The Instigator
falafel
Pro (for)
Losing
21 Points
The Contender
Tatarize
Con (against)
Winning
26 Points

RESOLVED, The United States should abandon the current tax system and adopt a flat tax rate of 10%

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 7 votes the winner is...
Tatarize
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/21/2009 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,921 times Debate No: 8367
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (18)
Votes (7)

 

falafel

Pro

A flat tax rate simply means making the same percentage of taxation upon every income level as the United State currently raises it depending on income
I propose we look to the value of Justice for the round, or "fair due". I will not offer a criterion as those are overly limiting and there is no reason we cannot weigh each impact on it's own.
I affirm for 3 main reasons.
Firstly, A simple rule such as this which overrules all other tax law's will make things much more simpler so that it is easier for people to understand and less mistakes occur. Many people can attest to the complexity of taxes, the loopholes, the benefits, the extra taxes, the dreaded audit. Every year 1 million five hundred and fifty tax forms are audited according to the IRS's website, and it is even said that a large majority of people make mistakes on their tax forms but the IRS does not have the man power to go after all of them. Reducing it all to just 13 percent reduces complexity on a massive scale meaning that it is vastly more fair to the American people.
Secondly, Low taxes encourage the richer classes to not use evasions like swiss bank accounts and such to avoid taxes, thus actually increasing the amount of money brought in. Daniel J. Mitchell wrote in an article for the heritage society on august third 2003 that during the Reagan tax cuts, the kennedy tax cuts, and the tax cuts of the 20's tax revenue increased by over 70% each time, and all of those cuts were massive in size. He further says that this is due to the fact that with higher taxes people always find ways around paying taxes, like the classic example of the swiss bank account. This resolution will for the most part lower taxes dramatically as currently percentages are much higher.This will mean more revenue since people are all willing to pay and less likely to try and cheat the government. And so there is more money for the government to help its country, defend itself, and all that other cool stuff.
Finally, flat tax rates encourage economic growth and foreign and homegrown companies moving back in and providing jobs. This is proven by the example of Estonia, which since its breaking off from the soviet union has been using a flat tax system. Dan kenitz of yale university explained in his article in "bi-polar nation" on October 29th 2007, that estonia has a GDP growth of about 10% annually and after the Flat Tax was installed, huge corporations like Microsoft moved in and Foreign investment increased leaps and bounds. Since flat taxes are a system which does not punish companies for being successful, and in general lower taxes attract business, flat tax does attract many new companies. These new companies bring jobs and money with which we can revitalize America and get ourselves back on track.
I leave definitions and such for the most part up to the con but if there is serious abuse in them I reserve the right contest them with counter-definitions.
A quick search on google of flat tax rate v. current system or such will probably yeild you more than enough information to have a fun debate, and if you are already informed then even better!
I await a negation.
Tatarize

Con

A flat rate of 10% would cause the United States to go bankrupt within a year.

If you're going to go with simple rules why not get rid of them all. The US would still go bankrupt and no taxes for anybody! Yippee! I don't know if you've ever filed your taxes but it's pretty straight forward. You enter the numbers in the computer and it spits out what you owe or are due.

The rich aren't concerned with such things. They want more money and getting a little dodgy with their taxes gets them more money. Swiss bank accounts and hidden funds will still save you thousands of dollars. And it's probably a good investment to store money in other places because, as I've mentioned before, the US is going belly up. Further, as all the government employees can't get paid and unemployment skyrockets the economy is going to grind to a halt. I'm not sure what kind of bizarre logic leads one to such conclusions, if you give somebody a million dollars they are going to stop wanting more money.

Further, I'm quite annoyed by the constant claims by flat tax proponents that lowering the tax rate increases revenues when the only thing that increased the revenues in was the economic booms that were unrelated. For example, Clinton raised taxes on the rich, and the following economic boom raised revenues dramatically. It was the only time in the last 30 years or so that the federal budget was in surplus.

