The Instigator
JustCallMeTarzan
Pro (for)
Losing
40 Points
The Contender
brittwaller
Con (against)
Winning
47 Points

Free tuition for college students through government taxation should be supported.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/31/2008 Category: Education
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 26,803 times Debate No: 3463
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (12)
Votes (17)

 

JustCallMeTarzan

Pro

This is topic 27 from the Online Debate Tournament. I'm required to provide an argument for the Pro side, and Brittwaller is the Con side.

College tuition is one of the most expensive expenditures any person or family faces. In fact, after possibly a house, it is the most expensive thing any person will "buy." There is already legislation in the tax code for deducting the expense of education from taxes. The 2007 US tax year allowed one to deduct up to $4000 as higher education expense. However, it should be the case that the government provide students extra funding drawn from tax dollars. There should of course be restrictions placed on this - there is no reason tax dollars should be given to millionaires' children or for people to attend outrageously priced institutions.

There are two main reasons tax dollars should be used in this way: It constitutes and investment in the future, and it will increase the base of educated people.

In the United States, this message may be received with an amount of irritation. However, I'd like to point out that the resolution is not specific to the United States.

The investment in the future is something that everyone constantly strives for. There is a definite correlation between the investment in education and the literacy rates and success of a country. Consider that in the UK, a child is endowed with a monetary amount upon birth that matures and where the receipt of that money is contingent upon factors like graduating high school and clean criminal records. In much the same way, investing a portion of a country's income in money that is set aside for higher education makes perfect sense. As long as the tuition amount is reasonable, there is no reason why this cannot be done. In Spain, this is actually how it works. If you get into college, it's paid for by the government.

When you want more of something (educated people), you incentivize it. The payment of tuition from tax dollars constitutes this incentive. If institutions of higher education maintain the same enrollment rates, but have "free" tuition, the applicant pool will be both larger AND of a higher caliber because you'll be getting students who otherwise could not afford to go to college actually applying. Institutions can take the best of the pool and increase both the size and quality of the American Populace.

Now, my opponent will of course raise the question of how to pay for this. In Europe, where this is practiced already, taxes are much higher. Of course, the European nations tend to view education in more of a socialist light than the United States. Can a revenue neutral method be created in the US to implement this? Probably not. It's possible that changing Social Security tax to an Education Tax may help the problem, but in the end, taxes would need to go up.

At the heart of this issue is the notion of socialization of some programs. In a society where this is acceptable, this is a perfectly sound notion and has been implemented in a variety of countries already. However, in a society like in the US, this is not extraordinarily feasible without an increase in taxes.

I'd like to suggest that the voters keep in mind that this is not about the US specifically. However, cases show that the education rates of other countries that DO practice this are higher than that of the United States. Coincidence? Perhaps not. I urge you to support the idea, if not its implementation, for it is a wonderful idea given a society that is willing to accept it.

I believe Plato held the idea that education was paramount in creating a good and just society. Improving the end product of that education creates a better and more just society. I urge you to side Pro.
brittwaller

Con

My arguments stand in opposition to the resolution "Free tuition for college students through government taxation should be supported."

My opponent opens with "College tuition is one of the most expensive expenditures any person or family faces. In fact, after possibly a house, it is the most expensive thing any person will "buy.""

While college may indeed be one of the *more* expensive purchases a person or family might makes, it seems a tad broad and inaccurate to state, as a fact, that college is the *most* expensive thing *any* person will buy, qualified only with "after possibly a house." This is totally dependent on what person we are talking about, and in turn that person's (or that person's family's) financial standing. These days, depending on who we are talking about, the cost of college can easily pale in comparison to such things as cars, real estate (not a house), market investments, political influence, prostitutes, and watches. I am not denying the expense of college, only saying that we cannot afford to reach such unsound conclusions, or take any statement given as fact to actually be fact without further exploration of the topic at hand.

After this statement, my opponent goes on to say, "However, it should be the case that the government provide students extra funding drawn from tax dollars. There should of course be restrictions placed on this - there is no reason tax dollars should be given to millionaires' children or for people to attend outrageously priced institutions."

