The Instigator
Ore_Ele
Pro (for)
Losing
10 Points
The Contender
imabench
Con (against)
Winning
11 Points

Experts Tier round 2: Is there any hope that the US can eliminate its national debt in our lifetimes

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 6 votes the winner is...
imabench
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/12/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,240 times Debate No: 43864
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (7)
Votes (6)

 

Ore_Ele

Pro

I thank Imabench for accepting this debate topic as our Round 2 for the Experts Tier of the tournament.

There are to be no semantics. Since both of us are young (low to mid 20's) "our life time" will reflect the time it takes to die of old age. For the math of this debate, we shall use 70 years (two people living to their low to mid nineties might actually be low-balling it, but it perfectly reasonable). It is entirely possible that both of us could die in the next 5 years, but we shall go with 70.

The spirit of this debate should be clear and any attempts to compromise the spirit of the debate with semantics (such as "kids can't hold office, therefore they should not be able to run for office" or other semantics) to bypass the spirit and purpose of the debate shall be considered auto-forfeits.

The first round is for acceptance. I will begin in R2. No new arguments shall be allowed in the final round. My opponent shall ONLY be allowed to post new arguments in their final round to address any new arguments that I present in mine. If I only expand upon current arguments, then my opponent may not post new arguments (it is recommended to point to where the arguments were done in previous rounds to show that they are not new).

Thank you and let's begin.
imabench

Con

Accepted, lets do this :D
Debate Round No. 1
Ore_Ele

Pro

I again thank my opponent for accepting this debate. Allow me to dive in and forewarn everyone that this will be very number and math heavy. Please get a drink and calculator ready. First, let"s go over what "hope" means in the context of this resolution. In this wording, "hope" means "chance" or "possibility." If you say, "after that last touchdown, this late in the game, the Colts have no hope of winning," you are saying that they have no statistically reasonable possibility of winning.

Our current national debt is $17.290 trillion dollars [1] with an average interest rate of 2.43% [2]. The most recent reported spending of 2013 was $3,454 billion [3] with revenue of $2,774 billion [4]. To keep assumptions at a minimum, we shall presume as many things do not change from their current trend as possible. As such, we shall presume that the government revenue will stay at a constant percentage of the GDP, which for 2013 was $15.686 [5] trillion dollars. Over the past 4 years, we"ve seen an average growth of 4.114% [5], so we shall presume that continues.

Now, we shall of course talk about what changes need to be made, as of course, we cannot talk about this topic with absolutely no changes at all. The two changes we shall look at will be military and social security and medicare/Medicaid. Let us look towards the military first.

There is growing support for cutting military spending and military involvement throughout the world [6][7][8][9]. I can make the argument that much of our military need is caused by our over-reaching military involvement in other nations. That goes outside the scope of this debate and we only need to focus on that cutting the military budget has demand by the US population. Currently, the military budget is $832 billion for this year [3]. It is already down from its high of $879.4 billion in 2011. There is easily enough room to slash $500 billion from the military budget (we can also argue that the in surge of workers from the military into the private sector will only create a greater supply of workers and so boost the economy, but that too is for a different debate). With that cut, the spending would be down to $2,954 billion.

Let us now look at the other end of the spectrum from young physically fit people. Old geezers! Raising the social security and medicare/aid to 69 and then indexes it for life expectancy increases (meaning it always adjusts as life expectancy does) would save 44% of the deficit, or $300 billion (actually $299.2 billion but let"s make this a little easier for the numbers).

Combining this with the military cuts we find our spending cut to $2,654 billion. Now, spending is tied to our population growth and inflation, while revenue is tied to our GDP growth. With inflation this year of 1.2% [10] and population growth of 0.7% [11] yields a growth rate of 1.91%.

If we do some fun number crunching, we will see that the debt can actually be entirely paid off within 23 years (The GDP would be $38.08 trillion (though that would only be $28.94 trillion by today"s dollar) without raising, nor cutting taxes. We would actually see the debt peak at $18.14 trillion in 6 years before the surplus was larger than the interest to start bringing it down.

Now, I will agree that it is not likely that politicians would do such measures, and they may take their time before they start listening to the people. However, it is clearly possible that it can be done within 23 years and so there is clearly hope that it can be done within 70 years.

I will now pass this on to my opponent.

