Reducing the defecit should be the United States primary economic concern
Debate Rounds (5)
Definitions. (Merriam Webster's)
Reducing--(To reduce) To diminish in size, amount, extent, or number.
Deficit--an excess of expenditure over revenue
Should--used in auxiliary function to express obligation, propriety, or expediency
Primary--of first rank, importance, or value
Concern--to be the business or affair of.
The United States of America was founded as a nation for the people, of the people, by the people. The system of government instituted by the Constitution calls for a democratic republic, or representative democracy, in which groups of citizens are represented by elected officials. These officials then have the explicit responsibility to carry the will of their constituents with them on every piece of legislation they consider, debate, and/or vote on. The scope of interest demonstrated by the representative cannot diminish past a certain point or else the system of democracy breaks down. With regard to the massive, multi-trillion dollar deficit carried on the shoulders of this nation, the fundamental system of democracy has broken down. On a national level, the United States' representatives have promoted first, above the will of their constituents, national interest and self interest. These two category's appear to be too broadly separated to be grouped in the same sentence however this is the meaning: that National interest has dictated huge amounts of deficit spending (money the U.S. Congress does not have and must borrow from nations) on the war in the Middle East and by the Federal Reserve to control inflation and debt. These two policies outline what is good for a small scope (that being corporate America and America's National Interest) and not what is good for the larger scope of the American working/middle/lower-class; the scope of which the U.S. Congressmen and women are entitled to advocate.
With that said, there are three observations that can be made from the focus of the Affirmative. The first one is quite simple. When United States government officials put aside the will of their constituents to address a national interest (which is not inherently wrong, however in the case of the Middle East it has done more harm than good) such as the War on Terror, it puts the American people in a debt they had absolutely no control over. Secondly, a continuation of deficit spending will have dire effects on the American economy and inevitably drive taxes up so as to re pay all the borrowed money the government, not the people, spent in the past decade. Thirdly, and most importantly, the home front is the foremost concern. Please allow this analogy to illustrate: If a person obtains the title of 'healthy' through mental stability and sound physical condition, then the United States as a country must maintain national security and a stable economic state to be considered 'healthy.' Essentially the United States must take care of itself first, just as you and I must maintain hygiene and physical state to be healthy, in order to be the best that it can be.
Contention I: United States Government Officials have no right to put the American people into debt through factors of which their constituents cannot exclusively control.
It is understood that taxes are a means by which a government can have funds to redistribute in the form of social services, defenses and anything else a nation may require. The intent of such a system is good and is not inherently wrong however the actual budgeting and spending of these funds does not always translate into an acquisition of good things for all the taxpayers. What a government ought to do with taxpayer money and what a government can do with taxpayer money carry two totally different meanings in all practicality--especially with regard to the United States Government. As my introduction stated, United States representatives have the obligation to adhere to the will of their constituents in order to ensure the functionality of a democratic system. When that obligation is disregarded, and the scope of interest shrinks to that of only the representatives in the House, Senate, and White House, (i.e., the three fundamental aspects of the United States' National Interest.) the representatives have ceased their representation of their constituents. When they have forfeited that function, they then no longer have the right to redistribute taxpayer funds in the fashion they so choose. It would be as if I told you to pay me a portion of your income and in return I will provide you with an education, full protection under my laws, and security. But then I took a good sum of your money and sent some of my personal representatives down to GameStop to reserve the last few copies of Halo Reach because I kept hearing they might run out soon (Crudely analogous to U.S. involvement in Middle East). This provides entertainment value only to myself and my close friends, not you (the one who paid for it), and there was absolutely nothing you could do about it. Government officials cannot neglect the fundamental essence of democracy by substituting the general will for National or self interest. Instead they should focus on maintaining a healthy home front and stable economy, not spending more money than they have and putting you and me, the taxpayer, in debt. This brings me to my next point:
Contention II: A continuation of current government deficit spending will inevitably lead to higher taxes and
place more pressure on an already sore and recently recovering economy.
