Conservative (Pro) vs. Liberal (Con)
Debate Rounds (4)
Round 1.) Introduction
Round 2.) Economics (taxation/regulation)
Round 3.) Social Issues (Marriage, Abortion, etc.)
Round 4.) 2016 Presidential Candidate you are supporting, and why.
Hello, I am SocialPsyche. I am a moderate Liberal and a Socialist. I will, therefor, be arguing from a Liberal standpoint. As I said in my comment, I have a good amount to say about the economy and social issues, but, as I am only 16, I don't have as formulated of an opinion on the U.S. 2016 Presidential Candidate, though I have a loose opinion about it.
Economy: I advocate for tax cuts for ALL Americans, rich and poor. History has proven time and time again, that when more money is allowed to the people who have earned it, the economy booms. Those in the lower and middle classes are able to consume more and more products with the money they keep, and the wealthy are able to invest their money in business ventures, which in turn expand and create jobs, well paying jobs. Government by its very nature is inefficient. By having no competition or risk of going out of business, bureaucracies become what are essentially monopolies (something I know socialists hate). Take a trip to the DMV, does anybody there look like they are doing an adequate job? Of course not, because they know that being run by the government ensures that they will remain open as long as people need driver's licenses.
Furthermore, those who provide services in the Private Sector should be able to keep as much of their money as possible. If we punish those who are successful, what incentive is there to succeed?
Welfare: I acknowledge the need for some basic social safety nets, but the bottom line is that the more you give to people, the less they'll want to make for themselves. Take a look at all of the failed cities in the United States-- Chicago, Detroit, Oakland, what do they all have in common? 1.) They've been run by socialists for the better part of a century. 2.) They are ravaged by poverty and crime. 3.) They are all bankrupt. It is clear from these figures that Leftist ideologies have failed in these cities just like they have failed in the Soviet Union, Cuba, North Korea, and any other purely "Socialist" country I can think of. My view is that if we made these cities a climate for businesses to succeed, people would be able to find work, and get off the government checkbook.
In short, I believe in equal opportunity, not equal results. The worst thing one person can do to another is make them dependent. And by throwing endless amounts of money at people who don't earn it, you are giving them less and less of a reason to become self-reliant. I believe the late British PM Margaret Thatcher put it best when she said "The trouble with socialism is that you will eventually run out of other people's money." People need to understand that Conservatives care about the poor tremendously, we merely are more focused on giving them opportunities, not just more and more "stuff".
First of all, I'd like to clear up the whole moderate Liberal and Socialist part. As I understand it, the more Liberal you are, the more towards Communism you get. I don't believe Communism is a bad system, but I prefer Socialism and so, in that regard, I am more moderate in my Liberalism. It's not specific to the American Left, just the Left in general. Now for the real argument.
I see Socialism as a somewhat of a middle ground between Communism and Capitalism, leaning a bit more towards the Liberal side. I do not believe the government should control all industry, I think that there should still be a private sector, but that it should be more regulated than in Capitalism. I do, however, believe that the goverment should be in control of certain critical industries such as: electricity, plumbing, internet, etc. This way, the people can be sure they are getting their basic needs while things such as manufacturing and luxury goods and services are left to the private sector. Also, quick side not: I have a decent amount of Socialist friends and I've never heard them say they hate monopolies. I don't hate them, I just think they should be regulated, just like all other business.
Along with this belief, I believe that the government should make sure that all workers receive a fair pay. Living in America, it is clear to see that many American workers work for long hours doing hard labor but make minimum, if not close to minimum, wage. This, to me, is unacceptable. The working force of America is making barely living wages while those in control of the business make many times that amount for overseeing them. This type of wage gap is unjustifiable. It is true that there are jobs that give good pay, but this is, unfortuntely, not a large enough number. I believe that is is the government's job to tax the rich class and find a way to put that money into the working class' wages. This is not complete wealth distribution, but it is enough where everyone who works can make a decent amount of money, enough to have a good life with. There will still be an upper, middle, and lower class, it's just that they won't be as distinct as in a Capitalist society. So, people will still have an incentive to work harder as they can still be richer than most, just not by an amount that causes an immoral wealth gap.
I am in agreement that there should not be too much Welfare. There should still be incentive to work for money, but there should also always be the option to turn to the government for a bit of money in hard times. Social programs like welfare, medicare/medicaid, social secutity, etc. have made America a better place for those in need of these types of services, and I believe cutting them would impede on the people's civil rights.