Thank you,

[1] http://www.brillig.com...
[2] http://www.pewresearch.org...
[3] http://www.usgovernmentspending.com...
[4] http://www.usgovernmentrevenue.com...
[5] http://www.tradingeconomics.com...
[6] http://thinkprogress.org...
[7] http://thinkprogress.org...
[8] http://www.reuters.com...
[9] http://www.publicintegrity.org...
[10] http://www.usinflationcalculator.com...
[11] http://www.theguardian.com...
imabench

Con

In order for the US to eliminate its national debt within our lifetimes, it has to produce enough of a surplus to significantly eat into the national debt enough to eliminate it within our own lifetimes. The life expectancy was agreed on to be at around 90 since technology will likely advance enough by then for us to live that long, meaning the time period the US has to allegedly eliminate its national debt is 70 years.

Our national debt is $17,000,000,000,000. That divided by 70 gives us $243,857,142,857

That means the US would have to average a budget surplus of about $244 BILLION every year, non stop, for 70 years in order to pay off its national debt.....



"Currently, the military budget is $832 billion for this year [3]. It is already down from its high of $879.4 billion in 2011"

A reduction of about 5%.



"There is easily enough room to slash $500 billion from the military budget"

Just because there is room it doesnt mean it could actually happen and that the US will actually slash $500 billion from its military budget.... Hell the GOP doesnt even like to cut military spending at ALL, let alone by hundreds of billions of dollars:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com...
http://www.politico.com...
http://thinkprogress.org...
http://takingnote.blogs.nytimes.com...

The GOP flat out hates reducing military spending, it cant be expected that they would allow for military spending to be lowered by $500 billion when they dont even want to approve a reduction of $5 billion.....



"Raising the social security and medicare/aid to 69 and then indexes it for life expectancy increases (meaning it always adjusts as life expectancy does) would save 44% of the deficit, or $300 billion"

That number isnt going to stay there forever though, assuming we even get there in the first place. As long as the life expectancy age creeps up faster then the age to start qualifying for social security benefits does, then the deficit that the social security program generates will only grow larger, not shrink.

You also have to take into account the baby boomers reaching old age, which will be a tremendous burden on the system since that will cause there to be a crapload of people qualifying for social security, without there being a large base of younger people being able to fund these new entrants. Population shifts occur over long periods of time, but several sizable ones will happen to the US over the course of 70 years that would cause social security to not be a reliable source of income for the US to use to pay off the national debt.



"Now, I will agree that it is not likely that politicians would do such measures..... However, it is clearly possible that it can be done within 23 years and so there is clearly hope that it can be done within 70 years."

I tremendously disagree. There is not a chance in hell that the GOP would agree to cutting $500 billion out of a military budget that as of right now stands at just over $800 billion.... Its one thing to argue that there is support for military spending to be reduced, its an ENTIRELY different thing to argue though that there is support for reducing military spending by well over 50%, which is what you are proposing and accepting as probable and possible....

==================================================================================

There are tons of other reasons why the US would not be able to balance its budget to the point that it can pay off the entire national debt within our lifetime

1) Political Dichotomy in Congress

Congress is at its most divided point in history, to the point where they can barely agree on anything anymore. It is very likely that this political divide will continue into the immediate future, and also likely that both sides will still look at each other with great animosity for decades to come. This divide between both parties will guarantee that no major changes that cuts at spending gets approved, and will also mitigate any changes that do get approved to very minor levels to the point that it does not significantly effect the overall budget.



2) Events

The years in which the US did have a balanced budget were 1998-2001, 1969, 1960, and a couple times in the 1950's

http://www.davemanuel.com...

Each time there was a year with a budget surplus, it would always be in a year right before some notable event or war broke out, on top of a massive recession as well.... The budget balances in the late 90's to 2000 was thrown out after 9/11 and the new war on terror plus the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, the surplus in 1969 was generated from a scale-down of the Vietnam war that was later wiped out by a recession in the mid 70's.... 1961 was right before the Vietnam war escalated, and the surpluses in the 50's were wiped out once the Korean war broke out.

My point is, even when the budget IS balanced in a given year, its always a matter of time before a recession or a war, or both, come along and cause the budget to become so unbalanced that it offsets the gains made from the year of the surplus...... Its a guarantee that the US will endure MULTIPLE wars and recessions over the next 70 years, which would wipe out any gains that were just made by a surplus and only exacerbate the national debt even further.....



3) Not enough time

Every year that the US doesnt balance the budget, the national debt grows that much larger and the amount of time to pay if off shrinks. The national debt is more massive than ever in history, which means it will take several years to return back to the budget breaking even, let alone the $244 Billion surplus a year needed to pay off the national debt.

This means that every year the US fails to reach the $244 Billion surplus, the average surplus it needs to achieve and maintain grows steadily larger with less time to pay it off. Its gonna take several years for a balanced budget to even become reachable, which means that that much more will be added to the debt with that much less time to be able to pay it off.