According to the U.S. Treasury Department, spending for the Department of Defense, Treasury Department, and Health and Human Services have each seen almost a two to three billion dollar increase since 2006. Moreover, Congress has had higher expenditures over revenue since 1969. [SOURCE: http://www.federalbudget.com...].
Thus, Congress continues to borrow money from lenders each year and pile up a more massive debt/interest rate annually. Using simple reasoning it is evident that if the United States Government prolong its spending trends, then taxes must be raised in order to compensate for an ever increasing interest rate so as to stave off bankruptcy. After suffering from the second worst recession in American economic history, the next few years are crucial to the revitalization of the American economy and higher taxes coupled with other government taxing programs, high unemployment rates, and dying industries are all direct indicators that the U.S. should be attempting to reduce the deficit rather than continue it. This can be partially accomplished through reducing expenditures for Treasury Department.
In the years leading up to the recession the Treasury Department crafted a number of it's policies with anti-inflation in mind. These policies turned out to be expensive and ineffective actually leading to an increase in inflation which then put pressure on the housing bubble. Ultimately, there are four main U.S. Government instituted policies that failed and played a major role in most recent economic recession. Specifically: Misguided Intervention in the Housing Market; Loose Monetary Policy; Deposit Insurance; Financial Regulation. [SOURCE: http://www.cato.org...].
Contention III: The home front is the foremost concern. As in the instance of national security; without security, their could be no freedom and thus no United States of America. Therefore, just as national security comes primary with regard to the interests of this nation as a collective whole, so ought to the reduction of the deficit, as the deficit deals directly with issues related to the overall welfare of America and her people. There is no need, other than the National Interest of maintaining control of oil, for the United States to be present in the Middle East. Although Afghanistan may be destabilized, the threat of another terrorist attack is a low probability.
I await my opponents case.
and i apologize now for the typos that will occur
I agree with my opponents definitions
To save space and time I'll present my arguments as I attack my opponents case.
My opponent argues that defecit spending is not in favor of the American working/middle/lower-class, but this argument is iherently flawed. He chooses to only select certain defecit spending measures such as the War in Iraq and Afghanistan which doesn't help the pocket books of the American people but it does aid in their safety and security. According to Professor Phillip Bobbit of Columbia University in his book Terror and Consent, "roughly one third of all terrorist attack Globally between 1969 and 2001 were attacks against the United States, primarily on our embassies over seas." So in accessing wether or not a war is beneficial for the United States we must not judge it off of the financial restraints but rather if the war has made the people safer. My opponent also brings up the Federal Reserve policies and how they have taken on defecit spending. But as James K Gailbraith, professor of economics at University of Texas at Austin states "To put things crudely, there are two ways to get the increase in total spending that we call "economic growth." One way is for government to spend. The other is for banks to lend. Leaving aside short-term adjustments like increased net exports or financial innovation, that's basically all there is. Governments and banks are the two entities with the power to create something from nothing. If total spending power is to grow, one or the other of these two great financial motors--public deficits or private loans--has to be in action.
For ordinary people, public budget deficits, despite their bad reputation, are much better than private loans. Deficits put money in private pockets. Private households get more cash. They own that cash free and clear, and they can spend it as they like. If they wish, they can also convert it into interest-earning government bonds or they can repay their debts. This is called an increase in "net financial wealth." Ordinary people benefit, but there is nothing in it for banks." To put things crudely, there are two ways to get the increase in total spending that we call "economic growth." One way is for government to spend. The other is for banks to lend. Leaving aside short-term adjustments like increased net exports or financial innovation, that's basically all there is. Governments and banks are the two entities with the power to create something from nothing. If total spending power is to grow, one or the other of these two great financial motors--public deficits or private loans--has to be in action." To put things crudely, there are two ways to get the increase in total spending that we call "economic growth." One way is for government to spend. The other is for banks to lend. Leaving aside short-term adjustments like increased net exports or financial innovation, that's basically all there is. Governments and banks are the two entities with the power to create something from nothing. If total spending power is to grow, one or the other of these two great financial motors--public deficits or private loans--has to be in action.For ordinary people, public budget deficits, despite their bad reputation, are much better than private loans. Deficits put money in private pockets. Private households get more cash. They own that cash free and clear, and they can spend it as they like. If they wish, they can also convert it into interest-earning government bonds or they can repay their debts. This is called an increase in "net financial wealth." Ordinary people benefit, but there is nothing in it for banks."
