The Instigator
HandsOff
Pro (for)
Winning
34 Points
The Contender
left_wing_mormon
Con (against)
Losing
25 Points

Liberals of sound reason realize welfare and social programs are unjust, but promote them anyway.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/19/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 4,013 times Debate No: 3302
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (32)
Votes (17)

 

HandsOff

Pro

Many liberals are not as illogical as they make themselves out to be. I submit the portion of liberals who are of sound reason know they are promoting unjust policies aimed at taxing citizens beyond the minimum needed to provide for their general safety and the defense of their basic rights and liberties.

I assert that liberals of higher intelligence see liberal socialistic policies for what they are-- legislated morality which forces the rightful owners of certain property to give it away to those who have not earned it. These "liberals of a higher order" consider social programs (and the high taxes required to pay for them) as necessary evils required to stave off poverty (and all the mayhem that would ensue) in those who are unable or unwilling to work. Reasonable and honest liberal will admit this.
left_wing_mormon

Con

Welfare and social programs are unjust how? Morally? Helping the poor? This is wrong?

Look I'm all for getting rid of certin welfare programs. Corprate welfare for example. The Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC)is a welfare program it accounts for a small amount of the national budget. AFDC is less than 1% of the federal budget and, on average, no more than 2% of each state's fund. Corprate welfare on the other hand cost the tax payers much more money in the long run.

Some examples of Big Welfare Mommas:

-During fiscal year 1995, the Pentagon agreed to pay Lockheed Martin $850 million in "consolidation costs." the Pentagon also paid $100 million in bonuses to top executives of Lockheed and Martin Marietta for successfully completing the merger of the two giant military contractors.

-Taxpayers forked over $300,000 in 1995 to help Disney Co. put on a bigger and brighter nightly fireworks show. Through a Department of Energy program called "Cooperative Research and Development Agreements," the research took place at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Disney gets the commercial benefit of this publicly funded research, and if applicable, shares developments with the armed forces.

- From 1990 - 1994, General Motors' (GM) wealthfare stipend was more than $110.6 million in federal technology subsidies as part of a program that was supposed to create jobs. GM benefitted from this program; in 1994 they netted $4.7 billion in profits. Yet during those four years, GM slashed 104,000 jobs--25% of their U.S. workers were laid off.

*******************

Now as far as social programs go, if they aren't as expensive to fianace as you seem to suggest, than please elaborate why you think it is wrong and fundementally flawed? Are you upset that most welfare recipents are children? Children are the largest group of people receiving public assistance. Less than 5 million of the 14 million public assistance recipients are adults, and 90 percent of those adults are women (U.S. Bureau of Census, 1995). The majority of the recipients are White (38 percent), followed by 37 percent African Americans, and 25 percent other minority groups (Latinos, Native Americans, and Asian Americans) (McLaughlin, 1997). However, African Americans are disproportionately represented on public assistance because they are only 12 percent of the population (O'Hare, Pollard, Mann, & Kent, 1991).

If your suggesting that liberals are bad for supporting a system designed to help those in need like starving childeren, than...I guess I'm a bad guy.
Debate Round No. 1
HandsOff

Pro

"Welfare and social programs are unjust how?"

Most welfare and social programs of any sort are unjust. Some are just more acceptable than others. I oppose all welfare for the same reason you oppose corporate welfare-- someone is taking the rightful property of one individual against his will and handing it over to one who did not earn it. That is a clear-cut injustice so elementary it needs no additional comment. It takes rationalize (i.e. pointing to how many people are helped by forced charity) to justify it. In other words, the ends justify the injustice.

Now, before you get started mentioning all the injustices conservatives are guilty of, let me remind you that one unjust act does not justify another. You would be putting forth a common fallacy by doing so. I know we've wasted a fortune on unjust and unnecessary wars along with corporate welfare, and an honest conservative of sound reason would admit that. By the same token, an honest religious conservative of sound reason would admit he has no business telling prostitutes they can't sell their bodies, but sees the injustice in doing so as necessary to prevent the moral decay of society. I like it when a conservative is intelligent enough to know he really has no right to tell people what they can and can't do with their bodies, but admits he is grateful for the majority-rule system that allows him to do so. I think it's more honorable than to try and defend the transgression as just.

I am not debating whether welfare and social programs do some good for the recipients. When something is pilfered there is always someone on the receiving end who benefits, just as Lockheed, GM and Disneyland did. I am only arguing that such forced charity is patently unjust to those who must involuntarily pay for it. I admire it when one is intelligent enough to see the injustice and honest enough to admit he is willing to support the injustice in spite of that to secure a desirable outcome. This type of person is not ignorant of what he is advocating.

"If you're suggesting that liberals are bad for supporting a system designed to help those in need like starving children, than...I guess I'm a bad guy."

