The Instigator
DoubtingDave
Pro (for)
Losing
5 Points
The Contender
wiploc
Con (against)
Winning
16 Points

Balanced Budget Amendment

Do you like this debate?NoYes+3
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
wiploc
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/2/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,239 times Debate No: 28536
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (28)
Votes (5)

 

DoubtingDave

Pro


Thank you, wiploc, for accepting this debate. I wish you the best of luck in this debate.

Resolved: The US Should Adopt a Balanced Budget Amendment

Definitions:

1) Balanced Budget Amendment - A BBA requires congress to pass a balanced budget for each fiscal year. Currently, there is debate going on in the House and Senate between different versions of the amendment. There is very little difference between the two, however for sake of the debate, I will use the Senate's version found at http://tinyurl.com...;

2) Balanced Budget - The overall amount of spending within a budget is equal to or less than the revenue brought in.
3) Should - Ought, is proper

4) Adopt - Put into place

Rounds

1) Acceptance
2) Opening Statements (ONLY)
3) Rebuttals
4) Rebuttals/Closing Statments

Rules

1) If special circumstances arise, one side may ask the other to wait out his or her remaining time.
2) No forfeiting or plagarism is acceptable.
3) Please structure and format your arguments in a way that is easy to follow.
4) No trolling - debaters should have adaquet debating experience.
5) Failure to abide by any points above will result in an automatic loss
wiploc

Con

Alright. Thanks for reducing the number of rounds.

I don't know of any justification for the balanced budget amendment. It seems perverse, suicidal. So I'm pleased to be in this discussion where I can learn what its proponents are thinking.
Debate Round No. 1
DoubtingDave

Pro

Thank you, wiploc, for accepting this debate on the Balanced Budget Amendment. As another war on the debt limit is looming over us and the fiscal cliff just barely passed over us, we need some serious thoughts on ways to reduce the deficit. One of my proposals is a Balanced Budget Amendment.

Pro 1: The BBA Addresses Chronic Deficit

For the past several years, the United States has been running deficits upwards of $1 trillion or more and there is no end in sight. We are in a period of chronic deficit and it is deficit that we can no longer sustain. As John Adams said, “There are two ways to conquer and enslave a country. One is by the sword. The other is by debt.” [1] These words reign true to this day as we are seeing what is happening in the European Debt Crisis. Figure 1-1 shows how bad the debt has become.

Federal Spending by the Numbers 2012

Sources: Office of Management and Budget, Budget of the U.S. Government, FY 2013: Historical Tables, Table 1.1, February 2012, <a href=http://www.whitehouse.gov... (accessed August 8, 2012), and Congressional Budget Office, An Update to the Budget and Economic Outlook: Fiscal Years 2012 to 2022, Alternative Fiscal Scenario, August 22, 2012, http://cbo.gov... (accessed August 23, 2012)." />

Figure 1-1: A table comparing the recent deficits. [2]

So, let’s put this into a different perspective. What if the average income family spent like the federal government? Figure 2-1 shows what the consequences would be of such a family.


In 2010, median family income was $51,360. If a typical family followed the federal government's lead, it would spend $73,319 and put 30 cents of every dollar spent on a credit card. This family would have racked up $325,781 in credit card debt"like a mortgage, only without the house. What credit card company would continue lending money to this family?

Figure 2-1

The data from this graph is from 2010 where the median income family was $51,360.00. If a typical family followed the government’s lead, it would therefore spend 30 cents of every dollar on credit card. This means that the family would have racked up $325,781 in credit card debt – a total equivalent to that of an entire mortgage, only without the house. Who would allow such a family to continue borrowing from them? [3] If such spending is not right for a typical family – what then justifies the federal government to spend in such a manner?

What is the main cause of this problem? It isn’t that we don’t have enough revenue – we simply have too much spending. Figure 3-1 shows the revenue to spending relationships

The main driver behind long-term deficits is government spending, not low revenue. While revenue will surpass its historical average of 18.1 percent of GDP by 2018, spending remains above its historical average of 20.2 percent, reaching 22.1 percent by 2022, even after $2.1 trillion in spending cuts in the Budget Control Act.

Figure 3-1 [4]


As we can see from the above graph, the deficit is government spending – not low revenue. In fact, revenue will surpass the historical average by 2018, spending will still remain even well above that, even after the $2.1 trillion in cuts under the Budget Control Act of 2011.