Lastly, as is many companies don't pay taxes. They play loose with the accounting and avoid paying any taxes. Now, you want it both ways though. You want to say that Estonia has attracted businesses by attracting shell companies of US businesses, and that the US will do the same by lower taxes. No the US already has the businesses and we just need to actually tax them properly and fix the loopholes and such.

--

Finally I think it's most important to note the problem I alluded to earlier... the US would go bankrupt. A 10% tax rate is so low that it would cause the government to seize, we'd have to close all the schools, fire all the teachers, close down a lot of the police stations, give up on all the wars and stop all the projects (this would happen automatically with the complete lack of money) and the sudden surge in unemployment due to the largest US employer going under would cause the rest of the economy to seize back up.

Many corporations at present are funneling all their money around and avoiding paying any taxes, they are still going belly up. You can't reduce a 0% tax rate for the cheats. And because their due isn't the standard "flat rate" 35% they are going to suddenly pay the ten percent and do what, pay more taxes and still go bankrupt or keep cheating and still go bankrupt.

10% just isn't enough to keep the US government alive, even if we cut all the vital services.
Debate Round No. 1
falafel

Pro

I'm going to number my opponents points for simplicity, and it might or might not be in relation to chronological order.

1) "The US goes bankrupt"
A) Well first off I would say my opponent presents not a single source for this, 10% is more than you think. If my opponent is going to make this drastic claims about collapse I would like some warrants.
B) All the evidence present suggests that this is simply not true, recall that Daniel J. Mitchell wrote in an article for the heritage society on august third 2003 in which he said that during the Reagan tax cuts, the kennedy tax cuts, and the tax cuts of the 20's tax revenue increased by over 70% each time, and all of those cuts were massive in size. Companies are much more willing to pay taxes and not try to cheat their way around them if it's low. This makes up for the loss of tax revenue as it has been shown.
C) I would say that flat tax's encourage more business from abroad. The evidence I presented said that not only do new companies move in but old ones which left america to look for tax havens do also. We so create new jobs and help our economy.
2) "It's not that hard to file taxes (against my first point)"
I would say, how do you know?
The majority of people have errors on their taxes and don't know it. Many of the times you enter your taxes its simply a lottery, and since your violations of tax code aren't as large you don't have as much of chance of getting caught. But letting a few unlucky people get into trouble because they failed to understand tax law is not fair. It is more complex than it seems, again the evidence flies in the face of your claim.
3) (against my 2nd point) "The rich will still use swiss bank accounts"
The amount of cheating will clearly by at some level proportional to the size of taxes. At 10%, even if there is some motivation to cheat the government there is far less and so in comparison I garner the greater benefits.
Also look again the Mitchell article, analysis of the past has shown us that there is less of this cheating when taxes are lower and that this is an effective way of boosting government income.
4) "The only thing that increased the revenues in was the economic booms that were unrelated."
The economic booms were unrelated? Please actually talk about the different examples I gave you instead of just saying, pssh it's all unrelated.
And my opponent says that when Clinton raised taxes on the rich there was a surplus. But this simply does not have the backing of a pattern like my point does, for example George Bush passed a record number of tax cuts and still did not have a surplus.
5) "hating on Estonia"
I would say that the US could use some more companies investing in it's economy now. There are other companies besides American ones who can invest in America. I'm not contradicting myself because companies come here because 1) The low taxes on face value provide a better deal, which looks good to stock buyers!
2) This gives the companies some reduced profit but airtight legality
And even if you accept that argument I still get advantages off this point as:
1) Lowering the tax rate will encourage new companies who were not in America before and were intimidated by the high taxes not simply these giants who were already here and cheating
2) It encourages small business and entrepreneurship from people who don't know about these complex tax laws
And so I affirm, and will clarify my case for voters in a more concrete way in future speeches.
Tatarize

Con

1) "The US goes bankrupt"

http://en.wikipedia.org...