My last point will be about Socialism not working. Socialism certainly does work when done right, and I can think of a few nations that have done well under it (a link to a short list is below.) To name a few: Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Canada, and others like them who are, in fact, purely, if not mostly, Socialist. These countries have high education, happy citizens, progressive policies, and yes, higher taxes. These countries have done well under the red banner of Socialism and, despite being Socialist, still have decent economies with pirvate sectors. Socialism does work, it has, it is, and there are examples. Oh, and about your quote: as I said, there should still be a private sector, just with more regulations. As long as you have smaller private sector that allows people to emerge rich, you'll have a source of money that won't run out.
http://blog.peerform.com... (Top 10 Socialist Countries)
First off, how could you possibly think Communism is NOT a bad system? My parents fled from the Soviet Union to the United States because of the horrible conditions it created. I hear stories about bread lines, famines, and the massive inefficiency the whole system created. In addition, the government run electricity (of the type you advocated for above) would only be on for maybe 16 hours a day if you were lucky. My father worked in a factory that made steel that was used to make another factory to make more steel, which just goes to show you how backwards the whole idea is. Not to mention the brutal suppression of basic human rights.
I think we are in agreement that wages need to be higher, but are in fundamental disagreement on how to go about doing so. You're assuming that there is only a finite amount of wealth to be created under Capitalism, and that an unfair amount of this wealth goes to some people at the expense of others. However, this doesn't add up. Immigrants didn't come to America in droves because they thought they had a chance to *take* some money from the city bosses, but because they knew that it was possible for them to create their own wealth through hard work .
You talk about income inequality, but are automatically assuming that this inequality is the root of all problems. I, for one, do not care that Bill Gates has an absurd amount of money, because I have made my own money that allows me to live at a good standard. The wealth gap between me and Bill Gates is enormous, but nobody is suffering because of it. In contrast, when wealth is redistributed, and when the state seizes control of industries, you have places like Venezuela: where there is virtually no wealth gap, because everybody lives in extreme poverty.
Minimum Wage earners earn in accordance with what they are producing. In a free market economy, it is impossible for them to be exploited because they can always take a job at a competing business if they offer them more money. I for example work at a small Pizza chain in my home state of Illinois, when I first started, I was paid the standard $8.25 an hour wage, however, a year later I am being paid $11.45. How is that? Because when I realized that I wasn't being paid what I was worth, I threatened to move to a competitor that would pay me more. I was generating profit for the Business owner, so he gladly gave me a raise. I see nothing immoral with paying someone in accordance with what they are producing. There is a disparity between myself and the owner because by managing the company, he is producing something that warrants what he is paid. If someone wants to meet a certain standard of living, they can achieve it through acquiring skills in the workplace, and making yourself a more valuable employee. It is a simple fact that redistribution and class war have done nothing but destroy job creation, through forcing employers to pay employees at a loss of what they are producing. The problem we have today is that enormous corporations are creating what are effectively monopolies over the private sector, and they are destroying competition of capitalism and replacing it with a form of corporatism (something I'm sure we can agree is not a good thing.)
As far as morality goes, you have to ask yourself this question: which law is backed up by the gun? Under (ideal) capitalism, the government is not allowed to confiscate any of my private property by coercion of force REGARDLESS of whether or not it is for the good of "society". Socialism is just the opposite. Every single economic policy you have advocated is ultimately backed by force. The idea of taking what is rightfully someone's property at gunpoint is utterly morally bankrupt. If I see a hobo on the street, it should be my choice on whether or not I give him money. Sure, you'd have to be a special type of evil to pass up somebody in need, but does the need of somebody else trump a human's right to make their own decisions?
And finally, the old Scandinavia question. It is true, that Scandinavians are relatively happy with their situations, and why should't they be? With the state providing for everyone's needs all the time, why be worried? That is, until the wealth runs out.
Before Sweden was the way it is today, it was one of the most capitalist countries in the world. The immense wealth created through this pro-business environment allowed for the initial security programs to be paid without much of a problem. However, the increased taxation and regulation caused businesses and the wealthy to leave Sweden for greener pastures. Eventually, it came to a point when there was nobody in Sweden to pay for the social programs. There was a major debt crisis, and the country had to initiate dozens of pro-business reforms just to keep from going bankrupt.
