The Instigator
imabench
Con (against)
Winning
10 Points
The Contender
FREEDO
Pro (for)
Losing
8 Points

Is there any hope that the US can eliminate its national debt in our lifetimes?

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
imabench
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/4/2011 Category: Economics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,167 times Debate No: 18630
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (18)
Votes (5)

 

imabench

Con

I am debating on whether or not the US can eliminate its national debt within my lifetime.... Even though I am 18 years old and hope to live into my 90's i believe that will NOT be enough time for the US government to eliminate its national debt.

Anyone who accepts this debate will be Pro/For, they will be debating that the US CAN resolve its national debt within our lifetimes. There will only be 3 rounds
FREEDO

Pro

ARGUMENTS

I start off with these two core arguments.
1. World government is likely to be achieved within our lifetimes, resulting in forgiveness of national debts or, if not, at least the abolition of the military resulting in a rapidly declining debt.
2. We are in an age where our lifespans are likely to be increased, perhaps even indefinitely.

World Government:

The United Nations was created 1945. Starting with 51 nations, it has since quadrupled in membership to 193 members since then.[1]

The European Union was created in 1993. Starting with 6 nations, it has grown at a dramatic speed to 27 nations since then. [2]

The African Union was created in 2002.[3]

The Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America was created in 2005. [4] Many consider it the blueprint to a North American Union. It seems inevitable that it will occur in the near future [see video].

The world is rapidly uniting. It is only a matter of time before we have a world government. This would eliminate the meaning of national debts. Still, even if the debt remained, a world government would mean the abolition of national militaries. The US spent $663.8 billion in military spending in 2010. The debt could easily be erased with tax hikes if the US has 0 military spending.[5]

Lifespan:

Before the 20th century, the average person was lucky to reach 40 years old. Currently, the average lifespan is twice that. [6] This is due to advancement in technology as well as reduction in poverty.
It is perfectly reasonable to assume that the average lifespan will increase to 100 within our lifetime.
Now imagine technology 100 years from now. I assert it is likely that before we die we are likely to use technology that would extend our lifespan even further into a time where lifespan could be extended again, etc. Indefinite life or, at least, extreme longevity is a very real possibility for our generation living in developed countries.

This means more time to pay off the debt and more time to reach a world government, according to the resolution of the debate.

I'd love to expand more but I have run out of space due to the 3,000 character limit.

SOURCES
1. http://www.un.org...
2. http://europa.eu...
3. http://www.au.int...
4. http://www.spp-psp.gc.ca...
5. http://www.gpoaccess.gov...
6. http://www.infoplease.com...
Debate Round No. 1
imabench

Con

You are basing your entire argument on two reasons, a world government and science increasing our lifetimes.

Where in the world is there any evidence that a world government movement is forming? Just this year Sudan, one of the largest countries in Africa, was divided into two separate nations after decades of civil war. Your idea that a world government is forming is based only on the fact that international unions such as the united nations are increasing in membership. Membership into these global unions creates a worldly government that is INFERIOR to national governments because currently global unions function primarily to coordinate aid, create sanctions against countries that are violating human rights, etc.

Should a world government form, how would that cause nations to forgive national debts? Just because nations are willing to work together in times of crisis does not mean that these nations will simply forgive trillions and trillions of dollars of debt of other nations.

Also the idea that a world government would need no military is laughable because you make it sound like the only reason nations have military's is to prevent themselves from FOREIGN aggression, but the reality is that most military expenditures is to prevent the fall of a country from WITHIN. Every year in the US alone military troops such as the coast guard and national guard are deployed into regions where natural disasters have occurred to preserve order and provide aid to those in need. If a worldwide government theoretically could form in our lifetimes, how would such a government be able to coordinate the movement of millions of tons of supplies into disaster stricken areas without a standing military? rely on the private sector? That would be very unreliable and goods would take months even years to get to where they need to go whereas military's can move the same amount of goods to the same area within weeks. If you don't believe me, consider how fast aid was moved into Haiti after their devastating earthquake.

Apart from disaster relief the US also allocates military spending for Homeland security, NASA projects, counter terrorism, etc.

You also state that eliminating defense spending alone would resolve the debt, but military spending accounts for juat 20% of all expenses in the US. Programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid account for just under half of all expenses, and when the baby boomers of the 1940's become eligible for benefits from these programs spending will start to soar so that any cuts made to defense spending would be overlooked by rising costs in these other programs.

