The Instigator
wjmelements
Pro (for)
Losing
14 Points
The Contender
masterzanzibar
Con (against)
Winning
17 Points

Federal aid to private companies is unconstitutional in the United States.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 7 votes the winner is...
masterzanzibar
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/8/2009 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,938 times Debate No: 7749
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (37)
Votes (7)

 

wjmelements

Pro

I wish luck to whoever accepts this debate.

unconstitutional- not constitutional; unauthorized by or inconsistent with the constitution, as of a country http://dictionary.reference.com...

Federal- pertaining to or of the nature of a union of states under a central government distinct from the individual governments of the separate states http://dictionary.reference.com...

1. Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution declares what powers Congress do and do not have. Such a power as to give federal aid to private companies is not even vaguely listed.

2. Ammendment X to the Constitution states, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states, or to the people, respectively." http://www.law.cornell.edu...
Therefore, because the Constitution does not delegate such a power to the United States, it is reserved to the states. The states may aid private companies, but the federal government may not.

As I see it, this is in clear black and white. I await my opponent's argument.
masterzanzibar

Con

Good luck to you as well.
I agree with my opponent's definitions for this debate, however I have one of my own to propose as well.
Federal Aid-
In the United States of America, Federal assistance, also known as federal aid, federal benefits, or federal funds, is defined as any federal program, project, service, and activity provided by the U.S. federal government that directly assists or benefits the American public. http://www.reference.com... Aid
Given the recent fiscal decisions between Washington and corporate entities such as AIG, I am assuming the only type of aid implied within the resolution is fiscal aid. Thus, I will be solely referring to financial aid within this debate round. if I misconstrued the intent of this resolution that is something that will have to be cleared up in later rounds by my opponent and myself.
I will go NEG--> AFF
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CONTENTION 1- article 1 section 8 of the U.S. constitution
The first power enumerated within article 1 section 8 of the constitution is:
The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States;
The clause explicitly denotes that the federal government may have the power to tax within the united states to pay debts and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States. within this clause, the federal government is directly given the power to provide aid in several ways.

Subpoint A- Tax Breaks
The first of which would be tax breaks. As the federal government can tax, they can simultaneously levy taxes on certain or all private companies as they please. Given that federal aid is "...any federal program, project, service, and activity provided by the U.S. federal government that directly assists or benefits the American public." alleviating the tax burden on private companies would be entirely beneficial to these companies= federal aid. This alone is enough to negate.

Subpoint B- Acting in the common defense and general welfare of the United States.
furthermore, as the constitution reads within that same clause " The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes... to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States. we find yet another method in which the federal government can provide aid: when acting in the common defence and general welfare for the country. if the collapse of a multibillion dollar corporation were enough to jeopardize the welfare and security of this nation, then the USFG can act as empowered by the constitution by whatever means provided to ensure that such a collapse would not occur. the primary medium= federal financial aid.

Subpoint C- necessary and Proper (elastic)
The last clause within the Article 1 section 8 states "[congress can] make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof."

it is the government's primary role to act on behalf of the general welfare of the people,this clause gives them the explicit power to create such laws to do so. if a scenario (like in subpoint b) were presented to the American public, the USFG would be forced to act to preserve general welfare by providing federal aid.
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NOW ON TO THE AFF
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My opponents first contention is negated by my first contention. I have fulfilled my burden within this debate round, to show that the power to provide federal aid by congress to private companies is enumerated within the constitution. Thus, my opponent's second contention is fundamentally flawed insofar as it is simply false that the federal government does not have such powers. additionally, when it comes to interstate policy, commerce, and affairs its the fed's job to intervene and regulate. a lot of these companies (like AIG) span across all 50 states.

vote neg.
Debate Round No. 1
wjmelements

Pro

I thank my opponent for accepting this debate and for a logical response.

Definitions: "Federal aid to private companies" refers to giving specific companies money because they are not economically sound.

CON 1- My opponent has taken a clause of the constitution out of context. Though currently, the phrase can be interpretted by the common reader as meaning "providing for the economic defense" or "providing economic protection" or even "to annually redistribute wealth", the meanings of "common Defense" and "general Welfare" have changed over the years.
The meaning of common defense back in the time of the constitution is described below.
"While the Constitution didn't necessarily allow for elite military operations, it did intend for the government to provide a basic system of defense against enemies of the state." http://www.associatedcontent.com...
It continues: "U.S. government has, over the years, broadened the definition of defense and has also utilized this role of the government most often."
"Common defense" clearly refers to military defense.
Similarly, "general welfare" means to improve the well being of the whole of society http://home.att.net...
By general welfare, the framers meant:
"A broad purpose of the government that is constantly open to adaptation and growth, is the role of the government to provide the Americna people with services and regulations that are for the public good. Such regulations may include health and food standards, public education, and consumer protection." http://www.associatedcontent.com...
Clearly, federal aid to certain companies is not providing for the common well-being of the population.
Neither of these purposes justify federal aid to private companies.