Today, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Iceland have some of the freest economies in the world.
Also, to counter your Sweden I raise you Switzerland. A country with the least regulation and lowest taxes in all of Europe; all while maintaining a modest (but effective) social security system, and the highest standard of living in the world.
And here I was, excited for social policies. Oh well. To begin, I would like to clear something up. You have a clear misconception about Communism. It sounds to me like what your parents fled was not Communism itself, but a corrupt government in charge of a Communist state. There is a difference. Now, here is what Communism is, or ought to be, in the viewpoint of Karl Marx. Marx noticed that Capitalist nations, such as America, had become extremely efficient at producing goods. One Capitalist nation like America was so efficient, it could provide every family on earth one house and one car. He saw this type of system as an opportunity to creat leisure, which is essentially what Marxism is about. If the state could take control of industry and have it be as efficient as in a Capitalist nation, they could minimalize the work force, leaving many people without a job and with leisure time, instead. Then, the state takes the profit and redistributes it back to all of the people. So, now you have a population where a majority of the people don't even have to work and still have a good standard of living, and those who are working, with enough scientific advancement, don't even have to work terribly hard. This is ideal Communism in the eye of Marx and myself. This system, per se, is not bad, it's just that throughout history, the governments in control of Communist nations have happened to be corrupt. Perhaps this is why I go with the more moderate position of Socialist, but whether it be Socialism or Communism, democracy should always be involved.
I like that you brought up Bill Gates because I think he serves as a good example. Bill Gates is currently worth about 79.3 billion USD. That's more money than anyone needs, and that's more money than any one person could ever spend. Do you realy think it's morally irresponsible to take some of that enormous wealth and give it to those who are barely scraping by a living? I think it would be irresponsible not to. The 1% in this country hold about 40% of all its wealth, last time I checked the statistics. At the same time, the middle class is slowly disappearing, some heading into the upper class, but most into the lower class, and the population below the poverty line is slowly increasing. Does it really seem like a moral injustice, even to a Conservative such as yourself, to take some of the massive piles of wealth from the 1% and distribute it to those who don't make a living wage or can't even get a job? That's another thing, it's not as though everyone in this country is even able to get a job. And some are able to get a job with a skill they require, but there are no means for them to earn higher. Say you live in a small town and you work at the grocery store. You're the only grocery store in town and you make minimum wage. You have a a wife and a couple kids and you're barely making a living. Because you're only skill is say, working a cash register (for the sake of exmaple,) and there's nowhere else in town to go, how do they persuade their boss to give them a raise? They certainly don't have enough money to move to a new city, and there's no other business that's offering a better wage. All I am advocating for is that the government raise all minimum wages to a high enough wage that even minimum wage earners with a family can have a decent living. And that is not much no ask for. It is ust the government stepping in and making sure that CEOs and bosses pay their employess enough to have a good life, no matter what job they perform.
Now for my final point. Concerning, once again, one of your largest conflicts with Socialism is that you believe wealth will run out. I argue that it will not run out so long as it is done carefully. As I've previously stated, there should not be complete wealth distribution. There should still be a wealth gap, and it should be large enough that people will want to work hard because they may get rich, but there should still be enough distribution, through larger minimum wages, that people who aren't able to become rich can still be assured a good living. As long as you keep this balance, there will still be people who want to get rich, and will, and you will always have a source of money to raise minimum wage and help pay for social programs, but another way the government can do this is through state-owned industry.
If the government controls industries that supply the people with basic needs, they can still charge for it but at a much lower price than a private industry would. So, the people now have much cheaper electricity, water, and other needs and the government is making a profit off of it. Using this profit, the government can convert it into social programs for the people that are free, such as healthcare, medicaid/medicare, social security, welfare, etc. Using a carefully balanced system like this, they will not run out of money to spend on the people. The trouble is not finding wealth, it is balancing it.
How you can advocate for a system in which people live their lives in leisure without working at all puzzles me, both in its philosophy and in its pragmatism.
Since we are both High School students, let's substitute money for grades, as it is more immediate to our lives at this point.
Schools, in many ways, are set up much like a Capitalist system. Some people get A's, others C's, and some F's. If the school were to redistribute the grade percentages so that everybody got a C, why would anybody getting A's continue to work hard for the same grade as the person who does nothing? This is the number one problem with the system oh are advocating, it punishes success and rewards failure. As a result, any sort of incentive to work hard for anything is negated. This is not an opinion, this is a common sense fact of human nature. I know that you have said that you are not in favor of complete redistribution, but the result is still the same, only on a smaller scale.