My point: The national deficit is so bad right now that it will take years for us to return to a state where a balanced budget is within reach, let alone accomplishable.... This just stacks the odds further against the US being able to pay off its national debt in our lifetimes that much more, since this is literally the worst time period for the US to try to maintain a budget with a massive surplus for half a century.



4) The US owes more money than what actually exists.

This is just to put into perspective how big the national debt is since people cant readily wrap their head around how big of a number 17 Trillion is.

The US owes more money than what literally exists, which means that if the US took every last penny from every last business, taxpayer, and bank, we would still wind up short. This means that in addition to the US already generating a massive deficit year by year, the US is also starting off at a tremendously large disadvantage regarding how much money it ALREADY owes.

This has led many to believe that it is statistically impossible for the US to pay off its national debt EVER, let alone within our lifetimes

http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com...


Debate Round No. 2
Ore_Ele

Pro

I would like to thank my opponent for their arguments. I will dive right into this. To help keep things organized, I will use the tags that they did. The arguments that they applied against my R2 will be addressed in the appropriate tag.

1) Political Dichotomy in Congress

My opponent claims that congress is more divided now than ever, while this may or may not be true, the point is irrelevant to the resolution. We must remember that by my opponent"s own admission, we were able to achieve a balanced budget less than 15 years ago. Politics had extreme polarity back then, and at all times in the past, just because it is more polarize now, does not mean that cuts cannot happen, or that taxes cannot go up. Nor does it mean that we will stay this polarized for the next 40+ years.

My opponent also claims that republicans will never accept cuts to the military, he says specifically, "The GOP flat out hates reducing military spending"" This doesn"t matter at all. My opponent has already accepted that over the last 2 years that the military spending has dropped 5% (5.4% to be precise, or 10.4% when adjusted for inflation, [3, from R2] and it is expected to continue going down for as long as the forecast goes out). Just like with the legalization of marijuana and the recognition of gay marriage (let me know if you need sources for current events), even if the GOP doesn"t want to see it happen, if there is support from the people, the GOP will have to, or lose power. And as I"ve already shown, there is growing support to cuts to military spending. The same reasoning holds for social security, medicare, and medicaid, but substitute in democrats rather than republicans.

This kind of belong in its own section, but since it is often linked to political stubbornness, I"ll put it in here. My opponent accepted that the retirement age can be raised to 69, but commented that we will continue to live longer. Obviously we can always re-adjust it. However, the source that I originally linked, suggested changing to 69 years old and having an automated adjustment factor so it updates on its own. That is a nifty idea, but it is more of the fine details. This debate is about whether or not there is any hope that this can be done.

2) Events

My opponent listed several instances that we were able to balance the budget, but these balances ultimately unbalanced due to external events. Of all the instances that he provided, only one was not ended due to war. Of course, cutting our military spending would be linked to taking a more non-interventionist policy. Most of the cases were us intervening, or a reaction to our intervention. We took that role up in the 50"s and 60"s largely because of the results of WW2 which left most of Europe unable to take actions. That is no longer the case so we no longer need to be the dominant military force. We can have a significantly smaller force that contributes to a global force. That way, we can still play a role in the wars that my opponent "guarantees" (which I would argue as the world continues to become a less violent place, as far as wars go).

3) Not enough time

Our time limit was 70 years. The plan I provided would be done in 23 years. My opponent did not disagree with any of the math involved. I also did not do anything in regards to raising taxes. We can modify just the spending side. Even if we don"t accept the instant cuts to military spending, if we continue with military cuts that we are currently going (10.4% every 2 years, or about 5% per year), then with the Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid cuts and cutting the military 5% per year for the next 5 years would allow us to be paid off with in 27 years instead of 23. Throw a recession or two in there and each may set us back 5 years or so, but we can still be done well within the 70 year limit.

4) Owes more than exists

This is a non sequitur on several levels. First being, that the total assets in the US are $188 trillion [1]. Cash, or "money" is only one form of asset designed to be extremely liquidable. So the idea that the debt is greater than all the moneys is false, it is just that most assets are not in the form of cash. Second, because debt is paid off over time, not all at once, the same dollar can be used multiple times as it is used through transactions in the economy. A very basic example may be if I have a debt and I pay $1 dollar (I"d pay more than $1 dollar, but let"s just follow the journey of that one dollar bill). That dollar goes to my debtee, who then uses it to pay one of their employees. That employee buys something from craigslist from me. I can then take that same $1 and pay it towards my debt again. So that $1 has been applied towards $2 of debt. As money circulates around and around, it gets involved in the transactions of far more than the dollar itself is worth (that is the purpose of having highly liquidable currency, so transactions occur more smoothly). So even if there isn"t that much cash that has been printed, a debt can still be paid off.