The US government takes in 2.6 trillion dollars from taxes (98% from taxes). Most from Income taxes and large additional chunks from corporate. Assuming your ten percent is income and corporate (some advocates of flat taxes insist on only income to avoid double taxation) then because the bulk of that is paid at a rate of 35-33% you'd be cutting the tax take home of the government to about 1/3rd. But, let's just say half for the sake of calculations. That means the government is going to take in 1.3 trillion. Assuming ofcourse that there are still social security and corporate taxes. The spending in 2008 was 2.9 trillion with an additional .6 trillion for the wars. So the 1 trillion dollar deficit will instantly increase to 2.3 trillion dollar drain. If we shut down the government for the most part we could drop that to a 400 billion dollar deficit with a complete cut of all discretionary spending (lowering us to the 1.78 trillion of mandatory spending) and closing down (the department of defense, education, urban development, homeland security, energy etc.).

This is on top of the 10 trillion dollar hole we are already in. We'd be bankrupt.

----

The Reagan years were marked with the end of the recession and a massive increase in spending which tripled the national debt. It started the ballooning of the national debt. Kennedy's cuts came at a time of growth as well. However, Clinton's tax hikes came at a time of growth too and the revenues also skyrocketed. Whereas Bush's massive tax cuts came at a time of growth and the economy tanked and all of the surpluses turned to deficits. And oddly, he did the same thing Reagan did. It's almost like there's no pattern at all.

The fact that a low tax rate brings in shell companies doesn't mean there's jobs there. It means there's a P.O. Box there and a lot of money on paper being taxed there to avoid paying taxes. It isn't a massive influx of business, it's a scam that the US hasn't done away with.

The vast majority of people can take a standard deduction and enter their W-2s. You don't get in trouble for misunderstanding the tax code, you really have to be a jerk or obviously intending to defraud them to get any trouble at all.

Your claim that if you lower the tax rates then tax cheats will stop cheating the system. I have another idea, let's make it so they can't cheat the system anyway. Sure you can cheat the system to save yourself 3 million dollars, but it's not worth it for 1 million. There's no actual evidence that tax cheats cheat less at lower tax rates. There's every indicator that the tax rate and GDP have everything to do with tax revenues. The tax cuts you suggest happened during times of economic uptick when the revenues were going up. However, right now we're in a pretty bad recession (though hopefully at rock bottom now).

"The economic booms were unrelated? ...my opponent says that when Clinton raised taxes on the rich there was a surplus. But this simply does not have the backing of a pattern like my point does, for example George Bush passed a record number of tax cuts and still did not have a surplus."

You first question my claims that the economic booms were not caused by the tax cuts (in some case the tax cuts were caused by the booms, we tend to lower taxes when we can). Then you note that the Clinton tax increase and surplus and Bush tax cut and deficit don't fit your suggested pattern. Ofcourse they don't fit your "pattern", there is no pattern. Tax cuts don't lead to increased revenues.

"There are other companies besides American ones who can invest in America."

The US economy is larger than most of the rest of the G8. With the exception of China and Japan there aren't that many large multinational non-American companies. And those in China and Japan are already here! Oh, and what is Japan's corporate tax rate? 30%.

--

In short, 10% will collapse the government, the government is the largest employer and will dutifully collapse the economy that is, at present, almost stabilized. The tax code isn't that hard to follow and doesn't require a lawyer. Most small businesses do perfectly fine filing their own taxes.

Taxes are hard to figure out so let's bankrupt the US government.

--

Most of my argument thus far has been pointing out that the number you gave is too low. Let's not rest on just that. You are also proposing a huge tax hike on the poor. The poor in this country at present make less than $20,000 a year, and you will be directly taxing them $2,000 dollars. At present they pay less than nothing. Not only do they have no tax burden but they often collect the EIC and other credits. You will be wiping that out and forcing them to pay 10% of their income to the government. This is a massive tax hike to the people who can afford it the least. While at the same time you'll be giving a massive 25% tax cut to the superrich. So the Bill Gates of this country gets billions of dollar of tax cuts while the average Joe living paycheck to paycheck is going to be hit the hardest.

