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Bernie Sanders Would Hurt America If Elected

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/10/2016 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,322 times Debate No: 86276
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (19)
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My argument: Bernie Sanders would severly hurt America if elected in 2016.

DISCLAIMER: My viewpoint in no way implies any support for any of the alternative/opposing candidates, or any support for a Democratic or Republican nomination. This debate strictly adheres to the policies of Sanders; at no point should this [debate] turn into one regarding any other candidates' policies. Economic and social issues will be discussed.

Definitions: "Hurt" = be economically and socially detrimental to.
"America" = The United States (strictly speaking states, excluding territories)

One more thing: Unconventially I used this round as an introduction in order to emphasize my main point. To compensate for this, I made this debate four rounds; the actual debating will have a maximum of three rounds. The opponent's first response can simply be an acceptance or whatever they so desire.

Now that that's out of the way, anyone up for a debate?


I accept.
Debate Round No. 1


{Round 2 - The Pro will briefly highlight flaws in some of Sanders’ main ideas and the Con will be attempting to argue against them.}

Sanders’ Policies

          1. Raising taxes on the rich

          • Has proposed a 90% tax rate - he went back on it but after all, he is a politician.

          • Justifies this by claiming that back in the day, the top line tax was around this level.

          • Conveniently leaves out the fact that the level of government spending as a percentage GDP has doubled since around 1950.

          • This boils down to “the rich need to pay their fair share”, which is an emotional appeal, as opposed to a statistically-backed one. This appeals to one’s inner child; we were all taught as children, that if one child has taken more than the rest, then this is “unfair and fundamentally wrong”. Subsequently we believe that it is necessary for someone, a figure of authority, to step in. However, the nobody even entertains the notion that the State has an unfair amount of power, authority, etc.; but that is not the overall point here. Let us examine this whole “fair share” idea. The AGI stands for aggregate gross income; based upon this, we can look at the 2011 IRS data and see “who really is paying their fair share”.

          • The top 1% account for 18.7% of the AGI, yet they pay 35.1% of all taxes.

          • The top 5% account for 33.9% of the AGI, and pay 56.5%.

          • The top 10% account for 44.5% of the AGI, and pay 63.8%.

          • Fair share? Why are so few people being exploited as much as they are? Doesn't that seem like something that someone who fights for equality, should be speaking out against? Of course not, after all, the upper class is the class you are allowed to hate. If one said anything along the lines of, “let us have this central monopoly of force violently coerce poor people into paying twice the amount of the AGI that they hold, people would take issue with that of course; but it is the basic principle of appealing to greed and envy, to say that “this is the class that is not paying their fair share”. Every generation has had this hated class - Marx called them the “bourgeois”, Sanders calls them the “1%”. It is simply the class that one is allowed to despise, contrary to all empirical evidence against such unfounded claims; hatred of the rich is irrational. The LTV does not factor in risk in entrepreneurship - in fact, the only reason we have the ability to use our laptop or phones right now, is because of a rich guy. In ancient times, the richest person could simply pay for all actors, towns, and producers to come to his place of residence, and put on a performance. That would take thousands of years for poor people to view via television.

2. The Demonization of Capitalism

          • Capitalism does very little for the rich. They can generally buy things that we need automated; capitalism exists as the great equalizer. For example, the automobile at first did not diffuse, until the Henry Ford’s Model T was introduced and could be mass produced and owned by many people, creating plenty of jobs as well as giving blacks a chance to move out of the South (which had been dragging them down for years of course). To a large portion, capitalism rarely receives the credit that it deserves, in many times in history and in modern society.

                    • We can look at the medical revolution. The reason that hundreds of millions of people are still alive today is because the existence of capitalism allowed medicine to diffuse into third-world countries, while socialism (albeit Sanders is a democratic-socialist) historically is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of millions of people.

            3. Inequality

                    • Sanders suggests that we as a nation have a major problem with wealth inequality. This has been the main go-to point for people like him who claim that the gun of government can be used for “equality”. What most don't realize, is that Sanders essentially wants a recreation of Lyndon B. Johnson’s “War on Poverty”. However, the rise of of the wealth gap largely began with the War on Poverty. In 1965, Johnson, the most prominent leftist since Franklin D. Roosevelt, gave the welfare state an unprecedented increase in size. Statistically, the rise in size of the welfare state began slightly after the declaration of the War on Poverty in 1965. The wealth gap has ballooned to the level we have today. If we look at the U.S. poverty rate, it decreased rapidly for years until Johnson’s Great Society legislation where the welfare and welfare state became staples of the American experience. The steep decline in poverty rate would slow and eventually stop. The poverty rate in the early 1970s was actually lower than it was after a full term of Obama, under whom it [poverty rate] hit a staggering 15%. The idea is that we as a country spent all of that money on a war on poverty, create the wealth inequality, and caused the issues we have today. To further look at the reality of this, median income has not increased with the extra spending in the war on poverty. Therefore, it is a poor investment that has actually failed so far. Though let us pretend for a second that Sanders is not spewing pure nonsense. Sanders’ plan says that he would manage to tax 530 billionaires who all have a combined net worth of about $2.6 trillion. Imagine that we tax them all at 100%, that is enough to pay off barely 10% of our national debt. We can not even get started on talking about funding all of the programs he wants - he would not even have enough to create a fair balance sheet. Therefore, claiming that the 1% will pay for just about everything, is just another random statement without any actual evidence. The basic thesis we can see him forming, is that via the theft-racket of the State, we can redistribute wealth from billionaires and spread it to the lower and middle classes in the form of welfare, and refer to this as an “investment”. This has been tried and has failed, but we can break this down by his theories and actual policies, to reach the conclusion that Sanders is the candidate with no real or good ideas, solely surviving off being a demagogue playing off your emotions.