As far as my opponents observations- I believe the first one has already been addressed. The second that "a continuation of deficit spending will have dire effects on the American economy and inevitably drive taxes up as to re pay all the brrowed moneythe gobernment, not the people, spent in the past decade. This argument is inherently flawed. Professor Gailbraith continues to explain that "It's true that government can spend imprudently. Too much spending, net of taxes, may lead to inflation, often via currency depreciation--though with the world in recession, that's not an immediate risk. Wasteful spending--on unnecessary military adventures, say--burns real resources. But no government can ever be forced to default on debts in a currency it controls. Public defaults happen only when governments don't control the currency in which they owe debts--as Argentina owed dollars or as Greece now (it hasn't defaulted yet) owes euros. But for true sovereigns, bankruptcy is an irrelevant concept. When Obama says, even offhand, that the United States is "out of money," he's talking nonsense--dangerous nonsense. One wonders if he believes it.
Nor is public debt a burden on future generations. It does not have to be repaid, and in practice it will never be repaid. Personal debts are generally settled during the lifetime of the debtor or at death, because one person cannot easily encumber another. But public debt does not ever have to be repaid. Governments do not die--except in war or revolution, and when that happens, their debts are generally moot anyway."
My opponents first contention states that "spending of these fus does not always translate into an acquisiton of good things for all the taxpayes"- Well to spend money in a way that is beneficial for everybody is next to impossible because when your elected you no longer just serve the conservative or liberal base but rather the people who all have differing view points. So my opponents idea of the Government pleasing everybody is very idealistic.
His second Contention for the most part has already been adressed but he states thatthe Government is borrowing money from other nations. My understanding of the issue of debt is that most of the debt the united states holds is debt to itself and china one of ourbiggest lenders holds less than one thirteenth of our debt. also he Gailbraith article for which ill post the link will explain away the problem of borrowing.
His contention 3 is contradiction of the rest of his case because if security is of utmost importance then going into debt to go into a war that at the time an overwhelming majority of the country supported to protect the american people is justified and not wasteful spending
Now my basic arguments for defecit spending are this
1- That either the Gov or Banks must start lending, and with the banks still showing reluctance it is imperative that the government step up and use their position to circulate money. If money is not in circulation then the Economy becomes even worse, if the Government does not use defecit spending to bail out major coorporations suas Aig, Ford, Chrystler, GM, and several major banks as well as small banks on a community level, economic experts such as Joseph Stiglitz of Columbia university say that "our imaginations can't even begin to fathom the shape of our economy".
2 the public debt simply increases from one year to the next. In the entire history of the United States it has done so, with budget deficits and increased public debt on all but about six very short occasions--with each surplus followed by a recession. Far from being a burden, these debts are the foundation of economic growth. Bonds owed by the government yield net income to the private sector, unlike all purely private debts, which merely transfer income from one part of the private sector to another.
If my opponents arguments are correct about taxes having to be raised to pay back this debt eventually why does our economic history not entail such a grave story. Every time we go into debt such as the case in the 1980's why did Regan not raise taxes to bring us out?
My opponent seems to be using quite a bit of copying and pasting--his arguments are repetitive and some segments are used more than once if you read his refutation of my case carefully. It appears that he has an opinion, not a case for winning this debate.
My opponents runs an inherency argument my case, however generates evidence that address a different issue.
There is misrepresentation of my third contention, as my opponents seems to think I am contradicting myself, but I am using an analogy to demonstrate why the United States Federal Government ought to focus on reducing the deficit. Please re-read it carefully if you are still confused.
My opponents three main contentions are focused on theoretical, not actual, assumptions (that banks are lending money, which they are NOT, and that public debt increases from one year to the next, which is not ALWAYS true).
Are you familiar with the term Moral Hazard?
