The Instigator
brian_eggleston
Pro (for)
Losing
9 Points
The Contender
RoyLatham
Con (against)
Winning
25 Points

Fraud investigators should focus their attention on wealthy conservatives

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 6 votes the winner is...
RoyLatham
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/27/2010 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,614 times Debate No: 12587
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (7)
Votes (6)

 

brian_eggleston

Pro

Since the resources of tax authorities such as America's Internal Revenue Service [1] and Britain's HM Customs and Revenue [2] are limited, they should target their tax evasion investigations on those most likely to offend by proactively probing the financial affairs of known supporters of right-wing political parties.

That's because one of the main reasons unscrupulous and dishonest rich people support the Republican Party in the US, or the Conservative Party in the UK, is that they resent paying tax and these parties sympathise with their views.

For example, the Republicans say: "The most important distinction between Republicans and the leadership of today's Democratic Party concerning taxes is not just that we believe you should keep more of what you earn. That's true, but there is a more fundamental distinction. It concerns the purpose of taxation. We believe government should tax only to raise money for its essential functions." [3]

Meanwhile, the Conservatives say: "We will raise the Inheritance Tax threshold to �1 million" and "We do not regard the new 50p tax rate as a permanent feature of the tax system." [4]

The tax protest movements in the US and the UK are coalitions of right-wing conservatives who object to government spending on public services paid for by taxes on the rich.

In the US, conservatives have attempted to introduce a revised version of the Liberty Amendment that includes a section mandating the abolition of income, estate and gift taxes. This amendment has considerable support among extreme right-wing conservatives such as Congressman Ron Paul of Texas. [5]

Meanwhile in the UK, the right-wing Taxpayers Alliance generally mirrors Conservative Party policies but goes further by calling for the complete abolition of inheritance tax, the scrapping of the top rate of income tax to benefit the highest earners and the slashing of spending on public services that the most disadvantaged members of society rely upon. [6]

Now, I daresay there are some wealthy Republican and Conservative Party supporters who dutifully pay their tax in full and on time but with most of them harbouring a deep resentment of the tax system, many find ways to avoid giving money to the government.

Some may exploit legal loopholes in the system to minimise their tax exposure but others evade paying tax altogether by using illegal scams such as having their income paid directly into offshore tax havens.

However, there is a straightforward way to bring these conservative criminals to justice.

Firstly, the tax authority should obtain a list of right wing parties' members and donors. Then they should establish which of these individuals live lavish lifestyles. Next they should check that these people's declared taxable income is sufficient to fund such luxurious existences, and if not, they should obtain search warrants to raid their homes and workplaces and seize personal computers and financial documents that may assist their investigations or be used as evidence in a court of law.

Tax evasion is a serious crime that damages the economy and forces ordinary, hard-working citizens to pay more tax to make up for the lost revenue. The worst offenders are likely to be wealthy supporters of right-wing political parties and that's why tax fraud investigators should concentrate their efforts on them.

Thank you.

[1] http://www.irs.gov...
[2] http://www.hmrc.gov.uk...
[3] http://www.gop.com...
[4] http://www.conservatives.com...
[5] http://www.adl.org...
[6] http://www.taxpayersalliance.com...
RoyLatham

Con

One never knows for sure when Pro is proposing a topic for serious debate, and when he is just kidding. I'm not sure that even Pro knows. That's the scary part. In any case, I'll take this as being a serious topic.

There are four reasons why the resolution should be soundly rejected:

1. Harassing political opponents on the grounds of their political beliefs is unfair, undemocratic, and inconsistent with the principle of equality before the law.

2. The policy will reduce tax compliance dramatically, diminishing revenues, because non-conservatives will know they aren't going to be audited.

3. Both rich liberals and rich conservatives can avoid taxes legally, because they can afford accountants and lawyers to advise them how.

4. It will encourage left-wing weasels who prosper by gaming the system to make tax laws that further punish productive people.

1. Currently the Internal Revenue Service, and I assume Customs and Revenue, selects cases for investigation by (a) using computer programs that impartially flag suspicious returns for investigation http://www.walletpop.com..., (b) relying upon tips from whistle-blowers about persons evading tax law, and (c) randomly selecting some number of taxpayers for revue. Pro resolves that this should be abandoned in favor of harassing opponents of ever-higher taxation. He says, "Since the resources of tax authorities ... are limited, they should target their tax evasion investigations on those most likely to offend by proactively probing the financial affairs of known supporters of right-wing political parties." "Harass" means "to trouble, torment, or confuse by continual persistent attacks, questions, etc." http://www.thefreedictionary.com... -- precisely what Pro resolves.