In regards to Bill Gates making 72 Billion dollars a year, I do not think you understand why Bill Gates started Microsoft in the first place. He did so to make the enormous amount of profit that he did. If you cap the amount of money that an entrepreneur is allowed to make, the less people will be willing to take the enormous risks that comes from starting a business. We see this in every single country with high income redistribution; businesses (and thus the wealth) will always leave to a place where they are allowed to prosper unhindered. Why do you think places like the United States and Switzerland have the highest amounts of small businesses in the world? Because people in those countries know that they will be rewarded with material prosperity for the sacrifices they've made.
In regards to your suggestion to raising the minimum wage, let me speak from experience. A family friend of mine owns a small Pool Supply business. Last year, he employed about 10 people, all paid at the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. When the State of Illinois raised the minimum wage to $8.25 an hour, he had to lay off over half his workers in order to cut even again with his profits. My point is, a higher minimum wage is good for people who manage to keep their jobs. But what will inevitably happen is that jobs will be lost.
In conclusion, Capitalism is not perfect, but it is the only system compatible with a truly free society. I believe that every human being is entitled to the Rights Enumerated in our Constitution: Freedom of Speech, Religion, Defense etc. The difference between these rights and socialist rights TO things (healthcare, for example) is that the rights put forward by our Founding Fathers are to the detriment of nobody. Once you start saying that somebody has the inherent right to someone else's service, you start to infringe on the basic liberty of choice. People may not always succeed under a free market, but only in a true free market economy, does the competition make it nearly impossible to be exploited. It is the philosophy of opportunity. Socialism, by contrast is the philosophy of failure. It promises utopia, but brings nothing but poverty and stagnation. It stifles man's basic rights to property and the pursuit of happiness, all in the pursuit of a pipe dream. Socialists will never understand that a rich man does not get rich at the expense of others, but does so while bringing wealth and prosperity to all those who want it. A country like the United States does not have people at their border desperately trying to become Americans in spite of capitalism, but because of it. Even before there were any social programs in the United States, people knew that the free market would provide the opportunity to better themselves, and most importantly, their children. If you want to government to handle every one of your needs, be my guest. But I as an American understand that this country was founded by people who understood the oppression, and lack of mobility that comes from an all-encompassing state. I will leave you here with a quote from somebody who understood this danger better than you and I could ever hope.
"If ye love security better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen."
I thank my opponent for his good conduct throughout this debate, and encourage him to keep pushing for what he believes in. Although we disagree on almost everything, sir, it is clear that you are very knowledgeable and passionate for what you believe in.
"The fact that you don't acknowledge the failure of the Soviet Union as due to Communism shows a gross misunderstanding of history. The Soviet Union was incredibly corrupt, that goes without saying. But this massive corruption and suppression of its people was actually the only thing keeping the nation afloat."
Is that so?  As the link I cited below overviews, and yes, that website cites other sources, the Soviet Union was not a bad place to live. It was only in a recession during the war, but just about all of the nations involved in that who were in Europe came out in a worse fiscal position. It was not as corrupt as you think it was, and the people did not hate the government. After experiencing Capitalism, the Russian people were polled and said they preferred the USSR's Socialism. The Russian people will tell you that they were better off in the Soviet Union and the fact that they don't have a USSR today is because of today's corruption. The Soviet Union's Socialism did work, as the peolpe who lived there will tell you, and there was support for it. I'm going to go out on a limb and say the reason you think it didn't work was because of lasting effects from the Red Scare and MacCarthyism from the mid-twentieth century.
"How you can advocate for a system in which people live their lives in leisure without working at all puzzles me"
Let me repeat myself, then. If we are able to utilize the pure efficiency of a Capitalist economy, we could make a system where not everyone has to work. It's not unemployment, it's leisure. Imagine a system where not everyone has to work to have a good living, and they have more time to do what they want. Now, in a system like this, I don't think it would be fair to pay the few who do work the same. I think people who work should make a bit more than those who don't, but essentially, the majority of the population shouldn't need to work. It's not a bad thing. Imagine having more time to do the things you want because you have no job but still make a good amount of money anyway.
