The Instigator
Joesjsu
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
MilesandMilesofMiles
Pro (for)
Tied
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Is it morally acceptable to set the next generation(s) up with a crippling national debt?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/12/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 799 times Debate No: 38816
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (9)
Votes (0)

 

Joesjsu

Con

Our national debt is currently 17 trillion dollars. Every program that our government adds is another program that we're signing the younger generation up to pay taxes on. The hard truth of this matter is that the future taxes of our children (and their children) must increase to pay for our financial irresponsibility today. I find this unacceptable and deplorable, and yet our media crucifies anyone who supports austerity measures today because that would mean short-term sacrifice. What people don't realize is that somebody has to pay. The decision that folks don't realize they are making now (or maybe they don't care) is that we are choosing a doomed future for our children because they will have to pay either through severe economic downturn or through extremely high taxes. This is the true momentum behind folks like Ron/Rand Paul and the Tea Party, and yet "Tea-Party" is a bad word for many because they have been painted to be the enemy of your short term benefits. They are the champions of our future generations becasue they are the only movement that finds our debt completely unacceptable. Debt should be avoided like the plague and yet we increase it at every opportunity. Why? Because people vote for people who give them money. It's nationalized bribery.
MilesandMilesofMiles

Pro

First of all, I will not even attempt to address the highly subjective question of morality though my stance will be implicit in my arguments.

The [hard] truth of the matter is that no economy has ever grown under austerity and unless we want unemployment to stay permanently above 6% the government needs to take more action to stimulate the economy. The 09 stimulus narrowly avoided unemployment peaking at 12% but stopped 66% short at filling the spending gap (http://tinyurl.com...). In other words, it would be significantly harder to pay off $17 trillion of debt with 10% unemployment and a >1% annual growth of GDP than it would be to pay off $20 trillion of debt with 2% unemployment and a 3% annual growth in GDP. It is ironic that you claim a severe economic downturn is the way in which our children will be paying for our nation debt, when in fact contracting our fiscal policy further would greatly worsen the economic downturn in the long term.

Cutting government services and welfare is effectively lowering the wages and worsening the economic burden on 30-40% of Americans. This in turn lowers productivity and consumer spending while sparing those who gained from the financial collapse from having to clean up their own mess. One need look no further than Congress to see how the "champions of our future generations" are ransoming our government in exchange for defunding a program which would extend parental healthcare benefits to 20-24 year olds who are likely entering a volatile job market with crippling student debt. It should be obvious now that the Tea Party and modern libertarian movements are both backed mainly by a small number of wealthy individuals yet have managed to rally popular support for their draconian economic policies. It is again quite ironic that you suggest an increase in national spending is nationalized bribery when PACs and Citizens United (actual legalized bribery) are the only means by which the Tea Party has gained power.
Debate Round No. 1
Joesjsu

Con

You open by implying that growth must continue. "no economy has ever grown under austerity." Then you point to stimulus as the cure. However, the U.S. national debt (and deficit) has grown more over the past 10 years than it has in all of U.S. history. I argue that it is impossible to "grow" or "stimulate" our way out of this debt (see the classic debate repeated countless times: Austrian Economics vs Keynesian Economics). Our "stimulus" has resorted to buying our own debt with newly created money. This fake capital is now propping up our stock market in a disastrous setup for failure (As soon as stimulus is gone, the stock market goes with it). You might claim that "stimulus" has saved us from disaster. Your faith in economic growth is not uncommon. The fundamentals suggest that growth is an impossible solution to our problem. Growth may be a small (tiny) factor in the equation, but spending, as a factor, dominates the equation. Allow me to paint a parable:

Year 1: I get a new job. I get a paycheck. I develop a budget. I spend within that budget. All is well.
Year 2: I get a promotion (growth). I buy a gym membership and get a new car (spending).
Year 3: I get another promotion (more growth). I buy a large home (much more spending).
Year 4: No promotion (No growth). I buy a boat. I am now spending more than I earn.
Year 5: No Promotion (Still no growth). I buy a diamond encrusted toilet bowl (ridiculous spending). I go into debt. I max out all my credit cards.
Year 6: No Promotion (still no growth). I take out a loan to pay off my credit cards. My interest payment on my debt is now a large portion of my yearly spend.
Year 7: My wages get cut by 10% as a result of slow business at work (unemployment). I (magically) start a bank to constantly issue government-backed loans to help pay for my loan on the toilet bowl.
Year 8: I die and leave this legacy of massive debt to my children, and their children.

We now must reduce our debt obligation. Sell the toilet bowl.
MilesandMilesofMiles

Pro

I respond to your parable by saying that a national economy/debt cannot be equated to a household income/debt as has been proven in many models. However, a more accurate model would be:

Say you have a good job, own a house with a mortgage, and you are able to pay all your bills every month. Finances have been going pretty well, so you take some vacations, spoil the kids a bit, and maybe over-spend a little for a while. You're still ok because the bank thinks of you as a great customer and you always pay your bills on time.