JCMTarzan wants the government to provide, through taxation of course, free tuition. Of course, as with any social program, and government-provided free tuition is that if nothing else, this would be massively unfair, especially in light of the restrictions that JCMTarzan proposes: no money should go to millionaires' children, or toward the attendance of "outrageously" priced colleges (Ivy League schools.) On the one hand, the currently wealthy should handle the majority of the tax burden (as they already do, not just in the US but everywhere) but their children should be disqualified from benefiting from their family's "investment in the future." Not a very equitable investment on a personal level, and I think most would agree with me. On the other hand, this is an argument for my position: the resolution speaks of no restrictions - it only says "college students," which I take to mean all college students, that is, college students in general. My opponent cannot pick and choose which students will benefit and which will not; if JCMTarzan's view is in fact this which he writes, then he is not truly "For" the topic resolution. If free tuition through taxation were to be a reality, then all college students should be able to benefit equally.
As for his restriction on possibly over-priced schools, a thought experiment will serve my purposes: You are high school senior living in Massachusetts, and you have applied to Boston University, the University of Mass., and, although it is possible but unlikely that you are accepted, to Harvard, Cambridge, and MIT. Your family is of average economic standing - if you were accepted it would not be on account of any "legacy"-type tradition, or even on scholarship, as you are not THAT smart, but smart enough to have a chance. Free tuition from the government is in effect. Amazingly, you are accepted. The chance of a lifetime has been dropped in your lap. As you do not have a scholarship or other means to pay tuition, you must rely on the government's program. Unfortunately, per the restrictions assumed by JCMTarzan, the Dept. of Education calls you up and tells you that you cannot attend because it is too expensive. The program didn't really work in your case, did it? A highly specific example, but it makes the point.

"There are two main reasons tax dollars should be used in this way: It constitutes and investment in the future, and it will increase the base of educated people."

First, is not every investment an investment in (or for) the future? Unfortunately, some investments have a good return and some have a bad return. Anyone who has ever bought a stock knows this well. An investment, in simplest terms, is nothing more than a gamble at best: ask the stockholders of Bear-Stearns. There is no guarantee that such a huge investment, which could only happen by way of taxes increasing, as my opponent admits, would prove to be worthwhile. Second, an increase in the base of educated people is not necessarily a good thing. More on that in a moment.

"There is a definite correlation between the investment in education and the literacy rates and success of a country."
-What might this correlation be?

"Consider that in the UK..." and "In Spain..."
-I understand and agree that the resolution is not aimed specifically at the US. However, this is simply socialism (as my opponent also admits), or many people getting a free ride at the hands of the few on the education bus. Whatever happened to self-made men (or women), self-reliance, and self-responsibility? The primary problem with socialism is that once you are getting the "free ride," as it were, that many, many people do not want to get off. Shall the government in turn provide graduates of their free-tuition system with jobs if they are unable to find one themselves? Why not: they got them into college in the first place.

"The payment of tuition from tax dollars constitutes this incentive. If institutions of higher education maintain the same enrollment rates, but have "free" tuition, the applicant pool will be both larger AND of a higher caliber because you'll be getting students who otherwise could not afford to go to college actually applying."
-First, that is a big "if." If free tuition were enacted, there would be so many applicants that schools could not help but increase their enrollment rates: who wants to pass all of that money by? Unless new entrance standards were introduced along with free tuition, this seems inevitable. If you have X GPA, X ACT or SAT scores, and other current standard qualifications, as many who do not go to college on account of the expense do, then all of these people would have to be accepted somewhere if they chose to go at all: they would have overcome their only stumbling block (money), so what else would stop them? I agree that the applicant pool will be larger; of higher calibre I am not so certain: the more applicants there are, the lower their average calibre would be. That's a simple law of statistics. More students, larger classes, etc, less quality of services rendered (education).

"Institutions can take the best of the pool and increase both the size and quality of the American Populace."
-Universities now have breeding programs in line with Social Darwinism? A shock, to say the least ;)

"However, cases show that the education rates of other countries that DO practice this are higher than that of the United States. Coincidence?"
-OBVIOUSLY not. If more people go to school, then more are educated. Of course, educated is not synonymous with intelligent, hard-working, or even contributory in any way to the overall well-being of society.

JCMTarzan urges the reader to support this idea, but I ask you not to, for it is a socially onerous but politically expedient idea. NOTHING is free. Someone somewhere is getting the raw end of the deal - paying the taxes but not having children, paying the taxes while having children but not seeing them benefit because of good economic status, etc. Other societies do as they like, sure, but in providing "free" tuition do they not devalue the education that is sought? Whatever is worth having is worth earning, worth working for, sacrificing for; do we not appreciate what we have worked hard for more than what is simply "given" to us (while at the same time being taken from others)?
Reread "The Republic," and side CON.
Debate Round No. 1
JustCallMeTarzan

Pro

While my opponent wastes valuable time disputing that the cost of college is one of the most expensive things people will ever "buy," I'd just like to point out that of the people that have a college education, that education cost vastly more money than any other thing they will ever buy. This is to say that the average person will spend more on college than they will on their cars, watches, prostitutes, etc... unless somehow the average person shells out $100,000 for their watch and car.