--

Massive tax cut to the superrich, massive tax increase on the poor, and you bankrupt the country.
Debate Round No. 2
falafel

Pro

Accept my opponents harms and concede all rebuttals.
This resolution will cause the collapse of the US government I agree completely. Don't let him go back on that.
The US government collapsing would result in anarchy which is preferable to having a government.
A)The idea that a hierarchal government must be in place is a result of authoritarian organization instilling in our minds that social anarchism is impossible – it is simply not true. History proves that mutual aid, sharing of labor, and free access to resources is a workable concept that can still sustain organized life

Iain McKay writes, "The fact that anarchists are in favour of organisation may seem strange at first, but it is understandable...For those with experience only of authoritarian organisation...it appears that organisation can only be totalitarian or democratic, and that those who disbelieve in government must by that token disbelieve in organisation at all. That is not so...In other words, because we live in a society in which virtually all forms of organisation are authoritarian, this makes them appear to be the only kind possible. What is usually not recognised is that this mode of organisation is historically conditioned, arising within a specific kind of society -- one whose motive principles are domination and exploitation. According to archaeologists and anthropologists, this kind of society has only existed for about 5,000 years, having appeared with the first primitive states based on conquest and slavery, in which the labour of slaves created a surplus which supported a ruling class. Prior to that time, for hundreds of thousands of years, human and proto-human societies were what Murray Bookchin calls "organic," that is, based on co-operative forms of economic activity involving mutual aid, free access to productive resources, and a sharing of the products of communal labour according to need. Although such societies probably had status rankings based on age, there were no hierarchies in the sense of institutionalised dominance-subordination relations enforced by coercive sanctions and resulting in class-stratification involving the economic exploitation of one class by another"
So anarchy results in equality and the end of abuses and forms of domination in society.
B) The state is the utter negation of humanity and the denial of solidarity among men dehumanizing all of us

THE ANARCHIST FAQ 06
[13 May 2006, http://www.infoshop.org..., accessed July 10, 2006, Iain McKay, Gary Elkin, Dave Neal and Ed Boraas, //wfi-pinto]

Such is the nature of the state that any act, no matter how evil, becomes good if it helps forward the interests of the state and the minorities it protects. As Bakunin put it:
"The State . . . is the most flagrant, the most cynical, and the most complete negation of humanity. It shatters the universal solidarity of all men [and women] on the earth, and brings some of them into association only for the purpose of destroying, conquering, and enslaving all the rest . . .
"This flagrant negation of humanity which constitutes the very essence of the State is, from the standpoint of the State, its supreme duty and its greatest virtue . . . Thus, to offend, to oppress, to despoil, to plunder, to assassinate or enslave one's fellowman [or woman] is ordinarily regarded as a crime. In public life, on the other hand, from the standpoint of patriotism, when these things are done for the greater glory of the State, for the preservation or the extension of its power, it is all transformed into duty and virtue. And this virtue, this duty, are obligatory for each patriotic citizen; everyone if supposed to exercise them not against foreigners only but against one's own fellow citizens . . . whenever the welfare of the State demands it.

C) Anarchy solves for capitalism
Iain McKay et al, Gary Elkin, Dave Neal and Ed Boraas; The Anarchist FAQ, May 13, 2006; http://www.infoshop.org...; Accessed July 10, 2006; // WFI- DR