[1] http://rutledgecapital.com...
imabench

Con

1) Political Dichotomy

"We must remember that by my opponent"s own admission, we were able to achieve a balanced budget less than 15 years ago.

Which was quickly wiped out in the Bush years immediately afterwards.....




"Politics had extreme polarity back then, and at all times in the past, just because it is more polarized now, does not mean that cuts cannot happen, or that taxes cannot go up"


But polarity severely limits how easy it is for the government to actually pass a balanced budget, as we've clearly seen in the present and very recent past. Hell the polarity in Congress right now is so high that the budgets are being passed with TRILLION dollar deficits in single years. There were 4 years in a row where we added more than a trillion dollars a year to the national debt: http://money.cnn.com...

Polarity in Congress, which happens A LOT, can combine with other natural factors like wars and recessions to severely hamper Congress's already crappy ability to try to pass a balance a budget, which only adds more money to the national debt with less time to pay it off.




"My opponent also claims that republicans will never accept cuts to the military, he says specifically, "The GOP flat out hates reducing military spending""

And where exactly did you actually see me say the word 'never' again? Cause I didnt say the word never, and If youre going to start putting words in my mouth then I'll just go ahead and ask for the conduct point from voters right now....




"even if the GOP doesn"t want to see it happen, if there is support from the people, the GOP will have to, or lose power."

But the problem is that there IS NO SUPPORT by people calling for military spending to be reduced by $500 Billion right away.... You have to move mountains just to be able to reduce spending by $50 Billion, but ten times that right away? And maintaining that for DECADES? Its simply horrendously unrealistic to believe that the US will reduce military spending by $500 Billion and keep it that way for decades to pay off the national debt.....




"However, the source that I originally linked, suggested changing to 69 years old and having an automated adjustment factor so it updates on its own. That is a nifty idea, but it is more of the fine details. This debate is about whether or not there is any hope that this can be done."

Yeah, in this is CONGRESS that we are talking about. The entity that will let you down no matter what and make you lose even more faith in them when you already think they cant do anything even stupider to lose your already microscopic respect for them. Congress consists of the most corruptible and power-hungry bastards you can find in this country, and putting all your chips on those people to somehow pay off the entire national debt in our lifetimes would require tons of commitment and responsibility, which are two things that are completely unheard of concepts to most Congressmen......




2) Events

"Most of the cases were us intervening, or a reaction to our intervention. We took that role up in the 50"s and 60"s largely because of the results of WW2 which left most of Europe unable to take actions. That is no longer the case so we no longer need to be the dominant military force"

That is purely an uninformed opinion that again isnt grounded in the reality of the world..... The US is by far, BY FAR the most powerful and well equipped military in the world to the point that no other individual nation on Earth could come even close to rivaling it pound for pound..... If something happens anywhere that requires significant military intervention, the US is ALWAYS the first great power that comes to mind of possible entities that could resolve the conflict, and there isnt ANYBODY else who could fulfill that role.... Not Britain, not China, not the UN, not any European power, nobody..... The US is, and for at least the next several decades in the future will be, the dominant military force in the world with nobody else being able to even have the POTENTIAL to match the US's might, let alone the ability.

It is therefore illogical to believe that the US no longer needs to be the dominant military force in the world and that the rest of the world can manage itself while the US reduces $500 billion from military spending......




3) Not enough time

"Our time limit was 70 years. The plan I provided would be done in 23 years"

But the problem is though that the plan you gave isnt based in reality or the realm of probability at all.




"if we continue with military cuts that we are currently going (10.4% every 2 years, or about 5% per year), then with the Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid cuts and cutting the military 5% per year for the next 5 years would allow us to be paid off with in 27 years instead of 23."

But im arguing that that wont happen since politicians devote all of their efforts to preventing cuts to these areas since that is what their voter base values the most. Spending cuts on very touchy parts of the budget are the most short-lived trends in politics. The longest span the US has ever gone in successive years of reductions in military spending was 5 years (1991-1996), and it wasnt even cut at rates of 5% between years, it was at half of 1%

http://www.businessinsider.com...

If you look at military spending in the recent past, the largest reduction in military spending EVER was about $150 billion, and it took place over 12 years..... How in the hell can you therefore reason that its feasible for the US to cut $500 billion spending all at once?

http://www.cfr.org...

