The Instigator
WilliamsP
Pro (for)
Losing
4 Points
The Contender
Danielle
Con (against)
Winning
11 Points

Progressive Tax

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
Danielle
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/19/2014 Category: Economics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,412 times Debate No: 52929
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (17)
Votes (4)

 

WilliamsP

Pro

In this debate, I will argue in favor of Progressive Tax. My opponent will argue against it. The debate structure is the following:

Round One: My opponent will accept the debate.
Round Two: Both debaters will present their main arguments.
Round Three: Both debaters will offer rebuttals and any final arguments.
Round Four: Both debaters will offer final rebuttals and conclusion paragraphs.

The rules are the below:

1. Sources will be cited using either the MLA, APA, or Chicago format.
2. There will be no forfeiting.
3. Proper spelling and grammar will be used.


I now allow this debate to commence.
Danielle

Con

Many thanks to my opponent for beginning this debate. I look forward to an informative and thought provoking discussion. I have not debated in quite a long time... this should be interesting.
Debate Round No. 1
WilliamsP

Pro

Introduction

I would like to begin by thanking my opponent, Danielle, for responding to my challenge and accepting what I believe to be an intriguing debate. I would like to define a few key terms before I begin my main argument. Wikipedia – which is not necessarily always unreliable - states that, “A progressive tax is a tax where the tax rate increases as the taxable base amount increases.” I would like to clarify that this is the exact topic we are debating.

Main Argument

I do not begin to fathom how anyone could – for any reason – oppose the notion of a progressive tax. It ensures economic prosperity and justice. It guarantees success financially, not only for citizens, but also for businesses and other organizations. “Our economic policies since 1984 have failed by almost every conceivable measure, including those used to justify them. It’s time to try a new direction – one that might include a more progressive tax system,” Well Sharp states. Alan D. Viard of the American Enterprise Institute reports, “If current tax and budget policies are maintained, spending on Medicare, Medicaid and other health programs and, to a lesser extent, Social Security will grow much more rapidly than federal revenue during the upcoming decades. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) laid out the grim arithmetic in its June 2011 analysis of the longterm budget outlook.” These quotes from articles cited in my bibliography suggest a progressive tax to be economically a good solution to spending issues and a good economic stimulant.

Viard continues to explain benefits of a progressive tax: “Due to the political obstacles that either party would face acting alone, the fiscal imbalance is most likely to be addressed in a series of bipartisan agreements. These will include both tax increases and cuts to entitlement spending, particularly Social Security and Medicare benefits. Federal tax revenue will rise above its 18.4 percent average share of GDP. Although entitlement spending will increase as a share of GDP, it will grow more slowly than CBO current-policy projections. A key part of the entitlement cuts will involve requiring recipients of Medicare and the other health programs to pay a larger share of their own health care costs; schemes to reduce the overall level of health care costs are unlikely to yield big results.” According to Viard and other experts, a progressive tax will help accomplish economic success even after cuts have been made to key programs.

My argument is rather weak and this is the first time I debated this topic. I do admit that fact. However, I hope my opponent considers the facts I presented. I now close my argument and allow my opponent to commence.

MLA Citations

"Progressive tax." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2014. <http://en.wikipedia.org...;.

Viard, Alan D.. "Benefits of a progressive consumption tax." American Enterprise Institute . Southwest Economy, 14 Mar. 2012. Web. 25 Apr. 2014. <http://www.aei.org...;.

"Progressive taxation - good for the economy, for society, and for the environment." well sharp. well sharp, 29 May 2009. Web. 25 Apr. 2014. <http://wellsharp.wordpress.com...;.

Danielle

Con

Danielle forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
WilliamsP

Pro

Forfeiture. My opponent has failed to make a main argument, so there is nothing I can refute. I await her arguments.
Danielle

Con

Introduction

I sincerely apologize to my opponent and the audience for missing the last around. My fiance surprised me with a weekend get-away, which while lovely unfortunately left me unable to post my argument in time. Looking back on the rules, I agreed to no forfeiting. However there was no agreed upon penalty for missing a round. My opponent seems to expect to continue the debate. Therefore, I think the appropriate response would be to automatically vote for Pro in favor of "Conduct" points. I will also utilize MLA style for citing my sources whenever relevant, though most of my sources will probably be online websites. The arguments are still up for debate...


Rebuttal

I agree with the proposed description of progressive tax. In addition, I would like to submit the description of a flat tax, which stands alternate to a progressive tax. Unlike a progressive tax - in which the taxable rate is accelerated by the taxable base amount - a flat tax describes a system with a consistent marginal rate. The same rate is applied to all tax payers.