Are you aware of why the Financial Crisis occurred in the first place? Do you understand the role of banks in the most recent economic crisis?
What do you define as "Idealistic"?
Is Greece a sovereign nation? Then why are the bankrupt?
Would you consider the war on terror the National Interest of the United States in disguise?
Do you believe the interests of a few represent the interests of many?
Do you feel deficit spending is mandatory for economic growth, or rather necessary according to particular circumstances?
Will not continually borrowing money from other countries, considering that the United States global position in the economy is on the decline and about to be overtaken by China in just a few short years, weaken our economy in the long run or somehow provide benefits by being in massive debt to other countries that could potentially call in these debts?
That is all, and I hope my opponents answers these questions, and then poses a few for me to answer.
As far as me repeating arguments- this is done because your points are basically restated from your overview to your contentions for example in the overview you stated that "when the United States government officials put aside the will of their constituents to adress a national interest such as the war on terror, it puts the American people in a debt they had absolutely no control over". Now read the tagline to your first contention. The second point in your overview reads as "a continuation of deficit spending will have dire effects on the American economy and inevitably drive taxes up so as to re pay all the borrowed money the government, not the people, spent in the past decade". Now read your second contention
Now if I dont refute your overview then i run the risk of you attempting to carry your arguments across the round, so i apologize for repeating my rebuttals to your arguments but I assumed that you would recognize that you repeated arguments as well and thus would qualify either me repeating argument or you trying to to carry already adrressed arguments across the round.
As far as me presenting an opinion- in an argument we always present our opinions and try to support them with logic reason and evidence to try to appeal to our audience in this case the voters.
Misrepresentation- This I do see as being mis represented and i apologize. I should have payed closer attention. Regardless, I would like for you to point out instances in American history where we were prevented from doing something because of this mounting debt?
I do not assume that banks are lending money rather i state the opposite, that because banks arent lending money that it is neccessary for the government to spend to stimulate the liquidity of money. And I posted my sourrce for stating that the public deficit increses from one year to the next in the Gailbraith article, so I would like to see your source for stating otherwise.
Yes I am.
Yes I do. (I dont see where the first two questions get you?)
Greece is a sovereign nation but as the article explains Greece owed a currency that they did not control as did Argentina in the 1880's but most of the United States debt is money the treasury department borrows from itself.
No i would consider it a blatant interest of the united states and other nations around the world. According to Phillip Bobbit in his book Terror and Consent in 2005 there were 11,111 terrorist attacks around the world that resulted in over 14,666 inocent non combatant civillian deaths. (pg45)
I don't feel that blanket economic policies can be applied so i would agree to the later statement that it's neccessary depending on the situation like this one. But say if it is a financial crises such as the case in the early 1980's were inflation was rampant it would seem to me counterproductive to engage in defecit spending.
China's rise as an economic superpower is vastly over rated. As far as I am aware their GDP is still below that of the United States but that is expected to change however we have to remember that they have 700 million more mouths to feed than the United States. When we break it down to GDP per capita we see that China is ranked among nations we view as third world countries.
Also as of 2004 China's poverty rate was at 24 percent but the pverty rate was set at $1.25 a day. This isnt exactly what i would call a finely tuned economic machine.
Now my questions for you
1. Do you plan on attacking any one of my points besides stating that they are theoretical?
2. If the government does not spend money and banks aren't lending(which you agreed to) and these are the only two engines to stimulate the movement of money then how do we pull out of a recession such as this?
3. Name one country that has gone into bankruptcy or that has failed economically that owed a majority of its debt in a currency that it controlls?
4. What times in america did our public defecits not increase from year to year besides the six occaisions in which they were followed by recessions? (since you seemed to disagree with this statement)
I would like to state that we should carry all of my arguments across the flow of the round because they haven't been refuted
Thats all, and now i await my opponents response
In response to my opponent's questions:
1.) "I would like for you to point out instances in American history where we were prevented from doing something because of this mounting debt?" Well, the answer is quite simply never. However, never in American history has the United States Federal Government debt been so massive. So this question is flawed, for it does not take into account that fact.