CON 1a

By my definition, this point is irrelevant, though to provide tax breaks to only certain companies is unconstitutional:
"all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;" (same clause) http://home.att.net...

CON 1b
"if the collapse of a multibillion dollar corporation were enough to jeopardize the welfare and security of this nation"
The failure of a company will neither jeopardize the "common defense" nor the "general welfare".

CON 1c
Point C is reliant on point 1a, and falls with it.

---------------

PRO 1, 2
Because my opponent's case is the product of broad and false interpretation of the constitution, it falls, leaving my case standing. My opponent has conceded my case if and only if his case falls.

-----------------

My opponent throws this in:
"additionally, when it comes to interstate policy, commerce, and affairs its the fed's job to intervene and regulate. a lot of these companies (like AIG) span across all 50 states."
What this is saying is that the moment a company goes beyond state borders, "it is the fed's job to intervene and regulate". So, by my opponent's interpretation of the interstate commerce clause, all companies not entirely in one state are the property of central government. This false conclusion is the product of a false premise, that being my opponent's interpretation of the interstate commerce clause.

CONCLUSION:
While states have the power to aid private companies, there is no federal authority to do so.
Vote PRO.
masterzanzibar

Con

ROAD MAP
----------------------------
1.) FRAMEWORK (Burdens)
2.) DEFINITION
3.) NEG
4.) AFF

Alright, to begin to make this debate a little more clear for the voters, I will construct a framework esque section just to clarify burdens within this debate.
1.) the Negative Burden within this debate round is to show that giving federal aid to companies within the united states can be constitutional at times. so long as I show one example where it is constitutional to provide federal aid to private companies you must negate.
2.)The Affirmative burden is to show that giving federal aid to private companies would be unconstitutional in all situations. If the Aff cannot fulfill this burden you must negate.

Okay on to the definition debate
The aff does in no way warrant as to why you look to their definition within this debate round, or as to why this is even an adequate definition to satisfy the parameters of the term "federal aid". it appears (and I may be wrong, however there is no source to this definition) that the affirmation simply constructed this definition of "giving specific companies money because they are not economically sound", and crafts it to fit the needs of future arguments against my contentions. Additionally reject the economically sound segment of his definition as it is unwarranted and not stipulated by the resolution we came here to debate. the resolution says "private companies" not Private companies that are not economically sound.

Reasons why you prefer NEG definition
1.) Neg's definition is actually cited and legitimate
2.) logically, federal aid can be several other things than just throwing money at a problem. for example if I were to give a friend aid with his dying grandmother, there could be several other means to help them rather than just throwing money at him like feeding her or getting her medicine or reading her a book or something. although somewhat of a poor analogy, the federal government consistently gives aid to those who need it by the means of federal programs, or, as it says in my definition: any activity provided that directly assists or benefits the American public.
thus, the NEG definition stands.

NOW ON TO THE CON
Contention 1-
AFF states:"My opponent has taken a clause of the constitution out of context...The meaning of common defense back in the time of the constitution is described below.
------------------
RESPONSE: when talking about that clause of the constitution, I was more referring to the latter, general welfare. However, the means of which the federal government provides common defense is through the military, and more specifically military spending. A common factor between every hegemonic power ever to exist, is the advanced industrialization of that entity, or more specifically, how proficient and sound that country's means of supplying defense is. since our defense is provided by the military, which is provided by militaristic spending, which is funded through an advanced and industrialized economy, a collapse of that economy would mean a collapse or downfall in the U.S.F.G.'s ability to defend our country. cross apply sub contention c which is the necessary and proper clause which gives the federal government the ability to do whatever in it's means to carry out the powers invested in them through the constitution. meaning that the federal government would have to give money to these companies in effort to prevent economic collapse to ensure the means of Common Defense.

The AFF goes on to define general welfare as : "improving the well being of the whole of society."
-------
RESPONSE: I have no idea how this conflicts with my position of advocacy. if a corporate entity worth billions of dollars and employing millions were to collapse, to provide that company with aid would in no doubt be "improving the well being of the whole society."if millions of jobs are lost due to the collapse of this entity, the federal government may see it as advantageous to the general public "bail out" or provide aid to such a company, to prevent further job loss and exacerbation of markets.

