The Instigator
happy-bread
Con (against)
Winning
8 Points
The Contender
OldIronGuts
Pro (for)
Losing
6 Points

In the U.S. current income disparities threaten democratic ideals

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
happy-bread
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/6/2011 Category: Society
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,762 times Debate No: 19715
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (13)
Votes (4)

 

happy-bread

Con

I will be arguing that income disparites don't threaten democratic ideals.
1st round: acceptance
3rd round: crossfire
Debate Round No. 1
happy-bread

Con

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Because my partner and I agree with these immortal words of democracy, we firmly negate that resolved: In the United States, current income disparities threaten democratic ideals.
First allow me to provide some definitions to clarify today's debate:
Threaten: to be a menace or source of danger to
Democratic Ideals: the beliefs in which a democratic state is founded upon.
Observation 1: The resolution's reference to the United States suggests that we must uphold the democratic ideals that relate to the United States specifically. This means that the democratic ideals that are to be discussed are the ideals expressed within the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights because our democratic state was founded on these documents.

Observation 2: An emphasis on the word threaten within the resolution is a necessity for today's debate. What we need to look at is if Con can prove that income disparities or the causes of income disparities strengthen democratic ideals more than they deter them, then those income disparities don't threaten said democratic ideals. So essentially the word threaten will be the overall interpretation of the cost-benefit analysis that income disparities have on democratic ideals.

Contention 1: Inequality does not threaten democratic ideals.
Current income disparities are only problematic if you observe what OTHERS have opposed to what a person DOES have. Peter Schwartz, author of The Foreign Policy of Self-Interest observes, "the alleged problem is not that some are becoming poor--but that others are too rich. The complaint is that while the bottom tier enjoyed a 4% rise in income, the top tier enjoyed a 34% increase. The complaint is that over the past 25 years, the share of income of the top fifth of households climbed from 42% to 50%, while that of the bottom fifth fell from 7% to 5%. This development represents an injustice only if we use a perverse standard of evaluation. It is unjust only if we measure someone's economic status not by what he has, but by what others have." The poorer class of America alone, according to the U.N. Center for Human Settlements, has a larger floor area per person than high income countries such as the United Kingdom, France, Japan and Germany which shows how the "poor" class of America is more privileged than the majority of the world. Prosperity amongst the "poor" class shows how the democratic ideals of liberty and the pursuit of happiness are upheld, even amongst people that supposedly have unequal opportunity. Furthermore, I would also like to point out that income inequalities don't deprive anybody of their constitutional rights. Therefore, income inequalities do not in fact threaten democratic ideals.

Contention 2: Capitalism strengthens democratic ideals.
Sub-point A: Capitalism promotes a person's right to the pursuit of happiness. Peter Schwartz observes that "Income inequality is an effect. The cause is the difference in people's economic production." This difference of economic production is a result of the free market system in America. Schwartz goes on to say "Criticizing income inequality is like complaining that a computer carries a higher price than a paper clip. Price reflects an object's market value--and the money someone earns reflects the market value of his work. There is no fixed, pre-existing glob of income that somehow oozes disproportionately into the pockets of the rich. Wealth is created. The top fifth of the population have ten times more income than the bottom fifth because they have produced ten times more. Income inequality represents something good. It means that exceptional individuals are free to do their productive best, and to reap their rewards." Individuals have the opportunity to create their own wealth underneath the capitalistic system of America which inevitably results in income inequality. However, it also results in the democratic ideals of liberty and the pursuit of happiness being upheld.
Sub-point B: Capitalism promotes the general welfare of the nation.
According to John Stossel of 20/20, households with incomes exceeding $1 million (about 7 percent of the population) make 50 percent of all charitable donations. The donations of the rich promote the general welfare of the rest of the nation. The wealthy that have achieved their economic success through the capitalistic system are donating their wealth to poorer classes which promotes the general welfare of the people. Furthermore, the rich actually drive and sustain the economy which creates wealth for the people in the middle and lower classes. . Jeannine Aversa, AP Economics Writer, says, "Think of the wealthy as the main engine of the economy: When they buy more, the economy hums. When they cut back, it sputters. The rest of us mainly go along for the ride…" Through the wealth that the rich obtain through the capitalistic system, the American economy grows, which means that the richer the rich get, the richer the poor get as well.
OldIronGuts

Pro

I would like to open with with a few quotes

"I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defianceto the laws of our country." : Thomas Jefferson

"Representative government is artifice, a political myth, designed to conceal from the masses the dominance of a self-selected, self-perpetuating, and self-serving traditional ruling class."
�€� Giuseppe Prezzolini

We're not a democracy. It's a terrible misunderstanding and a slander to the idea of democracy to call us that. In reality, we're a plutocracy: a government by the wealthy." : Ramsey Clark, former U.S. Attorney General

"If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered."

