The Instigator
johngriswald
Pro (for)
Winning
13 Points
The Contender
LunaEques
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Agricultural Taxation

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/22/2009 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,601 times Debate No: 10206
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (14)
Votes (2)

 

johngriswald

Pro

I Affirm that Agricultural, because of its negative environmental impact due to greenhouse gases and other forms of pollution it produces is a negative externality. Thus by economic principles, Agriculture should be taxed in the amount of money that would clean up the amount of pollution it produces, or in the amount that would subsidize a positive externality that removes the pollution agriculture produces.

Given:
In this debate the emittance of greenhouse gases and other forms of pollution are considered to negatively impact society as a whole.

Also this debate assumes that the current subsidization of farming has been entirely dissolved and is further arguing in favor of taxation.

Definitions:

Externality - an effect on a third party (usually the community as a whole) that is not involved in a business transaction.
-positive - benefits the public
- negative - hurts the public

EXPLANATION OF WHY FARMING IS A NEGATIVE EXTERNALITY

Farming is a negative externality because it is responsible for producing about 15 to 20 percent of global methane emissions come from livestock. John Robbins, author of The Food Revolution and Diet for a New America, says that methane is 24 times more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, the culprit normally at the center of global warming discussions.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports that animals in the U.S. meat industry produce 61 million tons of waste each year, which is 130 times the volume of human waste produced, or five tons for every U.S. citizen. In addition to its impact on climate, hog, chicken and cow waste has polluted some 35,000 miles of rivers in 22 states and contaminated groundwater in 17 states, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

REFERENCE: http://www.foodreference.com...

WHY WE SHOULD TAX FARMING

We should be taxing agriculture with the cost of cleaning up the pollution in methane gas and other forms of pollutants that it produces or in the amount that would subsidize a positive externality that removes the pollution agriculture produces.

It is governments duty the prevent the citizen from being taken advantge from by business. In this case consumers are paying (by enduring poorer air and water quality) for a benefit they are not receiving. Thus this is considered to be a market failure, or a failure in the way the economy works as the optimal amounts of quantities are not being produced.

By taxing agriculture in the form of x amount of cents per %/pound of pollution produced the tax will be passed onto the consumer. This way consumers will then experience higher prices for goods that produce more pollution. Thus consumers will gravitate towards farmers who use both more technologically efficient and economically efficient forms of farming that produce the least pollution. So in the case of the consumer side there will be a direct incentive to support farming that produces the least amount of pollution. Which will in turn eliminate the most pollution-creating forms of farming. This will force farmers (and provide them economic incentive) to produce the least amount of pollution in the process of farming.

Furthermore the tax money gained from taxing pollution could go towards cleaning up any future pollution being made.

This will effectively eliminate pollution produced by the agriculture industry at the cost of slightly higher food prices (which would only decrease as agriculture technologies (that will after this tax is created be in demand)are utilized and become more readily available that allow farmers to produce more crops/livestock and less pollution)and less farmers employed.
LunaEques

Con

I agree to my opponent's definitions and clarifications, but reserve the right to contend them later.

Attack on Farming as a Negative Externality:
First, farming waste pollution should be considered a point source because it comes from a "defined and discrete conveyance." EPA laws state this: "Discharges of waste from point sources into navigable waters are regulated through a permit system known as the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES). Permits are issued either by EPA or by the state under a program approved by EPA. It is illegal to discharge waste from point sources into navigable waters without a permit or in violation of the terms of the permit." [1] These permits cost money to receive, so in essence, farmers are already paying for water pollution. Next, animal waste is reused by farmers as fertilizer, so this waste has no negative impacts on society. Finally, CO2 is not a huge contributor to global warming, so 24x more lethal is not that bad of a feat.

Attack on Taxation of Farming:
If it is the government's duty to prevent citizens from being taken advantage of by businesses, then the government needs to outlaw our current economic system. CEOs whose jobs it is to sit at a desk and manage the work of others get paid huge sums of money as compared to the much harder working employees that they oversee. Under my opponent's logic, the government must protect these workers from exploitation by CEOs. In fact, it is virtually impossible for an employer to employ an employee without taking advantage of him--the employer would not employ this employee if there is not a net gain to the employer, yet this net gain is rightfully the employee's.
Next, as my opponent says, farming is already subsidized, indicating that the business, although necessary, cannot exist without help. Further harming the economic abilities of farmers will not only lead to an increase in food prices, but also an eventual decrease in food supplies. Much of the world is in hunger, and farming is a necessary profession for humans to survive at all. If we take away and then tax farmers, they will not have the economic ability to run their farms. These "technologically efficient" forms of farming are going to be highly expensive--if they weren't farmers would be using them now to avoid pollution laws already in place. Many farmers may go out of business, reducing food supply. The other farmers will see an increased demand and food prices will rise even further. This will lead the country--and the world--into hunger and malnourishment.

Footnotes:
1. http://www.nasda.org...
Debate Round No. 1
johngriswald

Pro

I would like to thank my opponent for taking this debate with me, however would like to alert my opponent that she has no right to contest them later, and thus cannot reserve such a right. She can either contest them in the first round or accept them. Since she has accepted them, will structure our argument based upon them.

My opponent starts out by saying that the EPA mandates that farmers buy permits, and thus farmers pay for the pollution they produce. Perhaps my opponent misunderstands the structure of this debate. This debate, is a debate not on what is, but what should be. In essence, I will be arguing why we should be taxing farming, and my opponent will be arguing in opposition. Stating current policy that supports my position does little to affirm her contention. The EPA is a federal regulatory committee. The permits are a form of taxation.

My opponent then states that CO2 is not a huge contributor to gobal warming so 24x more lethal is really not so bad.