While the restrictions I speak of do not necessarily follow the resolution to the letter, I'd also like to point out that we've been given a terrible resolution for implementation in the United States and to implement it here would mean the introduction of compromises and restrictions, and indeed, many social programs in foreign countries are contingent upon certain conditions - the government in the UK won't pay for a student with a High School GPA of 1.8 to go to college. It's simply a waste of money.

In these restrictions, I mentioned the lack of need to give tax money to millionaires. If they're not receiving the benefit of the tax, why should they pay it? Everyone pays social security tax, yet many people don't use it. We all pay taxes used to provide welfare, yet most of us don't use it. Therefore, it would follow that there is no change in the system to tax people for social programs they won't use. Everyone would pay the tax, and the usage of the program would depend on income level.

I also mentioned that outrageously priced institutions should not benefit from this resolution. This of course makes perfect sense in the current system. Food stamps do not pay for persons to buy fillet mingion every night. As with that program, this resolution should provide a basis for education. The education from a state school such as Purdue University or Iowa State is perfectly acceptable - in fact, some of these schools are much better than more expensive private institutions (Purdue in engineering, Iowa in political science).

>> "If free tuition through taxation were to be a reality, then all college students should be able to benefit equally."

Why? Not all college students ARE equal. This is quite clear in the fact that colleges turn down students based on academic performance or provide financial aid to those students who otherwise would not be able to pay for college. Why should the 4.0 student recieve the same benefit as the 0.8 student? That's ludicrous. Why should the millionaire get the same ammount as the student who is also using food stamps. That's ludicrous as well.

>>"Unfortunately, per the restrictions assumed by JCMTarzan, the Dept. of Education calls you up and tells you that you cannot attend because it is too expensive. The program didn't really work in your case, did it? A highly specific example, but it makes the point."

It makes the point that this program can easily be adapted to suit individual needs, not that the program is fallacious. Obviously, if the student is of a high enough caliber to be accepted to MIT, then there's no reason the government can't put them in a higher strata of assistence. This is done with hundreds of government programs - why not this one?

>>"There is no guarantee that such a huge investment, which could only happen by way of taxes increasing, as my opponent admits, would prove to be worthwhile."

It is a fact that persons with a college education make more money (on average) than those that do not. When people make more money, they pay more taxes. It's pretty clear that there is a relation between education and tax income for the country.

>>""There is a definite correlation between the investment in education and the literacy rates and success of a country." -What might this correlation be?"

It would seem self evident that when a (successful) investment is made in education that literacy and competency rates in a country would rise. Foreign governments outspend the US on education, an the US finished LAST in the most recent international physics olympiad.

>>"Whatever happened to self-made men (or women), self-reliance, and self-responsibility? The primary problem with socialism is that once you are getting the "free ride," as it were, that many, many people do not want to get off. Shall the government in turn provide graduates of their free-tuition system with jobs if they are unable to find one themselves? Why not: they got them into college in the first place."

I'm not entirely sure what the self-made man and self-relienace has to do with this as a whole. Those are American philosophies, and you admitted in the previous sentence that this resolution did not deal with the United States exclusively. Therefore, introducing American philosophy is fallacious and irrelevant to the argument writ large.

>>"I agree that the applicant pool will be larger; of higher calibre I am not so certain: the more applicants there are, the lower their average calibre would be. That's a simple law of statistics. More students, larger classes, etc, less quality of services rendered (education)."

I will admit you have a point with the higher caliber issue - I must admit I misspoke. The pool itself will not be higher caliber, but the accepted pool will be. Institutions will take the best they can until they are full. The pool will increase, but there is no reason that schools will reduce the quality of their education - if they grow proportionally and maintain the ratios between students, classes, and professors, the quality will not change.

>>"Universities now have breeding programs in line with Social Darwinism? A shock, to say the least ;)"

Actually, that would be quite welcome... I merely meant the American workforce.

>>"-OBVIOUSLY not. If more people go to school, then more are educated. Of course, educated is not synonymous with intelligent, hard-working, or even contributory in any way to the overall well-being of society."

I see - therefore, according to you, the Chinese, Brits, Spainards, Poles, etc... must all be more intelligent than Americans. It has nothing at all to do with their education system and the fact that their college students are of higher caliber on average.

>>"Someone somewhere is getting the raw end of the deal - paying the taxes but not having children, paying the taxes while having children but not seeing them benefit because of good economic status, etc. Other societies do as they like, sure, but in providing "free" tuition do they not devalue the education that is sought? Whatever is worth having is worth earning, worth working for, sacrificing for; do we not appreciate what we have worked hard for more than what is simply "given" to us (while at the same time being taken from others)?"

