The Instigator
jathan
Con (against)
Winning
21 Points
The Contender
Kasrahalteth
Pro (for)
Losing
9 Points

Government Wealth Redistribution

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/20/2007 Category: Politics
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,787 times Debate No: 748
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (10)

 

jathan

Con

I would like to debate the moral dilemma raised by taxing as a means of wealth redistribution. This was raised in your earlier debate on abortion. I do not wish to debate that topic at all (just to be clear). You basically state that you cannot rely on the goodwill of the people to help those in need so we must use taxation to accomplish that goal.

However, you state that you do not trust the goodwill of the people, so those same people should be taxed in order to guarantee their overall wellbeing. I am going to assume that what you mean is certain people should be taxed for the benefit of other people. This is a natural result of any such scheme from national health care to welfare. If, as you state, people are not inherently possessed by a goodwill toward all, then why should I think that anyone taxing me is possessed of a more beneficial will? Where is the logic in believing legislatures, elected by the people, will be possessed of some genuine moral quality so lacking at large? I would submit that the necessary qualifiers of an election are at least as likely to produce a sub par goodwill. Pardon me, but your cynicism seems to have defeated your own argument.

Lets pretend otherwise. The principle reason for a lack of charity, if that is what you wish to claim, is very easy to qualify. The people are heavily taxed by their government. The government's methods of "helping" the poor, i.e. welfare, tax credits, Medicaid etc, all depend on taking money from citizens in the first place. Governments produce nothing so they must take in order to give. Thus, you are being systematically robbed to help the poor so why on earth should you donate individually to private charities (if you lack a good will). Government taxation for this explicit purpose will naturally crowd out some private charity.

This brings up my next point: Even with these impediments, our country still manages to be extremely charitable. "Private donations total nearly $2.7 billion just 11 weeks after Hurricane Katrina struck, according to the Red Cross and Indiana University's Center on Philanthropy, which tracks charitable giving." http://www.usatoday.com...
That alone should completely destroy the notion that people are, in general, possessed of a malevolent disposition. In addition, it is obvious that people are generous when they believe in the cause. This is true charity: giving away your own wealth for the purpose of helping another. You cannot morally claim that wealth redistribution is charitable for this reason. The government is not giving away money that it produced (as I said earlier, the government must take as it produces no wealth on its own). No, the government taxes (which is the forceful seizure of wealth) in order to accomplish this goal. Theft is theft regardless of the context. I differentiate this from public good services that must be provided by the government and which we must in turn pay for through taxation. It is one thing to produce an infrastructure I use and tax me for it and quite another to take my money and give it to someone else.

Finally, your last point, "...in hard times when people need help most, wouldn't people stop donating in order to keep their own families afloat?" is a ridiculous defense of government taxation. If those families will not provide charity because of their financial situation, how does that imply taking their money would be better? Taking the money they cannot afford to give would make the situation much worse.
Kasrahalteth

Pro

Finally, something a bit more interesting. For the record, I'm pretty glad you didn't want to debate about abortion. I'm getting pretty sick of the topic. And I apologize for taking so long to respond. But anyhow.

Firstly, what's all this about goodwill? Goodwill has nothing to do with it. The difference is that (at least right now) it is the government's job to take care of the poor and they are held accountable to it. Obviously, ordinary citizens are not. It doesn't matter if politicians don't have much goodwill personally, because if they're doing the jobs we elected them for, then they're going to be taking care of the poor.

If you got rid of this facet of our government, then no one would be accountable for helping the poor and we would rely on this ‘goodwill' you mentioned for any form of financial aid or healthcare or whatever. Of course, the downside of goodwill is that if people don't feel like helping others, they don't have to. The government absolutely has to help people. If they stop paying financial aid, they're in trouble. If I stop donating to the salvation army guy on the sidewalk, no one's going to punish me for it.

What makes you so sure that the only reason people don't donate to charity is because of taxes? My argument is that if taxes were lowered, the majority of those people wouldn't be thinking, ‘hey, now I have more money to donate to charity', but something more along the lines of ‘hey, now I can afford that hummer.' It's not necessarily that people are heartless and cruel and don't care, (although I won't deny that some are) but that they just get wrapped up in their own lives and forget about the poor.