So, why is the BBA appropriate for this chronic deficit problem? Because it addresses the real problem, which is overspending by the government.

Pro 2: Flaw in Democracy

One of the great flaws in democracy was noted by Edmund Burke in 1754 (emphasis added) [5]:

A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largess from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship.

The BBA is one way to fix the flaw in democracy because it limits the amount of money that can come from the public treasure.

Conclusion

The United States should adopt and pass a BBA because it immediately addresses our chronic deficit and spending problems which threaten economic viability of our nation. Secondly, a BBA is appropriate because it fixes the flaws in a democracy by limiting the amount of money that can be taken from the public treasury.



[2] Courtesy of http://www.heritage.org...

[3] Image and caption provided by http://www.heritage.org...

[4] Image 3-1 is courtesy of http://www.heritage.org...

[5] Quoted in http://www.debate.org...

wiploc

Con

Stipulation: Our government often spends too much. This is a problem. We should do something about it.

<a href=http://zfacts.com...; />
[If that chart doesn't show up, please follow this link.]
http://zfacts.com...

<a href=http://www.truthfulpolitics.com...; />
[If the second chart doesn't show up, please follow one of these links.]
http://www.truthfulpolitics.com... - image
http://www.truthfulpolitics.com... - page with image

If you think you're seeing a pattern here (Republicans generally increase the rate of growth of the debt, and Democrats generally reduce it), well, I see it too. If you want actual numbers rather than graphs, we can look at the third hit. I like the eighth column (Debt as % of [GDP] because it breaks down nearly perfectly by which party is in power.

Third hit:
[I can't post this chart. I get either a tiny fuzzy chart, or an error message. Please follow this link.]
http://www.skymachines.com... - table of debt growth

I didn't go searching for sources that blame Republicans, even though I personally believe they are much to blame for the debt. Those were just the top three likely-looking hits when I Googled "national debt." (Not so when I googled that again. Maybe I skipped any hits that said "debt clock." Maybe I Googled something slightly different?)

But there is a clear pattern. One of the parties is much more fiscally responsible than the other. Republicans, clearly, are the party of big spending, the party of fiscal ill-restraint. Fiscal conservatives have no business voting Republican. Now, if you don't like the idea of voting Democratic, then you can at least start holding your Republican candidates' feet to the fire. From now on, make sure their votes match their rhetoric. That ought to take care of the problem, because nobody talks fiscal responsibility better than a Republican. (Except when it comes to the BBA (Balanced Budget Amendment), which Republicans favor in spite of the fact that it's fiscally irresponsibile.)

The fact that we spend too much money doesn't really need illustration by these graphs and chart, but Pro illustrated the point, so I felt I had to too. I don't want to fall too far behind in the citations race. I'd rather not score sources, if Pro agrees.

Keynesian Economics:

There are times when government should run a surplus, and times when it should run a deficit.

During depressions and recessions, government should spend to stimulate our way out of trouble. During boom times, the government should run a surplus both to cool the boom (so as to prevent a catastrophic bust later) and to reduce government debt. [1]

Why does government need to stimulate during a depression? John Maynard Keynes proved that economies can stabilize at 80% of production, or 15% of production, or anywhere. Without government stimulation, there is no reason to think we'd have ever gotten out of the great depression. [1] Economies don't automatically find their way back to full production.

The national debt is a problem, and it does need fixing. But the BBA would be a catastrophe, not a fix.

Problem with BBA:

Suppose you were a bit overweight, so you adopted a BCA (balanced calorie amendment) making it impossible to take in more calories than you burn in any given day. Then, if you ever got sick, and fell below a healthy weight, you could never gain weight back. You'd be a scrawny wretch to the end of your days---which end might be accelerated.

Look at corporations. Are they being irresponsible when they borrow money or otherwise spend more than they make in a given year? No. That's often solid business practice. Imagine Google trying to get to where it is without running a deficit during their explosive growth.

In fact, corporations would be few and far between they complied with a BBA. If companies restricted their expenditures to match their earnings, there would be little call for raising money from the public.

So, clearly, the government should sometimes run a deficit. But the BBA would prevent this. So the BBA would be disastrous.

Why would it be disastrous? Look at those charts above. When the Democrats ran the debt up to 120% of GDP, they were buying freedom for the world. If we'd had a BBA during World War II, the Nazis might still rule a great portion of the earth.

