their priorities backwards. Me, I would rather be able to eat then to be able to say, "Look, no wrinkles".

    March 10, 2010 at 5:37 pm |
  65. Jane (Minnesota)

    America's priorities continue to be screwed up.

    March 10, 2010 at 5:41 pm |
  66. Sue from Redwood City

    I am going to be 60 this year and am one of those who can't retire at 65 as I have had the financial rug pulled from under me and have had to start over 3 times in the last 20 years due to Reganomics and similar politics. I am planning to get a bit of surgery if I can scrape the money together to increase my chances of being able to still get work in this age prejudiced society. So sad that something like this is necessary!

    March 10, 2010 at 5:43 pm |
  67. Bev

    It means a lot of rich bags are getting their skin snipped, tucked and caulked. I doubt there are very many middle or needy people getting it done. A lot of those gals look like they need to have the procedures done over as they are still sagging in those low cut gowns. Wonder if they ever think that it is how you treat people and not how you look that counts. I laugh when I see a 90 pound girl with a big butt abd huge boobs, you know it isn't for real.

    March 10, 2010 at 5:46 pm |
  68. Michael McDowell from Ft. Worth, Texas

    Jack, it goes to show you how ridiculous how values have become. Our country has been taken hostage by the glimmer and false hopes propogated on TV commercials and in the movies, that try and portray success with how one looks, instead of what is in ones heart. Many want to believe it is more about what is in your wallet, and how you can impress your fellow man with a fake body and other adornments. No wonder we are one step from being bankrupt!!

    March 10, 2010 at 5:46 pm |
  69. Angie

    In his late fifties, a few years back, My husband was at an interview where the interviewer stared at him intensely.

    My husband's graying white hair, and his wrinkled face had grabbed the interviewer in the worse way. The interviewer did not concentrate at all on my husbands education, knowledge, skills, and abilities. Nor did the interview realize that the best skilled and professional person for the job was my husband. At the end of the interview, the interviewer blurted out, "But your old." That was for a computer programming job.

    With so many people looking for work, of course people in our age group would be wanting to shed a few years in their appearance. It's the only way to get their foot in the door.

    March 10, 2010 at 5:48 pm |
  70. Melissa

    That the greedy rich were still spending because they haven't learned anything.

    March 10, 2010 at 5:51 pm |
  71. Michael Alexandria, VA

    It means that the wealthy can afford higher taxes, Jack.

    March 10, 2010 at 5:52 pm |
  72. Gail, Plano,Texas

    What it means Jack, is that only the poor are suffering in this almost depression.It is only the poor who have no health insurance. It is the United States' way of life. The rich get rich, and the poor get poorer.

    March 10, 2010 at 5:55 pm |
  73. Linda in Arizona

    Honestly, I don't care.

    March 10, 2010 at 5:58 pm |
  74. Mike, formerly from Syracuse

    I'm in the wrong business. I should be a plastic surgeon.

    March 10, 2010 at 6:05 pm |
  75. Jerry Jacksonville, Fl.

    As can be seen by the amount spent on plastic surgery the person working at McDonald's didn't have it done, only the wealthy or the old gals that are hell bent on trying to improve their looks had it done and they generally look like fido's rear end. Nothing would improve their looks

    March 10, 2010 at 6:07 pm |
  76. Greg H - Minneapolis

    Jack, if you think $10B is bad on cosmetic surgery today, think how it will look if Obamacare is passed. While people born with any number of birth defects can benefit from cosmetic surgery, most of it is due to VANITY! And there is no reason for anyone to pay for such surgery except for the person RECEIVING the surgery!!

    March 10, 2010 at 6:10 pm |
  77. Jerry Johns Creek, GA

    It means that there are many who have not been effected by the neo depression. Those big bonuses have to be spent someway, why not on trophy wives and girl friends?

    March 10, 2010 at 6:14 pm |
  78. Ralph Spyer

    We spend money on things that are inportant to us Jack and yet their are still a lot of us that need a cosmetic make over just look around.