Suddenly, BANG a pipe bursts and floods your basement. You can't afford to make the repairs immediately out of pocket, but when you check with the bank they tell you that because you're their best customer, you can get a line of credit at at almost zero interest rate to make the repairs so that the house gets back into good shape. After all, they've already loaned you money for the house so if you fix it up its better for them than if you let it get ruined. Have you been paying attention to what is happening in congress however? The projected losses from the shutdown can be expected to reflect in the GDP and stopping 800k recipients of social security or government paychecks is like putting a partial stopgap on the economy (http://tinyurl.com...).

Also while the public and private sector are heavily intertwined, the stock market (private sector) is by no measure "propping up" so much by the public sector that a decline in stimulus would mean an immediate collapse of the market. You also state that fundamentals suggest that "growth is an impossible solution to our problem" yet I place that burden of evidence on you. There is however much proof to the fact that measures of austerity can potentially kill our economy (http://tinyurl.com...). After all it was an expansion of the public sector (primarily brought on by the war effort) that lifted us out of the first great depression was it not?
Debate Round No. 2
Joesjsu

Con

RE: and maybe over-spend a little for a while

We haven't just been over-spending a little, we've been overspending a ton. Since 2000 of the debt has increased at record levels. The national debt has increased from 6 Trillion (rounding up) in 2000 to 17 Trillion today. In the past 5 years our debt has gone from 11 Trillion to 17 Trillion. The rates are picking up. Taxes also have to pick up to cover. The tax burden will slow the economy.

RE: because you're their best customer, you can get a line of credit at at almost zero interest rate

S&P Downgraded The US debt in 2011, and we stand to see further downgrades without a sustainable budget in place. According to the S&P chairman as of this morning. The problem with your analogy is that the corresponding magnitude of the situation is far greater than a pipe burst. This has been a toxic pattern of spending the scale of which have never been seen.

RE: Also while the public and private sector are heavily intertwined, the stock market (private sector) is by no measure "propping up" so much by the public sector that a decline in stimulus would mean an immediate collapse of the market.

Our largest liabilities are (in order) Medicare (859 Billion/year), Social Security (812 Billion/year), Defense (607 Billion/year), Income Security (Unemployment, welfare, etc) (349 billion/year), INTEREST ON OUR DEBT (260 billion/year), Federal Pensions (must be nice) (229 billion/year).

http://www.usdebtclock.org...

The stock market does indeed fluctuate with every passing bit of news on quantitative easing (glorified money printing/stimulus). Why? Because all that "free money" gets pumped into the markets by the banks. When the faucet shuts off, panic ensues. FACT: We can't keep the stimulus up forever, but we are surely addicted to it insofar as we will experience withdrawal symptoms when it stops.

Finally, where would growth in the economy come from? True growth comes from production of which we do less and less.
MilesandMilesofMiles

Pro

The last president to have a (truly) balanced budget was Eisenhower and compared to Bush and Reagan, Obama has not expanded government spending nearly as much as they have (http://tinyurl.com...). When Reagan and Bush increased spending however it was to funnel money into the pentagon or a war who funnels it into the high tech industry or defense contractors. When Obama is now trying to increase spending to offset the effects of the recession on middle class Americans he is totally vilified.

The S&P also downgraded Japan in 2002 even when they had >200% of their GDP worth of debt and it hardly had an effect on their economy, nor did it have an effect on the US economy in 2011. The S&P actually threatened to stop rating assets in certain states when state legislatures sought to curb the predatory lending of banks to families through regulations.

The fact of the matter is that again, cutting government services and welfare is effectively lowering the wages and worsening the economic burden on 30-40% of Americans. This in turn lowers productivity and consumer spending while sparing those who gained from the financial collapse from having to clean up their own mess.
Debate Round No. 3
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by Joesjsu 3 years ago
Joesjsu
You're right, you win. Your prize is that your generation shall now be called "generation D"

Have fun with that...
Posted by MilesandMilesofMiles 3 years ago
MilesandMilesofMiles
Keynesian Economics: 1
Deficit Hawks: 0
Posted by Joesjsu 3 years ago
Joesjsu
For me, this debate isn't about winning or losing. It about helping the younger generations to understand that the older generations are spending your future into oblivion. There will be a great financial reckoning within the next 10-20 years. Everyone should know that this reckoning is due to overspending on 3 programs: Social Security, Medicare, and Defense (in that order). With political gridlock in DC, there is very little chance of reform.

Expect insanely high taxes, more government control, and lots of blaming (not problem solving). What we need are people who understand the concept of spending within ones means, both for the individual and the nation.
Posted by MilesandMilesofMiles 3 years ago
MilesandMilesofMiles
Going to just chalk this up as a win then.
Posted by MilesandMilesofMiles 3 years ago
MilesandMilesofMiles
Vote damnit!
Posted by Joesjsu 3 years ago
Joesjsu
Yep. First debate. Wasn't sure about the cadence. Will make it longer on the next one.
Posted by MilesandMilesofMiles 3 years ago
MilesandMilesofMiles
Bad call making the character limit so low
Posted by Joesjsu 3 years ago
Joesjsu
I don't believe that to be up for debate.
Posted by brant.merrell 3 years ago
brant.merrell
Maybe if the question was phrased, "are we setting up a crippling national debt for the next generation?"
No votes have been placed for this debate.