The Instigator
Jackmurdo
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
David.Cameron
Con (against)
Winning
10 Points

Parliament should be a voluntary role instead of politicians being paid

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
David.Cameron
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/27/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 511 times Debate No: 65917
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (2)

 

Jackmurdo

Pro

I personally believe that politicians should not be paid for their work or at the very least they should be paid far less for their work because when you pay someone a 6-figure salary then you run the risk of enticing the wrong people into parliament. I feel that if parliament was voluntary then the 'wrong' people ie the money seekers would be taken out of the equation. Therefore leaving the genuine people that want to do good for the country that they live in.
David.Cameron

Con

Introduction
As a Member of Parliament myself, I believe I have a fair bit of authority on the matter. I will argue that my opponent is not correct when he asserts that Parliament should be a voluntary role and that members should not be paid for their participation. My opponent contends that Parliamentary pay induces the wrong kind of people (i.e. money seekers) and that making Parliament a voluntary body would ally this concern. I intend to challenge both premises.

Its the Money, Lebowsky!

As presently stands, the basic salary of a British member of Parliament is £65,738 (about $103,435 USD). Interestingly however, most of the individuals who enter Parliament already make considerably more than this. As of 2010, of the 29 members of Cabinet, 23 were worth more than £1 million (about $1.6 million USD). [1] In the American Congress (which admittedly is not a "parliament" but is still a national legislature) this figure is even more exaggerated. [2] In fact, when many individuals choose to enter Parliament, they forfeit time that could be spent acquiring even greater sums of money (they are after all millionaires in their own right before ever entering the legislature). Why then do people join the Parliament? I wont pretend to know the answer to this. However, what is clear is that a basic salary of £65,738 is probably not much inducement.

The Merits of Volunteerism
Would making the Parliament a non-paying job help address the issue of money-hungry and rich people running for office? No. Even if one removed the salary that members of Parliament receive, it would not remove the opportunities for self-enrichment. One of the most powerful tools lobbyists have at their disposal is to hire former politicians provided they champion causes favourable to lobby interests [3]. So long as this is the case, there are still opportunities for self-enrichment, regardless of whether or not MPs are salaried.

Your turn Pro.

References:
[1] http://www.dailymail.co.uk...
[2] http://www.parliament.uk...
[3] http://www.transparency.org.uk...
Debate Round No. 1
Jackmurdo

Pro

This is my opportunity to reject my opponents claims which in part I will do, I will also prove to you that MPs are paid far too much for what they do.

13.5 million people in the UK are in poverty just to make that clear that's almost 25% of the entire population of the United Kingdom. The average salary in the UK is just over "20,000 and yet the basic annual salary for an MP from 1 April 2014 is "67,060 ($105527USD) as well as expenses and somewhere to live in London. (according to http://www.parliament.uk...) Do you genuinely believe that the politicians that are 'mucking things up' should be the ones that are rewarded for their 'hard work' I know I don't.

The University of Chicago booth school of business found that if you want better politicians then you should pay them less. Although this sounds a bit of an irrational it is backed up by several more studies such as a study by Professor Emir Kamenica, along with colleagues from Columbia University, Princeton University, and DONG Energy, raising politicians salaries is likely to result in worse governance. Perhaps in theory, and in a rational market, it would make sense to pay politicians more. Doing so would generate increased competition between candidates, attract better applicants, and secure better politicians. But politicians"not market forces"are responsible for setting their own salary levels, one reason why the political labor market veers toward irrationality.

They should not get cars to drive around in, they should not get all of their expenses paid for them, they should not get any money from taxpayers for their ideas, they should not have free houses in London, not paying politicians should make them honest! That way, only people who truly believe in ideas will make the effort to promote them.

After all this I believe that politicians and all those elected should not be paid for ideas in which they were elected for.
David.Cameron

Con

Deconstruction:
"This is my opportunity to reject my opponents claims which in part I will do, I will also prove to you that MPs are paid far too much for what they do."

I would first like to point out that my opponent is clearly moving the goal posts here. The debate was whether or not Members of Parliament should work as volunteers, not whether or not they are paid too much. One could simultaneously accept the premise that MPs are paid too much while also accepting the premise that MPs should not work as volunteers. You're supposed to be making the argument that MPs should work as volunteers, not that they are paid too much. Had you simultaneously made the argument that MPs should work for free, this would not be of concern. However, you have failed in this round to effectively argue anything but the fact that MPs are overpaid.

Following this introduction, my opponent goes on to say,

"13.5 million people in the UK are in poverty just to make that clear that's almost 25% of the entire population of the United Kingdom. The average salary in the UK is just over "20,000 and yet the basic annual salary for an MP from 1 April 2014 is "67,060 ($105527USD) as well as expenses and somewhere to live in London. (according to http://www.parliament.uk......) Do you genuinely believe that the politicians that are 'mucking things up' should be the ones that are rewarded for their 'hard work' I know I don't."

The responsibilities that Members of Parliament have do merit greater pay than the average Briton. In order to be an effective legislator one must be well versed in the law, one must have an understanding of fiscal policy, and must have a grasp of foreign policy. These credentials exceed those of the average profession.