"Lady Justice is often depicted wearing a blindfold. This is done in order to indicate that justice is (or should be) meted out objectively, without fear or favor, regardless of identity, money, power, or weakness: blind justice and blind impartiality." http://en.wikipedia.org... Pro wants a thumb on the left side of the scale.

2. Pro offers no evidence that known supporters of right-wing political parties are more likely to cheat on taxes than anyone else, and certainly no evidence that they are more likely to cheat than the names produced by computer analysis and whistle-blowers. Eliminating random selection for revue guarantees the average taxpayer will not be reviewed, so they may comfortably cheat as much as the want. Whistle-blowers will be ignored in favor of harassment.

3. Very few rich people cheat on taxes. There is no need for them to do so, because there are so many perfectly legal ways to evade taxes. http://www.rpifs.com... is no reason to cheat and risk going to jail when perfectly legal methods are available to accomplish the goal of not paying taxes. In American, the primary financial support for the Democrats is from wealthy trial lawyers, entertainment industry executives, and labor unions. Trial lawyers and entertainment executives have all the knowledge needed to evade taxes, and labor unions are tax exempt. There was a threat of taxing the so-called "Cadillac" health care benefits of union members, but Obama cut them a special exemption.

The Left gets enormous contributions from "limousine liberals" like billionaire George Soros. Soros is in many ways typical of leftists who advocate high taxes for others, but successfully evade the taxes themselves. Soros funds moveon.org, MediaMatters, and a host of other radical Leftist organizations. http://www.foxnews.com... Soros operates from the tax haven of Curacao, repeatedly cited by the Task Force on Money Laundering of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) as one of the world's most important centers for laundering illegal proceeds of the Latin American cocaine and other drug traffic. http://www.oecd.org... This is not to say that Soros is involved in drug trafficking, only that he has selected the most extreme of the tax havens.

It's not necessary to go to extreme of moving off shore to avoid taxes. Al Gore, for example, has made about a Billion dollars since leaving office, using perfectly legal means to avoid taxes. Large Wall Street firms gave more support to Obama in the last election than to McCain, and the large firms have supported the wildly complex 2000 page "financial reform" bill recently enacted. Large Wall Street firms and major corporations pack the list of top Obama contributors. http://www.opensecrets.org...

There is a common theme to all of the rich liberal support ranging from trial lawyers to unions to large Wall Street firms. They are all experts at gaming the system. They quite naturally love a complex tax system, because they feel confident in gaming it successfully. They are eager to increase taxes so long as the tax system is made ever more complex, so smaller and less sophisticated taxpayers cannot cope with it. It particular, they want to tax the whiz out of people who actually produce useful things. Leftists are confident they will continue to game the system so that they won't have to actually pay the taxes, while others who are concerned with doing productive things like manufacturing (the primary Republican source of money) will have to pay instead.

Pro cites the inheritance tax to support his case against conservatives. Inheritance taxes are evaded by setting up trusts that shield the inheritance from inheritance taxes. People like trial lawyers and financial executives know how to pull this off without a hitch. Consequently, the main impact is on family businesses like small companies and farms. Their wealth is tied up in the assets of the business, like the land that is being farmed. A high inheritance tax requires that the business be liquidated in order to pay the taxes. A farmer describes how this works:

"My dad bought this place for somewhere around $700,000 about ten years ago. If he were to leave this land to me, the current value is somewhere around $3 million. ... It shouldn't be worth this much and it isn't based on its ability to produce income. But it is due to its recreational value and perhaps as investment property. Despite that fact, the government will tax me according to present market value. ... When all is said and done, this land I am told is worth $3 million pays me a salary of $30,000 a year. At best. And that is it. So, if I get an exemption of $1 million and owe 55% on the balance, I will owe $1.1 million dollars in inheritance taxes should my dad decide to leave this place to me. Takes a while at $30,000 a year gross to save a million bucks." http://agonist.org...

That pleases Leftists, who envision cheerful peasants toiling on vast collectives. It is consistent with the theme of punishing success achieved by productivity and rewarding success achieved by gaming the system.

4. Why did Pro think he needed so many references to the obvious point that conservatives dislike high taxes and big government? Yup. Pro's references mentioned that conservatives support tax simplification. Simplification makes evasion much more difficult. Conservative widely support the flat tax, which eliminates many of the tricky means of tax avoidance that leftists enjoy.

"What conservatives most want is an uncomplicated system that taxes income only once (when it is earned) at one low rate." http://taxesandgrowth.ncpa.org... "We want to scrap our confusing, unfair tax code and replace it with a simple flat tax of one low rate with no deductions or special interest loopholes." http://www.freedomworks.org...

Pro resolves that scheming weasels should rule.