We Americans have short memories. Everyone donates right after a major disaster, but if it's a long and ongoing thing, donations taper off. For example, let's look at Katrina again. New Orleans is still literally rotting, and people need money almost as much as they did right after the hurricane. However, no one donates any more, because we've essentially forgotten about it. After the initial rush of donations, no one wants to help. It's the sort of thing you generally run into with people, because we've got our own lives and are often occupied by other things. We're not necessarily cruel, just forgetful.

I'm not necessarily saying the government's charitable, I'm saying it's supporting the poor. Again, people in power may not like to help people, but they are legally obligated to.

And since when is helping the poor not ‘public good', anyway? Besides, a lot of the things you want to get rid of do benefit you anyway. Social security? Medicare?

"If those families will not provide charity because of their financial situation, how does that imply taking their money would be better? Taking the money they cannot afford to give would make the situation much worse."

Simple. Taxes are levied on everyone. If you get rid of taxes, then only the people who want to donate will. Therefore, less people will be giving money to the poor. If less people donate, each will have to donate a larger amount in order to support the same amount of people. Therefore, more financial stress is put on donating families. Now, if we don't get rid of taxes, there's a whole lot less financial stress on everyone, and therefore the likelihood of taxes driving people into poverty is much lower. Not to mention the fact that you are also taxing the rich, and regardless of the financial situation of the country there are always rich people to be taxed. Even during the great depression, there was a booming upper class.

So, you people seem to have a lot of problems with taxing individuals. But couldn't you lower taxes on individuals and raise them on corporations, who, at the moment, give the country practically nothing? What do you have against that?

For that matter, without the government organizing things, how are you going to spend those donations? The government, if nothing else, keeps things well organized. If you created groups to sort out donations and give them to the right people you'd need a lot of volunteers. And people tend to have lives, so you're likely not going to get that many people who want to work for free. What then? Not to mention things like healthcare. How are these organizations going to organize healthcare deals with large corporations?

And here's my favorite point. In how many situations have these libertarian ideals worked? How many countries out there have implemented this successfully? Most of the other developed countries out there are downright socialist compared to us. I mean, libertarian ideas work great in theory, but hey, so did communism.
Debate Round No. 1
jathan

Con

No worries on the time as you were within the limits. Now on to the debate...

I assume that this (your statement in the abortion debate that brought about my debate) is all that is required to justify the goodwill portion of the argument:
"I'd much rather charge everyone to make sure people get the care they need than depend on people's goodwill. And for that matter, in hard times when people need help most, wouldn't people stop donating in order to keep their own families afloat? And wouldn't that essentially strand the poor?"

You are quite correct that no one will punish you for not donating to the Salvation Army. However, why are you positing that statement as being inherently undesirable? Is it morally righteous to punish someone for doing as they please with money they earn? When did the welfare of the poor become the obligation of those with wealth? There is a fine line separation here between the natural instinct of charity (which is founded on individual choice) and that of an obligation?

"What makes you so sure that the only reason people don't donate to charity is because of taxes?"

I hardly implied that as the sole rationale. I merely pointed out that when you remove a certain portion of wealth from an individual, they will have to make choices on how to use that, now reduced, wealth. As such, to expect the same level of charity from the same individual who now has less wealth is, I think obviously, ridiculous.

"New Orleans is still literally rotting, and people need money almost as much as they did right after the hurricane. However, no one donates any more, because we've essentially forgotten about it."

I would hardly attest the state of New Orleans to the private charity of Americans, but rather to the incompetence of their government. The same fools that did not maintain levees in a city below sea level were placed in charge of its reconstruction. Did you expect a better result?

"Again, people in power may not like to help people, but they are legally obligated to."

A legal obligation to do something is hardly a moral justification.

"And since when is helping the poor not ‘public good', anyway? Besides, a lot of the things you want to get rid of do benefit you anyway. Social security? Medicare?"

A public good is defined as the marginal cost equaling zero, therefore the price is zero. You can hardly place welfare or any other "help to the poor" as a public good precisely because the addition of one more poor person increases the cost by a nonzero amount. On Social Security, there is a question as to whether or not it will actually be financially viable when I retire (entirely dependent on how the economy performs into the unforeseeable future)and Medicare is in a questionable position given the rising cost of health care despite (most likely because of) the growing interference of the government over the last 35 years.