    March 10, 2010 at 6:15 pm |
  79. joe m

    vanity has never known any price. while cosmetic surgery can be a beneficial procedure for those who've been horribly scared through injury, illness, or other unfortunate circumstances, it has become the opiate of the vain and insecure. it would not surprise me at all if ove 90% of all procedures classified as cosmetic are both optional and bourne solely out of thye desire to 'look better or younger'. too many have lost sight of the ideals of inner beauty and aging gracefully'. what does it mean when $10 billion was spent on these kinds of procedures in these times; it means that too many people out there have just got their priorities misplaced. america is fast becoming a country of narcarssist and instant gratification.

    Hillsborough, NC

    March 10, 2010 at 6:15 pm |
  80. Bruce - Delaware

    It means they have not stored any food or medicine for when things completely crash next year. They will look great while starving to death.

    March 10, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  81. Scott Stodden

    Its only the rich people spending money like that to look good and I say hey if you want to look good and not have wrinkles go get some plastic surgery done if you can afford cuz God knows I can't! Jack don't worry you look good without plastic surgery!

    Scott Stodden (Freeport,Illinois)

    March 10, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  82. Michael H. in Albuquerque, NM

    You must stay young and beautiful if you want to be loved. A lot of people have cosmetic procedures done to increase their chances of finding a job; he says people think if they look better, they're more likely to get work, and beat out someone who doesn't look as good.
    Putting a cap on my broken teeth is cosmetic, fixing a cleft pallet is cosmetic, fixing a breast after a masectomy is cosmetic, repairing burned skin is cosmetic....
    It's not all boob jobs and botox.

    March 10, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  83. Glennita

    Jack they shouldn't be wasting money for there face or their bottom . Instead they should be paying bills or some thing in that sort. Well at least when their infront of a judge asking to keep their home their face and bottom will be done.

    March 10, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  84. Zach - DC

    Like you said – our priorities are out of whack. People can't seem to save for retirement because they 'need' massive breasts or lips or what have you. And then, the same people will be crying that its not fair they haven't saved enough for retirement or don't have as much as their neighbors. News flash, the majority of the 'rich' are that way because they invest correctly, work hard, and show self restraint when it comes to frivilous purposes- that is to say they choose to make the purchase when they can afford it.

    March 10, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  85. Maria

    It means we are so desperate to find a job, we will take every dime we have and have treatments done. If you add in the money spent on over the counter cosmetics which are touted to make you look younger without surgery, the number is staggering.

    But those people who think it is only the greedy who get cosmetic work, you are a bit misled. Much work is reconstructive. A few years ago I had some surgery to remove scars from my body left by my father's belt when I was a child. Could every one see those scars...no...but *I* knew they were there and that was a good enough reason for me.



    March 10, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  86. ron - american living in Copenhagen

    I hope most of them had good credit cards!!!!! Otherwise they probably couldn't have afforded the procedures

    March 10, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  87. Judy

    Jack this is a sign of the times. The baby boomers are driving this herd. We don't want to look our age, and now that there are procedures to stall the aging process, many think it is a way to instant gratification. Instead of eating right, and exercising, why not pay for a few nips and tucks. After all the poor plastic surgeons need to make a living too.

    March 10, 2010 at 6:39 pm |
  88. Michael and Diane, Phoenix AZ

    Sounds like people are a tad too damn vain! Then again, maybe they are trying to "look younger" so they can get hired.

    March 10, 2010 at 6:39 pm |
  89. Laurie in Lawrence, KS

    It amazes me what people think are needs, which cosmetic surgery most certainly is in 99.9 percent of the cases.

    March 10, 2010 at 6:44 pm |
  90. Banned in Hartwell GA

    Jack, I think it's pretty obvious that the recession has only hurt those who have the least, and that's the way it's always been. When gas prices were near $5-per gallon the wealthy didn't stay at home. It's always the less fortunate that suffer. Yet those who don't have much also have less to lose, and are the ones who complain the least.
    Hartwell GA

    March 10, 2010 at 6:47 pm |
  91. Layne Alleman

    Jack, Our society, as a whole bases EVERYTHING on appearances, check-out some of the commercials on your newscast. Next time you're in a doctor or dentist office, check the ads in the women's magazines. Most of those women look nothing like the ladies in my neighborhood. And hey, I'm not just picking on them, Im sure there are plenty of men doing it too. Layne A. Antioch, Il.