            4. Economic Model

                    • Let’s start out with his base theories, and how it would work out logically. As far as his tax plan goes, it is basically designed in a vacuum or fixed price model, where he does not anticipate potential reactions within the market amongst people, to start with the idea that he can simply tax the rich, take their money, and switch it over to the poor makes no real, logical sense. Let us say that there is a bank manager, and he is informed that tomorrow, that I (the government) intend to rob the bank. What Sanders would suggest, is that by doing this, the bank will automatically fall to their knees and fork over their money. However, in actuality, the bank manager would hire extra security, notify police, and transfer money out of his vaults to a third party location. Whatever happens, I would not be able to simply take money out of your bank because you know that I’m coming. It just is not going to be able to happen. That is the same thing with taxation. If billionaires are so evil, then why is it that one would expect that if a high-tax rate were to be shot at them, they would just immediately comply and fork over their money. That isn't how it is going to play out, If you tell me [corporation] that you are coming for my money, I’m hiding it, I’m hiring tax lawyers, I’m bribing your entire Senate, House of Representatives, and you can't do anything about it, because I know I need to fight back. Obviously, high taxes are not going to work; the “evil” CEOs are going to fire people, they are going to have to spend less so we get shoddy products, they are going to outsource, and we may see a rise in sweatshops. Why would we not expect that these corporations fight back? This also means that the competitors, small businesses, will take the brunt of the tax and will eventually collapse. As a result, the small businesses can no longer exist. See the “Laffer Curve” - when tax rates are changed, it changes people’s behavior.

            5. “Tax-Payer Funded”

                    • The state has no money, it has zero money. The State can only tax, which is stealing, print money (inflation), which is stealing from people in the future, and borrow money, which again is a tax on the future generations. The State first needs to use violence in order to accomplish nearly anything. Therefore, whenever you say “Government should ought to do X”, what you are actually saying is that government should hold guns to taxpayers’ heads and demand more money to give them less freedom. This is highly immoral, and it creates a huge upper class known as the State - the group of people with absolute authority - and we have more artificial inequality than ever. That is Bernie’s idea, to use the guns of the State to take, without realizing, that you can't just take money or play with the market, and expect nothing to happen. Every single action has a reaction. This is inescapable, and this whole principle of government being benevolent, is entirely untrue.








I thank Pro for offering me the opportunity for a debate on the incredibly dynamic and unpredictable 2016 election cycle.

When debating the merits of a candidate, it’s important to construct a historically accurate narrative about their policies. Bernie Sanders never stated support for raising the top tax rate to 90%. This misconception stems from Sanders comparing his policy of raising taxes on the wealthiest of Americans to President Eisenhower’s top tax rate of 90%, a comparison intended to indicate what policies Sanders wouldn’t adopt. If we remember the first democratic debate, the Eisenhower comparison emerged when Sanders was asked how high he would raise taxes on the wealthiest 1% of Americans, who stunningly possess more wealth than the bottom 95% combined. Sanders responded by saying: “it will not be as high as the number under Dwight Eisenhower, which was 90%.” ( Clearly, Sanders was only making a comparison, explicitly denying he would raise the top tax rate to such a large number. Pro’s line of attack is patently false.

A litany of intellectuals, ranging from economists to historians, have serious arguments for believing in increasing taxes on the wealthiest Americans. It is overly reductionist, and intellectually vapid, to reduce the idea of raising taxes to emotion and childhood reminiscence. There are a multitude of statistical reasons one might support raising taxes on the rich. For example, one take a statistical claim, such as “The top 1% of Americans control more than the bottom 95% combined”, and conclude that higher taxes would help us solve this colossal inequity. To add more statistical reasons into consideration, one might consider a recent empirical study by Brueckner and Lederman which found that “a 1 percentage point increase in the Gini coefficient reduces GDP per capita by around 1.1% over a five-year period;” In other words, they found a causal relationship between income inequality and decreased GDP per capita, and cited research explaining how inequality in Western economies leads to decreased investment to GDP ratios. ( Evidently, we must add quantitative arguments to the reasoning behind income inequality, not mere emotion and childhood morality.

Pro argues that the rich, not the poor, are being treated fairly by our tax system. He points to the percentages of taxes that the top income brackets pay related to their adjusted gross income. These results are supposed to be surprising, but essentially, all they prove is we currently have a progressive tax system, where the rich pay higher rates of taxes than the poor. This is a known fact. The fact that the rich pay higher taxes than the poor is supposed to be the source of this alleged unfairness. Contrary to Pro, I contend that this is a fair outcome given the distribution of wealth in favor of the top 1%. If the rich and poor paid the same rate of taxes, then the rich would be taxed at 10% while holding 40 % of the wealth, while the bottom 80% would be taxed at 10% while holding 7% of the wealth. This is unfair to the bottom 80%, as taking 10% from a class that has 40% of the wealth is significantly less of a setback than taking 10% from a class that has only 7% of the wealth. In other terms, taking 10% from a man with a billion dollars will harm him much less than taking 10% from a man with one hundred.

This all ties together to form a cogent argument for making our system even more progressive, as Sanders would. I have demonstrated the fairness of progressive taxation. Consequently, the richer one becomes, the higher rates of taxes one ought to pay. The top 1% are becoming increasingly richer, gaining 95% of new income ( With this new wealth, higher rates of taxation must come.

Pro states that “capitalism does very little for the rich”. How can this hold true, given the statistics that our present economic system has led the rich to have shockingly disproportionate ownership over the nation’s wealth? In an environment of capitalism and income inequality, capitalism does a great deal for the rich. During the Gilded Age, a time of extreme income inequality and rampant capitalist free markets, Andrew Carnegie exploited laborers to build a steel company worth the equivalent of 310 billion dollars. Considering that our capitalist economy has transferred disproportionate amounts of wealth to a small minority, and has brought many industrialists unheard of amounts of money, it cannot be said that capitalism does very little for the rich.