The very nature of politics is that there are ALWAYS going to be winners and losers. Are not the losers in the current system those who cannot afford to go to college at all? Why should they be denied a college education in the same country where a high school education is free? Other societies DO do as they like, and their results seem to be eclipsing the United States. Is their education devalued? I'd say not. Our Chinese foreign exchange students at my college spend about 3 or 4 times as long studying for classes as American students because they view their education as so important.

>>"Reread "The Republic,""

Indeed, please do. Education in The Republic is the responsibility of the state.

>>"and side CON"

Indeed please don't. The nexus of Con's argument is that it is "unfair" to people. All political processes are unfair to someone. This is not new news.
brittwaller

Con

"While my opponent wastes valuable time disputing that the cost of college is one of the most expensive things people will ever "buy," I'd just like to point out that of the people that have a college education, that education cost vastly more money than any other thing they will ever buy."

-Seeing that the average cost of tuition for a public college in the US (over four years) was approximately $22,000 in the '05-'06 school year, I believe that this point stands, even allowing for the latest increases, as most cars easily cost more than this. Now, in the same year, the cost of tuition over four years at a private college was about $85,000, in which case my opponent would be right; however, based on this, the "average" person does not attend a private college. Were I to add the lower tuition costs of two-year colleges or other institutions, which greatly outnumber private and public four-year colleges, the average cost of tuition would drop even more.

"While the restrictions I speak of do not necessarily follow the resolution to the letter, I'd also like to point out that we've been given a terrible resolution for implementation in the United States..."

-Irrelevant.

"If they're not receiving the benefit of the tax, why should they pay it?"

-Precisely.

"Everyone pays social security tax, yet many people don't use it. We all pay taxes used to provide welfare, yet most of us don't use it."

-1)Incorrect. If you work for most of your life and then retire, no matter what your income, you are entitled to a retirement check. True, you may not need it, but you get it.
2)Your second sentence here is true; however, welfare provides necessities to the underprivileged, whereas college attendance is a luxury in comparison. And while welfare may be necessary, it is still unfair for the same reasons I spoke of in Round 1.

"Food stamps do not pay for persons to buy fillet mingion every night. As with that program, this resolution should provide a basis for education."

-You are comparing apples to oranges again. Even then, incorrectly: food stamps do not provide a "basis" for buying food - for many on food stamps, that is all they have for food, period. Also, a "basis" for education can be better provided by private loans, which are readily available. If you are smart enough to be accepted to a university, you can get loans for tuition, leaving the government out completely (unless it is a government loan, which is fine - it is not "free," it has to be repaid.)

"Why? Not all college students ARE equal."

-But by law they are equal in the eyes of the government.

"Why should the 4.0 student receive the same benefit as the 0.8 student?"

-They shouldn't, wouldn't, and don't. I doubt the 0.8 student will be attending college at all. A non-issue.

"It makes the point that this program *can* easily be adapted to suit individual needs, not that the program is fallacious."

-I reached the opposite conclusion from the example I gave.

"It is a fact that persons with a college education make more money (on average) than those that do not. When people make more money, they pay more taxes. It's pretty clear that there is a relation between education and tax income for the country."

-Excellent, MORE taxes. This sounds like more of a benefit to the federal government than to any individual. So your point here is that it would be worthwhile to the government.

"It would seem self evident that when a (successful) investment is made in education that literacy and competency rates in a country would rise."

-Perhaps. However, going to college does not teach one to be "literate" or "competent." Literacy is taught long before that point, and competence is an independent quality completely - arguably something that cannot be taught, no matter who is teaching or for how much money they are teaching for.

"Foreign governments outspend the US on education, an the US finished LAST in the most recent international physics olympiad."

-I believe this has more to do with the fact that the US has accepted and enjoyed its hegemony over the past years than anything else: other countries outspend the US as they are trying to rise in the international community, whereas one might say the US has more of a "We're already there" kind of attitude. Also, the physics Olympiad is a competition between high school students. Relevance to issue at hand: none.

"Those are American philosophies, and you admitted in the previous sentence that this resolution did not deal with the United States exclusively. Therefore, introducing American philosophy is fallacious and irrelevant to the argument writ large."

-Indeed those are American philosophies. However, they are relevant as regards the non-socialist views and policies of the US government and a probable majority of Americans. Also, by the same token, we might call socialism a "European philosophy," thereby extinguishing any points you had about the education systems of Europe (you mentioned the UK and Spain specifically.)

"...[I]f they grow proportionally and maintain the ratios between students, classes, and professors, the quality will not change."

-Another big "if."

"Actually, that would be quite welcome... I merely meant the American workforce."

-Joking aside, you are still incorrect. The overall quality may be affected, but in terms of quantity, there are only so many jobs to go around, even to college graduates. The slots will be filled, and then we will have a large number of unemployed or underemployed overqualified college graduates.