3.) The resolution does not ask to solve for deficit spending--it only asks to provide a rationale as to why the United States government should reduce the deficit. This question is irrelevant.
4.) I am not aware of any such circumstances, however your question is biased. From an objective point of view it would be absurd to limit the bankruptcy of a country on the premise you have set because the fact still exists--Greece, a sovereign nation, is bankrupt and requires a bail out from the EU. The circumstances are relevant only insofar as the fact that Greece has failed economically.
5.) I did not disagree with this statement, I was pointing out that speaking in absolutes is ineffective and incorrect. Your arguments were based on absolute statements.
My opponent's case:
Contention I: Either the United States Federal Government or Banks must start lending. My opponent then states "if the Government does not use deficit spending to bail out major corporations such as AIG, Ford, Chrysler, GM, and several major banks...economic experts say that 'our imaginations can't even begin to fathom the shape of our economy.'"
First of all, the government already has commenced the bail out, so deficit spending has already taken place with regard to the most recent economic recession. If this did not happen, the banks would have failed and this country would have experienced a depression worse than the Great Depression of the 1930's. But why did the bail out have to occur? Why did deficit spending have to happen in order to save our economy? It was because of Moral Hazard, the fact that the senior management of large lending corporations, such as AIG, Bear-Stearns, Lehman Brothers, Bank of America, were able to take large risks and not face the consequences of their actions. Companies gave out loans to toxic assets, made huge amounts of money and created the housing bubble which burst after certain policies by the Fed were instituted. In essence, the most recent economic recession occurred because of flawed government policies and banks giving out loans. If that put the United States into a recession then why should banks start lending again? But that still leaves the government. I asked my opponent if he feels deficit spending is mandatory for economic growth and he responded it was not, and that deficit spending was necessary depending only on the situation. As in the case of the most recent economic recession, deficit spending was mandatory to save the economy. But now the mounting debt is continuing to increase because of the interests of the few, not many. And my opponent conceded to the fact that the interests of few does not represent the interest of many. Refer to my Contention I.
Contention II: The public debt simply increases from one year to the next.
I do not see how this contention is relevant to the resolution, because the resolution does not ask to argue about the public debt. It states the "deficit" and "United States primary economic concern." This means that the United States Federal Government should focus on reducing the mounting deficit. The private sector is wholly different from this. My opponents second contention will need some explanation if it is to be considered any further in the debate round.
Contention III Stands.
"Unfortunately, we're now running annual deficits at a level where deficits very much do matter — as the ongoing crisis in Greece so vividly illustrates. The Congressional Budget Office says that after borrowing nearly 10 percent of GDP in 2009, we will borrow even more in 2010, and just a little less in 2011. Thereafter, we're expected to cut our deficits — but they'll still be 4 to 5 percent, which is bigger than anything we saw under George W. Bush and bigger than all but two of the deficits tallied under Reagan. The bills for Medicare and Social Security are finally coming due as the obligations exceed payroll-tax receipts. And this administration, like every administration before it, is unwilling to either make the necessary cuts or raise the necessary taxes. Deficits are starting to matter. A lot. Both politically and economically." [SOURCE: http://web.ebscohost.com...].
"'We can't just grow, we can't inflate, we can't cut or tax our way out of the problem. Everything has to be on the table,' said David Walker, the former head of the Government Accountability Office and now president of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation..." [SOURCE: http://web.ebscohost.com...].
Yet Obama, like many G20 leaders, is on tough political terrain. Faced with voter anxiety about a weak economy and unemployment near 10%, he has asked Congress for more stimulus money to spark stronger growth. That spending, however, could complicate his administration's longer-term efforts to reduce a $1.5 trillion deficit, which has fueled voter anger, symbolized by the Tea Party movement.
"That's the grand tension of the G20 nations: How do you restore growth while cutting the deficits that can prove very self-defeating?" says Kati Suominen of the German Marshall Fund of the United States. "This is the fine balancing act. And there are no easy answers." [SOURCE: http://web.ebscohost.com...].
Contention I Stands. Now, it does, at least.
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