Pro criticizes socialism in the context of medicine. This is interesting, considering that the socialist Nordic model, an inspiration for Sanders, has handed Scandinavian countries some of the best health care ratings in the world. As for Pro’s contention that socialism has led to millions of deaths, this is true of capitalist societies as well. According to a study by Lancet Psychiatry, 45 thousand people kill themselves a year from unemployment, which is tied to the fear of not having a basic standard of living. Since a truly socialist nation would guarantee a basic living for all, these deaths can be attributed to the trappings of capitalist society. A study by the Institute of Medicine conducted at Harvard University concluded that an additional 45 thousand uninsured Americans die every year in need of health care. Thus, capitalism is responsible for at least 90 thousand deaths a year, more than a million since the start of the 21st century. Pro mentions the model T Ford as an example of capitalism gone right. I find this to be the perfect example to illustrate the double-standard in Pro’s argument. To manufacture the tires on his famed model T, Ford required a source of rubber. Where would an automobile company purchase most of its rubber from at the time? The Congo, occupied by the Dutch under King Leopold III, whose program of forcing indigenous Africans to extract rubber led to ten million fatalities. What motivated Leopold to uphold this horrendous policy? The massive amounts of profits his country could make selling the rubber to booming industrial capitalism, and his insistence on keeping foreign powers from utilizing the rubber for themselves. Leopold III serves as an example of how the profits and competition over resources created under the capitalist system can lead to the deaths of millions. Capitalism fueled the genocide of ten million Congolese.

In regards to Pro’s comparison to the Great Society, he can’t have it both ways. Pro both opposes Sander’s tax increases and blames Great Society legislation for being ineffective at addressing the poverty rate. However, the Presidency of Ronald Reagan, which featured historic tax cuts, led to a rate of poverty unseen since two decades prior, ultimately ending about three percentage points higher than it was under Johnson. If you want poverty to remain low, empirical evidence shows you can’t do it with tax cuts. Indeed, black poverty decreased by almost thirty perecent during the Great Society era ( It should be kept in mind that since the Great Society Era, Johnson’s policies have been rolled back by conservative leaders such as Reagan and both Bush’s. Considering this, as well as the increased poverty seen following Reagan’s conservative revolution, Pro’s omission of these key points is dubious, as the evidence suggests it was rolling back the Great Society that led to more poverty, not any failure of the program’s policies themselves. Pro contends that Sanders’ program would not pay off the national debt, but this is irrelevant, as paying off the national debt with increased taxes is not one of his policies.

Pro questions how we can enforce Sanders’ tax program. He refers to the Laffer curve as a justification for his argument that people will move tax money outside of U.S. jurisdiction to avoid these new taxes. However, the Laffer curve only tells us that, at some point, there is a tax rate too high that people will begin not to pay it. It does not tell us where this point lies. It also tells us that there is a tax rate at some point that maximizes tax revenue. Again, it doesn’t tell us where this point lies. Therefore, there is no reason for invoking the Laffer curve to prove that Sander’s policies will lead people to hide income, as the Laffer curve provides no indication that the tax rate where people will begin to hide their income is equal or lesser than Sanders’ proposed tax rate. As for cases of people using offshore accounts to avoid taxes, this is a matter of IRS enforcement that holds true for any tax plan that one could propose, and is therefore not a unique blemish on Sanders’ ideas, but any tax plan as a whole.

Pro questions the legitimacy of the state in taxing at all. While this is an interesting question, I believe it verges into territory that is outside of the resolution’s scope, and may even constitute a kritik. To answer his argument briefly, he asserts that taxation is a form of violence, and is therefore immoral. This implies that all forms of violence are immoral. Otherwise, Pro would not be able to reason directly from “Taxation is violent” to “Taxation is immoral”. At the very least, Pro needs to show us why this specific act of violence is immoral. Pro also characterizes the state as having absolute power. I find this doubtful. Pro speaks of the state as if it is a homogenous institute. To the contrary, the United States government encompasses a state and federal component, and within those two components, features a complex balance of power and responsibility to prevent one part from becoming too powerful. Considering this, it cannot be plausible to speak of the government as if its power is unchallenged.

Thanks for reading. Back to Pro.

Debate Round No. 2


I will be breaking down the Con’s arguments in order and debunking them. There is not much room for rambling here because of the character limit, so I apologize if the flow of my arguments is somewhat abrupt.

To begin, corporate taxes in Nordic countries are actually substantially lower than rates in the USA. ( This is interesting because under Eisenhower when taxes were around 90%, the only people who were actually paying these marginal rates were those making over $3,425,766 when adjusted for inflation. Since these were marginal rates, they only paid it on any earnings above that threshold. ( The recent supposed rise in income inequality has not caused any decline in upward mobility. Incomes and standards of living have increased, and mobility is as strong as ever. How much the top earns has no effect on the bottom’s ability to move up. Income inequality calculations are flawed, as households of different numbers are compared and do not factor in non-cash government transfer payments or taxes. A closer look at inequality reveals that it is not as prominent as suggested. Another factor left out is age; of course those in their fifties and sixties will earn more than college students and retirees. Consumption is a better measure of a household’s well-being than income. ( A study by the American Enterprise Institute suggests that true income inequality actually hasn’t gotten worse since the 1990s. ( Emanuel Saez, the same economist whose studies on income earners are notoriously cited by leftists, also conducted another study on wealth inequality revealing that the top earners’ share of wealth at the beginning of the 21st century is lower than it was in the early 1900s; this study however is neglected by the left. ( A study by the Brookings Institute tested what would happen to the gap between the poor and wealthy if the income tax on the highest earners was raised from the current 39.6% to 50%. The results showed that it would have little to no effect on inequality, and that the U.S. along with Israel, would have the worst inequality in the developed world. (