"I see - therefore, according to you, the Chinese, Brits, Spainards[sic], Poles, etc... must all be more intelligent than Americans. It has nothing at all to do with their education system and the fact that their college students are of higher caliber on average."

-This was not my point. If more people go to school, then by definition more people are "educated." However, you seem to be confirming the argument you accused me of making with your second sentence. If their college students are of "higher caliber on average," then it logically follows that either they are smarter, or that their primary and secondary schools are better than those in the US. This point about primary and secondary schools can be applied to your point about the physics Olympiad.

"The very nature of politics is that there are ALWAYS going to be winners and losers."

-True. But education is not politics.

"Are not the losers in the current system those who cannot afford to go to college at all?"

-Perhaps; that does not mean that I or anyone else necessarily want to pay for them. A very small monthly savings through a child's life until they go to college can pay for a lot, if done correctly. It should not be the burden of society at large that a person's parents or guardians do not have the foresight to provide for a college education.

"Why should they be denied a college education in the same country where a high school education is free?"

-I cannot speak on behalf of the hypocrisy of the US government.

"Is their education devalued? I'd say not. Our Chinese foreign exchange students at my college spend about 3 or 4 times as long studying for classes as American students because they view their education as so important."

-They are happy to have the chance to do such things, whereas the US has "had it made" for such a long time that education is simply seen as another service, and if implemented here, it would devalue education - just another government freebie.

"Indeed, please do. Education in The Republic is the responsibility of the state."

-Pay no mind. Argument from authority or another "European philosophy."

Besides being unfair (not new but true), implementation would be a nightmare, as PRO admits. On top of that, college costs rise between 5 and 10 percent each year, meaning annual tax +
Debate Round No. 2
JustCallMeTarzan

Pro

>>"Seeing that the average cost of tuition for a public college in the US (over four years) was approximately $22,000 in the '05-'06 school year... Now, in the same year, the cost of tuition over four years at a private college was about $85,000, in which case my opponent would be right"

Try again.... using the same source you provided, the cost of public universities is $48,508 (4 x 12,127) and private is $116,104 (4 x 259,026) - your figures are for tuition only, however I did state that COLLEGE was the investment and the "purchase" and that includes all costs. You don't purchase just the chassis of a car (which would theoretically drive...)- you purchase the whole thing. So yes, the cost of college IS more than a brand new car, and private university possibly more than a small house.

>>"If you work for most of your life and then retire, no matter what your income, you are entitled to a retirement check. True, you may not need it, but you get it."

I pay social security tax. There's no way I'm going to get that money back when I retire, even if I do take the checks. There's simply not enough money in the budget to give me it back dollar for dollar.

>>"Also, a "basis" for education can be better provided by private loans, which are readily available. If you are smart enough to be accepted to a university, you can get loans for tuition, leaving the government out completely (unless it is a government loan, which is fine - it is not "free," it has to be repaid.)"

So you'd rather base college education on money you get, but have to pay back MORE later because of the interest, instead of money you pay gradually and don't have to pay back at all. Wonderful thesis.

>>"But by law they are equal in the eyes of the government."

Perhaps you're unfamiliar with Affirmative Action.

>>"Excellent, MORE taxes. This sounds like more of a benefit to the federal government than to any individual. So your point here is that it would be worthwhile to the government."

More taxes = more money to put into the college tuition proposition. I'm pointing out that after the initial investment, this program can possibly pay for itself.

>>"competence is an independent quality completely - arguably something that cannot be taught, no matter who is teaching or for how much money they are teaching for."

Incorrect - consider - are you going to be competent at algebra if you've been taught for five minutes or for an entire semester? Obviously there's a relationship between input and competency, assuming the concept is understood.

>>"other countries outspend the US as they are trying to rise in the international community, whereas one might say the US has more of a "We're already there" kind of attitude. Also, the physics Olympiad is a competition between high school students. Relevance to issue at hand: none."

They are actually getting somewhere with that - it's estimated that China will eclipse the US relatively soon as the world hegemony. As for the physics Olympiad... where do high school students go after high school? COLLEGE. Unless they magically change the caliber of their education over the summer, they remain relevant as an example of why our ENTIRE education system needs more monetary input.

>>"Indeed those are American philosophies. However, they are relevant as regards the non-socialist views and policies of the US government and a probable majority of Americans. Also, by the same token, we might call socialism a "European philosophy,""

Well you've basically said that both philosophies are irrelevant when applied as belonging to a certain country. However, the fundamental philosophies are still important... more on this later.

>>"The slots will be filled, and then we will have a large number of unemployed or underemployed overqualified college graduates."

More educated people = more human capital = much greater propensity for businesses to arise. I believe there would be a huge economic growth if the number of educated and motivated persons was increased.