And a BBA surely would have lost us the American Revolution. [2]

There are times when deficit spending is necessary and prudent.

Three Possible Loopholes:

Three loopholes or escape clauses present themselves as ways to have our cake and eat it too, to pass the BBA but avoid some of its effects.

Wars: We could pass the BBA, but say that it doesn't apply during times of war. But do we really want to have to declare wars to end depressions?

Emergencies: We could say that the BBA doesn't apply when the president declares a state of emergency. Do you want to spend the rest of your life in a state of emergency?

Constitutional Erosion: Or we could pass the BBA, and then ignore it as necessary, the same as we do with the Second Amendment. This solution compels disrespect of the Constitution, a very bad precedent.

Alternatives:

What if, instead of passing the BBA, we made a rule that whenever we runs a deficit, the House of Representatives has to reallocate so as reduce the number of congressmen by ten. They'd hate that. Boy, would they hate that. But when deficits are necessary, they could accept that penalty like statesmen, for the public good. That might work.

What if, instead of passing the BBA, we just called attention to the fact that the only time Republicans complain about the deficit is when Democrats hold the presidency? (Republicans don't complain about deficits when they're the party running deficits.) That might work too.

What if, instead of passing the BBA, we just become aware of which specific congress critters overspend? Also might work.

What if we just all voted democratic until the Republicans matched their votes to their talk? Might work.

What if we gave the president the "line item veto." That could work too.

Many things might work. You don't have to like any of my listed alternative solutions to see that there may be many ways of solving the problem.

But the BBA does not solve the problem. The reason we want to reduce the debt is that we seek economic health. If the BBA didn't just get ignored (weakening the Constitution), or cause wars or states of emergency, then it would eventually cause a permanent depression---which is not economic health. So the BBA is no solution at all.

There are things we can reasonably try, but the BBA isn't one of them.

The resolution is refuted. Vote Con.

---


[1] John Kenneth Galbraith, “Maynard Keynes (Rhymes with Brains) and the Mandarin Revolution,” Harvard Magazine, May/June, 1977. The same essay is also in the book Points of Departure, but note that there are several books by that title.
[2] Money: Whence It Came, Where It Went. John Kenneth Galbraith.



Debate Round No. 2
DoubtingDave

Pro

Thank you for your swift response.

Con 1: Who Increased the Debt?

None of my opponent’s charts showed up in the debate; however, I was able to take a quick look at the chart. The first chart has no sources and I would like to know what the basis is for the chart’s claim.

I would like to respond to the website’s claim that lower tax payments is the biggest cause of the deficit: Rather overspending on entitlement programs is the biggest cause for deficits as can be seen by this chart here:

Absent reforms to entitlement programs"especially Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security"federal spending will skyrocket. Deficits will reach unprecedented levels during the next few decades, causing debt to increase to economically stagnating levels. WE must reform entitlement spending now.

Secondly, lower tax rates bring in higher revenue and bring in a robust economy:

Cutting taxes is the key to doubling the rate of economic growth, and would do more for America than just help balance the Federal budget. None of the myriad challenges confronting our nation -- poverty, crime, racial tension and welfare dependence -- can be solved without economic expansion.”[1]

We can see this graph that outlines revenue to tax rates[2]:

The reason for this is simple: People adjust their activities to adjust to the tax burden. For example, if capital gains tax was 50%, people would be weary of investments and investment rates would go down. Even worse, higher taxes give rich people and politicians pay the wealthy right back by giving them loopholes.[3]

My opponent now claims that Democrats are better and more fiscal responsible than Republicans. However, even if this was true, it does not negate the need for a Balanced Budget Amendment.[4]

Obama is the undisputed debt king of the last five presidents”

According to CBS News:[5]

This is unfortunately bit out of date as our debt now stands at over $16. But as we can see, the debt under Obama is staggering considering that the debt was 10t the day Obama took office. The debt held by the public has gone up now by 81% as of November 2012 [6]

Conclusion

The federal debt and deficit is unbearable no matter which party gets the blame – both parties should be blamed equally. The Balanced Budget Amendment ought to be passed in order to rein in the crazy spending held by both parties.

Con 2: Keynesian Economics

My opponent argues that during recessions, government ought to stimulate the economy and help the overall economy to grow. However, FDR’s New Deal prolonged the Great Depression[7].

