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By The United States Having Over 49,000,000 People In Poverty And 1/5 Of Children We're Unethical

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/15/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 444 times Debate No: 80986
Debate Rounds (4)
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In recent months the issue of "Income Inequality" and "Poverty" has been discussed in many aspects and forums.

I take the position that by the United States having citizens with more money than they could ever spend, even frivolously, in one life time. And yet people, and more so children, are going to bed hungry every night, we as a society and country have fallen into a quagmire of being now considered Un-Ethical by mere fact of attempting to ignore the problem.

Poverty - Meaning the house hold has the inability to have even the most humane things expected in a 1st World Country: Health Care, Food, Clothing, Electricity, Transportation.

Un-Ethical - Not abiding by a set of rules that steer towards the betterment of society and individuals within that society. By not abiding this could be intentional or by ignorance imposed by others in society.

Income Inequality - The fact that the majority, working class and citizens, continually having less in monetary stability. And the minority having extreme with the idea of "extreme" being pushed to a wealth of $5,000,000 as an individual or family.

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- If there are words or concepts used that the general public would not understand but are imperative for your statement, you will state the definition or concept in parentheses.

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- The mentioning of any current laws should only be used if you directly reference a "new idea law" that would be overridden.

Lets begin!


Thank you for accepting me to have this debate and the best of luck.

The United States is a country bound to have poverty like any other country. Keeping 315+ million people above the poverty line is no easy job. As the instigator mentioned, the wealth gap is deep and that can't be denied. However, claiming we are unethical is taking it a bit over the edge. I take the position that while some poverty can be seen in the United States, it is far from critical level and claiming we are unethical is an overstatement.

Critical: Crisis or a problem in need of immediate attention.

Poverty Line: Minimum Income line which if above or below (in poverty) decides if you are in poverty or not.
Debate Round No. 1


The rebuttal in round #1, it is argued that the United States shall not be said to be unethical due to the millions in poverty. I would like to bring forth arguments in rebuttal to this by way of analyzing certain statements that were made.

I would like to bring to mind that the statement, "The United States is a country bound to have poverty like any other country." In this statement, it is assumed directly that due to size there is without a doubt, with no reservation, that there will be poverty. I bring to mind that this is an assumption. I do not fault the Con for making this statement, because it has been ingrained in the majority of American society that, in essence, "This is just the case." But, it is also making the assumption with this statement that, "We can"t do anything about it." That is the secondary assumption to this statement. And I ask, why? You can look to see that there are certain individuals with not only millions, but billions of dollars to their name. No person could ever spend that much money in their lifetime, no matter how hard they tried. That is, unless they buy in such excess that it is not needed, and is mere buying just to buy. This is not to say that those with excess money can not buy things of great value. If the person has made a wage that gives them that freedom, then that freedom should stay in tact. But, at what point do we draw the line and say, "There is such an excess of wealth and money, stock piled in bank accounts. What good is it doing? None."

It is stated that even though there is poverty, it is "far from (a) critical level"" In which case I ask; then what is the critical level? Is it when there are over 60,000,000 individuals in poverty? 80,000,000? 100,000,000? To make this statement is to assume that action should not be taken until it is deemed critical by society. Is this not a dangerous proposition? Especially for a society that considers itself a capitalist society. You see, the capitalist society only functions by way of the consumer. I believe this is often forgotten. As the poverty level increases, the consumership decreases, instating the capitalist to decrease production, which decreases jobs, putting more of society into poverty. Do you see, it is a circle that once broken, topples into shards that can not be put together again. It would seem, the capitalist would be the first to be for seeing an increase in ways to lower the poverty level. Does this take coins out of the purse of the wealthy? Yes. Does it cripple the wealthy? No. But the most important aspect is, "Does it keep consumers coming back, and the jobs increasing, and the wealthy to remain wealthy? Yes.

Final Statements:

Do not think we have shifted the speaking away from ethics in place of economics. But, to argue this aspect of society, poverty, it is tantamount we speak of this aspect. Because the wealthy continue to want "Tax Breaks", and "No Intrusion", it is saying, "I want to keep my money, and the reason is because I want to keep my money." This is all wretch and will lead to a state of distress, and eventually societal collapse. But by the wealthy, the business owners, the investors, giving due amount back to society, it increases buying by the consumer, increasing jobs, increasing opportunity, increasing education, until you see a society with little to no poverty, and at that point in which we get to that level with only 10,000 individuals, or 1,000 individuals in poverty, society must ask, "Why?" Why are these select few in a state of poverty? And it would be expected that the companionship of society would come together and help these few up off the streets and replace them into a working order of the cognition and good taste.