>>"If their college students are of "higher caliber on average," then it logically follows that either they are smarter, or that their primary and secondary schools are better than those in the US."

Exactly - and if their current and exiting college students are of a higher caliber than our current and exiting students.. what's that say about our TERTIARY education systems?

>>"education is not politics."

The debate about financing it certainly is.

>>"I cannot speak on behalf of the hypocrisy of the US government."

Thank you for conceding that the lack of college funding is hypocrisy - the negative connotation of hypocrisy indicates you believe college should be provided as well.

>>"Pay no mind. Argument from authority or another "European philosophy.""

I'm not even sure what this means... it was your suggestion to reread The Republic... American philosophy is derived from European philosophy...

"Besides being unfair (not new but true), implementation would be a nightmare, as PRO admits. On top of that, college costs rise between 5 and 10 percent each year, meaning annual tax +"

Indeed it would - but than again, any change in the status quo would be a nightmare in the US. Our government system VASTLY favors the status quo. Implementation isn't really the issue at hand either... As for the increase in tax, after a few years, this would balance out as there are more (higher) taxpayers and the cost of keeping an institution open decreases as enrollment goes up - the increase in income from one student vastly outweighs the added cost of him/her attending the institution.

**********************************************

One of the things that has been consistently brought up is the idea of socialization and the unfairness of it. Properly implemented, socialization of education would INCREASE the fairness of the process. That's the idea behind socialization - equality of outcome. However, tempering equality of outcome with equality of opportunity will yield a system wherein everyone has the equal opportunity to go to college, and the equal outcome of a (possible) college degree. Thus, the idea stands as a beneficial one in any society that emphasizes equality of outcome. Currently, this is not the United States. But the fact remains that the US is indeed falling behind countries that do emphasize this.

Consider the following scenario. There is a rich man and a poor man both of the same educational caliber, and both wish to go to college. They both pay the same tax RATE (say 10% - outrageous, I know...) to the education tax. Prior to any funding being distributed, there is INequality of opportunity - the rich man could go if he wanted to - AND INequality of outcome - only the rich man can graduate. Redistribution of the education tax, all else remaining equal will create equality of both opportunity and outcome - both CAN go to college and both CAN graduate.

Is it unfair that the rich person pay taxes that help the poor man go to school? Perhaps, but consider the alternative - the poor man does not go to school, and in the end, makes 75% less than the rich man and works for him. Surely that is more unfair than if the poor man can work WITH the rich man.

Are we more concerned with maintaining inequality across the board, or with creating equality at the cost of the "fairness" of the system? There will always be an unfair component in any system (assuming the poor man isn't poor because of his own vices). Maintaining multiple inequalities is akin to lining up a group of men with the requirement of shooting ONE of them, and then shooting all the ones with brown hair to be "fair."

An excellent debate on a difficult topic. Read and vote... Thanks to brittwaller for a good debate!
brittwaller

Con

"Try again.... using the same source you provided, the cost of public universities is $48,508 (4 x 12,127) and private is $116,104 (4 x 259,026) - your figures are for tuition only..."

-Yes; as the debate is about tuition alone, my figures are for tuition only. If you average the cost of 2-year colleges in as well, the figure will drop significantly.

"...however I did state that COLLEGE was..."

-I did not see this explicit statement. You may have implied it in what you wrote, but I did not infer it from what I read. In any case, only the cost of tuition is relevant, unless your Education Tax will cover board, books, and other fees of attendance as well, in which case your figures would be right but the whole of your position would suffer as this is simply MORE money to be paid in taxes.

"I pay social security tax... even if I do take the checks[,] there's simply not enough money in the budget to give me it back dollar for dollar."

-Excellent point. A great example of both government inefficiency and the ineffectiveness and unfairness involved in socialistic programs of this type.

"So you'd rather base college education on money you get, but have to pay back MORE later because of the interest, instead of money you pay gradually and don't have to pay back at all."

-Another way of saying what you said would be "So you'd rather base college education on money you borrow, but have to pay back MORE later because of the interest, instead of money the government steals from the citizenry and just gives to you?"
Either way, my answer is: Precisely. That is the way things work in the real world, right? An excellent lesson in real-life financial responsibility for college students.

"Perhaps you're unfamiliar with Affirmative Action."

-I misspoke here - I should have qualified my statement with "should be." However, thank you for bringing up another example of government interference in personal matters that has worked out so well for everyone affected.

"More taxes = more money to put into the college tuition proposition."

-Ostensibly, perhaps. But does anyone really think that the government will simply use a fund this large for its actual purpose? In the end, more taxes = more money for the government to spend on whatever it feels necessary, no matter how much it hurts the initial purpose of what the money was for.