The Mises Institute researched the the GDP per capita (PPP) relative to economic growth and I quote, “the graphs show, on average, the freest countries are not only richer, but also grow faster in the long run.” “As can be seen, on average, the freest economies have a better distribution of income according to this indicator. The argument that freer and more productive economies suffer greater income inequality is a myth built on the mistake of watching a few countries and not the entire sample.” ( The Con’s argument about GDP is irrelevant, because GDP, which is a measure of one year’s production, is an inherently incorrect measure of real economic growth. Government spending and all sorts of unnecessary transactions are accounted, however this is not the only miscalculation. Imports are netted against exports, “A fixture of GDP is the mercantilist mentality of treating exports positively and imports negatively. Why are exports additive to GDP while imports are deductive? If the goal of GDP is to measure the goods and services provided to people within a geographic region, imports — not exports — are the benefit. Exports are but payment for imports.” The GDP distorts the performance of an economy while failing to estimate a society’s standard of living. ( (

The U.S. already has one of the most progressive tax codes among OECD countries, thus if they were going to work, we should expect that they would have done so already. There are also considerable negative economic consequences to a highly progressive tax code. Statistically, excessive marginal tax rates discourage work. The inevitable result of a progressive tax is reduced real economic growth. Progressive taxation is actually the most harmful to the poorer classes - the same people whom it is aimed to benefit. ( Empirically, higher taxes on the rich will do little to none on lowering inequality. The (Keynesian) Washington Center for Equitable Growth even points out what a top tax rate would do to 50% on the Gini Coefficient. Apparently, increasing the top rate to 50 percent would only reduce the Gini from 0.574 to 0.571.Some arguments against increasing progressivity are as follows: more revenue volatility rather than closing federal deficits, (which means larger future deficits), higher tax rates in the 1990s contributed to the 2001 recession and returning to them will damage our already weakened economy, the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts generated economic growth, and raising the top two income tax rates will negatively impact almost three-fourths of all economic activity created by small businesses. (

The Con makes several arguments accusing capitalism of disproportionate wealth ownership, however, true capitalism has not been a constant in America for a long time; much of this demonization can be largely attributed to crony-capitalism (distinct difference) and the rise of corporatism, the control of a state or organization by large interest groups. ( Again, capitalism is blamed for inequality by the Con, although the only way to close the income inequality gap is through non-linear ideas and strategies driven through capitalism, as proven by a Harvard study conducted in 2015. (

Sanders has endorsed single-payer healthcare systems. He basically wants to adopt the Canadian and European model for health-care. Here are ten quick facts about the American health-care system: 1. Americans have a better survival rate for common cancers than Europeans do. 2. The same holds true in Americans versus Canadians. 3. Americans have better access to treatment for chronic diseases than people in other developed countries. 4. Americans have better access to cancer screening than Canadians do. 5. Lower-income Americans have better health compared to Canadians. 6. Americans spend less time waiting for a doctor than patients in the UK or Canada. 7. The people in single-payer states are more likely to say that their health-care system is not satisfactory and need to reform. 8. Americans are more satisfied with their care than Canadians are. 9. Americans have better access to new medical technology than patients in Canada or the UK. 10. Americans are responsible for the vast majority of health-care innovations. American health-care has nothing to do with the free market. We do not have a fully free market with health-care. As of today, U31; of all U.S. health-care spending goes to waste. $765 billion dollars, all through the corporatist nature of our health-care system and a single-payer system, would actually only assist the collapse.

The only reason Ford had to buy rubber from the Congo in order to supply his automobile assembly lines, was because the British had a monopoly on it in the 1920s. The simple fact is that this is not the fault of capitalism, rather the lack of it; under true free market capitalism, monopolies cannot form or be sustainable.

The American economy performed better during the Reagan years than during the pre- and post-Reagan years. The Cato Institute argues against the negative and untrue claims attributed to the economic policies executed under the Reagan administration. “Real economic growth averaged 3.2 percent during the Reagan years versus 2.8 percent during the Ford-Carter years and 2.1 percent during the Bush-Clinton years. Real median family income grew by $4,000 during the Reagan period after experiencing no growth in the pre-Reagan years; it experienced a loss of almost $1,500 in the post-Reagan years. Interest rates, inflation, and unemployment fell faster under Reagan than they did immediately before or after his presidency.” A full analysis of the economic impacts of his policies revealed even more. ( (

LBJ’s “War on Poverty” can be called a “failure” for two reasons: one, the incomes and living standards of less affluent Americans were rising rapidly well before the War on Poverty began, and two, the original goal of it was not to prop up living standards artificially through an ever-expanding welfare state - which is exactly what it has done. Johnson’s proclaimed goal was not one of handouts, but of self-sufficiency. The Heritage Foundation conducted a full study on this and concluded that official poverty declined and self-sufficiency improved for the same general reason that these improvements occurred before 1965: a steady rise of wages and education levels. (

Theft is when someone takes something that doesn’t belong to them. You own yourself. Because you own your body, your labor, and what you acquire by trade, taxation is theft. Governments are institutions used by the super rich to concentrate wealth and power. Since they are not earning money by offering goods or services for us to choose from freely, theft is their primary mechanism. Taxation is just a word that makes us more likely to go along with massive, widespread, organized theft. It is not right for one person to steal. It is not right for two people to steal. It is still not right for 51% of a voting population to vote for a representative who will hire a tax collector to steal for them. A great government lie is that theft can be moral when performed by enough people and called taxation. Even if some money stolen is used for legitimate purposes, it doesn’t change the simple fact that taxation is theft.

I challenge the Con to answer the five questions on the link without invalidating the very notion of government itself. (



I appreciate Pro’s thorough and erudite response.