Thomas Jefferson

"I am a most unhappy man. I have unwittingly ruined my country. A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men. We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated governments in the civilized world. No longer a government by free opinion, no longer a government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a government by the opinion and duress of a small group of dominant men."

Woodrow Wilson (speaking of his collusion in the creation of the Federal Reserve Bank of America in 1913)

"Allow me to issue and control the money of a nation, and I care not who writes the laws."

Mayer Amschel Rothschild (banker extraordinaire and war-bankroller)

"Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty." -- Wendell Phillips

All for ourselves, and nothing for other people, seems, in every age of the world, to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind. Adam Smith

Contention 1: The idea of a democracy is by definition "A system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives.". Thus it is reasonable to conclude that what the majority wants is what will generally be provided. However this is not the case. The Supreme court ruled in Buckly vs Valeo that money is speech. With that being said speech is protected by the first amendment. When a small of wealthy individuals are able to buy seats in the government it is no longer the government of the people.(plutocracy)

Contention 2: Elected officials are propped up during elections, or bought during their term. This is a serious allegation, but sadly it is true for the most part. I'm not saying that congress members are openly selling their votes to the highest bidder they tend to be more subtle then this, however there are currently 14,000 registered lobbyists in Washington and they do heavily influence the way members vote. As i mentioned there are 14,000 registered lobbyists and many more unregistered lobbyists (i use the term unregistered lobbyists because these lobbyists who try to influence members of congress whom are within their proximity of business , such as a Michigan steel company or a seed corp in Kansas) that's roughly 4 lobbyists for every elected official. These lobbyists are in constant contact with these officials and are always trying to push their company or organization's agenda. The ironic thing about electing our officials this is that, the members we elect often hold their constituents concerns second then that of the donors who are funding his campaign. More often then enough, politicians vote against their ideals or the wants of their constituents so that they will continue to receive money to stay in power. There has been a steady increase of money spent on lobbying peaking at 3.5 billion in 2010. 3.5 billion is a lot of money invested in getting a firm's or organization's voice heard. With all businesses many of these firms expect a return on their investments. Many of these returns come in forms of tax breaks, loosen regulation ect. This concept is not new to man, when King George was in power he often bought votes in parliament with his enormous wealth and power. He offered them financial security or a appointed position if they pushed his agenda. This practice was not frowned upon by their fellow parliament members, it was viewed as business as usual.

Contention 3: If money is speech then why do some of us have more speech then others? The Supreme Court declared that money was considered speech, and speech is protected by the first amendment. The Supreme court stated that a corporation donate as much as they want to influence the election. According to these figures [1][2] the top 10% of the nation owns roughly 70% of the nations wealth. Thus the top 10% owns 70% of the speech in America. In a nation that values it's "one man one vote" it's ironic that such a small group has so much influence over the policies in the united states.

Contention 4: Well if we don't like our official then we can always just vote him out right? Wrong. Well in most cases this is wrong or very difficult to achieve. Incumbents have a reelection rate or roughly 80% for congress [3] with help of gerrymandering, political bigotry and the big bucks lobbyists pay to help get these members re elected. It would require a massive organized movement and a lot of cash to elect a new member to congress if the member seeking reelection is in a politically safe district.