"
"If those families will not provide charity because of their financial situation, how does that imply taking their money would be better? Taking the money they cannot afford to give would make the situation much worse."

Simple. Taxes are levied on everyone.If you get rid of taxes, then only the people who want to donate will. Therefore, less people will be giving money to the poor."

No, it is not that simple because you simply dodged the issue. If you tax the same person who cannot afford to give charity because of their financial situation then you will do them harm. Besides, your line of reasoning does not imply that less money will be given in charity. If, for the only reason, that every time the government has lowered taxes they have received more revenue (there is obviously a point at which this will no longer be true, but for the tax cuts of the 20th century this holds true).

"Not to mention the fact that you are also taxing the rich, and regardless of the financial situation of the country there are always rich people to be taxed. Even during the great depression, there was a booming upper class."

No, just read about the Wiemar Republic and you can come across a financial situation that destroyed the rich and poor alike. Also, the "booming" upper class is a farce. The wealth of the country dropped considerably during the Great Depression. Those who were wealthy before the Great Depression (who were out of the stock market by the crash, and had subsequently protected there wealth in certain banks or commodities) maintained there "growing" wealth largely because of the great deflation experienced at that time due to certain Federal Reserve policies.

"So, you people seem to have a lot of problems with taxing individuals. But couldn't you lower taxes on individuals and raise them on corporations, who, at the moment, give the country practically nothing? What do you have against that?"

I have a problem with the income tax, given the self incrimination it requires.
Besides, there are taxes you can raise that do not require the ridiculous tax code we currently have, but all this is off topic.

"For that matter, without the government organizing things, how are you going to spend those donations? The government, if nothing else, keeps things well organized. If you created groups to sort out donations and give them to the right people you'd need a lot of volunteers. And people tend to have lives, so you're likely not going to get that many people who want to work for free."

For one, the problem of organization of charity has been solved already...that should be obvious as there already exist many private charities (and they have existed for quite some time). The government is hardly a model of efficiency. In fact, that is the main reason to keep the government out of anything that can be handled by market forces. If anything, the government effectively organizes inefficiency. The Salvation Army seems to have a lot of volunteers, and you don't actually need volunteers as Goodwill and Arc Thrift Stores demonstrate everyday.

"And here's my favorite point. In how many situations have these libertarian ideals worked? How many countries out there have implemented this successfully? Most of the other developed countries out there are downright socialist compared to us. I mean, libertarian ideas work great in theory, but hey, so did communism."

Wow! I am really disappointed. The Constitution is practically a model of a libertarian government. It worked quite well, for those it applied to, until people of your ideological bent gained power. I would safely bet everything I have that if we were to follow the original interpretation (now that we have established the equal rights of all individuals) that our country would be in an enviable position compared to now. The fact remains that liberty is the exception and not the rule to human existence. This is hardly a damnation of its efficacy.

By the way, communism was never a great theoretical idea. Marx completely mistook where valuation comes from and so founded much of his theory on a fallacy.
Kasrahalteth

Pro

It's inherently undesirable because people are selfish. Given the choice, not many people are actually going to donate. And I'm not advocating punishing them for not donating to charity, I just want to skim a little off the top with taxes and give it to people who need it, because otherwise they likely won't get anything. Sure, some people will donate, but I don't think you can deny the fact that there's going to be a lot less money going to the poor that way.

Here's my favorite response:
"When did the welfare of the poor become the obligation of those with wealth?"

Oh, I don't know, it's kind of the basis of a our government. Or something.

Look at the preamble of the Constitution, for example:
"We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

The ‘general welfare' is also mentioned in Article 1, Section 8, the section giving the Congress its powers.

"Promote the general welfare"? As far as I know, that means that the Constitution was written to do things for the good of everyone, unless you've got another definition for general welfare. Obviously, the poor are part of ‘everyone' so...

And it's not like we just threw that in to cover anything we may not have mentioned. This idea of ‘general welfare' had been floating around over 150 years before our constitution was written, and it was also mentioned in the Articles of Confederation. So you know we made it a point to put it there.