No, not at all. I think their hearts are in the right place, as evidenced by the fact that many think they are committing no injustice at all. Their desire to do good is so great that it clouds their ability to objectively reason. I just admire people who can admit it is unjust in principle to force a free man to give his property to another, regardless of how popular the practice is, how badly the property is needed, or what benefit comes of it.

I could not categorize a person (liberal or otherwise) who is unable to recognize obvious injustices as a person "of sound reason." So, again, liberals of sound reason are aware that welfare and social programs are unjust, but are willing to support them anyway. And honest liberals of sound reason are happy to admit it.
left_wing_mormon

Con

So you do agree that the idea of welfare is good. Giving to the poor, helping the ones in need, ect. You just disagree with the fact that your tax money is being spent for others in need without your consent?

well you do know that all the social welfare programs combined add up to about 1-2% of the federal budget over all.

I think it is unjust to live in a system where people are put in situations where they need federal assitance and people complain about them. It is unjust in my eyes, to not help them, the ones in need.
Debate Round No. 2
HandsOff

Pro

"So you do agree that the idea of welfare is good."

Yes, but not in a government-sponsored sense. Private charity (welfare) is agreeable to to both the donor and recipient. I don't know many people who feel warm and generous when they send out their tax returns. Nor do I know many welfare recipients who feel grateful as opposed to entitled.

"You just disagree with the fact that your tax money is being spent for others in need without your consent?"

I depends on what you consider "consent." If this is not a trick question, then yes. But some would say that we always consent to giving up our tax money as demonstrated by the fact that we have chosen to stay and live here. Some would argue our tacit consent by claiming that we already do pay for things others enjoy (parks, public education, monuments, libraries)-- as though that means we have no right to argue against additional expenditures of the same sort.

I personally believe tax revenue should be spent on those things that are minimally necessary for people to operate freely and safely in this country, and nothing more. When taxes are levied solely for the purpose of protecting freedoms to which are necessary to ALL (ie police, military, court system), then ALL tax payers benefit as a result. When taxes are levied to benefit certain groups or entities (i.e. corporations, farmers, welfare recipients, artists, students, states, foreign countries, etc.) the likelihood of ALL tax payers benefiting from the expenditures decreases dramatically-- and with it the FAIRNESS of the taxation required to fund such expenditures. For the sake of this debate I will say that "fair" is synonymous with "just," and "unfair" is synonymous with "unjust." So such programs and the taxes necessary to support them are unjust.

"well you do know that all the social welfare programs combined add up to about 1-2% of the federal budget over all."

This statistic has no relevance as to whether government-sponsored welfare is just, but it is a figure that will undoubtably help liberals rationalize their support for it. I don't mind the use of pragmatism in defending unjust laws so much as I mind the unwillingness to admit they are unjust.

"I think it is unjust to live in a system where people are PUT in situations where they need federal assistance and people complain about them."

I too think it would be unjust if free people were PUT in situations where they need federal assistance. To my knowledge just about everyone in the U.S. has access to the same basic freedoms and rights which would allow them to survive. I'll admit that due to affluence some have more than the basics, but none who are able-bodied and able-minded have less than the basics. If we (meaning the ones who pay taxes) have PUT people in a position where they are unable to exercise their basic rights and freedoms to survive, I would agree that we owe them damages. In fact if you can prove this, a class action lawsuit is in order. Can you give me an example of how we (the taxpayers) have PUT people in situations where they are stripped of their basic abilities to make a living? This offense would certainly leave them in need of much deserved federal assistance.
left_wing_mormon

Con

In my opinion, the welfare system is just, for the very reason that it is here to help those in need. What is unjust is thinking about yourself, and your money while single mothers are struggling to put food on the table for their childeren.

Please understand, I know why Americans get upset about the government taking tax money out of your paychecks. But people don't seem to get upset about it when they need the services. Calling the police, going to a public school, calling the fire dept., ect. These are al things that we see, and affect us directly. I think people would understand a different point of veiw if they had to see the tears of the poor waiting in line for their check...
Debate Round No. 3
32 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by HandsOff 9 years ago
HandsOff
"I simply do not agree this taxation is unjust."

That's fine. I just had a problem with the reasoning you put forth to defend it.

"maybe even removing social services from the federal and putting them into state hands."

This is another area where we agree. This would give Americans the FREEDOM to opt out of living in states with high taxes and a superflous social services. If federal taxes and services were stripped to a minimum, states could implement their own services and taxes to pay for them. In this type of scenario states would compete to find out what citizens really want, as evidenced where they choose to live. But I have a strong suspicion it would be difficult for a liberal state to compete against other less liberal states, much less libertarian ones.
Posted by Oolon_Colluphid 9 years ago
Oolon_Colluphid
handsoff:
"Support for necessary and just taxation is not a testament of one's support for unnecessary and unjust taxation. So one need not believe all reasons for taxes are a violation of his rights in order to believe some are."