First, I must cast doubt on the objectivity of the large majority Pro’s sources. Pro is fond of citing a litany of Libertarian and Conservative think tank groups to justify his arguments. He cites the Mises Institute three times, the Heritage foundation five times, and offers one citation each for the American Enterprise Institute, the Cato Institute, and the Center for Freedom and Prosperity. These think tanks offer a strong ideological bent, and given their political connections to politicians who share their ideas, it is really not surprising these institutions rarely publish anything contradicting their founding ideology. The Cato Institute was founded by the billionaire Charles Koch, who frequently donates millions to Republican candidates, and features numerous CEO’s in its highest ranks. Somehow, I doubt the Cato Institute is an objective source of information about economics. The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, along with the American Enterprise Institute, both co-hosted a Republican debate back in 2012. Similarly, the Center for Freedom and Prosperity is designed to promote a flat-tax policy. It is difficult to uncouple the “research” conducted at these think tank institutions from the tank’s obvious ideological biases and political connections. Researchers are supposed to let the evidence determine their conclusions, not the other way around. For this reason, it is quite troublesome these institutions identify as Libertarian, Conservative, or Austrian. When producing objective economic research, there is no need to identify as any political ideology, other than to identify the “research” being conducted as aimed for a specific policy goal. Due to my belief that Pro's sources are not reliable, I will not exert the Herculean amount of energy required to rebut his shotgun-like points, instead focusing on the general issues surrounding this debate.

I will, however, answer the few citations he made to objective, academic sources. First, he cites Suarez as arguing the 1% owned more wealth in the 90s than they do today. Even if this was true, it's irrelevant. Sanders is upset that, regardless of how the 90s may have really been, the 1% still own a disproprotionate amount of wealth in the present, and most economic forecasts indicate the disproportionalities will grow in the future . Pro cites the fairly non-partisian Brookings Institute and another source as saying increasing taxes won't have a large impact on income inequality. This is also a non-sequitir, since the study considers the effect of a single policy decision in isolation, not the effects if Bernie Sanders' entire platform was implemented. In other words, even if I granted it as true (I don't) that increasing taxes doesn't make equality, I could say "Ok, but increasing taxes, banning the box, free health care, and free college together will."

It’s worth noting Pro often misrepresents Sanders or the research he cites against Sanders. Pro points out Sanders wants to raise taxes on corporations, but must not be aware that corporate tax rates are lower in the Nordic countries Sanders wants us to follow. Sanders is being misconstrued, as his policy on raising taxes on corporations entails ending deferments on offshore subsidies, closing foreign tax credit loopholes, and ending various other loopholes related to tax havens and foreign taxes, not raising corporate tax rates ( Also, Pro thinks his study proves that we will have the worst income inequality in the world if we raise taxes (along with Israel), but his source was actually indicating we have some of the world's worst inequality right now. Pro’s characterization of Sanders’ policy in this respect is as accurate as the assertion Sanders wants to raise the top tax rate to 90%. Pro flounders when comparing American health care to Sanders’ proposal. Specifically, Sanders wants the United States to follow the NHS model in the UK. Pro points to narrow aspects of our healthcare system which are better than those found in European countries. In general, however, the picture is quite clear. The United States ranks nineteen places below the UK according to the World Health Organization’s health care rankings ( This is incredibly ironic considering we actually spend the most money on health care in the world ( Our current healthcare system is like Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign: it spends the most money and basically comes in last place every time. I would hardly consider this absurd condition to be superior to European countries.

Additionally, Pro’s framework suffers from a lack of scope. Pro elects to harp on the economic dimensions behind Sanders’ candidacy, specifically, his ideas on tax rates. However, he does not consider the full extent of Sanders’ vision. None of the Republican party accepts the urgency of climate change. While Clinton states her belief in climate change, her ability to act on the issue is overshadowed by Sanders’ long-standing consistent progressive record. Due to his overt sincerity and passion, Sanders is uniquely positioned to address the issue of climate change. The same reasoning holds true for Wall Street reform. A non-existent issue in the Republican race, Wall Street reform has been uniquely championed by Sanders, who has demonstrated a consistent and passionate refusal to be influenced by Wall Street. Again, he is in a unique position to address this issue, given his staunch position and refusal to take millions from financial corporations. Sanders would also cut our bloated military budget, an issue both progressives and anti-spending Libertarians might agree on. By focusing solely on specific economic issues, Pro’s framework overlooks other, important aspects of a Sanders presidency which could make him beneficial to the country on balance.

Pro continues to expound on an anarchist vision of our society, where the government ought to be abolished because it’s an unethical institution. As I worried earlier, this is starting to become something of a kritik. It’s quite the kritik to enter a debate about who should preside over a government and then proceed to argue we shouldn’t have a government at all. Critically, his moral analysis tends to make assumptions which are left unjustified. Pro continues to insist that because taxation is upheld by force, it must be wrong. Pro has yet to justify this pacifistic moral principle, or found it on a solid moral ontology. He only keeps repeating himself. Until he gives us a reason to think violence is inherently wrong, his argument must stay firmly stuck on the ground. Pro challenges me to answer some questions found on one of his sources, but I must decline, otherwise it would be fair for me to insist Pro answers a series of questions on any link I provide.

I'll send the debate back to Pro, now.

Debate Round No. 3


I appreciate Con introducing me to his intriguing perspectives.

It is unfortunately, and blatantly apparent though, that Con underhandedly dodged a substantial amount of my arguments, or perhaps didn’t want to focus on the entirety of them to focus on other points. Either way, Con has yet to refute statistics that don’t quite go hand in hand with his beliefs, however, I’ll let it slide. It allows us to give our final arguments some more depth. That being said, Con makes a habit out of claiming that my sources and studies are not credible. I find this interesting, considering the fact that a large majority of my sources were often the only research centers pointing out the bias, miscalculations, and outright falsities, found within the commonly cited liberal and/or Keynesian studies or mainstream outlets. For example, the source which I am about to cite, funnily enough points out the bias of the World Health Organization, which spreads misleading information about the American healthcare, leading them to want to model the failed or failing, medicinally-socialized countries. It’s only fair that I quote a study from the Mises Institute, whose factual and scholarly research is unsettling and a blow to Con’s ideology, “The WHO takes into account a number of factors that say little to nothing about the real quality of a country’s healthcare system, and in many cases are definitional in being biased against real free-market healthcare. While the US healthcare system relative to other countries does look poor on paper according to the WHO, what the U.S. would be giving up in order to look better in the eyes of the WHO, many could reasonably claim is of greater value than what would be gained in order to achieve that higher standing: quality in exchange for equality.”;Con makes no attempt to justify, or even address, his platform’s obviously biased statistics, and instead attacks Pro’s sources for emphasizing the problems within his own.

