The Instigator
or8560
Pro (for)
Losing
7 Points
The Contender
Brock_Meyer
Con (against)
Winning
43 Points

Poor people are not beneficial to this country

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/2/2009 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,334 times Debate No: 8509
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (5)
Votes (8)

 

or8560

Pro

Hello everyone! My name is Daniel Hwang and I am representing the PRO
side of this debate. I welcome all challenges and arguments and will take them
without any objections. Thank you!

First off, I would like to say to some people that I am NOT a person who will spit at beggars who are in need for money. I am just merely saying that poor people are not just beneficial.

Now for my argument.
Poor people are taking up space in all the major cities in the U.S such as NYC, L.A, Chicago, etc...... They set up "communities" or rather, ghettos to "support each other economically and socially." However, what they're doing is that they are trying to live from our taxes. Now I ask you, how would you feel when somebody is not working, but they're just using your money? Of course you would feel angry. You would want them to work, so that your tax would be put to use in some other purposes. Now I will emphasize this again; the poor people are robbing us from the money that we have worked hard to get.

Now my second point
The poor people not only rob our money, but they are causing numerous problems. Let me tell you an examples. NYC is now making Harlem a "better place to live" which will take an astronomical amount of our taxes to execute. What caused some part of the NYC to be the most "problem making" area of the U.S? Not only that, the ghettos that poor people make are the sources of crimes that are caused by the "bad guys" or gangs that rob, rape, and murder. So, the poor people are making our great nation in to a garbage can.

Now for my last point.
Now you might think that the rich people cause as much problems as the poor people of this country do. I don't think so. Let's see a majority of rich people that are living in this nation. Bill Gates - made billions and billions of dollars after making the popular OSs (Windows 95, 98, 2000, XP, Vista, 7). Steve Jobs - made as much as money as Bill Gates, and made the popular IPOD series which made the U.S as the leading country of MP3 industries. As you can see(I'm sure you know other examples, but I'll leave them to you), the MAJORITY of rich people are extremely beneficial to this nation.

p.s: I'm sorry for such a short argument, but I have to do my homework.
Brock_Meyer

Con

Thank you for starting this discussion. I shall frame my line of reasoning against the notion by (1) addressing my opponent's points, and (2) making a note about the subject of this discussion.

Firstly, however, some definitions are in order. By "this country", I will assume that you mean the United States. "Poor people" refers, most likely, to individuals who fall below a certain economic threshold in society. This is the concept of "relative poverty", in contrasted to "absolute poverty". The relative poverty threshold, in the United States, is very different from that of other, poorer countries. Relative poverty figures are used in measuring income inequality within a community of people(1). Because "relative poverty" is often replaced with "income inequality", and because I do not necessarily believe the concept of "relative poverty" is useful, from hereon I shall replace the term "poor people" with "lower income individuals".

Now, to address my opponent's three points in favor of his position.

Your first claim is that poor people either don't pay taxes (because they do not work) or live off the taxes of others. However, both of these assertions are false. Around 40% of Americans (the working poor) pay no federal income tax. But that leaves many other taxes for them to pay either directly or indirectly. Social security taxes, now split into social security and Medicare, totals 15.3% of all income earned for those who make less than $106,000 in 2009. That's what a self employed handyman or factory worker pays. The working poor may pays only 7.65% directly because the employer pays the other half, but economists will tell you that directly-paid wages are a function of total labor cost to employers, so the other half is paid indirectly through lowered wages(2).

We all pay sales taxes as well, which in some areas can be as high as 10% when state and local taxes are combined. These taxes are paid by all, but make up a larger percentage of the income of the poor, because as much as 50% of their income may be spent on taxable items. In other words, a poor family may pay out as much as 3% of their total income in sales taxes, while a wealthy family is likely to pay 1% or less. State income taxes range from nothing up to 8% in some states. Property taxes are paid by all working poor as well. Even those who rent are paying the true cost of property taxes. By the way, the costs of corporate income taxes are also passed on in the products and services produced. If taxes on profits were paid only as owners received those profits as income, prices would likely be lower, so we pay those taxes indirectly as consumers.

In response to your second point, most people work by the way. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the percentage of Americans on welfare is about 2%. This is in contrast to 24% of Americans estimated to be below the relative poverty threshold(2). In other words, about 8% of so-called "poor people" take welfare. This is a small figure: too small to equate with all lower income people.