"Methane and Vegetarianism
By far the most important non-CO2 greenhouse gas is methane, and the number one source of methane worldwide is animal agriculture.

Methane is responsible for nearly as much global warming as all other non-CO2 greenhouse gases put together. Methane is 21 times more powerful a greenhouse gas than CO2. While atmospheric concentrations of CO2 have risen by about 31% since pre-industrial times, methane concentrations have more than doubled. Whereas human sources of CO2 amount to just 3% of natural emissions, human sources produce one and a half times as much methane as all natural sources. In fact, the effect of our methane emissions may be compounded as methane-induced warming in turn stimulates microbial decay of organic matter in wetlands—the primary natural source of methane.

"With methane emissions causing nearly half of the planet's human-induced warming, methane reduction must be a priority. Methane is produced by a number of sources, including coal mining and landfills—but the number one source worldwide is animal agriculture. Animal agriculture produces more than 100 million tons of methane a year. And this source is on the rise: global meat consumption has increased fivefold in the past fifty years, and shows little sign of abating. About 85% of this methane is produced in the digestive processes of livestock, and while a single cow releases a relatively small amount of methane, the collective effect on the environment of the hundreds of millions of livestock animals worldwide is enormous. An additional 15% of animal agricultural methane emissions are released from the massive "lagoons" used to store untreated farm animal waste, and already a target of environmentalists' for their role as the number one source of water pollution in the U.S. "
SOURCE: http://www.ecobridge.org...

As my opponent can see, methane causes nearly half the planets human-induced global warming. The main source of methane is agriculture. Thus Agriculture must be taxed in the equivalent of removing the methane from the atmosphere. Furthermore agriculture is the number one source of water pollution in the U.S. Farmers, and not the citizens should have to pay to clean up this mess as it is negatively affecting the citizens who are a third party in the business transaction.

Furthermore the tax should be more specific so the price of pollution can be reflected in different forms of agriculture. This gives both farmers and consumers a financial incentive to exclude foods that cause a massive amount of methane pollution from their diet, and also gives farmers an incentive to use technology that reduces the methane pollution.

"If it is the government's duty to prevent citizens from being taken advantage of by businesses, then the government needs to outlaw our current economic system"
The economic system has nothing to do with it? Government simply needs to participate in the subsidization of positive externalities and the taxation of negative externalizes to prevent market failure. I would like to see what my opponent defines as our "current economic system" because it is certainly not laissez faire as my opponent is implying and thus has not reason for being outlawed.

"Under my opponent's logic, the government must protect these workers from exploitation by CEOs."
No under my logic, government must protect the citizens who don't aren't directly involve in a business transaction by the business that employs both the worker and CEO from any negative effects of their business transaction, and also must reward the business for any positive effects.

"Next, as my opponent says, farming is already subsidized, indicating that the business, although necessary, cannot exist without help."
No it is indicative that there are more farmers employed than the economy demands, not that the industry is by any means in trouble. Government is simply keeping the least profitable farmers from being unemployed by paying them a salary out of taxpayer dollars to do essentially nothing, which keeps the supply of crop down and thus makes it profitable to farm. Lifting that subsidization only allows more farmers to produce more price which actually lowers the price of farming goods, which then makes it unprofitable, the least profitable farmers then leave the industry and find a more economically efficient job to do. Which then makes the supply of crops less, which then makes farming profitable to the point where it is a sustainable mode of living, which in turn rises the price of crops back to their subsidization levels.

By then taxing farmers further we would then be either raising the price of goods which would do nothing to the amount of crops being produced (depending on how inelastic the specific good is) or be lowering the demand on the good. Either way, the needs of the citizen would be met.

My opponent has used bad analogies, poor uses of economic logic, and no real points to refute my affirmation.

With this said, I am very appreciative of her excellent contention, and thank her for joining me i this debate. I look forward to what I'm sure will be an excellent argument in round 2, thank you.
LunaEques

Con

LunaEques forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
johngriswald

Pro

Extend my arguments
LunaEques

Con

LunaEques forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
14 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by johngriswald 7 years ago
johngriswald
When I state them in R2 I'm referring to my definitions.
Posted by johngriswald 7 years ago
johngriswald
the atmosphere, drinking water and the air society breathes
Posted by Nails 7 years ago
Nails
But what is it that is being polluted? What constitutes 'environment'?
Posted by johngriswald 7 years ago
johngriswald
environment meaning its pollution in forms of methane gas, water polluton etc. You can get a good scope of the argument I will make by reading the other two replicas of this debate.
Posted by Nails 7 years ago
Nails
I might take this, but I have one question: What would you consider 'environment'?
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 7 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
I remember in Elementary school they specifically taught, on a status quo framework, that it's the affirmative who wants to change the status quo and the negative who defends it. Resolution makes more sense,but "Con on current policy" is just weird.
Posted by Cody_Franklin 7 years ago
Cody_Franklin
If you're con, you're opposed to the resolution, since that's what is being argued for or against; assuming that debates are centered on the status quo is often confusing for a contender, and can be counterproductive to original argumentation. :P
Posted by johngriswald 7 years ago
johngriswald
Oh I was aware what con and pro both mean, however I was always taught that it is relative to the current social standing and not indicative of who was making the resolution. I thought it should be obvious who is making the resolution vs who is negating it.
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 7 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
Not really convention or guideline-- it's just what the word Con means. Lol.
Posted by Alexby1 7 years ago
Alexby1
They aren't strict guidelines, it's just convention. It makes sense and it's how debate works.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by wjmelements 7 years ago
wjmelements
johngriswaldLunaEquesTied
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Total points awarded:60 
Vote Placed by BellumQuodPacis 7 years ago
BellumQuodPacis
johngriswaldLunaEquesTied
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Total points awarded:70