You base the other half of your argument on the fact that science may increase our lifetimes so that people would regularly live into their 100's, but longer lifetimes doesn't necessarily mean that the US will have more time to resolve its national debt, if anything that would only give this country more time to INCREASE its national debt.
FREEDO

Pro

REBUTTAL

"Where in the world is there any evidence that a world government movement is forming? Just this year Sudan..."

I presented the evidence. I gave many instances in which the world has been uniting in recent times and that the degree of unification has been accelerating. You gave one example of a country splitting in two.

"Membership into these global unions creates a worldly government that is INFERIOR..."

This may be true. Whoever, it does not refute the fact that the level of international governance has been increasing. In fact, besides new institutions popping up, the role of these institutions has also been expanding. The European Union first began as solely an entity of economic cooperation but has since evolved it's reach of influence to every area of policy [1].

"Should a world government form..."

1. The debt loses it's meaning. A nation can't be in-debt to itself.
2. It loses it's utility. The whole world is now paying taxes to and receiving funding from the same organization. There's no need for a nation's loan to be paid back if it can receive what it needs otherwise.

"Also the idea that a world government would need no military is laughable because..."

Right. Because the national guard expenditure obviously trumps the missiles that cost millions of dollars each that we are dropping on people every day and the planes used to carry them.

Even if the world government retained some form of military, though the function would be much gone, the United States wouldn't be paying for all of it, it would be sharing the cost with the rest of the world.

"You base the other half of your argument on the fact that science may increase our lifetimes..."

This is illogical. Saying that more time only increases the risk of the debt rising is equal to saying that it's more likely to be paid off the less time we have.

ARGUMENTS

Con over-looks my mention of taxation.

The military budget may make up 20% of the whole budget, which is quite a lot, but the rest of budget deficit can be managed easily through increased taxation.

The last time the US actually had a budget surplus was under Clinton. The last time before him was Carter. Out of the last 10 years we have had a budget surplus, it was under a Democratic president 7 times [2]. This is credited to the fact that Democrats tend to raise taxes more than Republicans, thus resulting in a more balanced budget.

SOURCES
1. http://europa.eu...
2. http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 2
imabench

Con

Multiple examples that suggest that the world is not coming together...
1) Sudan splitting into two countries
2) The long steady hatred that exists between North and South Korea,
3) The strain on relations between Pakistan and India
4) The resistance of occupied Tibet against their Chinese superiors
5) The never ceasing conflict between Israel and the nations of the middle east
6) The increased threats from Iran against the rest of the world
7) The ongoing internal conflicts taking place in Somalia, Uganda, Yemen, etc.
8) Russian aggression against small nations located in the caucus mountain regions

Whats confusing about your debate is that you define a world government as a single government that rules over all the world and is the only entity that can collect taxes and allocate spending of those taxes, however you cite evidence from increasing attendance in global organizations such as the UN and the EU to try to prove your point. Member nations of the UN and the EU still retain their independence as nations. They do not merge into larger nations and merge governments together and share taxes and expenses like they would have to do in your world government.

You ridicule the second part of my argument with,

"This is illogical. Saying that more time only increases the risk of the debt rising is equal to saying that it's more likely to be paid off the less time we have."

and then later you add,

"The last time the US actually had a budget surplus was under Clinton. The last time before him was Carter. Out of the last 10 years we have had a budget surplus, it was under a Democratic president 7 times [2]. This is credited to the fact that Democrats tend to raise taxes more than Republicans, thus resulting in a more balanced budget"

First of all it is not illogical, Over the last 50 years the US national debt has grown massively, it grew under EVERY PRESIDENT DEMOCRATIC AND REPUBLICAN except for Roosevelt's last term. You knew that too because it is in the same link you provided as evidence, you only used the column that compared debt increase divided by the GDP. I dont know how you missed it its in the column right next to the one you were looking at. In fact if you look closer you will notice that Barack Obama has the largest debt increases of any democratic president, and he is our CURRENT president too.

The national debt has not grown smaller since 1945, and that year we erased 8 billion in debt.
Our current debt is roughly 14.8 trillion dollars, or about 14,000 billion.....

Looking back at this argument, I've seem to not made my point clear, i'm arguing that the US will not be able to resolve its national debt in our lifetimes by managing our fiscal budget and slowly paying off our owed debts. Your argument is that the US will resolve its debt because a worldwide government will take over the world and eliminate all the other governments which would then erase all the national debts in the world including ours.
FREEDO

Pro

REBUTTAL II

Con gives some examples of "the world not coming together". The problem with that is that I never claimed there were no divisions in the world. What I demonstrated with the evidence is that the amount of division has been dramatically declining in recent times. There are literally hundreds of international organizations for political, economic or other cooperation that did not exist until the 20th century. We have particularly made huge strides since the end of the Cold War. World government IS going to happen, it's only a matter of when.