"But freedom requires the right kind of social environment in which to grow and develop. Such an environment must be decentralised and based on the direct management of work by those who do it. For centralisation means coercive authority (hierarchy), whereas self-management is the essence of freedom. Self-management ensures that the individuals involved use (and so develop) all their abilities -- particularly their mental ones. Hierarchy, in contrast, substitutes the activities and thoughts of a few for the activities and thoughts of all the individuals involved. Thus, rather than developing their abilities to the full, hierarchy marginalises the many and ensures that their development is blunted (see also section B.1).
It is for this reason that anarchists oppose both capitalism and statism. As the French anarchist Sebastien Faure noted, authority "dresses itself in two principal forms: the political form, that is the State; and the economic form, that is private property." [cited by Peter Marshall, Demanding the Impossible, p. 43] Capitalism, like the state, is based on centralised authority (i.e. of the boss over the worker), the very purpose of which is to keep the management of work out of the hands of those who do it. This means "that the serious, final, complete liberation of the workers is possible only upon one condition: that of the appropriation of capital, that is, of raw material and all the tools of labour, including land, by the whole body of the workers." [Michael Bakunin, quoted by Rudolf Rocker, Op. Cit., p. 50]

And capitalism is bad since corporations are fascist institutions controlling peoples' lives
Iain McKay et al, Gary Elkin, Dave Neal and Ed Boraas; The Anarchist FAQ, May 13, 2006; http://www.infoshop.org...; Accessed July 10, 2006; // WFI- DR

"Let's take a look at a corporation. . . [I]f you look at what they are, power goes strictly top down, from the board of directors to managers to lower managers to ultimately the people on the shop floor, typing messages, and so on. There's no flow of power or planning from the bottom up. People can disrupt and make suggestions, but the same is true of a slave society. The structure of power is linear, from the top down." [Keeping the Rabble in Line, p. 237]
David Deleon indicates these similarities between the company and the state well when he writes:
"Most factories are like military dictatorships. Those at the bottom are privates, the supervisors are sergeants, and on up through the hierarchy. The organisation can dictate everything from our clothing and hair style to how we spend a large portion of our lives, during work. It can compel overtime; it can require us to see a company doctor if we have a medical complaint; it can forbid us free time to engage in political activity; it can suppress freedom of speech, press and assembly -- it can use ID cards and armed security police, along with closed-circuit TVs to watch us; it can punish dissenters with 'disciplinary layoffs' (as GM calls them), or it can fire us. We are forced, by circumstances, to accept much of this, or join the millions of unemployed. . . In almost every job, we have only the 'right' to quit. Major decisions are made at the top and we are expected to obey, whether we work in an ivory tower or a mine shaft." ["For Democracy Where We Work: A rationale for social self-management", Reinventing Anarchy, Again, Howard J. Ehrlich (ed.), pp. 193-4]

D) I am not advocating everyone running around raping and killing. Anarchy is simply the rejection of state based power.
Tatarize

Con

"This resolution will cause the collapse of the US government I agree completely. Don't let him go back on that.
The US government collapsing would result in anarchy which is preferable to having a government."

However, with a 2.3 trillion dollar deficit it might be possible for the US government to continue to oppress the workers for a months up to several years. In that case, this resolution should be negated on the grounds that 10% flat tax doesn't cause the government to die quickly enough. If anarchy is a good thing, which is now the thrust of your argument, a 10% tax is a very non-optimal path to this goal. The US government should start deficit spending and giving the money to the poor and abolishing all taxes until the collapse.

Conceding for the sake of arguments than anarchy is good, this is still a terrible suggestion because it simply wounds the government and perhaps would render enough tax dollars to fund the military and keep a dictatorship with that amount of money. Rather than a resolution to a quick conversion to an anarchy government, this resolution gives the government enough time to figure out a way to oppress the masses again.
Debate Round No. 3
falafel