Moreover, this is simply a normative opinion. I could have just as easily cited the same statistics and concluded, "given the harsh economic conditions in the UK, is it fair to expect people to now work for free?" This simply boils down to a normative opinion on inequality. However, given that you do attempt to prove your case on objective grounds, this criticism is perhaps not as scathing as it would be otherwise.

Problematic however, is the fact that the substantive arguments you launch are quite lacking. Let's address them.

"The University of Chicago booth school of business found that if you want better politicians then you should pay them less. Although this sounds a bit of an irrational it is backed up by several more studies such as a study by Professor Emir Kamenica, along with colleagues from Columbia University, Princeton University, and DONG Energy, raising politicians salaries is likely to result in worse governance. Perhaps in theory, and in a rational market, it would make sense to pay politicians more. Doing so would generate increased competition between candidates, attract better applicants, and secure better politicians. But politicians 'not market forces' are responsible for setting their own salary levels, one reason why the political labor market veers toward irrationality."

To begin, you are actually citing one scholarly article, not several. Here is the online news article Pro is citing for anyone who disputes this claim: http://www.chicagobooth.edu...

Secondly, the issue here is that all your evidence concerns whether or not paying politicians less would improve the quality of candidates. Paying someone less and not paying them at all presents two very different ball games, and each comes with it unique imperatives and incentives—the two are not analogous. Moreover, the study you cite has some severe short-comings. Primarily, it only deals with the short-term effects of lowering wages. Anyone who disputes this claim should consult the original study in question. On page 28, the researchers invite other academics to examine "the longer-term consequences" of salary change (http://faculty.chicagobooth.edu...).


"They should not get cars to drive around in, they should not get all of their expenses paid for them, they should not get any money from taxpayers for their ideas, they should not have free houses in London..."

Pro begins this section with a normative statement that he does not substantiate with any kind of logical argument. That which can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence. Goodbye. After this, Pro goes on to assert

"not paying politicians should make them honest! That way, only people who truly believe in ideas will make the effort to promote them."

Pro has presented no evidence that making Parliament a voluntary body would make politicians more honest. The scholarly article he cited early dealt with the educational quality of politicians, not with their ethics or honesty. Next.

After this, Pro goes on to make another normative statement, which he does not qualify with any kind of substantive empirical or logical argument, instead he asserts

"After all this I believe that politicians and all those elected should not be paid for ideas in which they were elected for."

As I have demonstrated that the evidence you have presented is not damn and does not even necessarily concern the debate at hand, it seems to have little reason to come to this conclusion.

Reaffirmation:
As my opponent has actually addressed by initial argument, I shall take the time to reaffirm them here:
  • "Even if one removed the salary that members of Parliament receive, it would not remove the opportunities for self-enrichment. One of the most powerful tools lobbyists have at their disposal is to hire former politicians provided they champion causes favourable to lobby interests. So long as this is the case, there are still opportunities for self-enrichment, regardless of whether or not MPs are salaried."
Correction:
In the previous round I bungled my footnoting.

This link substantiates the claim that most Congressmen are millionaires in the own right: http://www.opensecrets.org...

In the previous round, footnote 2 ([2]) was actually meant to substantiate the claim that the basic salary of an MP is £65,738.
Debate Round No. 2
Jackmurdo

Pro

My opponent claims that politicians should be paid however I do not. You could argue the facts for days and still have no right or wrong answer. All I am saying is that I do not believe that politicians should be paid for mucking up the country.
David.Cameron

Con

Conclusion

My opponent has essentially conceded all the major points of his argument.

Pro argues, "You could argue the facts for days and still have no right or wrong answer." I disagree. The evidence simply does not exist to support your side of the argument. Neither does any compelling logical argument. It has not been the case that the evidence on both sides is balanced, and thus we only have normative values by which to judge the arguments. I have presented a clear argument as to why eliminating MP salaries would not eliminate "money seekers." Subsequently, I negated the other arguments Pro advanced. The balance of evidences is clearly in my favour.

In the end, Pro reduces his entire argument to a normative statement unsubstantiated by any evidence.

"All I am saying is that I do not believe that politicians should be paid for mucking up the country."

Cool. Once again, that which can be asserted without evidence ca be dismissed without evidence. Pro has not adequately fulfilled his burden of proof, I urge a con vote.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Debatingismything 2 years ago
Debatingismything
Wow, nice debate
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Jzyehoshua 2 years ago
Jzyehoshua
JackmurdoDavid.CameronTied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: I have to admit, Con made some effective rebuttals, e.g. "The debate was whether or not Members of Parliament should work as volunteers, not whether or not they are paid too much" and "Paying someone less and not paying them at all presents two very different ball games, and each comes with it unique imperatives and incentives?the two are not analogous." Pro needed to source their arguments and did not do a good job with rebuttals at all. They also needed to stay on topic to have a chance at winning the debate.
Vote Placed by jh1234lnew 2 years ago
jh1234lnew
JackmurdoDavid.CameronTied
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Reasons for voting decision: In the second round, Pro dropped the "voluntary" part of his contention, arguing only that politicians are paid too much. Wage reductions are not the same as removing wages for politicians. In the last round, Pro decided to drop all arguments, meaning that he did not fulfill his burden of proof. Sources: Both sides used reliable sources. However, Pro decided to base a lot of arguments on assertions rather than cited facts, and decided to not link to one of his sources.