Your second claim is essentially that poor people produce crime. This is absolutely false. Falsely, when we think of crime, we think of a hooded man stealing a car. However, while damages from theft and robbery in 1993 amounted to only $15.3 billion (committed by "poor people"), white-collar crimes such as embezzlement cost society about $200 billion. With respect to murder, the FBI counted exactly 23,127 in the United States in 1993. However, if we take into account corporate negligence and malfesience, the figure is actually closer to 318,368. Since murder is "an unlawful killing with malice aforethought", a rich mine owner is equally as guilty if he knew his mines were unsafe as the mugger who killed his victim(3). From these figures, it is clear that the powerful and rich are capable of much more loss of life and property than the poor.

Taxes are spent to fix problem areas like Harlem because the crime we associate with poor black men is thought to be prevented easily by a stronger police presence. These same crimes committed by the rich and powerful are seen as unpreventable, because closing down an business is met with strong opposition from community members.

Your third claim is that rich people are beneficial to this country. And I agree. However, I am not sure how this supports your claim that the poor are not beneficial. Are you saying that the poor would be more beneficial if they were rich? However, that would not make sense. Would we pay the software designer (Bill Gates) the same as the assembly line worker? In that case, what would be the incentive to produce, knowing that you will be paid the same regardless. That is the failure of socialism, an economic system that puts the entire populace in poverty. Innovation can happen within any class of a society. A vast majority of businessmen in this country did not start rich; they became rich after being relatively poor, but dedicating themselves to becoming rich.

I would move now to my own arguments if I had any. However, I don't think my position is worth arguing. This is because whether or not a certain class of people is "beneficial" to a society is irrelevant to any and all considerations. It is un-American to think of individuals merely in terms of their place within a group, and to measure a person's value simply by where they place monetarily and numerically within a group. A person's value transcends his or her social context or social utility. Some (if not most) of the greatest intellectuals and artists in the history of mankind have lived most or their entire lives under the poverty threshold within their societies. And yet we would hardly call them "not beneficial" to their respective societies.

The fallacy in my opponent's arguments is the treatment of a class of people as a homogeneous class, with the same goals, aspirations, and characters. All poor people do not commit crime, just as all rich people do not commit crime. All poor people do not depend on social welfare, just as all rich people do not depend on corporate welfare. I should not have to defend anyone from the kind of abject classism as I have seen here. Although I have no intention of defending the welfare system in any way, I have no interest in allowing classism to ferment on the pretext that lower income people are, in some way, useless to the societies they bleed dry. This is reverse-Marxism: both philosophically and politically untenable.

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(1) = http://www.census.gov...
(2) = http://www.fiordiliji.sourceoecd.org...
(3) = http://www.huppi.com...

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Debate Round No. 1
or8560

Pro

Thank you for responding Brock Meyer (and for your arguments)

I will now "reinforce" the arguments that I made because my opponent currently does not have any.

First off, you refuted my first argument by saying that poor people also pays taxes through numerous ways directly or indirectly. And you're right on that. However, I found some statistics that are very relevant to this debate. For your refutation of your argument, I found out that the top 1% "rich" people pay 95% of the U.S's taxes. That's 95% v.s 5%. Now I ask you, which side contributes more to our nation? Also, you claim that most people of the poor people work. However, this cannot be compared to the billions of dollars that rich people made for this country.

Second, you said that the crimes that rich people cause are taking up much more money than the poor people do. Well, if you talk about in essence of money, of course they do. But, do rob, murder, and rape? That is far beyond the "line" that can be paid with money. Of course, some people may think that being murdered could be paid by money.
Brock_Meyer

Con

"I will now "reinforce" the arguments that I made because my opponent currently does not have any."

I "do not have any" because it is an unarguable position. It is like asking whether or not a liver is beneficial to a human body. The liver is an inseparable part of the human body, just as lower income people are inseparable from the United States. Without lower income, "poor" people, the economy of this country would be without the means to produce products that are sold on markets. Poor people provide the economic foundation of growth and prosperity. Some poor people become rich and some rich people become poor.