"The fact that the Depression dragged on for years convinced generations of economists and policy-makers that capitalism could not be trusted to recover from depressions and that significant government intervention was required to achieve good outcomes," Cole said. "Ironically, our work shows that the recovery would have been very rapid had the government not intervened."

The Wall Street Journal writes[8]:

“The main lesson we have learned from the New Deal is that wholesale government intervention can -- and does -- deliver the most unintended of consequences. This was true in the 1930s, when artificially high wages and prices kept us depressed for more than a decade, it was true in the 1970s when price controls were used to combat inflation but just produced shortages. It is true today, when poorly designed regulation produced a banking system that took on too much risk.”

We can also use Japan as a way of measuring failed economic stimulus and government interventions. Japan responded to a 1990 recession by passing 10 stimulus spending bills over 8 years, thus building up the largest national debt in the industrialized world, yet its economy remained stagnant.[9]

I’m out of room. I will continue responding in the next round.



[2] Data source and picture credit is found at http://www.americanthinker.com...

[3] Stossel, J. “No They Can’t: Why Government Fails but Individuals Succeed.” A solution to this problem would be closing loopholes and enacting a New Flat Tax or a Fair Tax system.

wiploc

Con

Pro claims we should pass a balanced budget amendment.

His theory is that

1. sometimes we incur too much debt, so therefore

2. we should pass the BBA.

That's like saying

1. sometimes we eat too much or exercise too little, so therefore,

2. we should staple our stomachs.

Stapling our stomachs or passing a BBA is radical surgery. Shouldn't be done lightly. Before doing something like that, we'd need proof that this was the best solution given our circumstances.

Pro undertook to provide that proof, but he hasn't done so. He has acted as if there are no alternatives, as if it's the BBA or nothing.

BBA IS NASTY:

Why is the BBA unappealing? Because bad things will happen if we pass it.

Emergency: If it has an exception for emergencies, we may declare states of emergency, or even a perpetual state of emergency, when we want to run a deficit.

War: If it has an exception for war time, we may declare, or even fight, wars when we need the ability to run a deficit.

Scofflaw: If those exceptions don't work, we may just ignore the BBA the way we ignore the 2nd amendment. This would not be good for the rule of law, or the Constitution, or the country.

Poverty: Worse than any of the above is the possibility that the BBA would actually work. It could hold us permanently in a depression. Keynes proved this. He proved that an economy can stabilize below full production; recovery from economic blight is no automatic or guaranteed. Economies sometimes need the stimulating effect that results from deficit spending.

Defeat: Perhaps worse yet is the possibility that the BBA would cause us defeat in war. We run deficits in wartime, because it costs money to win. If the BBA passed, we might be unable to win ever again. We certainly get in enough wars. We could start losing them all. Osama Bin Laden, John Wilkes Booth, Manuel Noriega, King George III, these people would all have loved for us to have had a BBA.

Now, I made the above points in my previous post, and Pro has not substantively responded to them. Did he mean to drop them? They were effectively dropped. They stand effectively unchallenged.

Sometimes we should run a deficit. The BBA would irrationally prevent that, or it would cause wars, states of emergency, or distain for the Constitution.

There are other possible responses to our debt problem, but Pro hardly considers them. He certainly doesn't show that the BBA is better than other choices.

He hasn't even shown that the BBA would be better than the problem it is intended to cure. Why is the national debt bad? Because, if uncontrolled, it may eventually lead to economic woes. Why is the BBA bad? Because, if we don't ignore it or declare war, it may eventually lead to economic woes. They both sound bad. It's not at all clear that the debt is worse than the BBA.

Pro has undertaken to prove that the BBA is worse than the debt, and is also worse than alternative solutions to the debt. He has not done so. He has made no serious attempt to fulfill his burden of proof.

Vote Con.

---

Notes:

- I sited my sources for these arguments in my prior post.

- Pro offers a chart titled "Federal Budget Deficits Will Reach Levels Never Seen in the US." The chart goes all the way back to 1970, if you can imagine. According to that chart Heritage Foundation chart, it is entitlements (Medicare, Medicade, and Social Security) that must be cut to save us. Not, for instance, military expenditures. Yet Pro's BBA says nothing about entitlements. The BBA might result in cutting the military. We might not get to invade Iraq anymore. So Pro has not shown that a BBA would address what he considers to be the actual problem.