In defense of the progressive tax, Pro begins, "[A progressive tax] ensures economic prosperity and justice. It guarantees success financially, not only for citizens, but also for businesses and other organizations." You'll note that nowhere in his arguments does Pro prove any of these claims to be true, therefore we have no reason to accept them.

How does a progressive tax ensure economic prosperity and success? Not only has Pro failed to provide an explanation or analysis of this assertion, but he fails to provide a legitimate example. The most obvious example, the United States, is one country that utilizes a progressive tax system and is hardly experiencing a period of economic prosperity OR justice. In fact, the U.S. is in a ton of debt [1], and has one of the greatest wealth gaps in the entire world [2]. This system has hardly led us to justice, and has arguably inhibited us from prosperity.


Pro continues to provide a quote from an economic scholar that claims, "Our economic policies since 1984 have failed by almost every conceivable measure, including those used to justify them. It’s time to try a new direction – one that might include a more progressive tax system." Here we can see that this 'intellectual' seems to favor a progressive tax. That alone can be entirely thwarted by me providing an example of another scholar who simply has an alternative point of view, such as Richard Epstein. In addition to simplicity and fairness, Epstein claims that a flat tax, unlike a progressive tax, would make for more sound financial policy for both individuals and investors of large firms [3].

My opponent and I cannot rely on fallacious appeals to authority in order to derive the more appropriate answer; we have to look deeper. Pro's quote uses another fallacious attempt to claim that because an alternative to progressive taxes hasn't worked since 1984, that turning toward a more progressive tax would then automatically yield better results. That is simply not necessarily or even actually true. Our economic system has seen highs and lows since its inception under different types of tax rates and government spending policies.

Essentially Pro's position has been to quote 2 economists insisting - without much explantion - that a progressive tax is necessary for America, in order to ensure that we don't outspend what we (don't) have. Ironically the economist that my opponent quotes, Alan D. Viard, often proposes a flat tax in lieu of a progressive tax, claiming that taxing goods and services instead of income and savings would encourage economic growth by incentivising companies to save and invest more. Interesting...

But back to the point of us running out of money, being so much in debt, the U.S. has already put itself in a position where we continuously spend 'what we don't have' as part of the economic norm. Even if it were true that we are spending ourself into economic turmoil, that doesn't prove that a progressive tax would save us. Where is the data? Pro has the burden of proving that a progressive tax would not only write checks our politicians can cash, but that such a system can sustain an economy where business and employment thrive enough to provide jobs to perpetually tax into oblivion...

Arguments

1. A flat tax is more fair. A progressive tax rate penalizes people for success, as higher income means higher tax rates.

Sometimes this creates circumstances where one is actually rewarded for a pay cut. For example, suppose everyone who earns less than $100 a year is taxed at a rate of 5 percent, and if you make between $100-200, you are taxed at a rate of 10 percent. If I earned $98 a year, being taxed at just 5 percent I would walk away with $93.10. But if I earned more money at $102 a year, and was taxed at a rate of 10 percent, I would wind up leaving with less - just $91.80. Ergo, it behooves some people to earn less just to stay in a lower tax bracket. That does not reward but instead punishes productivity. That cannot be good for the market.

Moreover, proponents of a progressive tax rate claim that those who "can afford to do so" bear the highest tax burden... but why? Just because someone can afford something doesn't mean that they should be forced to pay for something. I can afford to buy my neighbor dinner, but my neighbor nor anyone else should demand that I do so just because I might have more money than him.

2. Every year, corporations spend millions on accountants to try and beat the tax code. With a flat tax, businesses can make decisions designed to better serve the marketplace and their stockholders, rather than worry about ways to cheat the system.

3. Shifting away from a progressive tax rate would make filing for taxes easy, and the rules easier to comply with. This would reduce both errors and tax fraud. As a result, professional tax advisers would not be needed, thereby saving money for the average tax payer.

4. Another reason a more to-the-point system makes sense is that this system would make it hard for lawmakers to create tax loopholes in exchange for campaign contributions or other personal favors. This would do wonders for the world of politics, and make politicians more accountable to their constituents rather than their biggest donors.

5. A flat tax rate could likely encourage investment and expansion, as aditional profit is not taxed at a higher rate. Once again a progressive tax penalizes success -- the more you earn, the more you owe.


6. Under a flat tax system, instead of taxed income, much of the tax revenue collected is done so via purchases of goods and services. It can be assumed therefore that people with more wealth will make both more frequent and more expensive purchases. As such, they will still be paying the majority of taxes.