AFF says further:
"A broad purpose of the government that is constantly open to adaptation and growth, is the role of the government to provide the American people with services and regulations that are for the public good. Such regulations may include health and food standards, public education, and consumer protection.""
-----
RESPONSE: The first part of this definition completely coincides with the Negative Case. the federal government is "adapting" to the changes and slumps in the market to give aid to these companies. I've already discussed how this can be for the benefit of the public good. Futhermore, the AFF even goes as far as to define regulations as consumer protection. consumer protection is defined as "Movement or policies aimed at regulating the products, services, methods, and standards of manufacturers, sellers, and advertisers in the interests of the buyer." http://www.reference.com... so the federal government, MAY, by the advocacy of the affirmative, provide aid to companies to ensure that the consumer is being protected through incentives, or just plain aid when the market is going down to keep prices bearable.

clearly this interpretation coincides with the constitution, my opponent and I both agree.

now on to NEGa.
look to the whole definition section to see why my opponents argument against this sub contention doesn't work. my definition has been warranted, cited, and is legitimate. thus you look to my definition which clearly states aid as anything executed by the federal government to aid or benefit the people. in response to his uniformity of tax argument, I agree, so long as the federal government is giving tax breaks in a uniform manner to private companies, I am still negating the resolution.

NEG 1b
I have already explained how the collapse of an economy would be enough to jeopardize the common defense and general welfare. if everyone is unemployed, and the government could have prevented that by giving aid to corporations, the feds must act.

NEG1c
since there is no real refutation besides what is argued on con 1 a, I feel no need to refute why sub contention a stands, its already been solidified.

--------------------
I now move on to the AFF
---------------------

PRO 1,2 I have already explained quite elaborately, (even using my opponent's interpretation of common defense and general welfare) why my arguments are all consistent with the constitution. I can see in no way how I have conceded his case

just kick the interstate commerce argument, as that's another debate for another day.

conclusively, going by my opponents own interpretation of the U.S. constitution I have unquestionably shown how the federal government may use the powers enumerated within the constitution to provide private companies with aid; all in all leaving you with more than enough ground to warrant a negative vote.
Debate Round No. 2
wjmelements

Pro

I thank my opponent for this debate.

Burdens:
I accept your burdens, as they are clearly defined by the resolution.
We can then conclude that the entire debate rests on CON's first contention and the definitions of the resolution.

Definition of "Federal Aid":
Federal has been defined as:
-pertaining to or of the nature of a union of states under a central government distinct from the individual governments of the separate states http://dictionary.reference.com...
Aid is defined as:
-to give help or assistance (as a verb) http://dictionary.reference.com...
However, in the resolution, 'aid' is clearly a noun.
-help or support; assistance http://dictionary.reference.com...
Help is defined as:
-to give or provide what is necessary to accomplish a task or satisfy a need; contribute strength or means to; render assistance to; cooperate effectively with; aid; assist http://dictionary.reference.com...
Support is defined as:
-to uphold (a person, cause, policy, etc.) by aid http://dictionary.reference.com...

As for definitions, it is clear that 'aid' is never to relieve a burden, such as to lower taxes (so that is a different debate), but to give something to someone or something in need.
My opponent had a broad definiton of federal aid that allowed it to be essentially anything he wanted it to be. His great source did not even contain any of the following words: aid, assistance, or benefits; even though he claimed it to be a proper definition, his definition is nothing of such for this debate.

--------------------------------------------
Now, for CON:
1
"so the federal government, MAY, by the advocacy of the affirmative, provide aid to companies to ensure that the consumer is being protected through incentives, or just plain aid when the market is going down to keep prices bearable."
By the definitions above, federal regulations are irrelevant, because they are not 'Federal aid'. As for "keep prices bearable", this actually hurts companies, because they charge what the market forces of supply, demand, and competition lead them to price. By conflicting with these market forces, the strength of the free market is jeopardized.

"Futhermore, the AFF even goes as far as to define regulations as consumer protection"
Consumer protection is not 'Federal aid to private companies'. My opponent's definition of 'Federal aid' is very broad and falsely stated. Therefore, this is not part of this debate.

"clearly this interpretation coincides with the constitution, my opponent and I both agree."
It coincides with the constitution, but not the debate.

"if a corporate entity worth billions of dollars and employing millions were to collapse, to provide that company with aid would in no doubt be "improving the well being of the whole society." "
This is incorrect. To temporarily prop up a corporate entity with federal funds would hurt the whole, as they are either taxed involuntarily to prop this company up or their currency is inflated. This hurts the 'whole' of society while giving benefits to only a few million people, or about 1% of the population.