- Pro wrote: "It isn’t that we don’t have enough revenue – we simply have too much spending." But the BBA doesn't mention spending. Faced with a BBA, congress might do like Norway, and raise taxes to the 50% level. Is that what Pro wants? The BBA does not mandate reduced spending. It does not address what Pro says the problem is. Pro hasn't said why the BBA is the solution to our problem.

- Pro said "lower tax rates bring in higher revenue and bring in a robust economy." Once again, that's off topic. Unless spending comes down, a BBA would require taxes to go up.

- Where I pointed out that Keynes recommended the stimulus of deficit spending during depressions, Pro responded by pointing out that two guys opined that "'Ironically, our work shows that the recovery would have been very rapid had the government not intervened.'" Those two guys blame the government pegging wages and prices too high. They don't speak out against deficit spending. They never speak against stimulus itself, but only against "ill-conceived stimulus." And that unexplained reference to "ill-conceived stimulus" is the only time they mention stimulus. Their actual complaint is that government did not prevention collusion, and that government pegged wages and prices artificially high.

- Pro said "wholesale government intervention can -- and does -- deliver the most unintended of consequences." But he is himself recommending government intervention. If the BBA passes, then the government will be forced (assuming it doesn't declare wars or emergencies or ignore the Constitution) to cut spending and/or raise taxes every time the economy turns downward. That is just the time when, for economic health, government should do the opposite, lowering taxes and/or increasing spending.

Pro's perversely inverted government response is no less a government intervention than what Keynes recommends. But the response Pro recommends can be expected to aggravate every downturn.

- Pro complains that Japan didn't spend its way out of recession when low demand was the problem. You can't push a rope. You can't always solve a recession by spending. Nobody disputes that. But that does not prove or tend to prove that a BBA, which would havecut spending or increased taxes when the economy turned down, wouldn't have made the situation worse.

Pro has offered no evidence that the BBA would have saved Japan. Or that it would work at all, or that its risks aren't greater than the risks of other solutions.

He has not significantly tried to meet his burden of proof.

He has failed to establish that passing the BBA would be a good thing.

Vote Con.



Debate Round No. 3
DoubtingDave

Pro

Thank you for your swift reply. I will begin by responding to arguments I failed to respond to in the previous round.

First, I will start by noting that my opponent has failed to respond to my opening argument that it fixes a flaw in democracy.

Con 1: Problems with BBA

My opponent creates a false analogy between someone who is overweight and the Balanced Budget Amendment. In a Balanced Budget Amendment, there is nothing wrong with surpluses. In this case, the overweight is a surplus of fat and calories.

Next, my opponent makes a false analogy between running a business and running a nation – you don’t run a nation in the same way you run a business. A business can’t stay in a deficit or debt for very long – same is true with a nation.

Finally, the BBA that I am proposing grants exceptions in times of war or in states of emergency – hence, the criticisms for war is misrepresenting the actual text.

Con 2: Loopholes

Wars: I responded to the Keynesian argument that deficits are important in times of depressions/recessions in efforts to get out of it. I showed that government spending to bail out of recession/depressions do more harm than good. Moreover, it would have to be constitutionally limited as to the reasons for war.

State of Emergencies: My opponent has brought up an excellent point. A simple and obvious solution is to limit what actually constitutes a state of emergency and limit when they can be issued.

Constitutional Erosion: This will be enforced through the Supreme Court: If there is a budget deficit, it is thrown out.

Con 3: Alternatives

The BBA is not the only solution needed; it is simply a starting point. None of my opponent’s suggestions are sufficient to solve out debt crisis.

Reduced congressmen: As my opponent notes, this would be unenforceable and would be a very bad idea. Moreover, this would be unconstitutional as there are 600,000 people per congressional district and this would cause many people to be unrepresented – consequently, they would be taxed without representation.

My opponent attempts a Tu quoque fallacy by stating “Republicans do it to!”, which is not an answer to the criticism. Notice that I am not a Republican. Moreover, it is funny that the same is true when democrats are in power. In 2006, then-Senator Obama noted:

"America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better. I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America’s debt limit." [1]

More Democrats were with him and both parties are equally as bad.

This will work in complement to a BBA, but cannot work alone. Today, there are so many ill-informed Americans that it is really quite amazing that these people who can’t even recognize the faces of our leaders vote. How will we get people to become aware and get the people to recognize the overspending problem?