"Incorrect - consider - are you going to be competent at algebra if you've been taught for five minutes or for an entire semester? Obviously there's a relationship between input and competency, assuming the concept is understood."

-My point was that it doesn't matter in some cases how long they are taught or by whom - Newton could teach Mr. X calculus for 20 years, but if Mr. X is incompetent, trying to teach him the same thing over and over to no avail will not result in competency.

"Unless they magically change the caliber of their education over the summer, they remain relevant as an example of why our ENTIRE education system needs more monetary input."

-Throwing money at a problem is not a solution, unless your problem is a blackmailer. More money is surely needed in some areas, but it is not a fix to the core of the problem: disinterest and laziness. Thank you again: public primary and secondary school in the US is "free," and look how well that is turning out in light of the points Tarzan brings out about China eclipsing the US for hegemonic supremacy. Let's make college the same way, and see if the long-run results are for the better or the worse. I believe it will be the latter.

"Well you've basically said that both philosophies are irrelevant when applied as belonging to a certain country."

-That would be the case by your logic is what I'm saying. I believe that the philosophical background of a country influences its policy pretty consistently, as is obviously the case here. You said "American philosophy" was irrelevant; I'm saying it is completely relevant as you cannot separate the cause from the effect.

"More educated people = more human capital = much greater propensity for businesses to arise. I believe there would be a huge economic growth if the number of educated and motivated persons was increased."

-Perhaps, but not if no one can afford to start a business or be in business because all of their money is going toward taxes to pay for the educational advancement of other people.

"...what's that say about our TERTIARY education systems?"

-Another good point. Alas, the problem is not the quality of college education nor the availability of funds for tuition - it is much deeper than that and starts long before college. Conclusion: free college tuition should not be supported as this is not the cause of our evidently mediocre-caliber high school graduates that then become low-caliber college students.

"...the negative connotation of hypocrisy indicates you believe college should be provided as well."

-You mistake my meaning. My point is the converse of what you inferred.

"Implementation isn't really the issue at hand either... As for the increase in tax, after a few years, this would balance out as there are more (higher) taxpayers and the cost of keeping an institution open decreases as enrollment goes up..."

-1)I would say implementation isn't the *primary* issue at hand, but is quite relevant: if you support the "Free College Tuition Act" (for example) then by definition you support its implementation, which in turn begs the question of overall feasibility: very low in this instance. 2)The cost of keeping an institution open will never decrease - it is not correlated to enrollment. There is a certain amount of money it takes to keep it open, and that does not change depending on enrollment. 3)As for "the increase in income from one student vastly outweighs the added cost of him/her attending the institution." If this were so, then every person would actually end up paying more to the government in taxes for the program than it actually cost them to go to school in the first place, so it turns out that the college education was not actually free, but instead a longtime tax burden. The private sector, for all its faults, would have been much better in the long run, as even though interest rates may be high, at least they can *eventually* be paid off. With this system, a person ends up paying for the education of others even if they did not benefit (attend college for free), and if they did benefit, they pay for their whole education and ALSO for the education of others.

Most of my opponent's closing simply amounts to "the ends (giving people a free college education with no guarantee of return) justify the means (stealing outrageous amounts from the citizenry)." I think this is simply fallacious reasoning. "Equality of outcome" is a just a euphemism for "FORCED equality of outcome," and as my opponent was so quick to point out about politics always having winners and losers, the same applies to all other aspects of life. Either way, it is not equality of outcome that society should be promoting. We all have equality of opportunity; beyond that, it is up to the individual - society at large is not at fault for their lack of taking that opportunity and cannot be held responsible. In the end, the major reasons for not supporting free tuition are 1)inherent unfairness, 2)feasibility of implementation, 3)potential (virtually guaranteed) inefficiency, 4)the unilateral expansion of federal power, and 5)it does not address the major problem in the equation of the US lagging behind educationally, as that seems to be Tarzan's de facto argument for implementation in the first place. If education in and of itself is not incentive enough for Americans, then the problem is indeed very deep, and throwing money (at what isn't even the problem) is only a superficial and cosmetic fix at best.

Vote CON

Great Debate, Tarzan

Britt
Debate Round No. 3
12 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by shaqdaddy34 8 years ago
shaqdaddy34
For the debates involved, i apologize for my delay on the decision but i have posted it on facebook.
Posted by JustCallMeTarzan 8 years ago
JustCallMeTarzan
AP = Advanced Placement... they usually count for some college credit. 200-level is indeed second year, and an associate's degree is basically an abbreviated bachelor's degree that you earn in 2 years instead of 4.