Rich and poor people are equally as beneficial to any given nation, not because they are two opposed classes or entities vying for the same resources. Rather, they are two sides of the same coin. The existence of one necessitates the existence of the other. While it may be argued by some Marxists that this is unjust, I do not believe it is so. If rich people are beneficial to this country, as you argue, then poor people must be as well. The fact that the relatively rich need the relatively poor to constitute the means of production makes this true.

"However, I found some statistics that are very relevant to this debate. For your refutation of your argument, I found out that the top 1% "rich" people pay 95% of the U.S's taxes. That's 95% v.s 5%. Now I ask you, which side contributes more to our nation?"

The 95% vs. 5% shakes down in that fashion not because the poor are given tax breaks while the rich are not. In fact, the rich are given many more tax breaks than the poor(1). It is deceptive to look at the straight total of funds that the rich contribute and compare that to the total of funds that the poor contribute. Obviously, they will be different because they have different amounts to contribute.

And it is a fallacy to measure "contribution" simply in terms of tax revenue from certain classes. If we look at the welfare of a nation, there are many factors at play. One important factor is military service. Overwhelmingly, the poorest members of our nation are more likely to join the military in hopes for training and college finance(2). Certainly, this is a better way to contribute to a nation-state than simply paying taxes.

In addition, according to a survey, poor people are the most charitable as well. Those with an average income of 10,531 give the largest percent of their income to charities(3). Giving to charities represents a genuine concern for the well-being of a community. Having one's tax money taken away represents little more than a desire not to be jailed for tax evasion(4).

"Also, you claim that most people of the poor people work. However, this cannot be compared to the billions of dollars that rich people made for this country."

It is true that the rich give jobs to American workers and raise the GDP of the United States. However, like I said, the rich cannot constitute the means of production without lower income people. Without lower income people, the rich cannot produce the products they want to create and sell at a market volume. In the absence of "poor people", the rich cannot become rich. Therefore, it is a mistake to believe that the rich are somehow more beneficial to a society than the masses of poor, when arguably both classes have an existential dependence relationship with one another.

"Second, you said that the crimes that rich people cause are taking up much more money than the poor people do. Well, if you talk about in essence of money, of course they do. But, do rob, murder, and rape?"

I made no such point. My point was that simply rich people kill and steal much more than poor people, because with their additional resources, they can kill and steal on much larger levels. It is a mistake to transpose your stereotype of a poor person and attach that to all lower income people, while ignoring the clear fact that rich people engage in these same activities (although not in the same ways). When it comes to crime, the rich are no better than the poor (in fact, they are much worse).

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(1) = http://www.nytimes.com...
(2) = http://arrabi.blogspot.com...
(3) = http://www.buzzfeed.com...
(4) = http://www.rediff.com...

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Debate Round No. 2
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by brian_eggleston 7 years ago
brian_eggleston
Good old fashioned right v left, rich v poor, privileged v socially disadvantaged debate. Loved it!

This would be even better if it concerned the UK where we could throw social class into the mix. America is rightly known as the land of opportunity and fewer people are either held back or promoted above their ability on the basis of their family background.

I thought Con might refer to Bernie Madoff when Pro asserted that the wealthy are beneficial to the country though - $50 billion would have paid for a hell of a lot of food vouchers!
Posted by FlashFire 7 years ago
FlashFire
Con gets my vote. I'm a bit frustrated though, because you guys started comparing the rich to the poor, which in no way was part of the resolution.

Just because the rich benefit more/less than the poor doesn't change the fact that the poor still benefits/doesn't.
Posted by wjmelements 7 years ago
wjmelements
"an examples." Grammar to CON
No souces for PRO. Sources to CON
Case refuted and BOP. Arguments to CON
No major issues. Conduct is TIE.
Posted by wjmelements 7 years ago
wjmelements
I agree with CON. I plan to read this, as it seems very interesting.
Posted by Maikuru 7 years ago
Maikuru
Say what now?
8 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Vote Placed by atheistman 7 years ago
atheistman
or8560Brock_MeyerTied
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Vote Placed by sk8jeff1 7 years ago
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or8560Brock_MeyerTied
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Vote Placed by FlashFire 7 years ago
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or8560Brock_MeyerTied
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Vote Placed by JBlake 7 years ago
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Vote Placed by Maikuru 7 years ago
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Vote Placed by wjmelements 7 years ago
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Vote Placed by Brock_Meyer 7 years ago
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or8560Brock_MeyerTied
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