"federal government may see it as advantageous to the general public "bail out" or provide aid to such a company, to prevent further job loss and exacerbation of markets"
When a company falls, it files for bankruptcy and its assets are sold into the rest of the market, allowing for this market to grow and develop in a more profitable way than it would have with the unprofitable existence of the former company. Jobs are not lost, they are ultimately transferred to otehr companies as they expand to fill the void.

GENERAL WELFARE AND THE COMMON DEFENSE:
CON insists that helping about 1% of the population at the cost of the whole is 'general welfare'. This is fallacy.
CON insists that "a collapse of that economy would mean a collapse or downfall in the U.S.F.G.'s ability to defend our country"; however, even during the Great Depression, governments across the world were able to amass enough military to fight off the expansion of the strongest economies in the world, Nazi Germany and Japan. Therefore, this claim is false.

Granting assistance through government spending does not have a place in the constitution.

NEG 1a
"in response to his uniformity of tax argument, I agree, so long as the federal government is giving tax breaks in a uniform manner to private companies"
Relieving tax burdens does not qualify as aid, as a more specific definition proves.

"alleviating the tax burden on private companies would be entirely beneficial to these companies= federal aid"
Again, relieving tax burdens, or any other burden, such as a regulation, is not federal aid. Removing of a burden in no case is providing aid according to a more proper and specific definition.

"look to the whole definition section to see why my opponents argument against this sub contention doesn't work"
So, because your definition was wrong, your subcontention falls.

CON 1b
"I have already explained how the collapse of an economy would be enough to jeopardize the common defense and general welfare. if everyone is unemployed, and the government could have prevented that by giving aid to corporations, the feds must act."
Such a thing has never happened in history and will never happen. My opponent has made an alarmist claim.

CON 1c
"since there is no real refutation besides what is argued on con 1 a, I feel no need to refute why sub contention a stands, its already been solidified."
Because your definition falls, subpoint 1c falls as well.

---------------------------------------
Now for my case:
"I can see in no way how I have conceded his case"
I did not say you had conceded my case, I said "My opponent has conceded my case if and only if his case falls", which is entirely different and a product of the debate burdens, as we have both pointed out.
----------------------------------------
"just kick the interstate commerce argument, as that's another debate for another day."
No problem.
-----------------------------------------
CONCLUSIONS:
Because the definition of "Federal aid to private companies" is "For the federal government to uphold private companies by giving them assistance", my opponent's case is not relevant to this debate, with the exception of his alarmist arguments that an entire economy could collapse as the result of a few companies falling, which is a false claim.
"Federal aid to private companies is unconstitutional in the United States."
Affirmed. Vote PRO.
masterzanzibar

Con

I thank my opponent as well for this debate.
ROAD MAP :
DEFINITIONS
FRAMEWORK
NC
AC

DEFINITIONS: This is clearly where the debate comes down to.
Reasons why you can't accept the AFF definition of federal aid.
1.) the AFF constructed this definition, the NEG definition is cited legitimately and quoted verbatim. (if the link didn't work R1 here it is again http://www.reference.com...)
2.) the Affirmative cherry picks what they want and do not want within their definition. For example, the AFF gives a definition of help, for federal aid is a noun. I do not dispute that federal aid used in this context is a noun, as I am quite familiar with the syntax of the English language. however the AFF abusively construes the segment of this definition which states "to give or provide what is necessary to accomplish a task or satisfy a need." making it out to mean only "giving money" to these companies. however, if the goal or task that needs to be accomplished is the stimulation of small businesses, then tax breaks, tax holidays ect. are all means of which the government uses to do such a thing. (Look at the bush stimulus in 01 and 08 both including tax breaks for small businesses and businesses alike.) thus, using the AFFIRMATIVES DEFINITION OF HELP the federal government can create policy, write legislation and create programs to "provide what is necessary to accomplish" their goals.
3.) the NEG definition clearly satisfies what is prescribed by the parameters of that term, as it states: "In the United States of America, Federal assistance, also known as federal aid, federal benefits, or federal funds, is defined as any federal program, project, service, and activity provided by the U.S. federal government that directly assists or benefits the American public." thus, it is the more preferable of the two.

FRAMEWORK:
AFF concedes framework thus if the NEG can show one example where the federal government can provide aid to private companies.

NC or CON:
1. AFF SAYS: By the definitions above, federal regulations are irrelevant, because they are not 'Federal aid'.

RESPONSE: what I was stating, is that the Affirmative claims that an aspect of general welfare is consumer protection, in order to establish and uphold consumer protection, the government can give aid to companies in a variety of ways.
First, feds can provide incentives to businesses like tax breaks, tax incentives (Both are aid given by the parameters of the definition of federal aid given by the NEG) for protecting the environment, use certain types of products, recycling and so forth. additionally, federal companies can give subsidies to these companies to "keep prices bearable" when times are rough, I was not advocating a price regulation in any way.