    March 10, 2010 at 6:50 pm |
  92. Guy from Hawaii

    People will do what they can afford and cosmetic surgery is a big business. It is a myth that people do it to feel better about themselves...they do it so others i.e. potential employers, the opposite sex (or same sex depending on your gender preference) and peers will feel better about them! If that happens and they get the job or get more dates or their peers fuss over how good they look then they feel better about themselves. However, you could end up looking like Michael Jackson or Joan Rivers. All in all I really don't give a "cellulite" about the topic!!

    March 10, 2010 at 6:55 pm |
  93. Beth, Georgia

    I've gotten job offers from most interviews I've ever had, and I can assure you it has little or nothing to do with my looks. Hard work has built a village of people around me who value my abilities and efforts. The next time I'm looking for work, it will be my thick stack of recommendation letters that get my foot in the door, and it will be the conversations from my face-to-face interview that seal the deal.

    The idea that you can get yourself a job by looking prettier than others is so classically American in its errors it's not even funny. This idea = the "judging books by their covers" mistake + not realizing/believing that your own work does get you somewhere if you shut up and stop whining + poor money management and lack of planning for the future.

    March 10, 2010 at 7:02 pm |
  94. Mark Eades

    I think all these makeovers are the best way to makeover our economy. Politicians want to increase taxes, let's tax the heck out of plastic surgery. And if people want to look good while paying for a bigger government, let them.

    March 10, 2010 at 7:03 pm |
  95. Dennis North Carolina

    we could go broke but women must look good.

    March 10, 2010 at 7:06 pm |
  96. Charlie

    Isn't that just great? Only in america. How much of the $10 billion was a government grant to Tammy Faye? Is Nancy Pelosi in charge of this commitee? It would seem that people are more concerned about the way they look instead of their health. I guess the american people decided healthcare reform is taking to long, so lets just look good instead.

    March 10, 2010 at 7:15 pm |
  97. Don in Las Vegas, NV

    I used to knock plastic surgery, but it is usually done to correct a psychological or emotional state. With that said, i'm sure that the procedures performed have helped to lift some of us our of the depressive funk that has hit the country over the last few years.

    March 10, 2010 at 7:16 pm |
  98. Steve, Clifton, VA

    I bet that the folks opting for this selective "ME" cosmetic procedure are the folks that are members of that 1 % of the U S population that received the trillion dollar Bush tax cuts. The depression or Great Recession only affects the middle and lower classes of American and that distinction should be reflected in your question.

    March 10, 2010 at 7:21 pm |
  99. Ken in NC

    It means we will be the best looking bunch of broke fools on earth.

    March 10, 2010 at 7:22 pm |
  100. Patrick In Westminster MD

    It means Americans have been duped by Wolves pretending to be doctors. I would partially blame Hollywood and the false representation of beauty that it now inspires. Advertisements are second to blame because they really dont illustrate the down side . We are Babylon, Sodom and Gommorah rapped in one. Give me some Noxema.

    March 10, 2010 at 7:24 pm |
  101. Larry

    It looks like a great revenue stream for government. Tax it.

    March 10, 2010 at 7:26 pm |
  102. biracialgirl

    Dear Jack,

    Goes to show even if were broke we still need to look good. Americans are shallow. Who is spending this money? I bet they're drowning in a mountain of debt so I wouldn't be so quick to say "What Recession?"

    Seattle, WA

    March 10, 2010 at 7:31 pm |
  103. lynne j.

    It means that the rich can afford to part with some of their 'ill-gotten' gain gotten through the various tax shelters and the like and pay higher taxes, especially more in social security since they're only taxed on the first $100K. No wonder it is going broke.

    March 10, 2010 at 7:36 pm |
  104. Pamela holt

    Foley,al. Who cares, I just watched over 4 hours of a debate and a vote on whether the soldiers should be brought back home in 30 days. The vote failed, much to my surprise. I was really surprised when rep . Kennedy brought up the fact that only 2 members of the national media was there and how dispicablee, that it was.... I learned some really important facts, including keeping karmazi, or whatever his name is, as president, of Afghanistan, and how he was placed there in the first place because of his connections in placing a pipeline thru connecting territories. I missed watching CNN. Do you sopose that they would have informed we, the public of all these facts? After all, you are the media!!!!