"There is a fine line separation here between the natural instinct of charity (which is founded on individual choice) and that of an obligation?"

Exactly. I want helping the poor to be an obligation. If we're successful, and living in a country where the ‘general welfare' is so important, we should be obliged to help others. It's not like taxes are going to economically hurt the average middle class citizen, the money the poor get from them could mean the difference between eating this week or starving. If it's such a small thing, why not just make everyone pitch in?

"I merely pointed out that when you remove a certain portion of wealth from an individual, they will have to make choices on how to use that, now reduced, wealth."

Okay, so a few people are going to donate to charity a bit more. That's not going to make up for the millions who are just happy to be keeping more of their money to themselves.

"I would hardly attest the state of New Orleans to the private charity of Americans, but rather to the incompetence of their government."

Those are privately owned houses. The only ones to blame there are the insurance companies that refuse to pay citizens. But at any rate, people can't afford to rebuild and no one donates to them. But there are plenty of other examples of citizen apathy, if you'd like them.

As an example, 10% of money donated to charities is actually donated to the poor. The other 90% goes to museums and universities. Which is pretty selfish. Most of those donations are to get their kids into the colleges they want, or to get family names on a plaque in the new art museum.

By the way, the amount of money donated to the poor through charities is only equal to about 4% of the amount of money given to the poor through taxes. For the record, if you get rid of taxes going to the poor, they lose 95.97% of the money given to them, through the combined efforts of the government and charity.

Granted a few more people may donate to charity, but you know as well as I do that we're not going to jump into action and cover that 96%. That's over $477 billion dollars.

Also, through all these donations, each person benefiting from government programs and charities and whatnot only gets about $12,000 a year. Which, I think you'll agree, is not much. If you get rid of government programs, that leaves everyone with a $480 dollars a year. It costs $2,600 for one person to eat for a year. So, funded solely on donations, if you're totally homeless and don't require healthcare, you can still only survive for about 2 1/2 months. How do you like those numbers?

"A legal obligation to do something is hardly a moral justification."

It doesn't have to be. One group has to do something. One group can if it wants to. Which is actually going to get the job done? It's just our responsibility to take care of the poor. Sometimes we have to be made to take care of our responsibilities.

"You can hardly place welfare or any other "help to the poor" as a public good precisely because the addition of one more poor person increases the cost by a nonzero amount."

Well, by the accepted definition ‘public good' public schools wouldn't qualify either. Add another student, cost goes up. And I hope you're not going to say that we should do away with public schooling. Not all the things we fund are fall perfectly under the category of ‘public good', but they're still ‘general welfare'.

"If you tax the same person who cannot afford to give charity because of their financial situation then you will do them harm."

Gaah! Let's try this again. If you want to pay the same amount to the poor, and less people give money to the poor, then the remaining people must give more money to the poor. More money equals more financial stress, which makes it harder to give to charity. And if people's net worth goes down, so do their taxes, anyway. This is done precisely so we won't do them harm.

And this about the booming upper class being a farce. There are always people profiting off of things. Unless it's something so crippling that there's no chance of recovery, there are plenty of people to tax, and if not them, tax corporations.

For the record, I don't see how the taxing corporations thing is that off-topic. You could lower taxes on individuals, making the libertarians happy, and raise them on corporations. You can then use the money for government services, like helping the poor. Everybody wins. You'd think you'd focus your energy on something worthwhile, like that.

And, sure the Salvation Army seems to have a lot of volunteers now, but again, charities equal about 4% of money given through taxes. And the Salvation Army only handles a fraction of that 4%. Now, if by some miracle, people pitch in the same amount as they would have given through taxes, the Salvation Army is going to be totally overwhelmed. All of these charities work great on a small scale, but they won't be able to handle that many more donations, and they just plain won't have the manpower for it. Even the ones without volunteer labor aren't going to be able to handle that kind of influx of donations.

And market forces are completely heartless. I wouldn't want corporations helping the poor. As it is, health insurance companies actually pay people to find ways to deny paying customers' healthcare because they don't want to waste the money on them. Do you really want people like that in charge of welfare?

"The Constitution is practically a model of a libertarian government. It worked quite well, for those it applied to, until people of your ideological bent gained power."