AFF SAYS:
Consumer protection is not 'Federal aid to private companies'.
RESPONSE: I have already shown how protecting consumers can involve giving federal aid, and is validated by the elastic clause in the constitution. the federal government is acting by whatever means necessary to make sure that they are providing for the general welfare of the state.

AFF SAYS:"To temporarily prop up a corporate entity with federal funds would hurt the whole, as they are either taxed involuntarily to prop this company up or their currency is inflated. This hurts the 'whole' of society while giving benefits to only a few million people, or about 1% of the population."
RESPONSE:
first, we can see the collapse of just one private sector can be detrimental to the economy as a whole, especially when that sector resides in a sea of other sectors that are predominately privatized. this creates what we like to call a domino effect, as other sectors that were reliant on the one which collapsed, are hurt as a result. Look at what happened with the housing market, it was severely damaged because of the sub prime lending garbage that was going on. now it lies terribly inflated, and almost all sectors of our economy suffer because of it. this affects everyone when this domino effect occurs. Thus, there may be times where the federal government may need to act on the behalf of the common good for their welfare as justified by the necessary and proper clause

AFF SAYS: When a company falls, it files for bankruptcy and its assets are sold into the rest of the market, allowing for this market to grow and develop in a more profitable way than it would have with the unprofitable existence of the former company.

RESPONSE: a distinction must now be made. I am in no way advocating that this is the most effective manner in which a government may stimulate or facilitate it's economy, especially one focused upon free market Keynesian economics like our own. however, the effectiveness of the method is not what I am here to debate. I am here to debate the legality of such a movement by the federal government. since economics is quite reasonably unpredictable the federal government may perceive giving aid to these companies to be for the General welfare as the public. thus they use the necessary and proper clause to do so.

CON 1 A. all attacks made against this argument rely upon the premise that my opponent has won the definition debate. hopefully by now you have seen why the AFF def is abusive and illegitimate, and why my definition satisfies the parameters of that term.

CON 1B
AFF SAYS:Such a thing (collapse of an economy) has never happened in history and will never happen. My opponent has made an alarmist claim.

RESPONSE: although the possibility is slim it remains real, but furthermore, we are already seeing the effects of a slumping economy effecting the general welfare of citizens.

CON 1C
the necessary and proper clause goes grievously uncontested by my opponent throughout the round, and translates to be perhaps the biggest reason of why you should vote NEG today, for it justifies any action by the federal government to help carry out the responsibilities of the constitution. federal aid can most certainly be one of the means by which the USFG preserves the general welfare.

My opponent rests his case upon two mistaken arguments: first, that he has won the definition debate; and second, that my case is not relevant to this debate. if you have even been lightly reading this debate, it should be relatively easy to concluded that both of these arguments are unfounded and unwarranted. insofar as the NEG has fufilled the burden, and all aff ground is lost, you must negate.
Debate Round No. 3
37 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by wjmelements 8 years ago
wjmelements
...definitely needed more votes.
Posted by wjmelements 8 years ago
wjmelements
And what do you think general welfare means? Your opinion seems to be superior to ours.
Posted by Mickeyrocks 8 years ago
Mickeyrocks
I can't vote, because my cell phone is registered to another account that I don't have access to. (hah.)

However, I find that the definition of "General welfare" presented by the pro to be ridiculous.

1) "Mac Walton" (who authored your link) is not the most legitimate interpretation of the constitution, nor is he more legitimate than you, or your opponent.

2) A country being hit by economic recession is not well off, and if that recession could be slowed by federal aid then obviously it would help the general welfare (i.e. reduction of unemployment rates, stock market takes less of a hit, overall financial stability)

You vote on general welfare, neg wins.
Posted by wjmelements 8 years ago
wjmelements
They definitely need to put it back up until they're sure that they want to change it.
Posted by masterzanzibar 8 years ago
masterzanzibar
yeah it's too bad the voting section is down.
Posted by wjmelements 8 years ago
wjmelements
I'd like to see the demographics. No one's left an RFD.
Posted by masterzanzibar 8 years ago
masterzanzibar
SO close
Posted by wjmelements 8 years ago
wjmelements
This debate deserves more votes...
Posted by McBain 8 years ago
McBain
Nice debate! Thanks for a good read.
Posted by wjmelements 8 years ago
wjmelements
It was real good, and yes, it did ultimately come down to something as simple as defining the resolution.
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Vote Placed by ikickm 8 years ago
ikickm
wjmelementsmasterzanzibarTied
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