The war on terror isnt simply going to end or be defunded, and the US isnt going to simply ease back to the same levels of military spending it had back in the 1990's, let alone make that jump in barely a year...... Healthcare spending meanwhile has almost NEVER been reduced, and over successive decades has consistently grown more and more expensive.

http://www.usgovernmentspending.com...

The point is: Its completely unreasonable and illogical to sell the idea that the US can cut 5-10% of its spending on both the military and all the massive health care services for successive years over the course of decades to pay off the national debt.... Wars will happen, recessions will happen, depressions will happen, all of these events that cause Congress to do what it does best (overreact and overspend) which will kill any attempt to produce a balanced budget, let alone maintain it for decades.




4) We owe more money then what exists

"So even if there isn"t that much cash that has been printed, a debt can still be paid off"

The point of the argument was as I literally said: "To put into perspective how big the national debt is since people cant readily wrap their head around how big of a number 17 Trillion is."...... If the US was only a couple hundred billion in debt, then it is reasonable to believe that the national debt could be paid off. But as I was saying with this argument, the US ISNT just a couple hundred billion in debt, its $17 TRILLION in debt, meaning that the odds are already heavily stacked against the idea that the US can pay off its national debt simply due to how much in the hole the US already is.

Debate Round No. 3
Ore_Ele

Pro

I thank my opponent for their arguments. As we enter into the final round, I will only bring new comments for the new comments that my opponent has been brought up. Apart from that, I will address as much as I can by referring back to the other rounds of the debate.

1) Political Dichotomy

"Which was quickly wiped out in the Bush years immediately afterwards"

My opponent mentions that the surpluses we"ve recently had were quickly wiped out. This is not a refutation of the dichotomy of the political environment. While it shows that it CAN happen. It, in no way , proves that it WILL happen. As such, I showed that we CAN balance our budgets, and since this debate is about HOPE, my burden is not to show that it will or is even likely. Only that it is possible.

"Hell the polarity in Congress right now is so high that the budgets are being passed with TRILLION dollar deficits in single years."

Using my opponent"s own source [1], we can also see that the deficit was cut by 52% in just 4 years, or $732 billion ($1,412.69 billion to $680.27 billion [3, in my R1]). We"ve already cut $732 billion from the deficit, another $800 billion is not so impossible.

""other natural factors like wars and recessions""

Wars are not natural factors (and even recessions aren"t completely natural). They are manmade, with manmade triggers. Every war has a manmade cause that we can choose to respond to or not. To get involved or not. The last time someone tried to invade the US, was over 200 years ago in the War of 1812. All wars since have been us getting involved in other wars. I"m not arguing if they were justified or not, or if our involvement was ultimately beneficial to the world or not, but that they were choices that we made and that we could have made the other choice.

We can choose to not be in Afghanistan; to not get involved with Iran, or North Korea on military levels. We can choose to not have bases in Germany and Japan or in any of the other 50 countries that we currently have bases in [2].

"And where exactly did you actually see me say the word 'never' again? Cause I didnt say the word never, and If youre going to start putting words in my mouth then I'll just go ahead and ask for the conduct point from voters right now"

From my R2, ""hope" means "chance" or "possibility."" You"re side of this debate is that there is no hope, no chance, no possibility. If you are only arguing that it is unlikely but not that it can never happen, then you are forfeiting the debate.

Though you also later went on to say, "isnt based in reality or the realm of probability at all." So don"t ask for conduct for never using the word "never" when you entire side of the debate is based on that and you basically say "never" (in just more words) later in the very same round.

"But the problem is that there IS NO SUPPORT by people calling for military spending to be reduced by $500 Billion right away"

It doesn"t have to. As outlined in my R3, we can simply maintain the same level of cuts that we"ve done for the last 2 years for the next 5 (then allow growth based on population and inflation) and (along with the social side) reach debt free with over 40 years to spare. I have shown that there is growing support for military and social cuts (from R2, which you did not refute that the support for cuts is there), and that when support for something gets high (drug legalization joke), a single party cannot stop them (e.g. gay marriage, decriminalization of marijuana).

"Yeah, in this is CONGRESS that we are talking about. The entity that will let you down no matter what""

Entire paragraph is an Ad Hominem. I know that it is popular and cool to attack the government and say that they are the most evil people in the world, but it is a complete stretch and fallacy attack to do so.

2) Events

"The US is by far, BY FAR the most powerful and well equipped military in the world to the point that no other individual nation on Earth could come even close to rivaling it pound for pound" It is therefore illogical to believe that the US no longer needs to be the dominant military force""

Is-ought fallacy [3]. I never said that we weren"t the most powerful military, only that we don"t have to be.