    March 10, 2010 at 7:36 pm |
  105. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    At least we want to look good for the coming collapse.


    don't you mean when we collapse at least we will not lose face but there will be no expressions left to look at...!:) or I guess people strongly beleive to keep their chin up!:) When it is time for me to go, I prefer people to see all my lines, line per line!:)

    Take care!

    March 10, 2010 at 7:42 pm |
  106. Antonio from Washington D.C.

    The economy gets two thumbs down! Unless we end this madness, there will be a sequel to the Great Depression!

    March 10, 2010 at 7:43 pm |
  107. Jasmine in Germany

    It means there must be a lot of ugly Americans (pun intended) out there, Jack.

    March 10, 2010 at 7:51 pm |
  108. Jurgen R. Brul

    Hello Jack Cafferty and CNN friends,

    It means that peoples are using their bodies instead of their brains
    to survive the worst economic recessions!
    We need a Healthy Economy,
    otherwise are bodies are being destroyed!


    Let us Now make our world
    a Better Healthier and Beautiful World
    for You and for Me!

    Jurgen R. Brul
    Hometown: Paramaribo
    Country: Suriname

    March 10, 2010 at 7:51 pm |
  109. Sherry

    Narcissism is alive and well in America. It's all about Me, ME, ME and I want it now.
    "Enough is enough in this culture of greed."

    March 10, 2010 at 7:52 pm |
  110. Annie, Atlanta

    It says we’re incredibly self involved. Goes hand in hand with the out of control greed that is destroying us. Very sad. Can you imagine what $10B could do for food pantries and/or homeless shelters nationwide?

    March 10, 2010 at 8:10 pm |
  111. Ruth

    Those were the rich Rebulicans who don't need or support health care reform.

    March 10, 2010 at 8:15 pm |
  112. Yvonne

    It sounds like a lot of people worrying about age discrimination (which is very real).

    March 10, 2010 at 8:15 pm |
  113. Bill Walsh

    Gray skies are gonna clear up, put on a happy face!

    – Bill

    March 10, 2010 at 8:15 pm |
  114. Rick

    I guess cosmetic procedures make people feel better, (about themselves).

    And who doesn't want to feel better, especially these days.

    Rick in Toronto

    March 10, 2010 at 8:16 pm |
  115. Flyingwolf, Manchester NH

    This means we have totally entered another dimension and now we're living in "Bizarro World."

    March 10, 2010 at 8:16 pm |
  116. Sam (Wisconsin)

    Jack, it means that even if we can't afford the health care we need, at least we can still buy what we want and look good doing it.

    March 10, 2010 at 8:16 pm |
  117. FifthDream

    The poor economy is deepening people's insecurities, and that's triggering their physical insecurities as well, it seems.

    March 10, 2010 at 8:16 pm |
  118. Jason, CO

    I think this is because cosmetic procedures can also be an addiction. During tough times people turn to these addictions as an outlet, or way to make themselves feel better.

    March 10, 2010 at 8:16 pm |
  119. Steve

    "The coming collapse"? That kind of panicky pessimism might be right at home on Faux News or with the Michigan Militia, but I like to think that CNN is a little more fair and balanced than that. Jack, if you're going to spout deep cynicism and hopelessness about this country, then I don't need to pay attention to you. It's really very sad.

    March 10, 2010 at 8:17 pm |
  120. Ron in Saint Louis

    Jack, It's not about looking pretty for a job interview. It's about not looking as old. Age discrimination in employment is rampant. People need all the help they can get.

    March 10, 2010 at 8:17 pm |
  121. Kamyar Khorasani

    Shame on the American people for refusing to stop spending so much money on things that are useless. Instead of spending there money on such things, why not try too pay off there credit card bills or house which seem to be needed. American culture has rendered looks to be too important while intelligence and personality has been forgotten. Shame on you America.

    March 10, 2010 at 8:17 pm |
  122. Mary

    My boyfriend's 28-year-old daughter lost her job last fall. The next month she bought new boobs. She knows that daddy will not let her fall on her backside, so why not get new boobs?

    March 10, 2010 at 8:17 pm |
  123. Jasmine

    It means somebody on your side exaggerated about the extent of the recession...

    March 10, 2010 at 8:17 pm |
  124. deee

    It means the ones who ARE working have money to blow.