Until people of my ideological bent gained power, we had robber-barons bribing congress (Central Pacific Railroad, much?) and a corrupt upper-class taking advantage of the poor. We had children working twelve hour workdays in dangerous situations, because their families couldn't afford to let them stay home and go to school. We forced people to basically enter indentured servitude because they were only paid company scrip, which couldn't actually be exchanged for real money.

How exactly was this working well, again?
Debate Round No. 2
jathan

Con

"Oh, I don't know, it's kind of the basis of a our government."

Look at the preamble of the Constitution, for example:
"We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.""

You cannot take a document like that so far out of context as to justify something like welfare. If that were the intended meaning I assume that it would not have taken over one hundred years for the first forms of welfare legislation to pass. That takes a change in opinion of the populace as to the proper role of government and has nothing to do with its original foundation.

""Promote the general welfare"? As far as I know, that means that the Constitution was written to do things for the good of everyone, unless you've got another definition for general welfare. Obviously, the poor are part of ‘everyone' so..."

you have a weak argument. The rich are part of everyone too should I use that as a justification for corporate welfare?

"So you know we made it a point to put it there."

Read Federalist 30 and 34 (Hamilton) , and 41 (Madison)

"I want helping the poor to be an obligation."

Which ultimately destroys the charity involved which was my point. You cannot on a moral ground demand wealth to "help" the poor.

"It's not like taxes are going to economically hurt the average middle class citizen, the money the poor get from them could mean the difference between eating this week or starving."

To state that confiscating wealth will not financially harm someone is tantamount to stabbing someone for their own health. It is that ridiculous.

Finally, lets define who counts as poor in this country. The poor as defined by the US Census Bureau are:
1)"Forty-three percent of all poor households actu�ally own their own homes. The average home owned by persons classified as poor by the Census Bureau is a three-bedroom house with one-and-a-half baths, a garage, and a porch or patio."
2)"Eighty percent of poor households have air conditioning. By contrast, in 1970, only 36 percent of the entire U.S. population enjoyed air conditioning."
3)"Only 6 percent of poor households are over�crowded. More than two-thirds have more than two rooms per person."
4)"The average poor American has more living space than the average individual living in Paris, London, Vienna, Athens, and other cities throughout Europe. (These comparisons are to the average citizens in foreign countries, not to those classified as poor.)"
5)"Nearly three-quarters of poor households own a car; 31 percent own two or more cars."
6)"The typical American defined as "poor" by the government has a car, air conditioning, a refrigera�tor, a stove, a clothes washer and dryer, and a micro�wave. He has two color televisions, cable or satellite TV reception, a VCR or DVD player, and a stereo. He is able to obtain medical care. His home is in good repair and is not overcrowded. By his own report, his family is not hungry and he had suffi�cient funds in the past year to meet his family's essential needs. While this individual's life is not opulent, it is equally far from the popular images of dire poverty conveyed by the press, liberal activists, and politicians."
(http://www.heritage.org...)

"How do you like those numbers?"
You should always state where you get your statistics.

"It's just our responsibility to take care of the poor. Sometimes we have to be made to take care of our responsibilities."

Like I said this kind of logic cannot be used as a moral justification. Why is it our responsibility? Why must we be made to take care of our responsibilities? After all, it is my responsibility to take care of my body, but I doubt you would then demand that we legislate against the use of drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, outdoor activities etc. It is my responsibility to try at everything I wish to succeed in, but pray tell how you can legislate that. Which responsibilities are to be legislated?

Furthermore, the only time I have a responsibility is when someone else has a right. You have a right to not be deprived of your life by others so I have a responsibility not to kill you. You do not have a right to wealth that you did not earn so I do not have a responsibility for your financial well being.

"And I hope you're not going to say that we should do away with public schooling."

Public schooling is a merit good.

"Unless it's something so crippling that there's no chance of recovery, there are plenty of people to tax, and if not them, tax corporations."

Do you think that corporations exist in some fantasy economy where there economic health is somehow distinct from that of the average individual? How then do corporations fail?

Let me qualify that, I am talking about corporations that are not receiving funds from the government. I am not a hypocrite and do not support private welfare and therefore do not support corporate welfare.