Pro

I would say that this is at 10%, not some lower number, as it would cause a slower collapse. It would give people time to start adjusting to a life in anarchy.
The alternative my opponent presents, that, "The US government should start deficit spending and giving the money to the poor and abolishing all taxes until the collapse.", is not an optimal way to achieve country wide anarchy. In the resolution I don't specify the federal government as an actor, I say only that the united states should adopt this system and so include the state governments as the ones collapsing and all government subsets. My opponents alternative leaves state governments around and many other institutions to govern our lives as he specifies the United States government AKA the federal government. Remember, this is the last speech I can give so it's unfair if he tries to make a new alternative in his next speech.
On this point that I would simply give them enough tax dollars to fund a military and give them time to figure out a way to oppress the masses again.
1) My opponent earlier in the round, "Finally I think it's most important to note the problem I alluded to earlier... the US would go bankrupt. A 10% tax rate is so low that it would cause the government to seize, we'd have to close all the schools, fire all the teachers, close down a lot of the police stations, give up on all the wars and stop all the projects (this would happen automatically with the complete lack of money) and the sudden surge in unemployment due to the largest US employer going under would cause the rest of the economy to seize back up." Oh and also my points where I responded to this are no longer applicable to quote as I kicked them earlier and admitted it was wrong and so they are not valid points while my opponent never said his earlier points were wrong. Therefore since he cannot take new action in his next speech don't let him try and get rid of his case.
So according to your own logic we can't survive or have wars or a military on this budget.
2) Setting a flat tax rate lulls the government into think that they'll survive somehow. Instead of outright no taxes they are still getting enough that they don't panic and say OMG why are there no taxes? whats up with the anarchy? My plan leads to a slow decline over a few years or so, which prevents them from panicking and trying to enforce their law on the world.
Finally the way I achieve anarchy is a peaceful way. Violence does not solve for the greater violence of the state. I am causing the government to collapse through cutting away the funding rather that outright enforced transition to anarchy.
So as the agreed upon standard for the round has become maximizing anarchy, remember this when you vote: My opponent gave me the warrant to say that the government would collapse and they could not retain the power to be abusive and would collapse, and I gave you warrants myself before why anarchy is optimal. The way to vote is clear.
Thanks for the man, good round.
Tatarize

Con

It isn't the slowness of the collapse that allows people to acclimate, it's the fact that it's slow enough to allow a power grab before the anarchist government slips in.

In any event, my opponent has effectively failed at both radically and diametrically opposed arguments.
Debate Round No. 4
18 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by alto2osu 5 years ago
alto2osu
L2read, dude. They both voted for themselves lol.
Posted by 16kadams 5 years ago
16kadams
hey pro should have won because the con voted for himself
Posted by falafel 8 years ago
falafel
for some reason I said man instead of round in my last sentence, ah well.
Posted by bjgodinez 8 years ago
bjgodinez
well good luck! i would vot but it seems the website wont text my phone to confirm my identity
Posted by Tatarize 8 years ago
Tatarize
Swiss is a little cliche, it's true that they've gotten a lot tougher but there are other banks now which happily take such stash away money.
Posted by bjgodinez 8 years ago
bjgodinez
not sure if any of you have tried, but swiss banking is no longer an option as was never an option around like 8 years ago for any American. The IRS has become too investigatory in their means. I have this all in a book, and will help gladly to explain more into debt if you want, but basically swiss banking relies on secrecy of their vaults, and the privacy of their customers, and since the IRS continues to delve into their banking systems, they just now reject any American attempting to use their system. Google a swiss bank, call them and inquire about an account , guarantee once they know you are an American they will deny you .
Posted by sherlockmethod 8 years ago
sherlockmethod
C'mon con,
You have a good case, but need to back it up better. You can win this one. I'm rooting for you, but I will vote honestly. Get some good sources in there from some of the economic think tanks, most have websites. Good luck. Pro, you presented a good opening, but I think the 10% will get you, we will see, good debate so far.
Posted by alto2osu 8 years ago
alto2osu
Dang...
Posted by daboss 8 years ago
daboss
AGREED!

with pro
Posted by alto2osu 8 years ago
alto2osu
I wanna take this debate so bad :D If no one has accepted in a day or two, I may do it in spite of myself...we have a holiday weekend coming up...
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