Actually, it's not even a matter of when. We already have world governance. It's a matter of how much. And to go back to my point about how world government would mean the elimination of debt, the same idea has been pronounced by famous philosophy Immanuel Kant in his radical essay which produces the groundwork for much of contemporary liberal thought, "Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch", where he describes the list of steps that will lead to world government and one of them is the abolition of debts [1].

Con points out how I used debt by GDP instead of actual amount. This is because US debt is a commodity and has different value depending on certain factors such as GDP, which would also tell how likely we are to pay it back. It's a strong point acknowledging that US debt is a commodity because it is the only reason nations loan to the US in the fist place. If China, our primary holder of debt, thought it would never get payed back then they would not loan to us. Plain and simple. The US actually has a pretty good record on paying back debt. The US has, until recently, had a AAA credit rating. Even now, we still have AA+ [2].

Going back to taxation, Con mentions that the last time we reduced the debt in actual amount was the Roosevelt administration. The Roosevelt administration also oversaw the single largest debt increase as percentage of GDP in US history. How is it possible that both of these happened in the same administration? Easy. We got out of war and we still had huge taxes. And I don't think it should be too hard to get those taxes back. The US has had a long history of much higher taxes than we do now. After Roosevelt we had a top income tax rate higher than 90% all the way until the 60s and was never lower than 70% until Ronald Reagan [3]. Obama is now planning on raising taxes on the rich once again [4]. Most Democrats support both cutting war spending and raising taxes on the rich. All it takes to get the debt down to a stable level is a swing to the left.

Lastly, Con has not given nearly enough attention to my lifespan argument.

SOURCES
1. http://tinyurl.com...
2. http://tinyurl.com...
3. http://tinyurl.com...
4. http://tinyurl.com...
Debate Round No. 3
imabench

Con

The Pro uses a reference to "Perpetual Peace: A Philosophers Sketch" to argue how a world government would lead to the abolition of debts between nations... However in this argument the Pro argues how the creation of a world government would lead to an abolition of all debts, but in the reference it is stated that nations must first abolish all international debts first in order to achieve world peace, not world government.

http://www.mtholyoke.edu... Paragraph 1 Part 4.

I now understand why the Pro used debt in relation to GDP, however at the end he mentions how the current credit rating dropped to an AA+. Before the U.S. was rated AAA, but our enormous national debt has only until now became an issue to our credit. Our credit rating was then downgraded by Standard & Poor because they believe that our recent handling of the national debt is not sufficient enough to convince the agency that the US could sufficiently handle its debt repayments

http://www.standardandpoors.com...

Pro then states that the recent that Roosevelt succeeded in repaying some of our debts because of how during his presidency and the following presidencies the tax rate ranged from 70 to 90%

The Pro also says how he believes that the US could easily raise taxes back to these levels and then that would be sufficient enough to eventually pay off our national debts. However the republican party has viciously fought to prevent tax hikes, and a majority of American's are against raising taxes as well so I think that the idea of doubling tax rates back up to 80% would be easy would be impossible....

Now the Con and I both agree that science advancements will significantly increase the average lifespan of American's by 10 to 15 years. But with the people of the U.S. being very resistant to raising taxes combined with our poor handling of the national debt along with the constant disagreement between the Democrats and Republicans over how we should resolve our national debt, it is unlikely that the U.S. will be able to even develop a strategy on how to repay its national debts.

If theoretically the U.S. could actually develop a strategy on how to pay off its national debt, such a detailed strategy would currently not be able to be completely thought out until 10 or 15 years from now because of political differences between both parties. So if one day the U.S. could develop a strategy, our national debt is so massive that it would take many years to even put a dent into our national debt. If in the future more problems were to arise, we could suffer another recession or perhaps enter another conflict, that could then further limit how much money the country could use to pay off its debts, in fact such an event could force the U.S. back into deficit spending to handle the crisis.

It is for these reasons that I believe that the U.S. would not be able to eliminate its entire national debt within our lifetimes
FREEDO

Pro

REBUTTAL III

Con brings up that the US credit rating has gone down. However, he overlooks that the US still has one of the best credit ratings in the world, behind only 18 other countries and tied with 1 [1]. This means the US is regarded as being more responsible with their debt than most nations.