I would support a line-item veto, but in complement to a BBA because this simply cannot work alone, because, as Roy notes: “it would require the President to go in and cut the wild spending programs which he disapproves. The problem is that there are not any wild spending programs that the President disapproves! There never has been and never will be. Finally, politicians are re-elected by spending, that is the fundamental problem.” [2]

Conclusion

Thank you for this debate. You have been a very kind and respectful opponent and I appreciate that. I hope to debate you sometime soon, if you so do please.

The BBA is good because it addresses chronic deficits and fixes a major flaw in democracy – an argument not addressed by con. Moreover, my opponent has often times misunderstood the context of the BBA – especially in regards to wars and in states of emergency and overlooks some obvious flaws with his alternatives to the BBA.

Out of room. Resolution affirmed, vote pro.

wiploc

Con


Con 1: Problems with BBA


My opponent creates a false analogy between someone who is overweight and the Balanced Budget Amendment. In a Balanced Budget Amendment, there is nothing wrong with surpluses. In this case, the overweight is a surplus of fat and calories.


The BBA prevents you from gaining debt. The BCA (balanced calorie amendment) prevents you from gaining weight. A BCA would prevent you from gaining weight when you want to, and a BBA would prevent you from running a deficit when you want to. There are times when either would be appropriate. It is unwise to be unable to either gain weight or gain debt. To promote the BBA is to say that government should never borrow money. That's just nuts.


Next, my opponent makes a false analogy between running a business and running a nation – you don’t run a nation in the same way you run a business.


I said that there are times when it is prudent to run a deficit. This is as true in business as in government.


A business can’t stay in a deficit or debt for very long – same is true with a nation.


Many businesses have permanent debt. Utilities almost always have better things to do with their money than to pay off debt. Nations too almost always carry debt. While you don't want to buy an over-leveraged business, there's nothing wrong with carrying a reasonable amount of debt.



Finally, the BBA that I am proposing grants exceptions in times of war or in states of emergency – hence, the criticisms for war is misrepresenting the actual text.


That's my point! The exceptions for emergencies and wars will tend to cause emergencies and wars. It's what they call "moral hazard." It is not good to pass a BBA that will tend to cause emergencies and war.


I showed that government spending to bail out of recession/depressions do more harm than good. Moreover, it would have to be constitutionally limited as to the reasons for war.


No, he really didn't. He cited a web page that said something vaguely negative about one particular "ill-considered stimulus." There was no real information there. It blamed the continuation of the great depression on pegging wages and prices too high. That has nothing to do with deficit spending. Pro misrepresents his source here.


Consider voting source points to Con.


State of Emergencies: My opponent has brought up an excellent point. A simple and obvious solution is to limit what actually constitutes a state of emergency and limit when they can be issued.


He can't have it both ways. Either the BBA will allow spending in declared emergencies (in which case it will cause declared emergencies) or it won't. If it won't, then it will either cause the Constitution to be ignored, or it will hurt the economy by preventing deficits when we need them.


Constitutional Erosion: This will be enforced through the Supreme Court: If there is a budget deficit, it is thrown out.


For good reason, we largely ignore the 2nd amendment. It is impractical and unenforceable. This is true even though we have a Supreme Court. So, even though we have a Supreme Court, a BBA would likely also be ignored, unless we choose to let it cripple the economy by trapping us in a depression.


Con 3: Alternatives


The BBA is not the only solution needed; it is simply a starting point. None of my opponent’s suggestions are sufficient to solve out debt crisis.


The BBA won't cure the problem alone. It won't do any good thing alone. So we don't need it. And it could do great damage. The actual solution, fiscal restraint, will work just fine without the BBA. But with the BBA it could leave us in a permanent depression.


Reduced congressmen: As my opponent notes, this would be unenforceable and would be a very bad idea. Moreover, this would be unconstitutional as there are 600,000 people per congressional district and this would cause many people to be unrepresented – consequently, they would be taxed without representation.


Pro is all about changing the constitution when it suits him, but he thinks we can't change the number of people per congressional district?


Pro says something about a Tu quoque fallacy. I have read and reread this point, but he is not clear enough for me to respond with other than a general demurer


I would support a line-item veto, but in complement to a BBA because this simply cannot work alone, because, as Roy notes: “it would require the President to go in and cut the wild spending programs which he disapproves. The problem is that there are not any wild spending programs that the President disapproves! There never has been and never will be. Finally, politicians are re-elected by spending, that is the fundamental problem.”