And I simply do not agree this taxation is unjust. To me it is no different from having a publicly funded police force. My money is being taken and given to other individuals to provide a service I benefit from indirectly. I have never directly benefited from the police force, but I understand that without them the society would go straight to hell. The same is true of a social safety net. It helps everyone to provide a chance for people to rejoin the workforce and not be risking homelessness with every temporary setback or bad situation.

Handsoff:
"I have changed my initial opinion of your views, but only because of your willingness to see the rightness in giving people options as to where their tax money goes and the freedom to opt out."

Within certain programs. I still support a publicly funded fire, police, road, and education system. I'm still undecided with regards to 'disability insurance'. Some decisions can and should be made on the individual level, but public money should have public oversight. That means that a democratic system that you seem so disgusted with. Obviously we need smaller government, more transparent control, maybe even removing social services from the federal and putting them into state hands. However it is still public money controlled by the government which is an organization we all own.
Posted by SweetBags 9 years ago
SweetBags
im sorry if this is breif, my conputer deleted my previous post before i posted it
pros premis is based on the constitiution only allowing the feds to spend for the common defense of the land, however the general welfare clause in teh constitiution allows the spending he is argueing against. con did a variable job, doing well in the first round, but little more then asking a question and stating opinion in the third. while i disagree with pro and beleive his case severly flawed, con did not attack well enough or make a strong enough case to win.
both sides need to look up societal welfare.
Posted by HandsOff 9 years ago
HandsOff
"If anything, the affluent are over-represented"

I don't see a correlation between a politician's wealth and his voting record. The majority of federal politicians are wealthy, yet the majority fight to promote democrat or liberal policies. They might be affluent, but they don't represent, muchless over-represent, the affluent.
Posted by brittwaller 9 years ago
brittwaller
"I believe that as long as 51% or more of the voters are not affluent, the affluent can never be truly represented in a democracy, or democratic republic as we claim ourselves to be."

Here I must disagree. If anything, the affluent are over-represented. Generally (there's that darn word again) one has to be affluent to be elected. Even if not represented directly, the affluent could buy representation. As far as the US being a democratic republic, as was intended... well, I'm not really sure how I would characterize the current state of affairs.

"Once we establish that redistribution of wealth is not fair we can begin discussing whether it is necessary."

Agreed. Perhaps we'll do just that after our current debate?
Posted by HandsOff 9 years ago
HandsOff
"Fair, no; necessary, yes."

Why can you see that while so many others cannot? That is the point of this entire debate. Once we establish that redistribution of wealth is not fair we can begin discussing whether it is necessary.
Posted by HandsOff 9 years ago
HandsOff
"Here and now, one that is taxed (at least the more affluent, who have a higher tax burden) cannot really claim not to be represented"

I believe that as long as 51% or more of the voters are not affluent, the affluent can never be truly represented in a democracy, or democratic republic as we claim ourselves to be.
Posted by brittwaller 9 years ago
brittwaller
Good point, HandsOff. I am no expert either.

To the first question, I answer in the affirmative with one note: I believe the vox populi's preferred phrase was "No taxation without representation." Here and now, one that is taxed (at least the more affluent, who have a higher tax burden) cannot really claim not to be represented. Also, one could craft an argument that taxes spent on social programs are consensual (per a comment you made to kewlsta, I think) by continuing to live here and (at least to some degree) reciprocally beneficial because those that the money goes to simply spend the money, benefiting somebody somehow.

To the second question, I would answer with an unequivocal yes, if "liberty" had been in the place of "fairness."

For me, the bottom line is this: we have to take care of our own. It seems to be a self-evident civic duty. Fair, no; necessary, yes.

For what it's worth:)

Britt
Posted by HandsOff 9 years ago
HandsOff
"I think we can all agree that taxes are preferable to execution."

We might finally have stumbled on something we all agree on.

But wait a minute, Britt. I'd like your opinion on something. I do not claim to be an an expert, but would you agree that unfair taxation (without consent and reciprocal benefit) was one of the main reasons we proclaimed independence from Britain? If so, did our founding fathers not demonstrate a willingness to risk life in the interest of fairness?
Posted by brittwaller 9 years ago
brittwaller
left wing mormon: I understand and partially agree with your position, but if you lose the debate, I think it will be for the same reason I lost to Advocate123 in this one:

http://www.debate.org...

We both ended up with the logical fallacy of the appeal to emotion, and trying to hypothetically put our respective opponents in different shoes, as it were. I voted PRO although at the end of the day I completely agree with you there: people don't mind paying as long as they bnefit directly, but the social programs are a safety net, a "just-in-case" for all citizens. Not fair or just, just as HandsOff says, but a civic responsibility of everyone, regardless of fairness. Even the wealthiest man can go bust - however small, the possibility is there.

But, either way, at least we aren't in Ancient Rome or other civilizations, where the government could simply *kill* a few wealthy men and take their entire estates at their discretion. I think we can all agree that taxes are preferrable to execution.
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