Onto the argument that “while increasing taxes won’t solve inequality, the scope of the entire plan will”. Here is where Con’s argument begins to go downhill, from the previous somewhat-reasonable point. The main goal of Sanders plan, in summary, is to right the ‘wrong’ of economic and social inequality.;I’ll run through a majority of his platform. He plans to raise the minimum wage to a “living wage”, because “nobody working forty hours a week should be living in poverty. He phrases this in such a way, that it would appear that if you oppose him, you agree that they should be living in poverty, which of course is untrue. Most capitalists would argue though that 1. Nobody working 80 hours a week doing something meaningful and taking enormous risk, should have men with guns taking around 90% of their income. 2. Nobody is actually working 40 hours a week and living in poverty. The average poor household (not individual people, but multiple people living in a household) has a grand total of 16 hours worked per week. Studies show that if the entire household were to split a 40 hour week, they would be lifted out of poverty entirely. Statistically this holds true, and the poor actually aren’t as impoverished as we have been lead to believe. 43% of poor households are homeowners. On average, they have a 3 bedroom house with 1½ baths, a garage, and a patio. 83% of poor households have air conditioning. Only 6% are actually overcrowded. The average American has more living space than a person living in Paris, Vienna, Athens, London, or other cities in Europe. But here’s the catch: that is comparing poor people in the U.S. to average people in Europe! It’s better to be poor here than rich in the famously leftist European continent!;A full meta analysis of minimum wage also showed that out of 102 studies done on the minimum wage in the U.S. and across the world, only 8 showed any positive indication of the minimum wage working at all. That is about 7.8%. 85% of the most credible studies have shown that the minimum wage does not help at all whatsoever. In addition, statistically by adopting higher minimum wage laws, higher unemployment will follow. As of right now, the top 50% in the income bracket pay 97% of all income taxes. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the rate of participation in the labor force is currently about 60%, meaning that about 40% of the country isn't working at all. It´s difficult to sustain an economy when nearly half of your country doesn't have a job. In 38 of the states in the U.S., plus the District of Columbia, it is actually more profitable to not work, and receive welfare, than it is to have a job. It is not easy to have the tax burden of the entire country on your shoulders, as well as having to support yourself and your family.

Another aspect is making college free by taxing successful people. He has recently proposed a bill that would make college “free”. Nothing is free; it involves State theft, and seeing that he has dehumanized his victims through taxation, it is easy to make a population buy into the myth of infinite resources. Johnson attempted to give everyone free college loans back in the day, saying it is “an investment in our future”, and oddly enough, prices of higher education skyrocketed and mean income did not increase. So as far as an investment goes, this is the equivalent of me investing a trillion dollars to have the value of the thing I invested in, decrease, and my own personal worth remain stagnant. This is a very bad investment, as the cost of both public and private university education has tripled since 1965. Participation in higher education has been increasing for some time, but the rate of participation in the labor force has been in decline since 1997. What me must realize is that giving out college indiscriminately is not a logical solution. Not all majors are created equal. If you are going to be an electrical engineering major, you’ll have plenty more success after college than an art major. There is no reasonability to treat all people as they are the same. The value of college has far overstated 48% of college graduates are in jobs that do not require a college degree. In 2011, 53% of college graduates under 25 were actually unemployed. 40% of graduates that are employed, are not employed in the field that they studied in. Your IQ is fixed after 18. College can´t make you smarter. However, when you diffuse people that naturally don’t belong in higher education, it will hurt the quality of college.

Onto the 1%, the reason the 1% are so powerful is because they have the State to lobby, since the growth of the welfare state that is when we saw income inequality increase, actually the biggest boom in income inequality. In the Roaring Twenties, which is often portrayed as huge income inequality era - it actually wasn’t as bad as it is now, and it wasn’t ever as bad as today until the 1960s when we saw the Great Society legislation by leftist Lyndon Johnson that would essentially push the growth of the welfare state and the State in general. This was very left-wing, something Sanders would support, and that is largely what has lead to the growth of the State - of which these billionaires can now use. That is how we have this issue of poverty. Now, one may say that “That isn’t how income inequality happened. It wasn’t as bad in the 50s when progressive tax rates were way better as Eisenhower taxed the 1% so high”. Except back then, we didn't spend as much and the State was far smaller. Empirically, the rise in problems we have today began with the welfare state. We’ve spent roughly $23 trillion on poverty since Great Society - more money than is currently in circulation. We’ve just redistributed that from the rich to the poor, we have all of this income inequality, and we still have this wealth gap.

Next, he states we must change to a UHS, specifically to model the UK’s NHS, which is currently at its worst since the 1990s. A top doctor in Britain has even said that their system of healthcare is “not fit for the future”, one of the reasons being, ironically, that general practitioner surgeries require more resources to meet the high demand in the UK; the laws of supply and demand have caught up with the capitalistically-repressive healthcare system. This is not just one doctor’s opinion, empirical data backs this up. Waiting time targets for A&E, hospital treatment and cancer care all being missed towards the end of the parliament. Bed occupancy increasing to "very high levels", while delays in discharging patients have "risen significantly". Funding being increased by 0.8% a year on average - higher than was predicted mainly because of the low levels of inflation.” Now there have been some achievements of the system, but they are not without disadvantages.