Pro has faked a quotation here. Not sure what to say about it. It doesn't look accidental, but he doesn't seem to intend misrepresentation. He changed "Obama" to "he," and a few other things like that. If he wanted to paraphrase, he could say it's a paraphrase. Otherwise, if he puts it in quotes, it should be the actual quotation.


He needs to know that this isn't right. It could be important later in his life. Let me suggest that some of you give me S&G points, or source points, or just don't award source points if you were going to give them to him. (But be sure to say why.)



Conclusion


My thanks also to DoubtingDave, to DDO, and to our readers.


The BBA is good because it addresses chronic deficits and fixes a major flaw in democracy – an argument not addressed by con.


Pro attributes the quote about voting largess from the public treasury to Edmund Burk. This seems, again, grounds to vote source points to Con.


http://www.goodreads.com...


http://en.wikiquote.org...


http://www.lorencollins.net...


Even if Burk had said that, would he have approved of a BBA? Pro doesn't say.


Would a BBA prevent people from voting themselves such largess as is permitted by the BBA? No, not at all. To the extent that Pro has identified a problem, he has not identified a solution.



Moreover, my opponent has often times misunderstood the context of the BBA – especially in regards to wars and in states of emergency and overlooks some obvious flaws with his alternatives to the BBA.


Pro is confused about who is confused. If the BBA has exceptions for wars and states of emergency, then it will have some tendency to cause wars and emergencies as excuses to run deficits when we need to. If it doesn't have such exceptions, then it will either get ignored (bad for the Constitution) or, worse, complied with (terrible for the economy).


Keynes proved that economies can stabilize at 100% of productive capacity, or anywhere short of that. He proved that deficit spending is a valuable tool for getting out of depressions. Sometimes deficit spending is necessary and prudent.


BBAs have no judgment, no prudence. They can cause permanent depressions, wars and emergencies; and disregard for the Constitution.


Pro undertook to prove that the BBA should be adopted. He has failed to show that it would be a good thing at all, plus he has failed to show that it would be the best way to approach the national debt. In other words, he has failed to show that the BBA should be adopted.


Vote Con.


Debate Round No. 4
28 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by thett3 3 years ago
thett3
This was kinda a difficult debate to judge. I vote Con mainly because Pro failed to respond to almost all of Cons attacks on his case because he spent his entire fourth Round rebutting Cons R2 case. Moreover virtually all of Cons responses to Pros rebuttals are dropped since Pro spends R4 doing other things.

I negate because:

1. Cons depression argument. Pro makes a decent response, but doesn't really explain the *logic* behind why stimulus is bad. When Con points out (with no response from Pro) that Pros evidence only specifically refers to the Great Depression/newdeal I give the point to Con.

2. Cons argument of congress declaring a perpetual state of emergency gets rid of any solvency Pro has. Pro doesnt respond to this point at all.

3. Cons point about Congress just raising taxes to balance the budget goes unrefuted--Pro tells me high taxation is bad so I can negate here as well.

4. Pros impact of the flaw in democracy doesnt outweigh. Con drops and doesnt respond until R4 (and responds really weakly), but insofar as the solvency here is taken out by Congress bypassing the amendment by using loopholes, Cons depression impact carries the round.

All other arguments I didnt mention were either refuted or carried no impacts. I'm left with four voters, one for Pro and three for Con and Cons outweigh/negate Pro's.

Both sides need to seriously work on tagging their arguments/rebuttals better, particularly Con. I literally had to get out two sheets of paper and start flowing so that I could keep track of what was going on. S/G to Pro for Cons "ultraquoting" in R4, it made that round really difficult to keep track of.

On a side note, both went into tangents about republicans, and entitlements, and tax rates. WTF
Posted by DeFool 3 years ago
DeFool
A number of points were made, that I feel that I need to address.

First, suggesting that "FDR made the Depression worse," is absurd, since the Depression ended following his policies. This is a statement of fact that is entirely unsupported.

Second, Latham sums up nicely a few concepts that I feel the need to answer: If California is " wildly overspending" then the BBA is not working there. "Rainy day funds" are also simply ways of circumventing BBAs. If such funds are justified - then BBA legislation is not. Such tactics are classic Keynesian Economics, which justifies FDR's policies and supports the concept of economic stimulus.