Since my opponent had no other objections in the events category, I will leave that one alone.

3) Not enough time

"But im arguing that that wont happen since politicians devote all of their efforts to preventing cuts to these areas since that is what their voter base values the most. Spending cuts on very touchy parts of the budget are the most short-lived trends in politics. The longest span the US has ever gone in successive years of reductions in military spending was 5 years (1991-1996), and it wasnt even cut at rates of 5% between years, it was at half of 1%"

In 2005 dollars, from 1989 to1996, we saw military cuts in every year but one. Over the 7 year period, military spending went from $493.6 billion to $380.8 billion, averaging a 3.7% decrease per year (including the 1 year it increased) [4]. Again, while it may not be likely, it is possible and there is hope that it can happen.

"If you look at military spending in the recent past, the largest reduction in military spending EVER was about $150 billion, and it took place over 12 years"

This is historically false. While my opponent suggested that the largest cut was only $150 billion and it took 12 years, he only looked back to the 80"s. We"ve made $500 billion dollar cuts before. In 2005 dollars (meaning adjusting for inflation) our military spending was its largest in 1945, $846 billion [4], it was cut to $166 billion in 1947. The military took an 80.4% cut (79% if not adjusting for inflation) in 2 years. When adjusting for inflation, we"ve never spent that much since, and even if we let inflation skew the numbers, it took 23 years before our spending was back to that level (1968, Vietnam).

"Healthcare spending meanwhile has almost NEVER been reduced, and over successive decades has consistently grown more and more expensive."

Healthcare spending wasn"t touched on at all in the previous round, so I may be long here. While we did briefly touch on life expectancy and baby boomers, budgets themselves were not discussed. It is true that we"ve not been good historically with cutting healthcare spending, the support from both sides show that a change will occur. There is greater support by both parties than there is for recognizing gay marriage or legalizing pot. "Fully 74% of Republicans and 88% of Democrats agree that "it is critical to preserve Social Security even if it means increasing Social Security taxes paid by working Americans."" [5] Whether it is cutting the spending or raising the taxes for it, Americans are in huge support to make it more cost efficient.

4) We owe more money then what exists

"The point of the argument was as I literally said: "To put into perspective how big the national debt is since people cant readily wrap their head around how big of a number 17 Trillion is.""

That may have been the point, but you used, and sourced an economically false reasoning to back that up.

== Conclusion ==

We've made sudden military cuts (right after WW2) and we've made gradual cuts (late 80's and 90's). We can see there is overwhelming support to correct our healthcare spending. I've made some mathematical arguments that would pay off our debt within 30 years. There are, of course, countless options to get it paid within 70 years. Will it happen? probably not. But there is no question that it is possible and there is hope.

[1] http://money.cnn.com...
[2] http://www.globalresearch.ca...
[3] http://philosophynow.org...
[4] http://www.usgovernmentspending.com...
[5] http://www.nasi.org...
imabench

Con

1) Political Dichotomy

"My opponent mentions that the surpluses we"ve recently had were quickly wiped out. This is not a refutation of the dichotomy of the political environment. While it shows that it CAN happen. It, in no way , proves that it WILL happen."

Its happened every. single. time in the past though..... Every time we've had a surplus in the budget, it was entirely wiped out in the next presidential term. Its a given fact that Democrats and Republicans will be at each others throats over the course of the next 70 years, and its a given fact that every time a budget has produced a surplus, it was so small that it was wiped out the year or term after the surplus occurred.

This cycle of Congress quickly wiping out any surplus/progress made towards paying off the debt made the year before heavily stacks the odds against the idea that the US could pay off such a massive national debt within our lifetimes. Congress has to average close to $250 Billion in surplus over 70 years to pay off the national debt, at a time when political dichotomy in Congress has caused there to be TRILLION dollar deficits in the budget.

It simply cannot be overcome. A surplus that massive cannot be sustained over such a long period of time (70 years), especially since Congress has a history of wiping out surplus's immediately after one is achieved.



"We"ve already cut $732 billion from the deficit, another $800 billion is not so impossible."

A lot of that came out of exiting the 2 wars that we couldn't even fund in the first place and getting out of a terrible recession ..... Unless you can find two more wars we've been fighting that we can end and an economic golden age hits the US tomorrow, then it is pretty impossible to cut another $800 billion.



"All wars since have been us getting involved in other wars. I"m not arguing if they were justified or not, or if our involvement was ultimately beneficial to the world or not, but that they were choices that we made and that we could have made the other choice."