Onto taxation, if I didn’t make it clear, my view is not one of pacifism as Con implies, rather one of opposing the initiation of aggression upon peaceful people. Taxation is the implication that “we’re going to charge you money for being here”. In America, there is this concept of civic duty, that everyone must pay their “fair share”. If they do not pay this fair share of their rightly earned and owned product of labor, they will thrown in jail. The threats of force and coercion are always present in the act of taxation, even if the violent act (men with guns coming to your house and locking you in a cage), the use of force, is a few steps removed. I strongly advise you to look into the story of Irwin Schiff if you are doubtful.;I propose an alternate and more efficient system, one where a violent and coercive monopoly on force is not intrinsic, but that is for another discussion. This though, is why the act of taxation, of which Con asked me to prove, is inherently immoral.

Again, I thank Con for the enjoyable debate.


Let’s tie the threads of this debate together and see if we can come to any conclusions. Keep in mind that Pro continues to bring up new research from these "objective" think tank groups.

In respect to answering Pro’s statistics, I created two categories: Pro’s biased statistics, and Pro’s objective, academic statistics. I gladly responded to Pro’s objective statistics, but since I’m not obligated to extensively refute biased research, I did nothing more than point it out for what it is--biased. I’m bemused by Pro’s assertions I “dodged” a “substantial” part of his arguments. Unless my vision is failing me, I devoted an entire paragraph to the statistics I apparently dodged. I didn’t dodge any arguments, I put them in their proper context--which is that these are all ideologically biased sources who have deep political connections, entailing a lack of ability to productive objective research. I put forward three reasons to question the objectivity of Pro’s sources, none of which he responded to (dodging?). First, these think tanks rarely publish any research contradicting their founding ideology. What an odd coincidence that all of the research published by these think tanks agrees with their founding ideology! Pro did not answer to this point. Secondly, the very fact that these institutions have a founding ideology is concerning enough in its own right. Objective research doesn’t have a guiding ideology--it lets the evidence determine the ideology. If I’m a physicist researching life on other planets, I don’t call my project the ‘Aliens Definitely Exist” project, with a founding goal to “discover evidence that aliens are alive”, because that’s antithetical to the spirit of scientific research, which is to let the evidence determine your beliefs and not the other way around. All of the think tanks Pro cites have this problem--they all aim to conduct “pro-flat tax research” or “pro-Austrian economics research”, which is not how objective research proceeds. Pro dodged this argument as well. Thirdly, the think tanks cited by Pro have political ties and connections to the Republican party, even hosting some of their debates. Somehow, in my oh-so cynical mind, I doubt these centers for “objective” research are about to start promoting liberal social policies. Pro characterizes his biased sources as a counterbalance to Keynesian bias, but since I didn’t point to any Keynesian think tanks, this comparison falls completely apart. He also tries to compare my World Health Organization statistic to his own biased think tank statistics. This fails in many respects. 1) The WHO does not have explicit political goals for its research, while Pro’s think tanks do. 2) The WHO doesn’t host political debates like Pro’s think tanks do. 3) “Fairness” is not a biased standard. You can have the best health care equipment in the world, but it counts for little if nobody in your society can access that health care equipment. This is why the WHO considers both the quality of the health care and access to health care.

The vast majority of Pro's sources are from biased think tanks, and since Pro has not answered to my specific criticisms about the objectivity of their research, he faces a substantial problem for upholding the resolution in this respect.

Pro moves on to the question of just how poor poor people really are. Should people who work forty hours a week be living in poverty? Clearly not. Pro rhetorts to this by pointing out that nobody should have 90% of their income taken by armed men. I have no idea how an intellectually responsible debater can continue saying Bernie wants to raise taxes to 90% when I presented a quote from Bernie where he says the exact opposite two rounds ago. In any case, this is an obvious red herring and has nothing to do with the actual issue at hand. Pro then claims that nobody is working forty hours a week and living in poverty. On a personal level, this is probably one of the most disgusting and ignorant claims somebody could make about those living in poverty. There are millions of adult, male workers who single-handedly take care of a family of four who, at current minimum wages and working forty hours a week, would still live in poverty ( Pro claims he has "studies" to back up his assertion, but he never tells us what these studies are.

According to Pro, the poor actually have it quite nice. Allow me to dispel this privileged notion once and for all. He states that 43% of poor people own a house. This backfires, because it means that 53% ( a majority) of poor people don't own a house. He states that the average poor household has a three bedroom, one and a half bath house. This is deceptive, because the size of bedrooms and bathrooms significantly varies from house to house. The average poor household might have three bedrooms, but these bedrooms are much smaller than those of other economic classes. The same holds true for Pro's points about patios and garages. Pro claims that the average poor person in America has poor living space than the average person in Europe. This is another deceptive comparison, because Europeans have less living space than Americans in general (for the same reasons they have smaller food portions--they don't consume as much as we do). For example, you can fit two average Spanish houses inside the average American house ( The average American household is 1.5 times larger than the average American poor household, but the average European household is about 1.1 times larger. Once you start comparing apples to oranges, considering that European has smaller house sizes in general, you can see that the American poor don't actually have it that great.

Growing up poor makes you more likely to commit a crime, more likely to have a parent in prison, more likely not to get a college education, more likely to be malnourished, and more likely to suffer from mental illness and not to receive treatment for that illness. But I guess Pro has a point when he says a lot of poor people get air conditioning, a technology which came into widespread use during the 1920s.