    March 10, 2010 at 8:17 pm |
  125. niki

    What are we complaining about? What if those people had not gotten surgery? Think of all the doctors that would be on unemployment!!! It's Americans keeping the economy moving! That's how we do things.

    March 10, 2010 at 8:17 pm |
  126. Polly

    I have a friend who spent 25,000.00 on her teeth to make them their original length and whiten them. She has the money, as do most I imagine to do whatever makes them feel good. Most of the money is still at the top in this country while the rest of us will suck up the squandering of big business and the very rich. Top heavy we are and will remain.

    March 10, 2010 at 8:18 pm |
  127. Carol Kaplan

    The cosmetic procedures are because people feel so bad about themselves. Prozac is the biggest selling drug also. Think there is a connection?

    March 10, 2010 at 8:18 pm |
  128. Jon

    It's a sad and sorry state of affairs. All of us should look in the mirror and realize that it's not corporate greed, banks, government policy, etc. that put us in this economic mess.

    March 10, 2010 at 8:19 pm |
  129. Massey

    I would love to get a lot of things done in this life time. Example pay off my home loan and go on vacations, eat out some times but is not possible with the financial status I have. And I do have a upper middle class salary. So I do not understand how can the unemployed even think of getting any type of cosmetic surgery done and actually cn afford it. Please some one advise me so probably I can get a face lift and tummy tuck after paying off my other financial obligations.

    March 10, 2010 at 8:19 pm |
  130. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    I missed yesterday about the fact that so many people have less than 10k to retire...Wow! That should depress any face! I mean why on earth do people bother then to save face with nothing left in the bank for their retirement...do they really think they can bank on their beauty in their later years instead of banking on being responsibile at a younger age through all their life! Or is all the work done for people having the financial means to save their face and other depressing views!:) We are a bit sick when we think that aging is not worth experiecing by simply accepting ourselves while having our money in the bank for other aging priorities!

    March 10, 2010 at 8:19 pm |
  131. Cynthia

    I actually wrote a paper about this for completion of my Master degree. What I learned is that people will go to extraordinary measures to make look good physically and correct what they see as a problem. Is it vanity? What I found was that people do this to feel good about who they are. This is more about self-esteem and self-image and less about vanity. Imagine having an embarrassing feature for which there is a cure at a cost. Believe me you will spend the money to fix whatever makes you feel self-conscious even if you don't have the money to spend. Furthermore, aging in our society is taboo. Therefore, people will do whatever it takes to look young in order to compete in the workplace.

    St. Louis, MO

    March 10, 2010 at 8:19 pm |
  132. Cheryl

    You didn't include hair replacement. Where does that fall in the number/amount of money spent on procedures? Tell me you weren't ignoring male vanity

    March 10, 2010 at 8:20 pm |
  133. Mariah

    While these figures make the American people seem vain, I'd like to add they may very well be inflated... several procedures are considered "cosmetic" by insurance companies who refuse to cover treatment for real medical diseases like acne... which is not quite a cosmetic enhancement but a medically-defined disease or illness. Thus, most Americans suffering from such ailments have no choice but to dash out the cash to obtain such treatment.

    March 10, 2010 at 8:20 pm |
  134. Case Nieboer, Nashville TN


    I think it means that there is a new blue-chip market out there, where people will spend thousands just to improve the chances of a job or a spouse by only 1%. Essentially, we have become the most self absorbed nation on Earth.

    Case Nieboer
    Nashville, TN

    March 10, 2010 at 8:20 pm |
  135. Amandeep

    Atleast Americans can put a better face on it.

    Windsor, Ontario

    March 10, 2010 at 8:20 pm |
  136. Richard A. Lawhern, Ph.D.

    What does it mean? That we pay more attention to appearances than to substance or ethical values. Why do we wonder that our political system is out of touch with reality and no longer serves common citizens? Given our unwillingness to pay attention to what the politicians do and who pays them to do it, we are getting exactly the government we deserve!

    A cartoon character named Pogo said it and it's true: "We have met the enemy... and he is US!"

    March 10, 2010 at 8:20 pm |
  137. Ann Chicago, IL

    Apparently when there is a recession there is less money for entertainment. Watching yourself in the mirror must be entertaining!

