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Big Busts Go Bust

     Places of the more shallow pursuits, Florida and California head the list, now have a new metaphor for the sagging economy.
     The measure, in the very places hardest hit by the mortgage crisis, has become flabby behinds and less than enormous breasts. Like trend lines on a fleshy (either too fleshy or not fleshy enough) graph.
      A year or two ago, amid the greatest cup-size boom in world history, nature’s aesthetic horrors would not have gone unrepaired. Particularly in South Florida. There may be, out west somewhere, a Silocon Valley, but Miami and Fort Lauderdale surely evolved into America’s Silicone Stretch (without the unsightly stretch marks).
      The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reported that between 2000 and 2007, cosmetic surgery procedures rose by 59 percent. Breast augmentation went up by 64 percent. I have no idea what entails a breast lift (all my reference points evolved from experiences in South Charleston Junior High School, circa 1962), but patients electing to undergo that procedure increased 94 percent between 2000 and 2007. Botox injections soared 488 percent.
     The frenzy of please-Doc-make-me-sexy plastic surgery occurred before Wall Street bankers discovered that the subprime mortgages they were buying and re-selling were as fake as their trophy wives’ unquivering cleavage.
     The booming regions hit hardest by the subprime crisis, like southern California and South Florida and Las Vegas, just happened to be the same regions that had nurtured that other boom. When real estate busted, so did the busts.
     In a 2008 poll of plastic surgeons, the Docs reported a 62 percent overall decrease in cosmetic surgery. The areas hardest hit by the sudden, lurching downtown were not, as you might have guessed, Iowa, Kansas and Alabama.
     Other places may be suffering from the lack of performance in this particular sector, but in South Florida, boob jobs are essential to the economy, tantamount to car manufacturing in Detroit, insurance in Hartford, high tech in Seattle or worthless securities in New York.
     Perhaps, in a receding economy, South Florida can convert to tummy tucks to get us through hard times.


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You've been pulling string on this story for years, haven't you?

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