By not doing this, and by letting the greedy simply "keep to keep", it is unethical in the sense that it is greed and distaste that leads to this mindset. It can not be argued that compassion is unethical. And to change the way and open the purses of the wealthy in which they would never in their lifetime, or their children"s life time, or their children"s children"s life time begin to scrape the bottom of the purse, we see the society uprising, those in poverty end their suffering, and begin a new mindset that does not see "wealth" as the final and best answer, but "stability."

I digress and argue that yes, by the United States not only as a country but at the top of society there being exponential wealth and yet suffering from the lack of such a small percentage of that wealth at the bottom, the society of America has fallen into an unethical landscape.


I have no problem with the instigators argument and have readied my rebuttal.

1.To start the US is not nearly in the top level of poverty. According to the CIA, 15.1% of the US is below the poverty line. Compared to the EU, which is comparable to the US in human development and income in a whole, is estimated to have 14-16% poverty which is extremely similar to the US. There is one stat I'd like to bring to mind to counter my opponents claim we are "unethical". The percentage of the world's population living under 2.50 USD: 50% (3 billion). The Minimum Wage of the US is 7.25 USD which is 2.9x that of 2.50 USD. So compared to the world we are far from "unethical". My point is while the US has poverty, the rest of the world much worse off. Wealth distribution is much worse worldwide. This brings me to my next point.

2. My opponent makes statements about how the wealthy doesn't do more but it's not like they are obliged to. The wealthy make more than we can dream and spend. But the fact of the matter is that they earned it. They made it through making a popular product, advancing technology, and straight out earning it. While I do agree they earn much more than they should, it doesn't mean by law they must. This brings me to another discussion point. The average American makes around 40,000 dollars a year. That is ALOT of money compared to the rest of the world.

3. America was not built for people who sit around all day. It's survival of the fittest. Graduating college gives you bigger benefits than not. Getting a business job is better than flipping burgers for a living. That is why I point to some country's having poverty or not. They're going to have it, developed or not, 1st or 3rd-world. The way we treat our poverty-bound is why we are different. We have food banks, home-grown and international charities, and homeless shelters. It's not like we pay no attention to them.

Final Statement: As we head into the 3rd round, I'd like to summarize my argument. Poverty is a problem in the US but it's not as if we do nothing or the wealthy have all the money and don't contribute any money to the poor whatsoever as the instigator claims. The US is better than probably 85% of country's when it comes to poverty. The Wealthy aren't obligated to help the poor and the average American earns well over 40,000 USD a year, much more than the average person in the world. And it's not like we do nothing for the poor as we have food banks, charities, and homeless shelters.

USD: Standard currency of the US (stands for United States Dollar or USD).

Food Bank: Provides food for people In poverty.

Wealth Distribution: Wealth spread among people of a country.
Debate Round No. 2


I would first like to take this moment to compliment my opponent on a great debate thus far. Points have been made clearly and concisely. And there has been great discourse and discussion thus far. Top compliments to you and although we do not agree, many people could not get this far in a discussion without starting the mud-slinging and jabbing. Again, a compliment to you!

I would like to first say that I am glad, very glad, that you brought forth the point of how much other people in the world live in monetary value compared to the U.S. As stated, "The percentage of the world"s population living under $2.50 USD: 50% (3 billion)." Can you even comprehend this? 50% live under $2.50 a DAY in other parts of the world. That is one gallon (roughly, currently it is $2.21 in Dallas, Texas) of gas. Less than we pay for a gallon of milk (and not the top brand either but the "store brand"). We truly as American"s live such a blessed and fruitful life we squander it and do not appreciate it as we should. And it is said that 21,000 people a DAY, every single day, die from hunger in the world. That is roughly 1 person every 3 seconds. By the time you"ve read this far in the paragraph between 10-13 people have died somewhere in the world due to hunger, not a disease or medical issue, but simply hunger.
Now, to the debate.

My opponent gave a good, well formed, statistically correct response to my objection in Round 2. And although I do not wish to repeat myself word for word, I will make the point that draws from a point I made in Round 2, but I think is critical. Let me state, I do not fault my opponent for thinking in this manner, because it has, again, been ingrained in society to think in these terms. And it was not until I thought outside these terms that I saw the crux that American society is standing on.

1.Sadly, again, the state of American poverty is brought down to comparing statistics to other parts of the world. And again I ask the sincere and honest question, "So, at what point do we do something to change it? When we surpass the European Union by 5%? By 7%? 10%? I would like to bring my argument down to an example that may seem dramatic, but it is needed for the point that needs to be made.