    March 10, 2010 at 8:21 pm |
  138. Chad

    It means there are complete morons in our society and thier numbers are growing. Scarier yet, is they have one on the national stage now. And if she learns how to operate a palm-pilot we could all be in trouble.

    March 10, 2010 at 8:21 pm |
  139. Ross Foyee

    This over indulgence in plastic surgery proves one thing. America is not only the most decadent country on earth, but the most vain. This combination of qualities typifies a very mentally unbalanced, unstable, and selfish population that "tout" to the world they are "happy" to be American. Somehow that just don't gel!!!

    March 10, 2010 at 8:21 pm |
  140. Jack Balls

    Jack, you slipped up and said "the coming collapse." I'm sure your boss will not be happy. Your pseudo-journalist propaganda has been saying that things are getting better. So which is it you bafoon? Do you people (term used loosely here) know something we don't?

    Your masters are planning a slow collapse this year, we already know! Some of us are preparing and warning everyone. I hope that when it does happen, your coven burns for your deeds.

    Thanks for the subliminal warning and conformation of the coming collapse.

    March 10, 2010 at 8:21 pm |
  141. Chrissie

    It means that there are a lot of people out there that are desperate for work. They are at their wit's end and can't think of what else they can do to make themselves more marketable. So they get whiter teeth or a little 'work' to try to look less tired. Can't say I blame them.

    March 10, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
  142. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    I missed yesterday about the fact that so many people have less than 10k to retire...Wow! That should depress any face! I mean why on earth do people bother then to save face with nothing left in the bank for their retirement...do they really think they can bank on their beauty in their later years instead of banking on being responsibile at a younger age through all their life! Or is all the cosmetic work done from people having the financial means to save their face and other depressing views!:) We are a bit sick when we think that aging is not worth experiencing by simply accepting ourselves while having our money in the bank for other aging priorities! I guess it all Depends on what you really need later on; sorry Jack this last sentence was too easy!

    Take care!

    March 10, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
  143. kenny

    Jack: its like alcohol consumption during depressing times. People drink more during bad times to forget and during good times to celebrate. Cosmetic procedures are similar. Its a good feeling process. Do it to separate you from the bad. Do it to feel good. Infortnately, you regret it when you "sober up"!

    March 10, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
  144. John - NJ [USA]

    I can only hope that it means that a large percentage of these folks are so wealthy that they are not affected by the economic downturn. If they are, in fact, those that benefited by the bank, mortgage, and Wall Street schemes, I can only pray that during theses procedures greed was removed from their bodies and / or they were injected with a conscience.

    March 10, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
  145. Mario Atlanta, GA

    Another example of the stupidity that exists in this country. We believe that there is something, some way, somehow wrong with universal healthcare. We believe that Republicans are opposed to health care reform because its wrong, and not just to oppose Barack Obama. And obviously, we believe that if we're unemployed, spending money on cosmetic surgery is a better investment than taking classes at a local college or university, or just saving that money. This country never ceases to amaze me.

    March 10, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
  146. Patricia

    The wealthy will always have $ for plastic surgery. I do agree, Jack, with the idea that the way you look plays a big role in whether or not you get the job. Like it or not, it's the first impression that you make. That's another reason for the rise in skin!

    Ramsey, NJ

    March 10, 2010 at 8:24 pm |
  147. Dane

    Life skills don't run skin deep, its sad to see where our priorities are. it seems so selfish to throw away $10 billion while there are disasters like the earthquake in Chile and Haiti, and so many lives torn apart while we are under the knife. terms like what would Jesus (or any other religious figure of your choice) do comes to mind and i don't see him getting a nose job with a spray tan and Dolche and Gabbana hand bag as he heads off to the beach.

    March 10, 2010 at 8:24 pm |
  148. Theresa Thinnes

    Obviously, there are millions who can still afford plastic surgery. But, there are more poor people in America than ever. Since 2006, many school districts have seen a fifty percent increase in the number of children receiving free and reduced lunch. Foreclosures loom, the rich get richer and the stock market climbs..
    Yes, it is definitely time for a change. At the very least, we could make people pay payroll taxes on 100 percent of their income. We need to look to Europe to see how to maintain a strong middle class. The rich in America will not benefit from a nation full of poor folk.