Contention 5: As a whole the top brackets benefited from tax breaks and deregulation. As shown in the these graphs [4][5] the top who are effectively influencing the government by pushing their agendas for deregulation, tax breaks and more privatization. Deregulation has always been the agenda of the merchant class, to allow for dangerous business decisions or increased CEO pay at the worker's expense. (such as the payment of CEO bonuses to be drained from worker pension funds due to loop holes). CEO and pay and bonuses have been skyrocketing since the 60's [6][7] while the poor have seen a decrease in income, and the middle class has seen a near wage stall. I'm not undermining the decisions and the work the CEOs put into their companies, however if we look at the pay of Ceo to worker around the world you would see that compare the the average worker the CEO is grossly overpaid to even the most industrialized countries. [8]

Contention 6: Time to face the music we are living in a plutocracy. Contention 6 in my opinion is the most important point i can make. The point being that Citi Group even admitted that we were living a plutocracy. [9] In a leaked memo to three of their most important investors they describe what a plutocracy is and how they can continue to "ride the gravy train". They even admit that "At the heart of plutonomy, is income inequality. Societies that are willing to tolerate/endorse income inequality, are willing to tolerate/endorse plutonomy". They admit that they are in control and they have subdued the people by making them believe that they too can be "rich"

[1] http://assets.motherjones.com...
[2] http://assets.motherjones.com...
[3] http://www.opensecrets.org...
[4] https://motherjones.com...
[5] http://assets.motherjones.com...
[6] http://thinkprogress.org...
[7] http://assets.motherjones.com...'swinning_3.png
[8] http://static.politifact.com.s3.amazonaws.com...
[9] http://theparagraph.com...
^Very important
Debate Round No. 2
happy-bread

Con

happy-bread forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
happy-bread

Con

happy-bread forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
happy-bread

Con

happy-bread forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
13 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by OldIronGuts 5 years ago
OldIronGuts
Whew i wrote this 2 hours before it was due, i think that's a personal best for me ! :D
Posted by goldman 5 years ago
goldman
In democratic society people must take their own responsibility for their conduct and decision-making
to coping with fierce competition among them for survival and succes in life. This situation produces winners and losers and triggers income disparities. On the other hand social dynamism and vitality emerge. For example, it is not too much to say that democratic values contribute to the rapid development and social transformation in China and India. Therefore, I believe democratic ideals are not harmful for society and income disparities do not threaten democratic ideals.
Posted by happy-bread 5 years ago
happy-bread
k...
Posted by goldman 5 years ago
goldman
I believe democratic ideals are founded on two core democratic values.
One is equality: Everyone has the right to the same treatment regardless of race, sex, religion, heritage, or economic status. Second is individual rights: Each individual has the fundamental right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. (http://www. classroomhelp.com) In the U.S. those two core values are guranteed, deeply rooted in society and widely accepted among american people.
They must make their living by their own decision, their own way of thinking and creativity without being interferred not only by the government but by other people. Therefore, in my opinion current income disparities do not threaten democratic ideals.
Posted by logicrules 5 years ago
logicrules
LOL hubris of the first order.
Posted by vmpire321 5 years ago
vmpire321
Well, read some debates on this topic. Maybe it'll help >.<
Posted by logicrules 5 years ago
logicrules
I know of not one democratic Ideal, so how could ay be threatened. Perhaps you mean US principles as codified in the declaration of Independence and Constitution?
Posted by vmpire321 5 years ago
vmpire321
The Threatened Ideals are any democratic ideal that you think is being threatened...

Equality
Freedom
LIfe
Liberty
Pursuit of Happiness
etc..
Posted by brian_eggleston 5 years ago
brian_eggleston
As we all know, all men are created equal.

As we also know, men who are born into financially-privileged families are created more equal than others.
Posted by logicrules 5 years ago
logicrules
Just what are these threatened Ideals?
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by mcgrif15 5 years ago
mcgrif15
happy-breadOldIronGutsTied
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: since pro didint extend his arguments through the whole debate, than con forfits are irelivent in judging the debate. The impact of con's case are way stronger than the impacts of pro's case.
Vote Placed by Maikuru 5 years ago
Maikuru
happy-breadOldIronGutsTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Forfeits by Con
Vote Placed by ConservativePolitico 5 years ago
ConservativePolitico
happy-breadOldIronGutsTied
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Reasons for voting decision: FF by Con.
Vote Placed by 16kadams 5 years ago
16kadams
happy-breadOldIronGutsTied
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Total points awarded:21 
Reasons for voting decision: sources to con, conduct to pro FF