The resolution is negated.
Debate Round No. 1
brian_eggleston

Pro

I am delighted that Roy has chosen to accept this controversial debate and I thank him for his well-informed and comprehensive rebuttal. However, I feel that there is a danger that the voters may be misled by his arguments so I should like to address the points he raised as follows:

Targeting wealthy conservatives is not undemocratic, counter-productive or unfair: it is sensible, prudent and just.

Let's consider another law enforcement agency for a moment – Customs and Border Protection.

Border patrol guards can't stop, search and question everybody at ports, airports and border crossings – they don't have the manpower and, even if they did, the inconvenience caused to innocent members of the public would be unacceptable.

That's why, in their efforts to prevent drug smugglers, terrorists and other undesirables from entering the country, they profile people and stop those individuals most likely to be offenders.

This means that young men wearing traditional Arab dress chanting verses from the Koran, black men dressed in Armani suits and dripping in bling, and skinheads with swastikas tattooed on their arms are all more likely to be stopped than little old ladies pushing tartan shopping trolleys or wholesome-looking young families with pushchairs and beach toys.

Sure there are left wing people that avoid paying their tax (shame on them) and no doubt there are old ladies who smuggle heroin resin through customs by concealing it amongst their knitting and soiled incontinence pants and possibly some young mums' bras are packed with high explosives and their babies' bottles are filled with nitro glycerine, but these scenarios are unlikely.

That's why law enforcement agencies target their limited resources by concentrating on the prime suspects and it's why tax fraud investigators should apply the practice of social profiling as well.

Tax investigators must focus on those with the motive and the means to evade tax and I have already stated that wealthy supporters of anti-tax parties have both, but I provided no evidence to support this assertion.

Therefore, I did some research and found that in the 2004 US Presidential Election, of those voters with an income in excess of $200,000 p.a., 63% voted for Republican George Bush while only 35% voted for Democrat John Kerry.

Meanwhile, those voters with an income of less than $15,000 p.a. the figures were almost exactly reversed with 36% voting for Bush and 63% voting for Kerry.

http://www.cnn.com...

Furthermore, according to a recent New York Times / CBS poll, supporters of the ultra-right wing Tea Party are wealthier than the general public and nearly three-quarters of them favour lower taxes even if that means spending less on public services that disadvantaged members of society rely upon.

http://www.nytimes.com...

But wealthy conservatives should not resent being targeted – if they have nothing to hide, they have nothing to fear.

And there's no reason why supporters of left wing parties should feel immune from prosecution – if they are identified as tax evaders they will be prosecuted just the same as anyone else.

Now, with regard to inheritance tax trust schemes, I do agree that it is unfair that wealthy individuals who do not comply with spirit of the law and find devious means to avoid the tax while small businesses are obliged to pay in full. Perhaps if the government closed those loopholes that allow the rich to avoid this tax, the overall level of taxation could be reduced for everybody?

Finally, the argument that lowering and simplifying taxes would encourage the rich to pay their dues doesn't wash for two reasons:

1 – Tax evasion is a crime and the law shouldn't be changed in order to accommodate criminals.

2 – Lower taxes for the rich, or a flat tax system, would push the burden of taxation away from the most able to pay and towards those least able to pay, which is patently unfair.

By way of an analogy, if the age of consent was reduced dramatically, there would be a lot fewer paedophiles in society, but that's not desirable and neither is allowing wealthy people evade their taxes by changing the system to decriminalise their activities.

In conclusion, the wealthy have a moral and legal duty to contribute towards the cost of maintaining the country that provided them with the platform for their success and those that refuse to do so must be punished.

However, in the light of the widespread abuse of the system by affluent tax cheats and the limited resources of the fraud agencies, tax investigators must be proactive and target the most likely offenders – wealthy conservatives.

Thank you.
RoyLatham

Con

Pro argues that profiling is a legitimate means for targeting investigations of possible crimes, and he cites profiling for suspected terrorists at airports. Profiling for terrorists is primarily based upon behavior patterns: they purchased a one-way ticket, they acting nervously, and so forth. That's comparable to having a computer program search tax records for suspicious behavior or following up on whistle-blower allegations of tax fraud. Pro wants to abandon using suspicious behavior as the method of profiling in favor of using a political test, to achieve the goal of harassing people who object to ever-expanding government.

Terrorists are also profiled according to, say, membership in al Qaeda. That's because there is an established relationship between al Qaeda and terrorist behavior. In the debate, Pro offered no evidence whatsoever that rich conservatives are more likely to cheat on taxes than rich liberals. I established in Round 1 that rich liberals are professional scheming weasels, and Pro did not contest that. Therefore, based upon the evidence of the debate, it would make more sense to target rich liberals rather than rich conservatives.

However, Pro needed to prove that targeting rich conservatives would produce more tax revenue than the present methods of investigating computer tagged returns, tips by informants, and the random picks that discourage tax fraud. Pro prevented no evidence whatsoever.