Third, the idea that BBA legislation is radical and potentially destabilizing was conclusive. If other, more organic, options exist - then why shouldn't they be employed first? For example, the argument that our nation should elect more fiscally responsible decision makers (Wiploc suggested Democrats). This strategy could be implemented immediately - sooner than any BBA. Isn't sooner better than later? Especially if the debt problem is so dire?
Posted by RoyLatham 3 years ago
RoyLatham
Most of the States operate with balanced budget amendments. Although they sometimes use tricks and dubious accounting to partially evade the requirements, they work pretty well. They provide marginally more fiscal discipline than otherwise would be applied. Even wildly overspending California makes some cuts as a result.

The states and municipalities with BBAs establish "rainy day funds" which they build up in good times to pay for increased spending in bad times. that enables safety net services to be maintained during ordinary recessions. This might have been discussed in the debate.
Posted by wiploc 3 years ago
wiploc
That reads better, thanks.
Posted by DoubtingDave 3 years ago
DoubtingDave
That's a typo. I was typing it up and word and it must have been deleted. Here is what it should have said:

"Even worse, higher taxes give the wealth and politicians more reasons to collude. The wealthy make contributions to political campaigns and the politicians pay them back with tax loopholes."
Posted by wiploc 3 years ago
wiploc
Would you rephrase this for me:

: Even worse, higher taxes give rich people and politicians pay the wealthy right back by giving them
: loopholes.[3]
Posted by DoubtingDave 3 years ago
DoubtingDave
Gah, I really need to learn how to summarize arguments.

BTW, "out of space" ought to be "out of time."

Don't forget to upload the picture and click "Copy image" DO NOT CLICK COPY IMAGE URL, THAT WILL NOT WORK.
Posted by DoubtingDave 3 years ago
DoubtingDave
OK, upload the pictures to a debate.org album; then copy and paste the image into the debate.
Posted by wiploc 3 years ago
wiploc
Okay, I need to know how to post images in a debate. I checked the tutorial in the DDO forum, but that doesn't address the topic.
Posted by wiploc 3 years ago
wiploc
Thanks.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by OhioGary 3 years ago
OhioGary
DoubtingDavewiplocTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Con's argument linking BBA to a theoretical BCA displays the flaws in BBA. Con also mentioned instances where governments & businesses may desire to incur debt. Pro's sources came largely from the Heritage Foundation which biases towards the political right. When Pro provided sources, such as those from CBS News, he quoted the by-line without providing information in the text of the source. Pro had burden of proof in this debate and I believe that Con was successfully able to refute the arguments.
Vote Placed by Trinitrotoluene 3 years ago
Trinitrotoluene
DoubtingDavewiplocTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: I found Con's argument that a Balanced Budget Amendment would hamstring the government's ability to respond to some types of financial crisis to be the better argument. Pro's response was to provide two quotes that disagreed with Con's argument, but these quotes are opinions without substance and I found them to be unconvincing. Both sides presented some interesting but off-topic arguments and so I focused on what appeared most relevant to the resolution.
Vote Placed by thett3 3 years ago
thett3
DoubtingDavewiplocTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:13 
Reasons for voting decision: Comments
Vote Placed by DeFool 3 years ago
DeFool
DoubtingDavewiplocTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Well reasoned debate. The following statement was presented by Con: "The reason we want to reduce the debt is that we seek economic health." For me, this statement informed my understanding of the subject for the remainder of the contest. The argument against the resolution from my perspective was: 1. BBA is likely unconstitutional 2. BBA reduces our nation's democratic power (regardless of how unwise our decisions are), 3. other options for reducing the debt exist (such as electing more fiscally responsible decision makers,) and 4. BBA reduces our collective power to correct economic downturns. On point, and powerful, these arguments were not turned or negated. Attempts to do so centered around general statements such as "deficits are bad," and "FDR prolonged the depression." The argument that lowering revenues will raise revenues struck me absurd - a bit like arguing that not going to work will make a household more money, because of the savings realized by not commuting. Win: Con.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 3 years ago
RoyLatham
DoubtingDavewiplocTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: I cannot understand why Con raised the issue of who has run up deficits historically; it's not relevant to what should be done. Pro pointed out the lack of relevance. Pro made arguments that people will endlessly vote themselves new benefits and that government spending worsened rather than cured the Depression. Neither were adequately answered by Con. I couldn't access Con's charts, some links were broken and others were blocked by security software. That interfered with following the debate.