    March 10, 2010 at 8:24 pm |
  149. Victor

    As my wife the psychologist says about how we prioritize: Americans BEG for what they need and GET what they want. Its the same with healthcare we want healthcare to be how we want it, we want it NOW, we want it for FREE and we dont want to PAY for it. Maybe one day we will elect politicians who will tell us what the rest of the world aready knows. We are a country of SPOILED BRATS. The sooner we grow up the better.

    March 10, 2010 at 8:25 pm |
  150. Terry from Austin

    Jack, what this means is that this country has not learned anything from the mess that we find ourselves in. We continue to immerse ourselves in superficial matters that have no meaning in what our lives are all about and why we were placed on this earth. We will continue to go down the tube until we start to live according to the Way, the truth and the life given to us by our Lord.

    March 10, 2010 at 8:25 pm |
  151. Gigi Oregon

    It's funny that insurance probably is helping with the cosmetic cost. But the elderly can get no help with insurance when it comes to hearing, vision, or dental.. I'm forced to supplement medicare with insurance, but the insurance doesn't provide hearing aids, dentures or glasses. I can get the exam for my eyes and the prescription. I can have a dental exam, x rays and cleaning and a quote for my out of pocket cost for dental repair. Same with ears I can be told I'm deaf, but if I need hearing aids "That will be $5,000., Please" says the doctor.
    Jack why do you keep reminding us we live in a dysfunctional America?

    March 10, 2010 at 8:28 pm |
  152. Kevin, Millbury, MA

    Jack, it simply means that more and more Americans have come to realize that things aren't going to get any better any time soon and that it's time to face the music. Many have decided to face that music with their best possible face, even if that collective face costs $10 billion.

    March 10, 2010 at 8:30 pm |
  153. Ken Terry

    Superfical, self indilgent, spoiled Americans, thinking about looks ! Wow, there is a big surprise!

    March 10, 2010 at 8:31 pm |
  154. Robert in Wisconsin

    It sadly says that this immoral majority of patients are self absorbed, narcissistic, self abusing individuals who's money would have been better spent on a psychiatrists couch. At least we can cheer for those like Jane Fonda who when asked her views on not subjecting herself to these types of surgeries responded by saying, "Someone has to grow old naturally so the rest can see what it looks like". Obviously anyone who wastes money on these types of surgical procedures just proves that some people have more money than common sense.

    March 10, 2010 at 8:35 pm |
  155. Sandra, Tempe AZ

    After years of this country's obsession with characters of the like of Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, and Lindsey Lohan, are we surprised that we have become a nation of bimbos and superficiality! While other developed countries are graduating engineers and doctors by the thousands, we are living in a bubble of extreme vanity and narcissistic behavior. How are we going to compete if our prioriity is admiring the glamour magazines instead of instilling education! Instead of leading in education, we come in miserably under other developed nations! Parental guidance is a crucial area we need to explore; we need to focus on our children and not allow a village to raise our children. God help us all!

    March 10, 2010 at 8:41 pm |
  156. Mario

    Hi Cafferty,

    It's just a classical example of how women see things when their world is falling apart around them. The empire is already built now its time to take it apart. Check carefully what happened to Greece and Rome; the records are there.

    Mario/ Los Angeles California.

    March 10, 2010 at 8:47 pm |
  157. Frederick B. Parsells

    Botox and breast enhancements while we are at war and in mired in a deep financial crisis are just more evidence of the fact that we are a decadent society in fullblown moral decay.

    March 10, 2010 at 8:50 pm |
  158. Karen - Nashville TN

    Jack, we're living in a world of smoke and mirrors, and those mirrors are getting to us.

    March 10, 2010 at 8:50 pm |
  159. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Thanks for the laughs Jack...you do know this is how we get more facial lines!:) and these new lines are always welcome because it means I got to laugh while getting them!

    March 10, 2010 at 8:52 pm |
  160. Travis

    It's a great excuse for Americans to apply the "throw a pill at it" technique to self-image problems. I wonder which will last longer, the renewed self-esteem or the botox. I wouldn't mind seeing how this compares to conventional wisdom during the Great Depression of the 1930's.

    March 10, 2010 at 8:52 pm |