On the Internet, one can find weak evidence that inhabitants of the Vega star system have traveled across the galaxy to stomp patterns in our corn fields. Yet Pro has found nothing, no matter how weak, to suggest that rich conservatives commit even slightly more tax fraud than rich liberals, or anyone else for that matter. He found nothing to suggest that the present methods of selecting cases for fraud investigations would be improved by his proposed harassment methods. Pro has no evidence supporting his case. He has built his case solely upon hatred for political opponents who oppose ever-expanding government.

Pro did not respond to my argument that relatively few rich people commit tax fraud, because the rich can afford the accountants and lawyers to use legal tax avoidance. Liberals *are* the lawyers involved, and Pro didn't dispute that either. He did not dispute that large Wall Street firms supported Obama, or that they support the wildly complex new financial regulations. They know they can play the system and win, whereas if they had to do something productive they would be at a disadvantage.

Pro did not respond to my argument that inheritance taxes are grossly unfair because inflated tax bills require family farms and family businesses must be sold off to pay inflated tax bills. The point stands.

Pro offered that the "loopholes" that allow avoiding inheritance taxes should be closed. The loopholes all involve disposing of property before a person dies. The only way to close those loophole is for government to seize your property early on, before you have a chance to spend your money or give it away. That way, if you happen to have a little left after the confiscatory taxes that Pro wants, the government can get that too. Confiscation of property is unfair and it would destroy the economy by preventing investment.

The evidence I offered in Round 1 is that a flat tax would increase the taxes paid by the rich, because the mechanism makes it very difficult to evade taxes. It closes all the loopholes. It's like trying to evade the V.A.T. or sales tax when buying something at a store. Tax simplification is appealing to rich conservatives because it frees up their time and resources to do productive things. Tax simplification is bitterly opposed by liberals, because they prosper by gaming the system rather than doing anything productive. They want productive people to be punished by high taxes while they escape through the myriad loopholes they build for themselves.

Pro offers evidence that tea party supporters are slightly more wealthy than average. He offered no evidence that they are rich or even close to rich. Of course, he offers no evidence that they commit any tax fraud. They do better than average because they believe in work and investment. There are few stoned slackers in the tea party movement, and that improves their average. It is logical for people who realize that productivity comes from small government to support the concepts of limited government.

Pro says, "the wealthy have a moral and legal duty to contribute towards the cost of maintaining the country that provided them with the platform for their success and those that refuse to do so must be punished." I agree. What Pro is advocating, however, it that rich liberals be relieved of paying any taxes, because only rich conservatives will be audited. Non-rich people ought to pay their share of taxes as well, and Pro resolves to end enforcement for them as well.

Pro concludes by claiming, "in the light of the widespread abuse of the system by affluent tax cheats and the limited resources of the fraud agencies, tax investigators must be proactive and target the most likely offenders – wealthy conservatives." This is the "Hunting of the Shark" principle of evidence, called the Bellman's rule of three: that anything he says three times is true. We should reject that in favor of hard evidence. Pro offered no data at all.

The resolution is negated.
Debate Round No. 2
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by sadolite 6 years ago
sadolite
If pro had political power he would become everything he aspouses to hate. His govt would be the most oppresive bigoted govt known to human kind. Everyone would live insqualler becuse he would pick and choose the winners based on class warefare and what his idea of what is best for everyone. Of course he would live a life of oppulence paid for by the people he would oppress and tax to death.
Posted by brian_eggleston 6 years ago
brian_eggleston
"One never knows for sure when Pro is proposing a topic for serious debate, and when he is just kidding. I'm not sure that even Pro knows. That's the scary part."

True, there's certainly a big grey area between the serious and humorous with me! Anyway, thanks for waiting to post, Roy, that was very considerate.
Posted by RoyLatham 6 years ago
RoyLatham
Per Brian's comment, I waited more than 48 hours to post my argument for R1.
Posted by brian_eggleston 6 years ago
brian_eggleston
Hello Valtorov!

This is just to let you know that I am just about to fly off to spend a few days on a beach and I won't be taking my laptop with me, obviously!

This means that if you post your arguments today or tomorrow, which I know you have to, I won't be back in time to post my argument within the 72 hour limit.

If the hotel's business centre has public computers I'll reply, otherwise I apologise in advance for the forfeit.
Posted by brian_eggleston 6 years ago
brian_eggleston
Ha ha! that's right! You should debate me about it!
Posted by JacobPearson 6 years ago
JacobPearson
Another hate filled lefty...

Typical of the crowd that will do whatever possible to prevent people from keeping their own property.
Posted by PalinFan 6 years ago
PalinFan
Very interesting...
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by Derek.Gunn 6 years ago
Derek.Gunn
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Vote Placed by sadolite 6 years ago
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