And the US is the second most interventionist country in the history of mankind (second only to the British Empire). The US cant just flip the switch from ultra-interventionist to outright non-interventionist, and its not going to happen anytime soon. The US will still get into wars they didnt need to get into in the first place, its the one thing the US is still good at.




"So don"t ask for conduct for never using the word "never" when you entire side of the debate is based on that and you basically say "never" "

Do you even read the arguments I post anymore? I accused you of putting words in my mouth when you said 'My opponent also claims that republicans will never accept cuts to the military', not about using the word never in the first place....





3) No support for cutting military spending by $500 Billion

"It doesn"t have to"

It kinda does have to.... You wont be able to get people in Congress to reduce military spending by $500 billion if their constituents they are representing dont even want that.




"we can simply maintain the same level of cuts that we"ve done for the last 2 years for the next 5"

Except we CANT, because those cuts are the result of bringing an end to two very costly wars that have been waged for the last ten years, not because we finally were able to look at a military program and say to ourselves 'eh, we dont need this'.

We dont have any more wars to withdraw fund to be able to keep reducing military spending at the rate it has been reduced.




"I have shown that there is growing support for military and social cuts"

There isnt any support for cutting either of those by $500 billion though, which you continue to insist or imagine that there is.




" I know that it is popular and cool to attack the government and say that they are the most evil people in the world, but it is a complete stretch and fallacy attack to do so."

If you would like to prove that Congress isnt incompetent and incapable of doing anything noteworthy then by all means be my guest, the fact still stands though that they are incapable of doing anything right, as mentioned before about the level of political dichotomy that exists in Congress right now....





3) Events

"I never said that we weren"t the most powerful military, only that we don"t have to be."

And I argued that they dont have to be the costliest military in the world doesnt matter since the US simply IS the most powerful country in the world and also happens to like being the most powerful country in the world. Just because they dont have to be the biggest in the world, that doesnt mean that you can say for certain they will eventually let someone else become number 1 and cut $500 billion from military spending.....

Events like recessions and depressions will happen, and recessions + depressions make it impossibly hard for Congress to produce a significant surplus in a budget without driving itself into economic ruin..... These plus the inevitable conflicts and wars the US will involve itself in alone makes it impossible for the US to maintain a $250 Billion surplus for 70 years to pay off the national debt.




4) Military cuts in the past

"from 1989 to1996, we saw military cuts in every year but one"

Thats primarily because we just got out of the Cold War and no longer had to fund a ton of programs to counterbalance the Soviets.... The war on terrorism meanwhile rages on and it doesnt look like that one is gonna end anytime soon.






"our military spending was its largest in 1945, $846 billion [4], it was cut to $166 billion in 1947"

And those happened because WWII ended and we no logner had to fight against Japan and Germany......

I dont know why its so hard to understand this concept, but the US only significantly reduces military spending when it is ENDING wars, not when its just strolling along in between major conflicts..... To point at cases of reducing military spending when the US transitioning from the Cold War or WWII to years of peacetime, and allege that the same can be made at any given time when a massively large war or conflict is not being fought, is simply ludicrous and impossible to justify as sensible.

The US simply cannot nor will not cut military spending by $500 billion from its military budget. There arent anymore wars we can withdraw from and nobody is supporting the idea of cutting military spending by over 50% or by $500 Billion.....





5) Healthcare

" It is true that we"ve not been good historically with cutting healthcare spending, the support from both sides show that a change will occur"

Theres also support from both sides for tougher background checks, but despite that those still did not become a reality.... Just because something has bipartisian support, it doesnt mean it will become a reality, and considering how partisian Congress currently is right now, bipartisian may not be a word used to describe Congress anytime soon.




6) We owe a truly stupendous amount of money already

Dropped.



===================================================================================

There are a few reasons why there is no hope that the US can eliminate its national debt in our lifetimes

1) We already owe so much already. We are really, REALLY deep in the hole to the point that if we averaged a $200 Billion surplus every year, for 70 years, THAT STILL WOULDNT BE ENOUGH

2) We cant simply cut $500 Billion out of military spending and maintain that for decades to pay off the debt.

3) Congress is known for being incompetent, and that is especially true when it comes to being fiscally responsible.

4) Wars and recessions will happen, and there will be a lot of them too. These will make it impossible for the US to maintain a large surplus every year for the next 70 years.

5) Partisanship in Congress will always be there, and that will make it even harder for the US to even produce a surplus in the first place, let alone maintain it for 70 years.