Example: Standing in a room is 3 people against the wall. Their hands are tied above their head, and their legs died beneath their feet to the wall. There is a gun, fastened to a stand in front of each person. In the very middle of the room is a red button with a sign that says, "If pressed. All guns will shoot all 6 bullets. One bullet every other second." You have been placed in this room. A man comes up behind you and says, "You must press the button. Those are my orders to tell you." You look at the man and are horrified at the thought. You then notice, behind the man, is a fire extinguisher hanging on the wall, as well as an assault rifle on the other side. The man as stepped towards the red button to show you exactly where to push. You now have 3 options:
(1)You step with him and get his instructions, pushing the button knowing once it is done you will be free.
(2)You can grab the assault rifle and instead shoot the guard, knowing you will have time to untie each individual and save all 11 of you.
(3)Or, you can grab the fire extinguisher and hit the guard over the head, knowing he will be knocked unconscious for a time period. You can begin saving people, but are not sure how many more lives will be saved than just your own.

Which is the most ethical to do? It is not an easily answered question. But, in most cases, it is answered that even though you may be injured or even killed, it is most ethical to knock the guard unconscious and save as many as you can, with a chance you all can escape, but it is not certain.

So, it is imperative we stop looking away from the issue and simply shrugging our shoulders saying, "Well. The European Union has the same or slightly higher poverty, so we are okay." That is a scape goat to a question, and using a type of argument children and teenagers give when they are caught with their hand in the cookie jar, "Well, Johnny did it! So I did it after him!" But we know better than to fall for that, or do we?

I propose that we have 49,000,000 people on the wall in America. We can click the red button which simply keeps them in their place they are in, or we can knock the guard unconscious, putting ourselves in a place of distress, to begin saving these millions. Of course, there is no chance of death in our case in America, like in the example. There is no chance of our demise. And there is no chance of being harmed. The only opportunity is to see individuals brought out of poverty and likened into society again.

2.My opponent mentions my speaking of the wealthy and "Super-Wealthy", and disregards my statement with the rebuttal of, "They earned it, they deserve it." In which I again refer back to what I state of that they as individuals are completely entitled to their riches. They are to not be demonized for buying valuable pieces of art, cars, handbags, or houses. But, again I reiterate and ask, "At what point do we bring the point that the majority of their wealth simply sits in bank accounts doing"nothing (other than earning interest to make more money to do"nothing)." And it is the difference of having a "Myself" mind set, than a mindset of "What"s best for society." And in this round I will not bring the point out other than to say, it is simply because there is a depersonalization from the wealthy from those in poverty. But more on that in a later round.

3.In my opponents third point he brings a common misconception to ground I hoped would not be mentioned. But, indeed, it is mentioned and I suppose it is good so as to bring some thoughts to it. My opponent states, "America was not built for people who sit around all day. It's survival of the fittest. Graduating college gives you bigger benefits than not. Getting a business job is better than flipping burgers for a living. That is why I point to some country's having poverty or not." And I rebuttal with these statements:
a.What of those that want to get a college degree, but since their parents lived in poverty, and even their parent"s parents, with unreliable transportation it is not only nearly impossible some days to go to school, but the cost of going to college is impossible (even with aid from the government or grants).
b.What of those people "flipping burgers" that would, in a heartbeat, be in an office doing whatever it takes to master the new filing system and computer program. And could actually pick it up in 3X the speed of the person currently assigned the job. But, anyone that would look at his/her resume would throw it out because, "How smart can a person flipping burgers be?"
c.And if the "Hardness" of the work is the means of deciding a person"s pay, why is it not the garbage man who is up at 6AM and done at 7PM or 8PM, riding on the back of a truck, picking up and slinging 10-20 Lbs bags all day, making more than the CEO that sits in a plush chair in an office, writing simple emails and flipping through news websites half the time. We cannot base pay-wage on the exertion of work that is done. We would see quite a different workforce compensation than we do now.

4.I digress from expounding on my opponents final statements, by only responding and asking, "Food banks only add a band aid to the wound, it does not fix it. Homeless shelters only put a roof over the heads of the poverty stricken (which is good) but does not begin a process to bring them OUT of poverty. We are simply adding Band-Aids to problems that could be fixed."
Final Statement:
I will be brief. I believe the words above have made my point and there is no need to continue repeating myself. The biggest problem I have with those who respond is that they continually point the finger the other way and say, "But they"." Instead of pointing the finger back to ourselves and asking, "What do we need to do to kick it in the butt"" It"s time we quit comparing statistics in an effort to boost our feeling of being "okay" because "Well, we are not worse than them!" That is irrelevant to the argument. And an egotistical argument at that.

