The Instigator
Valladarex
Pro (for)
Winning
3 Points
The Contender
Skynet
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Replace Welfare with the Negative Income Tax

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Valladarex
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/2/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,774 times Debate No: 65842
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (17)
Votes (1)

 

Valladarex

Pro

After a long hiatus from this site, I'm back with a proposal that I would love to debate.

Proposal: The United States federal government should replace its current welfare system, which includes 126 different means-tested programs, with a negative income tax system.

Debate Structure:
Round 1 will be acceptance by the opponent.
Round 2 will be my full proposal introduction and arguments, and my opponent's rebuttal.
Round 3 will be rebuttals from both sides.
Round 4 will be final rebuttals and conclusions.

Eligibility Requirements:
The opponent must have completed at least 3 debates and have an elo above 2000. You must ensure that you have nothing in your schedule that would prevent you from completing your rounds.

If you are interested in having this debate, please request in the comments, and I will comment on who the debate is open for.

I look forward to having a thoughtful, respectful, and productive debate!
Skynet

Con

Thanks Pro, I accept.
Since Pro asked in the comments, here's my counter proposal:

The 120+ programs that constitute "welfare" in this context should be very rapidly phased out, and the responsibility to take care of the poor will fall on themselves if they can manage, and family or private charity if they cannot.

I look forward to reading my opponent's arguments.
Debate Round No. 1
Valladarex

Pro

To start off, I will introduce my proposal by explaining why the current system needs to be changed and why the negative income tax is a superior model to welfare. After, I will explain why a negative income tax system is superior to having no governmental means of helping the poor.

The Welfare System has Failed

Since the declaration of the war on poverty by Lyndon B. Johnson in the 1960's, poverty in this country still remains a major issue, with a total of 50 million people living below the poverty line, and the overall poverty rate fixed at around 15% (1).

Despite the fact that federal and total welfare spending has increased drastically over the past 3 decades, one can see in the graph above that the poverty rate has remained stagnant (1). With so many people still in poverty, the question is raised if whether or not the current welfare system is an effective method of reducing poverty. Economists have analyzed the effects of welfare and have determined that there are significant problems that have led it to being ineffective and even harmful to the very people it is intended to be help. As Nobel prize-winning economist Milton Friedman explained, "Our present de facto guaranteed annual income is a mess. It is expensive and most of the money goes to people who are not by any stretch of the imagination poor. It involves a tremendous bureaucracy, wide-spread intervention into the operation of the market system in areas that have nothing to do with poverty, and inexcusable interferences with the individual freedom and dignity of the truly poor who receive assistance, let alone of the rest of us" (2).

Instead of continuing on with the current welfare system, I propose to replace welfare with a negative income tax system (or NIT). The negative income tax is the best method for helping the poor because it incentivizes work, is extremely efficient, has very low administrative costs, is less intrusive on people's lives, and more effectively gives poor people what they need to live: money.

How the Negative Income Tax Works

So, what is the negative income tax? First proposed by Friedman, the NIT is a type of tax where people earning below a certain amount of money receive supplemental pay from the government instead of paying taxes to the government. If one makes below this minimum income floor, people are given money from the government equal to 50% of the minimum income floor minus their income. People that earn more than the minimum income are taxed only on the additional money they receive above that minimum income.

For example, let's say that the minimum income floor is $20,000 a year. If the floor is $20,000, a person making no income would be given a $10,000 subsidy from the government. If a person becomes employed and makes $10,000 a year, he would receive an additional $5,000 from the government, making his annual total income $15,000. If someone makes $20,000 a year, he would not being given money nor be required to pay an income tax. If someone earns $30,000 a year, a tax would be required only on the additional $10,000 that he makes above the $20,000 floor. In this system, it would ensure that no individual has less than $10,000 dollars to live off of.

In the case of families, the poverty line increases for every additional person in the household, but less money is required when compared to households of single individuals. For every additional member of the household, the minimum income floor would increase by $10,000 a year. For example, a family of four making no income would receive $25,000 from the government. This amount would keep that family slightly above the federal poverty line, which is at $23,850 (3). The family would need to make $50,000 to neither be subsidized nor taxed.

The Negative Income Tax Would be Cheaper than Welfare

From what was explained in the earlier section, it may seem as though this system would be too costly for the country to handle. In fact, one of the most prominent reasons that the NIT is better than the current welfare system is that it would decrease costs substantially. In total, the United States spends nearly $1 trillion every year to fight poverty. That amounts to $20,610 for every poor person in America, or $61,830 per poor family of three. The federal government alone spent $668 trillion on 126 different programs to fight poverty. This federal spending amounts to $14,848 for every poor person in this country.(1) The graph below illustrates how total welfare spending is actually much higher than the amount of money it would take to bring the income for a family of three above the poverty threshold.

