The Instigator
nahte
Pro (for)
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0 Points
The Contender
southern
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

A government (USA) has the obligation to lessen the economic gap between its rich and poor citizens.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/4/2014 Category: Economics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,192 times Debate No: 51669
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (8)
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nahte

Pro

Resolved: A government (USA) has the obligation to (significantly) lessen the economic gap between its rich and poor citizens.

I will offer the following definitions for the terms in my topic.
Obligation: something you must do because of a law, rule, promise, etc. OR something that you must do because it is morally right. (Merriam Webster)
Economic Gap: (Wealth Gap): is the difference between individuals or populations in the distribution of their assets, wealth, or income. (Wikipedia)

"So distribution should undo excess, and each man have enough." [King Lear, Act 4, Scene 1] -William Shakespeare

1. The facts.
The wealth gap is an increasing problem in the United States. According to the Gini Index, the United States ranks 4th in income inequality compared to the rest of the world, only to be challenged by Lebanon, Ukraine, and the Russian Federation [1]. "In November 2013, the World Economic Forum released its 'Outlook on the Global Agenda 2014,' where it ranked widening income disparities as the second greatest worldwide risk in the coming 12 to 18 months. [2] To add to this, I found that the richest 85 people in the world own almost 50% of total wealth- that's 110 trillion of 241 trillion dollars. [3] Considering the fact that 80% of humanity lives off of 10$ a day, [4] this seems to pose a significant issue- not only for the United States, but for the world as a whole.

For my opponent, I would appreciate a moral standpoint on this issue, as well as reasons why NOT resolving this issue would benefit the middle/low class. The United States is used purely as an example and a foundation to debate upon, since its policies regarding income inequality (in my opinion) need reform.

Sources:
[1] http://inequalityforall.com... -for the excel document regarding Gini statistics, http://usagainstgreed.org...
[2] http://www.oxfam.org...
[3] (same as [2])
[4] http://www.globalissues.org...

Extra Resources:
http://www.stanford.edu...
https://www.youtube.com... (philosophy lecture that covers income inequality and taxing the rich)
https://www.youtube.com... (trailer for the documentary covering the affirmative, 'Inequality for All')
southern

Con

The USA government should not try to close the gap between the rich and the poor. I personally am on the upper side and I want to stay there and thrive and I can't thrive if everyone else is also. The gap is increasing because of the welfare system and how the people abuse it and try to make a career off of it because they are lazy people. The people in my community and in my family that are on the upper hand worked and continue to work hard for what we have and we should not have to be given more taxes because we have more money, we worked for it. I personally do not care about the gap because I am not poor and it does not effect my life. If people really care enough to go out there and make more money they will have to work a little harder than sitting on the couch and collecting my tax money to go buy junk food. It is up to the people to change, not the government, the government cannot make poor people change their lifestyle.
Debate Round No. 1
nahte

Pro

Firstly, thank you for accepting this debate.

I am going to cross examine your response to my constructive. I would like to suggest that you respond with another cross examination and/or a rebuttal, similar to how a formal CX debate would usually work... but it's really your choice anyway.

1. "The gap is increasing because of the welfare system and how the people abuse it and try to make a career off of it because they are lazy people"
If that is so, then how would you interpret this chart? http://cnnmoneytalkback.files.wordpress.com... [5]
Would you consider college students "lazy people"?

2. "I personally am on the upper side and I want to stay there and thrive and I can't thrive if everyone else is also."
I never said that everyone who benefits from this system "thrives" on the wealth that they obtain. Please define "thrive". Also, do you think that your predisposition to wealth could cause a political bias?

3. "The people in my community and in my family that are on the upper hand worked and continue to work hard for what we have and we should not have to be given more taxes because we have more money, we worked for it."
The amount of money that you would be taxed (if this were put into a practical system) would not hinder your income significantly. A progressive, fluid tax structure would take only a percentage of someone"s income relative to the amount that they make. For instance, if you are making one billion dollars a year, and I (the government) tax one percent of your income, I am taxing you 1 million dollars and putting it where someone would need it. This idea is called redistribution. For example, the Koch brothers made 6 billion dollars last year. If we assume this is his yearly income and will not decline (which it won"t), his house(s) only make up 1.5 percent of his yearly income. [6] He has 4 houses.

4. "I personally do not care about the gap because I am not poor and it does not effect my life."
Some people could consider that being selfish. If this is your moral philosophy, however, you should check out other ideologies besides conservatism, such as political apathy and anarchism.

5. "If people really care enough to go out there and make more money they will have to work a little harder than sitting on the couch and collecting my tax money to go buy junk food."
I never mentioned welfare in this argument, nor did I mention whether or not the people receiving benefit money would be "sitting on their couch and eating junk food." Also, work ethic doesn't matter in a minimum wage job situation, because it takes a McDonalds worker 4 monthsto earn what the companys CEO makes every hour. [7]

Lastly, "It is up to the people to change, not the government, the government cannot make poor people change their lifestyle."
If this were at the beginning of your constructive, it would have made a great opening thesis statement- but I do not agree with it. Your logic seems to be flawed, because we live in a democracy, where the people DO change the government. That's what a democracy is- "a government by the people; especially : rule of the majority". [8]

Sources:
[5] http://economy.money.cnn.com...
[6] http://www.bornrich.com... (I calculated the price of all of the houses.)
[7] http://www.nerdwallet.com...
[8] http://www.merriam-webster.com... (definition 1a)

Definitions:
Political Bias: http://rhetorica.net...
Democracy (1a, in context): government by the people; especially : rule of the majority (Merriam Webster)

Extra Resources:
http://www.trulia.com... (an interesting map of the most expensive concentrated areas of the US)
southern

Con

southern forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
nahte

Pro

My contender has forfeited his argument.
southern

Con

southern forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
nahte

Pro

nahte forfeited this round.
southern

Con

southern forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
nahte

Pro

nahte forfeited this round.
southern

Con

southern forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by nahte 3 years ago
nahte
@mzhao8 even if greed equals prosperity, is greed a moral principle that we should teach? greed is what causes corruption, perverse commercialism, and narcissism...
Posted by mzhao8 3 years ago
mzhao8
America was founded on greed and it was greed that pushed our country into the prosperity our citizens enjoy today
Posted by nahte 3 years ago
nahte
@mimibrightzola if the spot isn't taken by the time you wake up, you should definitely debate :) i am using america as a kind of platform to build our ideas upon, for instance to promote reform, etc. it's entirely theoretical, and i don't see this system being implemented in the US anyway (in the near future). as for the laissez-faire theory, i've never heard of it and will do more research later :)
Posted by mimibrightzola 3 years ago
mimibrightzola
But this debate is so subjective it really does just depend on one's economic principalities, year since I believe America is a hands-off government, it is the "best-thing to do" to interfere with companies and the wealth gap, it interferes with America's capitalistic foundation I guess.
Posted by mimibrightzola 3 years ago
mimibrightzola
I would accept, yet I am too tired to debate again, sorry >.<
anyways America is capitalistic, so I see no obligation, although society may view it that way.
It's the Laissez-Faire theory.
Posted by nahte 3 years ago
nahte
@bubbatheclown yes it is :)
@Jifpop09 thanks for the encouragement :)
Posted by bubbatheclown 3 years ago
bubbatheclown
Your first name is Ethan, isn't it?
Posted by Jifpop09 3 years ago
Jifpop09
Good luck holding off the conservatives. Very few on this site are smart enough to debate a leveled topic like this. Besides maybe Keller.
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