"You could lower taxes on individuals, making the libertarians happy, and raise them on corporations. You can then use the money for government services, like helping the poor. Everybody wins. You'd think you'd focus your energy on something worthwhile, like that."

Oh my god, please think through what you just wrote. A corporation subject to a hypothetical higher tax rate will either raise the price of its products or lower the wages it pays its employees to compensate for this increased cost. History shows it is almost always the former as wages tend to be sticky. When you tax a corporation you merely increase its cost of doing business and therefore increase the price of the product it produces. You and I pay most corporate taxes! How else would you expect it to work?

"Until people of my ideological bent gained power, we had robber-barons bribing congress (Central Pacific Railroad, much?) and a corrupt upper-class taking advantage of the poor. We had children working twelve hour workdays in dangerous situations."

Champions of those without a voice, you deserve a medal. For the record, it is disgusting when Congress can be purchased by monied interests and is one of my rationales for opposing government intervention in the economy. Do you think that once you began regulating the railroads things changed? No, for the record the railroads bought every Congressman on the Interstate Commerce Commission and are largely responsible for hampering the development of cheaper transportation methods, i.e. trucking (Alan Greenspan, Antitrust).
With regards to child labor:"claims of increased misery...[are] based on ignorance of how squalid life actually had been earlier. Before children began earning money working in factories, they had been sent to live in parish poorhouses, apprenticed as unpaid household servants, rented out for backbreaking agricultural labor, or became beggars, vagrants, thieves, and prostitutes . The precapitalist "good old days" simply never existed".(Hessen, Robert, Capitalism, Concise Encyclopedia of Economics)
In fact, child labor was already on the way out when these laws were passed as shown by Clark Nardinelli in Child Labor and the Industrial Revolution. I am not suggesting the laws are bad, but in a capitalist society they are usually unnecessary. Besides, the labor markets now demand a certain level of education and provide far greater incentive than the government ever could for education.

"How exactly was this working well, again?"
Quite well.

I would just close by saying that it is not your intentions, which I assume are only the best, that determine outcomes and it is the outcomes we are concerned with.
Kasrahalteth

Pro

We take the Constitution out of context to justify things all the time. In fact, the founding fathers knew that they couldn't think of everything that could conceivably happen in the future, so they wrote in an over-arching sort of way that allowed for new developments. It's meant to be taken out of context.

"you have a weak argument. The rich are part of everyone too should I use that as a justification for corporate welfare?"

Not at all. It's a simple enough concept. The poor need money, and the rich have enough money to take care of themselves.

Besides, helping the poor benefits everyone. When people are destitute, they get desperate. And when people are desperate, crime rates skyrocket. You're a whole lot more willing to mug someone if you know the money they're carrying may keep your family from starving this week. You get less drug dealers, dogfighters and prostitutes if you have help for the poor, because, obviously, it takes a desperate person to do any of those things. Having less of a chance of getting shot for the contents of your wallet is good for everyone and is therefore public good.

Here's a quote from Federalist 30:
"Thus far the ends of public happiness will be promoted by supplying the wants of government, and all beyond this is unworthy of our care or anxiety. How is it possible that a government half supplied and always necessitous, can fulfill the purposes of its institution, can provide for the security, advance the prosperity, or support the reputation of the commonwealth?…How can it undertake or execute any liberal or enlarged plans of public good?"

Undertaking or executing liberal or enlarged plans of public good? This makes a decent case for welfare, and it's taken right out of the document you cited to dispute it.

"Which ultimately destroys the charity involved which was my point. You cannot on a moral ground demand wealth to "help" the poor."

Again. I don't care about charity. If the poor are getting money procured from selling meat pies made from babies it's still money helping them pay for food. The source doesn't matter. The intent doesn't matter. Money given in charity isn't worth any more than money won in a dogfight.

So when it comes down to taxing or for waiting for charity that isn't going to come, I'm going to take the former. It's a lot more moral to take a little money from everyone in order to help the poor than it is to let them starve because citizens are too busy or apathetic to help. I mean, the difference is between economically hurting everyone a little, or letting one group of people die.

"To state that confiscating wealth will not financially harm someone is tantamount to stabbing someone for their own health. It is that ridiculous."