And thats why the simple truth is: there is no hope for the US to pay off its debt in our lifetimes.
Debate Round No. 4
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by 9spaceking 2 years ago
9spaceking
YOW! Ore losses by merely one point!
Posted by donald.keller 3 years ago
donald.keller
You don't pay off the debt. You pay off the interest on the bond. All bonds take 30 years exact to pay off. If we stopped borrowing here and now, the debt would be gone in 30 years flat. Whether our debt is $1 trillion or $100 trillion.
Posted by Zaradi 3 years ago
Zaradi
Wow this is really tied?

If it's still tied tomorrow you can shoot me a message and I'll vote on it.
Posted by 2-D 3 years ago
2-D
That's possible I guess. China has been improving their human rights issues so it may turn out all right. Did it come up in the debate? I haven't read it yet.
Posted by Jifpop09 3 years ago
Jifpop09
What will most likely happen is that China will call in a favor due to our debt. I'm pretty sure it's the only reason they mind feeding us all this money.
Posted by 2-D 3 years ago
2-D
that should have ended with an honest '!'.
Posted by 2-D 3 years ago
2-D
Wait, a debate between two interesting contenders and I have no strong opinion either way? I'm glad this is happening.
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by bsh1 3 years ago
bsh1
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Reasons for voting decision: Wow...this was a close debate. I think what did it for me was the notion of "in our lifetimes." Bench made several points (e.g. we cut billions by ending wars, but there are no more wars to end) that depressed me into accepting the Con position. Also, Con's formatting was clearer. Hence, Arguments and S/G will go Con. I found the both debaters used credible sources well, and so those points will remain tied. Conduct was good on both ends, too. Ultimately, what this came down to, for me, was (1) whether there was enough to cut, and (2) whether Congress would feasibly enact those cuts with alacrity enough to eliminate the debt within my lifetime. As to the first point, I just don't see that many places to cut...Bench did a solid job here. As for the second point, I think it is dubious to suppose that Congress would cut funds from popular programs like Medicare in time to remove the national debt before I die. Therefore, I find myself forced to vote Con. This was a truly EXCELLENT debate!
Vote Placed by 2-D 3 years ago
2-D
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Reasons for voting decision: I think this was an uphill battle for Con because arguing that there is no hope of anything is pretty difficult. This was made more difficult given Pro's definition of hope that Con did not contest. Con relied a lot on background history as a predictor for future behavior but this only worked to a point. A great turn on this was the example of the government slashing military spending by 680 billion in one event and the provided option for a gradual change over 27 years, much less than the 70 year window. The point that all of our wars are voluntary intervention in the affairs of other nations was also a clincher for me. I would have been curious to hear if other countries have erased a large dept like this; I believe there are a few examples. This would have been much closer if the argument was about which option is more likely but all Pro needed was hope. Excellent job from both sides and thank you for adding quality content.
Vote Placed by Wylted 3 years ago
Wylted
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Reasons for voting decision: Con's arguments showed that any attempt to wipe out the national debt is almost hopeless. Pro needs to address how the politicians needs to pander to voters, by spending on popular programs, would be overcome as well as how to avoid having short term national disasters ruin any budget surplus. The rest if the voting criteria is even.
Vote Placed by YYW 3 years ago
YYW
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Reasons for voting decision: PRO did some neat things with simple math and basic evidence to prove that there is not only hope that the US could eliminate its national debt in the debater's lifetimes, but the very real possibility of it given certain circumstances. Says PRO: "If we do some fun number crunching, we will see that the debt can actually be entirely paid off within 23 years (The GDP would be $38.08 trillion (though that would only be $28.94 trillion by today"s dollar) without raising, nor cutting taxes. We would actually see the debt peak at $18.14 trillion in 6 years before the surplus was larger than the interest to start bringing it down." CON put up a notable fight, though. So, not bad. Oh, and counter Josh-B's stupidly awarded spelling and grammar point. Both were even.
Vote Placed by Josh_b 3 years ago
Josh_b
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Reasons for voting decision: I honestly think pro kept confusing billions for trillions. I found that pro's argument for hope was ridiculously based on a $500 billion/year spending cut in the military. Con dismantled that claim and uses historical evidence to prove the negation of any possible surplus having affect on the total deficit. There is no hope of eliminating the debt.
Vote Placed by Oromagi 3 years ago
Oromagi
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro had BoP, but set the bar so low that Con had little chance and should never have agreed. That is, Pro's BoP was simply whether elimination of debt was achievable, not whether elimination is likely (or even desirable, a key argument that Con did not take up). Pro showed that debt elimination is not out of the range of possibility, and Con wasted most of his space on good arguments about why elimination was unlikely when he needed to show it was impossible or at least completely undesirable.