"let's substitute money for grades, as it is more immediate to our lives at this point."
Let's not. This analogy does not work because grades are designed to reflect how well you are learning in school, whereas money is simply used to aquire various goods. The purpose of school is not to get good grades, the point of school is to learn and through learning, better grades will come. Grades are a side effect of how well you utilize your school experience. Money, in a Capitalist society, is the direct effect of working at a job.
"it punishes success and rewards failure. As a result, any sort of incentive to work hard for anything is negated ... I know that you have said that you are not in favor of complete redistribution, but the result is still the same, only on a smaller scale."
It doesn't negate all incentive to work, as you clearly stated a couple sentences later. In a Socialist system, there is still a decently sized wage gap, enough that it will still encourage people to try hard to get better pay, it just won't be on the scale where 1% of the population can hold almost half of the whole nation's wealth, that is insanity. People who make billions of dollars are never going to spend all of it, and I doubt anyone who has a civil-moral compass would really object to taking a decent chunk of that and giving it to those who aren't able to, under normal circumstances, make as much as they deserve. There's a man we learned about in U.S. History by the name of Huey Long. He advocated for a wealth cap of about 50 million, which is worth about 600 million today.  Now, even 600 million is quite a lot of money for one person to earn, but when compared to those making tens of billions of dollars, it's a reasonable wealth cap. People will still be motivated to thrive in business because 600 million is, again, still quite the sum, but any excess wealtht they make will just be taxed and put into the working class' wages. Does this not seem fair? Does this number seem like an income that would scare people off? I certainly think not.
"My point is, a higher minimum wage is good for people who manage to keep their jobs. But what will inevitably happen is that jobs will be lost."
I'm going to point back to my list of good Socialist nations.  The economy could be modeled after Denmark's, whose small business thrive despite using the system I am advocating for. The government could make bills that are pro-small business, such as your friend's pull supply store. That way, wages could be high and small business would still go well, or we could use the system I had described in my previous rebuttle. Take the excess money from the super rich and give them to small businesses to put into the wages. This way, the small business owners don't have to sacrafice their pay to keep employees, employees end up with higher wages, and the rich still get to keep 600 million dollars. These all tie in together quite well when put into practice.
"Capitalism is not perfect, but it is the only system compatible with a truly free society."
You must have a different definition of "truly free." See, in a Socialist society, there can still easily be numerous political freedoms, in fact, Socialism does not work well unless there is true democracy. Also, is taxatio of the rich really infringing on anyone's Constitutional rights? The only one I can think of is No Taxation Without Representation, but I can't think of a singll, moral reason for someone who earns more than 600 million dollars a year to object to getting the excess money cut from their income and put into the wages of those who can't make enough. Can you?
"Socialism, by contrast is the philosophy of failure."
Socialism is the economic philosophy of common decency, and if you think it means failure, I will, once again, point to my list below. 
"A country like the United States does not have people at their border desperately trying to become Americans in spite of capitalism, but because of it."
I don't hear many reports of Canadians moving to America because of Capitalism. Mexico, while being a Socialist Democracy, follows a very Capitalist practice in the northern areas of it, where the immigrants would be coming from. So no, people are not immigrating to America because of Capitalism, the only ones who are coming to America are coming from a nation the practices Capitalism, but not in an effective way. They're immigrating because our Capitalism is the lesser of two evils.
"Even before there were any social programs in the United States, people knew that the free market would provide the opportunity to better themselves, and most importantly, their children."
Oh, you mean like the 30's? If I remember correctly, the 30's were a depression, and then FDR introduced social programs in the late 30's and early 40's which helped get us out of depression, along with the war. There was also the early 60's where unemployment was up, but after LBJ introduced a slew of social programs, unemployment dropped faster than ever before in American history, and it hasn't dropped as fast since.
"'If ye love security better than liberty ...' - Samuel Adams"
I looked up this quote and was surprised to find that he did not actually say "If ye love security better than liberty." Samuel Adams actually said "If ye love wealth better than liberty," indicating that he was against what you've been arguing for. 
I thank you, too, for being such a well mannered opponent. You definitely had many points that were hard to refute, and I enjoyed this debate. Keep up the good work, and don't quit your day job. ;)
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by mwesigwa1 1 year ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro used wide and varied examples to back up his/her points. However, pro didn't cite a source. Personally, I'm going to go with pro, but the lack of sources may cost him/her.
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