Getting stabbed causes a lot of harm, obviously, and does no one any good. To me, taxes are a lot more like donating blood. Say there was a large war on and soldiers were getting wounded. So for a short time the government made it compulsory for every able-bodied person to donate blood to help the cause. Of course, it's not good for the donators' health, but in the end, it's not really all that harmful and it does a world of good to those soldiers. Same with taxes. They financially hurt everyone a little, but in the end, they're helping a lot of people.

In response to your statistics:
The average poverty threshold for a family of four is $18,392. Food for a family of four costs $10,400 a year. I don't know about you, but I don't think $7,992 a year is going to cover the cost of healthcare, living expenses, and the taxes on that three bedroom house.
(http://www.census.gov...)

Your website's actually quoting statistics from near-poverty situations. They don't qualify for financial aid, anyway, so it's really beside the point. Not to mention the fact that the most damning statistics aren't cited and can't actually be found anywhere else.

"You should always state where you get your statistics."

Admittedly, I should have. But regardless of whether or not I cited my statistics, that was one of the strongest arguments against getting rid of those taxes. And since that was your last round, you never will address it. Which hurts you considerably in this debate.

And if you want me to cite my statistics so much, here you go.
The 10% of all donations given actually go to the poor statistic is from Robert Reich, the nation's 22nd Secretary of Labor. He also mentions that $20 billion is given to the poor through charity. Here's his blog.
(http://robertreich.blogspot.com...)

I couldn't actually find the $477 billion statistic again. So I took a look at some tax forms I had lying around. According to the tax forms, we spent $2.5 trillion on everything in year 2005, and welfare made up 14% of that $2.5 trillion. That's $350 billion. So I'll adjust my statistics for that value:

The amount of money given to the poor through charities equals about 6% of the money given to the poor through taxes. If you get rid of the taxes, the poor lose 94.6% of their total financial aid. Unless everyone pitches in and voluntarily donates the same amount to the poor as would have been given to them through taxes, they get $648 a year. Which is enough to feed one person for a little over 3 months. In the scheme of things, it doesn't make a huge difference, they're still starving after all, but it's more accurate than the last statistic. Sorry.

Not to mention the fact that you never even tried to address one of my strongest points. I mentioned that small charity groups just don't have the time, resources, or manpower to handle the amount of money or help anywhere near the same amount of people as our government programs. What do you plan to do about that?

"…Why is it our responsibility? Why must we be made to take care of our responsibilities? After all, it is my responsibility to take care of my body, but I doubt you would then demand that we legislate against the use of drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, outdoor activities etc."

Uh… we legislate against the use of drugs, alcohol and cigarettes already. Using illegal drugs is, well, illegal. You can't drink if you're under 21. You can't smoke if you're under 18. The government makes us take care of our responsibilities all the time. Helping the poor isn't any different.

"Furthermore, the only time I have a responsibility is when someone else has a right. You have a right to not be deprived of your life by others so I have a responsibility not to kill you. You do not have a right to wealth that you did not earn so I do not have a responsibility for your financial well being."

You just said it yourself. You have a right not to be deprived of life. Denying someone money or food stamps is allowing them to starve, and last I checked, starvation lead to death. Same with housing and healthcare. If someone's dead, they're dead. It doesn't matter whether you stabbed them personally or if you just let them starve.

"Public schooling is a merit good."

I'll be honest, I'm not too familiar with merit goods. So I looked it up. The first three examples I got were food stamps, health care, and subsidized housing. So I guess welfare is a merit good, too. Go figure.

"Do you think that corporations exist in some fantasy economy where there economic health is somehow distinct from that of the average individual? How then do corporations fail?"

As it is, corporations make an obscene amount of profit. The owners could still make billions of dollars if they were taxed more, even if they didn't raise costs or lower wages. I'd also love to go into just how economic health is distinct from that of the individual, but I'm out of space.

And I never suggested there were any precapitalist "good old days" I just wanted to point out that our short-lived libertarian government was terrible. I don't particularly care about what happened beforehand.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by goldspurs 9 years ago
goldspurs
Pro seemed to state alot of statistics about how poor people living in poverty really are, but I didn't see much of an argument on why I should have to pay for someone elses dinner.

Welfare is a broken system that needs to be disbanded. There is too much corruption in it.
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