As for increasing the number, that would probably happen if the price was lowered at all, much less made free. Primary and Secondary education is the responsibility of the state in the US. Tertiary education is not. So it IS consistent, but the framework itself isn't - lol.

BTW - there's technically a difference between a college and a university. It has something to do with the number of majors and breadth of degrees offered, but I think it's kind of dumb.
Posted by Derek.Gunn 8 years ago
Derek.Gunn
What are "AP" classes?
I take it 200-level means second year?
What is an associate's degree?

I wasn't suggesting people with tertiary education regularly choose to become gardeners.
I was suggesting that for consistency you should charge people to go to primary school, and if people didn't choose to send their kids, well... we need gardeners.

I never said we should increase the number of people at university.
(Why do you call it "college"? Surely college is just where some people stay?)
Much better to have a minimum standard for people to attain.
All the bureaucracy of loans and grants can be done away with.
Posted by JustCallMeTarzan 8 years ago
JustCallMeTarzan
Well in the US, you can take AP classes for little or no fee at public high schools. That will educate you through about the 200 level of college for free. That's almost an associate's degree. We need gardeners and trash collectors, yes, but how many college educated people are trash collectors? Increasing the number of college educated people will lower the market value of that education.

And as for disadvantaged people, they should receive assistance, yes, but a college degree should not just be handed to them. That is what loans and grants are for as opposed to a free ticket to attend school..
Posted by Derek.Gunn 8 years ago
Derek.Gunn
Few things are quite as simple as they first appear.

We didn't want to exclude most students from studying here, because we were able to study in the UK, Australia, Canada and various other Commonwealth countries gratis too.
This is one of the core ideas and ideals of the "Commonwealth".

For a time while we continued to allow people from the US the same privilege even though there was no reciprocal arrangement, but with the Gordon Gecko ideals of the 80's, and an increasing influx of Malaysian and Indonesian students helped end it.

I'm surprised to hear that think free tertiary education is nonsense.
- Why then is secondary education not?
- What about primary education? We do need people who are gardeners...
- You recognise the value of education and yet don't wish to promote it? Why not?
- What of disadvantaged people? If you're poor, lost your parents... you don't get education?

Perhaps I should have had the debate with Brittwaller.
Posted by JustCallMeTarzan 8 years ago
JustCallMeTarzan
Derek, if you read the intro to the discussion, you'll see this I'm required to take the pro side of this argument regardless of what I believe...

See - the problems you mention are problems with implementation. It would be easy to exclude foreign students from being eligible for aid. The change (or differences rather) in economic theory is probably what makes it the case that these programs are not available in the United States. It's a socialist view, and that's not popular here.

As for my personal belief on the matter, I do believe that education is essential to a country's well-being. However, beyond high school, that education is the citizen's responsibility. There are numerous ways to get a free tertiary education in the US, none of which actually saddle the taxpayer with extra debt. Personally, I think free tertiary education is nonsense and does indeed devalue education without a serious change in the system. But then again, I was required to argue Pro to the best of my ability - a requirement that gave me endless headaches with brittwaller spouting my own conscience back at me... :)
Posted by Derek.Gunn 8 years ago
Derek.Gunn
Wanting free tertiary education seems somewhat inconsistent when you are agin welfare, social programs, national healthcare and social security (according to your profile).

Another problem we had with providing free varsity was that we were increasingly educating people from overseas, who then turned around (after perhaps $250,000 worth of education in dentistry or medicine [require 6-7 years]) and went back to live in the US or UK and earn well there.

The core reason we lost free tertiary education here in NZ was because of a change in economic theory. Basically, we moved from complete control by government to major control by the marketplace. People who can't afford it are given student loans.

Many students here still demand free education, but I don't see it happening.
Incidentally, I agree with you. It's essential to a country's well-being.
Posted by JustCallMeTarzan 8 years ago
JustCallMeTarzan
Was what my vote? And yeah, you can send me a FB message, tho I'm not sure what for...

Derek, I realize those are both problems, but the first one is easily correctable - nobody can go for more than say 5 years at any one level... As for the second, I dunno - that might indeed be a lasting problem. Maybe if the universities were harder to get into or accepted fewer students...
Posted by Derek.Gunn 8 years ago
Derek.Gunn
We used to have free University tuition here in New Zealand. In fact, if you had a bursary or scholarship, you were effectively paid.
This lasted from 1860 up until about 1988-89.

Two problems:
a) we had "professional students" - people who just went to varsity indefinitely.
b) the education was less valued.

There was an attitude change over the 70's where people became increasingly hedonistic.
When belts had to be tightened, charging for varsity came in quick smart.
Posted by brittwaller 8 years ago
brittwaller
Was that your vote, Tarzan? Just curious. I'd like to send a message via facebook if you'd allow
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