7. Right now, the top 10% of earners pay over 70% of the nation's taxes. As a result, high-worth individuals hide their money in offshore accounts to try and lessen their tax burden. They also choose to relocate their citizenship and places of business to tax havens or locations that are more tax friendly. We have "evidence that tax receipts from the rich rise when the rate they're asked to pay goes down. When the top rate of tax was slashed from 73 percent to 25 percent in the 1920s, the share of taxes paid by those who made more than $100,000 a year - more than $1 million in today's money - increased from 28 percent to 51 percent, according to The Wall Street Journal" [4].

Therefore, if the argument is that the wealthy need to continue footing the bill for America's debt, then it would make sense to transition to a flat tax -- considering we have proof that lower tax rates lead to higher shares of taxes being paid.


Source Citations

[1] http://www.usgovernmentspending.com...
[2] Rugaber, Christopher S. Boak, Josh (January 27, 2014). "Wealth gap: A guide to what it is, why it matters." AP News.
[3] http://austrianeconomicsandliberty.blogspot.com...
[4]
http://money.cnn.com...
Debate Round No. 3
WilliamsP

Pro

As my opponent is more knowledgeable and experienced than I am, I believe a concession is necessary. I thank my opponent for debating with me. I urge the voters to vote in favor of her.
Danielle

Con

I accept the concession, and would like to thank my opponent for his time and his effort in this challenge.
Debate Round No. 4
17 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Darris 2 years ago
Darris
I meant 100,000 not 10,000. Sorry.
Posted by Magistrate 2 years ago
Magistrate
Woaw, Pro is going against Danielle.
Posted by WilliamsP 2 years ago
WilliamsP
I will post my argument this evening.
Posted by CJKAllstar 2 years ago
CJKAllstar
" I despise "inproper" grammar and spelling, so rule number 3 will remain."

"You can use those in "ordeer" to make MLA, APA, or Chicago citations."

lol.
Posted by Seido 2 years ago
Seido
Although I'm pro on this issue in real life, I'd love to play devil's advocate and debate you from the con side; however, it seems that your rank/age requirements will not allow me to do so. I'd appreciate you lowering them, but that's up to you.
Posted by WilliamsP 2 years ago
WilliamsP
A few errors will be allowed.
Posted by Wylted 2 years ago
Wylted
Why is it important how you cite your sources? Also, unless you're an English professor or something how can you make sure you eliminate improper spelling and grammar 100%? I'd hate to lose just because I made one typo.
Posted by WilliamsP 2 years ago
WilliamsP
Wylted, towards the bottom of the comment section, I posted two links to citation creator websites. You can use those in ordeer to make MLA, APA, or Chicago citations. I despise inproper grammar and spelling, so rule number 3 will remain.
Posted by Wylted 2 years ago
Wylted
I would love to debate this, if I'm not in the gauntlet tournament. I'd ask that you remove rule number 1 and 3. I don't know how to abide by them.
Posted by WilliamsP 2 years ago
WilliamsP
You do not meet the requirements I have implemented.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by Darris 2 years ago
Darris
WilliamsPDanielleTied
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Total points awarded:15 
Reasons for voting decision: " Sometimes this creates circumstances where one is actually rewarded for a pay cut. For example, suppose everyone who earns less than $100 a year is taxed at a rate of 5 percent, and if you make between $100-200, you are taxed at a rate of 10 percent. If I earned $98 a year, being taxed at just 5 percent I would walk away with $93.10. But if I earned more money at $102 a year, and was taxed at a rate of 10 percent, I would wind up leaving with less - just $91.80." That is not at all how the progressive tax works and I'm opposed to income tax. You pay the higher rate only on the dollars above that rate. If it were 10% up to $1M, and 99% above $1M, and you earned $1,000,001, you'd only pay $10,000 (10% of $1M) + 0.99 (99% of $1). Making more money always makes you more money under progressive tax.
Vote Placed by Conservative101 2 years ago
Conservative101
WilliamsPDanielleTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Although Con forfeited, Pro conceded as well. Both are in direct violation to the rules, so conduct comes up as tie. S/G is a tie, Con had a much more convincing and elaborating argument which sent Pro into concession. Sources are tied.
Vote Placed by jamccartney 2 years ago
jamccartney
WilliamsPDanielleTied
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Total points awarded:20 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct is tied. Spelling and Grammar is also tied. As of convincing arguments, Pro conceded, giving that point to Con. As for sources, Con did not use MLA, APA, or Chicago formats, so Pro gets the points for that.
Vote Placed by AnsweringAtheism 2 years ago
AnsweringAtheism
WilliamsPDanielleTied
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Total points awarded:13 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro conceded so he will get the conduct point