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In the United States, wealth inequality is detrimental to democratic ideals.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/23/2016 Category: Economics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 684 times Debate No: 95606
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C1- Wealth inequality is detrimental to Equality.
There are many areas in which the wealthy have more opportunities, one example being education. Most people will agree that private school offers a better education than public school. However, not everyone can afford to spend $9,500 per year (the national average of private school education is $9,518 according to on that advanced education, and that"s only for one child. There"s no way a single mom with two children working as a waitress just to put food on the table could afford $20,000 a year on school. Then comes college. While someone lucky enough to born into a wealthy home may have no trouble paying for tuition at Harvard, an average person would have to work unbelievably hard to get scholarships to be able to get in and then the debt that would go along with it would be crippling.
C2- Wealth Inequality is detrimental to Justice.
If you"ve watched the news in the past few weeks you"ve probably heard about a boy named Ethan Couch claiming to suffer from "Affluenza" which basically means he can"t be held responsible for his actions because he was "too rich to know right from wrong" according to Couch"s lawyers. Although this may be an extreme case, the upper class does seem to live by this mentality. There are two criminal justice systems in the United States. One is for people with wealth, fame or influence who can afford to hire top-notch attorneys and public relations firms. The other justice system is for everybody else. As one example of this dichotomy, for over a decade suburban jails in Southern California have been renting upscale cells to affluent people convicted of crimes in Los Angeles County. These pay-to-stay correction facilities, also called self-pay jails, cost wealthy prisoners between $45 and $175 a day and include such amenities as iPods, cell phones, computers, private cells and work release programs. Some even let prisoners (who are referred to as "clients") bring in their own food. Poor defendants often have to sit in jail " sometimes for years while their cases wind through the court system " while those with sufficient funds can afford to make bond. For the very rich, bail can range into the millions of dollars, which they can easily pay. But honestly, what can we expect from a wealth-driven justice system when, according to financial disclosure statements released in June 2010, at least five Supreme Court Justices are millionaires? Money and celebrity status talk, and our criminal justice system listens.
C3- Wealth Inequality is detrimental to Liberty-
There is also corruption in the highest seats of office. A politician"s primary goal is to be re-elected, and corporations offer the donations that fund political campaigns.
Representative democracy is supposed to be blind. Economic strength shouldn"t confer extra political privileges and powers. Unfortunately, it does. Oxford University professor Nancy Bermeo concludes that it often results in the direct manipulation of political officers. The latest example is the Solyndra affair (August of 2011). Federal loans were recalculated to ensure that the financial burden of the company"s failure fell on the laps of citizens instead of connected political donors. Solyndra is remarkable for being unremarkable. It doesn"t shock anyone to hear that corporate interests get extra privileges, but the frequency of this doesn"t make it excusable. To sum up, wealth inequality enhances the political representation of the very wealthy, allowing them to basically choose the laws and restrictions that the lower classes have no choice but to oblige to due to their lack of representation, a direct hit to the democratic ideal of Liberty.
As you can see, Wealth Inequality is detrimental to three different democratic Ideals. Even if my opponent can prove that Wealth Inequality is a good thing, I have proven that it is detrimental and therefore have affirmed the resolution. And that is why I must affirm the resolution In the United States, wealth inequality is detrimental to democratic ideals.


Wealth inequality" has become an important issue and separating it from income inequality during this debate is extremely useful. The terms wealth and income inequality are often conflated. states "wealth inequality can be described as the unequal distribution of assets within a population". This organization then adds "We equate wealth with 'net worth,' the sum total of your assets minus liabilities. Whereas, also states the following about income inequality, "Income includes the revenue streams from wages, salaries, interest on a savings account, dividends from shares of stock, rent, and profits from selling something for more than you paid for it. Income inequality refers to the extent to which income is distributed in an uneven manner among a population." This separation of terms is extremely important, a person can be wealthy will a low income or vice versa. An example of each, an unmarried farmer that has wealth that is tied up in land and equipment. The farmer's income can be very little, thus wealthy with a low income. A second example is a high paid young married doctor with large student debt. This doctor earns a high income but income is used to pay down debt and care for a family, therefore high income but not wealthy.

Wealth can also be looked at as capital accumulation, that is the act, process or result of creating or increasing the supply of capital goods( Once wealth has been created it can only be transferred. If the transfer is voluntary, society will benefit but if coercion is the method of transfer society has been harmed.

Capital accumulation should also be separated into how the capital was acquired. If capital was accumulated by expropriation, coercion, fraud, or special treatment of government, that wealth is unjust. Capital accumulated by serving another person through voluntary exchanges of goods or services would be just wealth.

Poverty is also a different issue.

"Democratic ideas" in the United States can only be defined as the ideas of the country's founding documents. Ideas of inalienable rights that expressly include life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness, but include imply rights of, property, voluntarily exchange, freely associate, and many other unstated negative rights. "Democratic ideas" would also include the idea of self-ownership and theft of a person's property is immoral. Liberty defined as freedom from control, interference, obligation, restriction, hampering conditions, etc.; power or right of doing, thinking, speaking, etc., according to choice, is vital to American "democratic ideas".

1) Wealth from just sources benefits all of society regardless of distribution

Capital accumulation is the source of modern prosperity without capital almost everyone would be subsistence farmers attempting to survive daily. Capital has enabled people to specialize and trade with others to improve the general welfare. Let's suppose that 75% of capital in America was controlled by a handful of extremely greedy individuals. These greedy people are constantly trying to gain more capital to become even more wealthy. To satisfy their greed these individuals must provide a product or service that others are willing to purchase. When coercion is not involved a rich person must serve others, and others must create products or services that others value. All of this creation causes even more capital to enter the economy which betters all of society. With more and more wealth being created those greedy individuals will have their wealth diluted to a lower percentage.

2) One person's wealth causes no harm to others

This is a simple concept, one person having more than other does no harm to anyone else. Some might argue that how others use wealth can cause harm. When coercion is left out, and wealth can only be used in voluntary exchanges. A person should be able to purchase the best possible good or service, from healthcare to education to automobiles. All goods and services should be treated equally as long as the exchange is voluntary.

Others might attempt to connect inequities in political and justice systems outcomes to wealth, any connection is corruption within systems not of wealth. America's political system has become a system of laws to benefit a few at the price of the many and the justice system is a revenue source for government. Wealth is not the source problem!

3) Wealth from unjust methods is the source of much resentment, this will be covered in the next round due to space limitations.

In conclusion, wealth derived through just sources regardless of distribution is not a threat to democratic ideas, this wealth is the source of a society's prosperity. It is the abandonment of democratic ideas that cause unjust wealth to be transferred by immoral means of government.
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Debate Round No. 3
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