I finish by saying,
As a society, but continue to point the finger the other way, make assumptions and bad arguments, we have fallen to an unethical level by not saying, "Okay, let"s fix it. 49,000,000 individuals is a huge number."


I am fine with my opponents argument and would like to thank him for the compliment. I am now going to post a rebuttal to his points.

The US in terms of poverty is better on a standpoint. By looking at it you can see big city's and sprawling suburbs. Why is this? This is because the US has not let the poor fall behind to the point of no return. In this country, the statement you can build up from nothing to something is extremely true. Look at the 2008 market crash. By this time of 2009 and Obama's presidency, the unemployment rate was 10%. Now (according to the US government) is 5.1 percent. That means in 6 year time half the unemployed got a job. That is a fact no-one can say isn't somewhat noticeable. The reason why gas is so high in the US is because that shows the standard we have set for ourselves. My opponent states that "We truly as Americans live such blessed and fruitful life, we squander it and do not appreciate it as we should." While we live good lives, that just shows we earned it.

My opponent makes a statement to my point the wealthy deserve it. I must disagree on him with this point. My opponent claims we are unethical to have so many poor in America. But I believe the fact of the matter is that poverty is innate. I believe it is going to happen everywhere regardless of how developed you are. By the time poverty is eliminated, we would be living in a society where it is socialist to a point where the overall quality of life is lower compared to the average citizen in a capitalistic country. This has already proven to fail, with the Soviet Union. While socialism is needed, it is not needed to the point where we are communist. We need to accept that some will be poor and some won't. We don't want these people to be poor, it just is innate.

To this I also bring to the point that my opponent rejects my claim that despite the fact we help the people in poverty, it doesn't fix it. I agree with that but must question it on 2 grounds.

1. Would taking money out of the general people and government be able to bring all these people out of poverty? Even if so, the government would only bring them up to about the middle-class and reduce the standard of living by reducing the amount of money everyone earns in general. It's like the statement, "to make money, you must spend money" and that's the case there and the wrong choice.
2. How would bringing the poverty to a slightly better standard of living, and at the same time moderately reducing the average standard of living & degrading our achievements help? There are no two ways about it. It is like a balance. If you put to much weight on one side it will go down on the other. Right now, balance is key. We need to take it carefully and slowly help the poor. That is what food banks and etc are for. To support them on that journey.

I will finish out by stating that having poverty is innate. However, the levels of it can change. For the US, it is not as high as worldwide. We have made many achievements, and to degrade them would be bad. Poverty will eventually be cured, it will just take some time. Food banks and etc are in place to help, not fix. To fix poverty en masse would be careless and would be bad for the nation as a whole. The poor have easier times getting up off their feet in this country than in most. This I think proves that while >49 million people is alot, also proves that America has also a high standard of living, low unemployment, helps the poor, and is slowly curing poverty. In the end, poverty is going to happen everywhere and we are better than most and at home. This argument I hope drives the point home we are not unethical.
Debate Round No. 3


As we come to the end of the rounds, I would like to thank my opponent as well as those following along. Thank you for your time, thoughts, and considerations.

For my last round I will carve out a well-defined thought that I feel cannot not be refuted, and if it is, is simply attempting to put the blind-fold over the eyes so as to not see the issue.