I'll make some brief points about the value of a college education. First, it's clearly not for everyone--there's always trade school. But the fact that 48% of graduates are in jobs not relating to their major does not mean the majority of jobs don't require a college degree. It just speaks to the fact that our economy is so bad (thanks Wall Street) many people cannot find anything above entry-level jobs. In reality, there are millions of jobs open in rapidly growing fields that require a college degree--ranging from environmental science to engineering. In this respect, we are short on college educations, because there are not enough technically qualified graduates to fill these positions. By providing free college, we give people the opportunity to pursue STEM degrees and gain these jobs, which will also make our country more competitive in a global economy that increasingly requires these kinds of jobs. While a lot of graduates were unemployed during the worst of the recession, Pro ignores that the situation was vastly (and still is) much worse for those who do not have a college degree, who earn less and have higher unemployment rates. Pro states that college can't make you a more intelligent person because IQ is fixed at 18. He ought to read the current psychological literature, because nobody knows to this day how exactly to quantify intelligence (or if it can be), or what test is best (it could be Stanford-Binet, it could be Wechsler). In any case, it is a scientific fact that neuroplasticity--the ability for the brain to rearrange its synaptical connections, continues throughout adulthood, so I see no reasons to believe that a college education cannot stimulate one's brain via neuroplasticity to make them a better thinker and person.

As for the role of government in our lives, I've said it before: Pro's argument is just a kritik. It's interesting to talk about the right of the government to tax, but it's outside of the scope of the debate. In other respects, Pro started a debate about who should preside over our government and then questioned if we should have a government at all. Pro's arguments in this respect have not been very interesting. He started off by saying that we must collect taxes by force, and that's violent, so it must be wrong to collect taxes. This is pacifism, because it rules an action as immoral because it's violent. I challenged Pro to put this ethical statement on a sound ontology (utilitarianism, deontology, whatever), and to justify the idea that violence and coercion must be wrong, but he doesn't done so throughout the entire debate, merely repeating his original assertion that collecting taxes requires force so it must be wrong. Again, he did nothing to explain why this arrangement is morally wrong, other than using emotionally loaded language.

I'll conclude by summarizing why Pro didn't win this debate. Pro's argument relied on a litany of statistical claims, but these claims were backed by questionable research. I pointed out and explained three reasons why this research should not be considered objective, and Pro did not answer any of them, instead rhetoring with failed tu quoque arguments. Since 95% of Pro's argument came from these biased sources, his ineffectiveness in defending his sources will cast a huge shadow over his performance. Additionally, as I demonstrated with numerous examples, Pro often misinterprets his sources or misinterprets Sanders' policy positions, even repeating these misconceptions after being corrected. Additionally, Pro's use of his sources was rather schizophrenic, denying income inequality in some places and denying whether it's that bad in others. Pro's anarchist argument fell flat on its face. For these reasons, Pro's argument cannot be considered compelling.

Thanks to Pro for the great debate.

Debate Round No. 4
19 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by whiteflame 7 months ago
>Reported vote: n7// Mod action: Removed<

5 points to Con (Arguments, Sources). Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.

[*Reason for removal*] While the voter does a sufficient job of examining sources and the reasons why Pro's arguments weren't convincing, the voter does have to explain why he's voting for Con and not just why he's not voting for Pro. That requires examining Con's arguments or examining the burden of proof in this debate, which the voter has not done.

Note: The voter has been accused of being a multi account of one of the debaters, and this has been checked. The accusation was investigated, and each account was confirmed to be unique.
Posted by n7 8 months ago
Sargon and I are a hive-mind. We are two separate beings, but we are joining together in a painful dual consciousness.

But really, we're two different people.
Posted by Omni 8 months ago
@Benshapiro Interesting.
Posted by BlueDreams 8 months ago
Sargon/n7 is a reference to our satirical presidential campaign that came in a stunning third place.
Posted by Benshapiro 8 months ago
Isn't N7 Bluedreams' alt account? On his profile it says "Definitely Not Sargon. DDO since 2012. Sargon/n7"

If so, it seems obvious that he shouldn't be able to vote on his own debate.
Posted by whiteflame 8 months ago
>Reported vote: Greyparrot// Mod action: Removed<

3 points to Pro (Arguments). Reasons for voting decision: First, Con says we should use the Nordic economic model because America is like Europe in all other characteristics, then says we can't compare the wealth of the poor because Europe is just not the same as America. Which is it? Cherry picking comparisons and contrasts to the Euro to justify your argument is not convincing. Also dismissing most of the sources without any reason other than "oh it's biased, that's all I need to say" is not convincing either.

[*Reason for removal*] The voter is required to do more than simply state why they"re not voting for Con; they must assess Pro"s arguments and explain why they were sufficient to affirm. While these may be contributing factors, they are not sufficient in and of themselves.
Posted by n7 8 months ago
Sources: Con.

Pro's very first statement misused sources. Claiming Sanders wants to have a 90% tax rate is a known falsehood. Strangely enough, Pro ignores Con's debunking of this and passively acts as if it is established fact later in the debate.

Citing sources from biased think tanks does distort its truth value. The experimenter effect is a well confirmed phenomena and it can seriously screw up your methodology. In places like Pro's sources, it is highly likely for these things to manifest, as they are looking for results that confirm what they believe. This was demonstrated by the twisting of the statistics when it came to the poor. Living space wasn't factored in, for example.

Arguments: Con.

A majority of Pro's arguments are the same. They have to do with Sanders' view on economics. Most of his arguments relied on sources and Con pointed out since they possess a heavy possibility of experimenter bias, then most are unjustified. The leftist sources he uses don't refute the entire scope of Sanders' plan. Pro's refutation to this was to present more biased sources.

Pro also tries to argue a kritik. He wants us to accept an anarchist view of government, but that is irrelevant. The parameter of the debate assumes government is just.

I don't find Pro very convincing. His sources are likely prone to the experimenter effect and by extension so are his arguments. Pro's rebuttal to this had to do with his sources refuting left wing beliefs and attempting a tu quoeque (which Con pointed out there was serious differences. The WHO has no political agenda) . Neither of which justify Pro's sources.
Posted by Omni 8 months ago
Not sure why it spaced my argument out so wide.
Posted by Omni 8 months ago
Weird. Try refreshing again now.
Posted by BlueDreams 8 months ago
It's still the same on my end.
No votes have been placed for this debate.