Con states that it is unlikely taxation will be raised to the necessary level because most Americans are not in favor of higher taxes. This is unsourced and inaccurate. A Washington Post/ABC News poll found that 61% of people believe higher taxes will be necessary to reduce the deficit. A Pew poll found that 67% of people favor raising the wage cap for Social Security taxes, 66% raising income tax rates on those making more than $250,000, and 62% favor limiting tax deductions for large corporations [2]. This is one of the very reasons tens of thousands of people are occupying wall street and demanding that we raise taxes on the rich.

CONCLUSION

My burden in this debate was to substantiate that there was a hope for the US to possibly eliminate it's national debt.

I have demonstrated that it is likely for a world government to become established in our lifetimes and that this could possibly result in the elimination of debt.

I have demonstrated that even if a world government did not result in the elimination of debt, it is likely to result in the abolition of war, which would mean a considerably smaller budget.

I have demonstrated that even if a world government does not develop, it is possible to pay off the debt by lowering military spending and raising taxes over a prolonged period of time.

I have demonstrated that we are likely to live much longer, perhaps even indefinitely, due to the advance is science, giving a longer time frame for anything of these things to occur in out lifetime.

My burden has been met. There is a hope that the US may pay off it's debt in our lifetime.

SOURCES
1. http://en.wikipedia.org...
2. http://capitalgainsandgames.com...
Debate Round No. 4
18 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by FREEDO 5 years ago
FREEDO
Yep, bumping is when you put something in the recent activity so people will see it. And I am doing it again.
Posted by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 5 years ago
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
I assume what he is saying is that when he posts a comment on this debate, it will show up the "what my friends are doing" list for all his friends. Some of them may then become aware of this debate and vote on it. Once they do so, it will show up on all of their friend's tab and so on and so forth hopefully drawing attention to this debate.
Posted by imabench 5 years ago
imabench
My bad.
What did you mean when you said bumping for votes?
Posted by FREEDO 5 years ago
FREEDO
Not sure what you're asking.
Posted by imabench 5 years ago
imabench
who did what?
Posted by FREEDO 5 years ago
FREEDO
Bumping for votes.
Posted by 000ike 5 years ago
000ike
what I was saying is that you had to prove that the resolution was likely, because I think "hope" was a misnomer that does not really reflect the instigators intentions. I'm sure Con knows eliminating the national debt in our life time is possible, his loose use of "hope" seemed more likely a step further of its degree of plausibility.

"My job was to show that there was a HOPE, not that it was most likely."

Semantically, yes. In actuality, no.
Posted by Ore_Ele 5 years ago
Ore_Ele
continued from RFD... so no argument points for either side.
Posted by FREEDO 5 years ago
FREEDO
Sure, it actually does mean if it is possible. I could have used a philosophical argument to say that there is at least a possibility because everything does and thus there was a hope. But I'm not a douche.
Posted by 000ike 5 years ago
000ike
Well hope implies likelihood. There is hope of ANYTHING so long as it is physically possible. If that was the true intent of the resolution, then that makes for quite an easy argument for Pro.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by Mr.Infidel 5 years ago
Mr.Infidel
imabenchFREEDOTied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Counter. Willow, stop being a jerk.
Vote Placed by Willoweed 5 years ago
Willoweed
imabenchFREEDOTied
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Reasons for voting decision: I feel tis possible to reduce the defict but no one really had supeiuro arguments
Vote Placed by Ore_Ele 5 years ago
Ore_Ele
imabenchFREEDOTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro had a very easy BoP. He only had to show that there was "hope" of eliminating the debt. This should have been extrapulated to there is always "hope" when things are "possible" and then would only have to show that it is "possible" no matter how "unlikely" it is. While the age argument was benefitial, I think the world government focus on debt forgiveness was the wrong direction to go. It seems that the debate got sidetracked on will a WG form or not, and less on the debt. cont.
Vote Placed by dappleshade 5 years ago
dappleshade
imabenchFREEDOTied
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Total points awarded:31 
Reasons for voting decision: This was tricky. Point to Pro for discussion of desire for increased taxation, but argument overall to Con - war isn't just going to stop.
Vote Placed by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 5 years ago
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
imabenchFREEDOTied
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Total points awarded:31 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro's arguments were fun and interesting but Con showed that UN, EU is different from a world government and would not lead to forgiveness from debt, that countries like Sudan are actually splitting, not uniting, that the elimination of military budget is unlikely and even if it happens won't eliminate debt since it is only 20, Pro also relies on immortality as fact and doesn't prove how increased taxes can cover 80 of debt. Pro's arguments required out-of-the-box thinking, so he gets 1 point.