My opponent draws a mental picture for those reading of the "sprawling suburbs" showing the building up of society, drawing people out of poverty. But, I dare say, take a look at that picturesque suburb once more . . . and take a peak deep within the picture to underneath the bridges and overpasses . . . to the park benches in the city . . . to the house crammed with 3 families living in a 2 bedroom 1 bathroom space . . . you don"t notice that aspect at first, but upon a second deep hard look, you see that other aspect.
I have no once in this debate, and will not, disregard our countries, The United States of America, and their ability to bring people from jobless and poverty, to working and making ends meet. As my opponent made the point about the 2008 Wall Street & Banking collapse in our country. And during that time when, excuse my language, hell was breaking loose from office buildings to the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, we saw a growth over the past 7 years to go from a 10% (some suggest it raised to 15%, it depends what "expert" you listen to), now between lower to upper 5% (across the boards as far as "expert" opinion).
Although there isn"t a perfect place to refute this within this piece of writing, I do want to point out the awkward statement made by my opponent stating, "The reason gas is so high in the US is because that shows the standard we have set for ourselves." I would like to remind my opponent that gas prices in the United States rarely, if ever, are priced due to "standard" in which we are living. If this were the case, during the 2008 recession we would have seen the gas prices recede, when it was the opposite, and we saw prices double what they are today. I am not sure where he is getting this figure, but to those reading I can assure you from research and market trends, prices are based on oil prices, exporting, importing, and these aspects combined. Not on our "standard of living", that my opponent proposes.
And although my opponent does not realize it, he just made my exact, specific, pin-pointed point, EXCELLENTLY.
Let me explain.
During this "crash" or more so, "crisis", the only reason (and this has been agreed upon by experts from every background, political standpoint, et cetera) that this crash did not lead to a Market Crash and Bank Crash WORSE (yes, worse) than the "Stock Market Crash of 1929", was the fact that this time, the United States government pushed money from their bank to the companies effected. This is more commonly referred to and known as the "Stimulus Package" or "Obama"s Stimulus Package", but what most people do not realize when denouncing this decision our president of less than a year made, if it had not been what he did, we would have seen a crash and jobless rate higher than we did in 1929. Experts agree, "Much worse"Even larger scale and harder to come out of." In the years between 1929 and 1939 (the ending of the Great Depression), it was said only one of out every four American"s was unemployed (25%). It was estimated to be a possible 60%-80% unemployment from 2009 to "?". But, I will not digress into stating numbers and statistics because I think that draws away from the discussion.
Now, someone must ask, "Why would Matt say that his opponent made his point?"
The answer is because the United States Government did an act that could be seen as "extreme socialism". They funded and wrote checks to companies and banks all over this country (as well as to banks in places such as Korea, Russia, etc. But we won"t tackle that subject). I will mention that an open record document of how much money and what bank or corporation was given can be found through the treasury department"s website.
So, if the government can take tax payers money and disperse it to companies and banks in which their CEO"s and Owners continued (fact) making their multi-million dollar bonuses, why can the government not do the same model to the 49,000,000 in poverty, or at the very least the 22,000,000 in "destitute poverty" meaning if not homeless one step away? Since the stimulus worked so well to corporations and banks, how could such a stimulus work if given to the people? Here, I will state, is what you would see:
1.People be able to either get transportation and a steady ground to get a job and/or an education that promotes growth.
2.People investing into the economy weather from the minor of buying food, to buying clothes for work and interviews, to buying automobiles for travel.
3.You see a growth in individual"s ability to grow themselves, and also a growth given back into the economy by these people on their way of growth.
If I had a decision where my tax dollars would have been placed rather than in a random bank in Korea I would have decided in the hands of destitute poverty stricken that would not have any other way that a "boost" to get them going.
Why, then, you must ask has this not been done? Money. No, not the lack of money from the U.S government, but the lack of clout and kickbacks that corporations can give the government. Helping "poor Susan and her kids" does not sound as good as claiming the saving of "J.P. Morgan Chase Bank" and all subsides.
I would like to respond to a statement I made that I believe my opponent took the wrong way. In stating that the "wealthy deserve it," I was not stating that I, myself, me, believe every single wealthy person should have that amount of money. There are some stories I read that I would not blink an eye if their money was taken and given to less fortunate and themselves lived a well-off lifestyle (we shall say, for numbers, double the average cost of living in the United States), instead of their frivolous lives inept in themselves and pointless fame. But, for the sake of keeping an "American Capitalist Mindset", I made that statement. I wanted to clarify what my statement was for, not what my beliefs were (I mean really, Kim Kardashian is worth HOW much?! Yes"You can laugh at that).
My opponent declares, multiple times, that "poverty is innate". But I am glad to see he attempt to dig himself from the hole he created at the end by saying he would hope to see a "fix to poverty." But, I must bring to mind that stating that, "Poverty is innate" is directly and purposely putting the blind-fold on to ignore the problem. It is an excuse, and a bad one at that. But, I applaud him for stating he would hope to see a fix. I do too. But I wish to see one sooner than later, which I feel his opinion and argument"s stand point is, "Not now, not yet, but we will get to it."
I say, "Right now. Stop putting it off, if you are putting it off, what is more important than saving the well being of individuals, men, women, children, and infants?" It better be a life and death immediate emergency that would cause you to turn your back on such a situation, yet Americans and the United States government do it every day. We have numbed ourselves to a dangerous point.
I will not end this with final statements or a plea of mutual ground, but rather a scenario I penned in my journal some years ago to get you thinking "outside the mind."
"Why is it poor people gather together? Why is it that the homeless create cities within our cities rather than begging on the street?
Why is it you never see a homeless person, sitting on the patio of the 4-Star restaurant with the hedge fund manager getting a bite to eat? Is it because the homeless person has no money even for a drink and bread?
No, it is not the lack of funds.
It is the lack of the hedge fund manager, the CEO, the corporate big-wigs seeing that within society,


LeprechaunDances forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
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