Also, each of the 126 federal welfare programs have their own method of administering benefits to the poor, but the majority of them are means tested. The problem with having so many means tested programs is that it becomes extremely costly to test and administer all of the benefits. Even worse, many of the social programs end up acting paternalistic in the way they administer the benefits. The purpose of having strict requirements and regulations is to ensure accountability of the welfare recipient, and ensure the recipient actually needs the resources. The result is hundreds of thousands of public servants being hired to determine whether a person is worthy or unworthy of the welfare benefits. Although it could make sense in some cases to administer welfare on a case by case basis, the amount of money spent to do such a task for millions of people is enormous and ends up being more harmful than beneficial. The accumulated waste of maintaining the welfare bureaucracy and its hundreds of different social programs is very inefficient, when the goal is the same for every program - reduce poverty.

The Negative Income Tax Incentivizes Work More than Welfare

So why is this system better than our current welfare system? The first major advantage is that it provides a greater incentive to work. Currently, the welfare system is designed in a way where one receives benefits only if they are in a certain tax bracket. If one makes enough money to bring them slightly above that tax bracket, they can lose the benefits given to them by one of the 126 different federal programs. This is a problem, because in many cases, the benefits one loses from attaining a job or getting a raise actually makes him or her lose more value in benefits than they would gain in the additional income. This unfortunate consequence of the welfare system is what destroys the incentive to work and move up the economic ladder. This circumstance is what economists refer to as the welfare trap. The welfare trap leads to an endless cycle of poverty among poor families and it is very difficult to get out of.

The solution to the welfare trap problem is the NIT. The NIT is designed in a way where getting a job or a raise always makes one's total income and standard of living rise. This system ensures the incentive to work is always there, and it gives poor individuals the security in knowing that they will always have monetary help from the government when they need it. The pathway to upward mobility would finally be opened to millions of poor Americans who have been stuck in a system which unintentionally keeps them in poverty.

But wouldn't giving money out to everyone, no questions asked, also decrease the incentive to work? The answer is the same as the current system, yes. The better question is, which system minimizes that disincentive to work the most? Milton Friedman answers by saying, "Like any other measures to alleviate poverty, it reduces the incentives of those helped to help themselves, but it does not eliminate that incentive entirely, as a system of supplementing incomes up to some fixed minimum would. An extra dollar earned always means more money available for expenditure"(4).

Rebuttal - Why the Government Ought to Help the Poor

It appears that my opponent agrees with my premise that welfare has failed. What he disagrees with is what we should do in response to the failed system.

He asserts that "the responsibility to take care of the poor will fall on themselves if they can manage". The problem with this idea is that many are not capable of taking care of themselves in their current circumstances. There are people all over this country that don't have employment opportunities open to them currently, and may be in dire need of basic necessities to simply live. Food, water, and shelter are required by every person, but they cost money. Not everyone has the ability to gain these resources at various times in their lives.

My opponent indeed concedes the point that people may not be able to help themselves, and he gives an alternative solution, which is that "families and private charities can assist the poor if the poor cannot help themselves". This proposed solution has been verifiably unsustainable and insufficient, especially in times of severe economic recession. For instance, there simply wasn't enough charitable organizations and donations during the Great Depression to assist all of the unemployed, youth, the elderly, and stranded rural communities. As a result, the New Deal relief programs were necessary to ensure that people still had enough resources to survive.

Today, as stated earlier, poverty is still a problem in this country, and private charity could never be counted on to effectively give assistance to the 10's of millions of people in need. Because of this, the government ought to have a means to help the poorest and most vulnerable in society, and the NIT is the most fair, efficient, cheapest, and effective means of assisting poor people and giving them the chance to get out of their troubled circumstances.

Further arguments for the NIT will be given next round.

Sources (all in link): http://www.multiurl.com...

Skynet

Con

A well constructed argument by my opponent. The NIT would theoretically reduce overhead costs dollar used by system over dollar delivered to recipient, and it provides a bit more incentive to those who can work than our current systems due to the smooth transition between subsidized income and taxable income, but there are serious problems with using the government as a charity:

Conflict of interest: Government as charitable organization.

The biggest problem with government doing the job of long-term charity to it's citizens, especially in a system with elected officials, is that it becomes a conflict of interest. Our representatives seek to get themselves reelected. If increasing the amount of taxpayer funds going to people increases the number of votes from the beneficiaries in that district, that could be a huge temptation to an official. The simple and well constructed NIT would quickly be corrupted, just as many other programs have been mutated into payouts for special interests and vote buying. The changes over the years to the Tax Reform Act of 1986 and US Farm Bills are prime examples.

http://taxfoundation.org...
https://en.wikipedia.org...
https://en.wikipedia.org...

These laws end up going far beyond thier original scope.

Equity to the providers:

Funds for the NIT would come almost exclusively from people who do not partake of the system, and it's not voluntary. Say we have a single working man of 20, with no children, who has plans to increase his income through hard work and self-improvement, then buy a house and eventually marry and have children. He's currently making $30,000/yr, and pulls no negative income tax for himself. He's thinking of his future family, and saving for them. It's reasonable to pay for fire and police protection, public services like national defense, reasonable public servant's wages, public roads, and maybe even some other programs he does benefit from. But paying to raise another man's family? That's not equitable, when this young man is taking nothing, and trying to provide for his own future family. It's far more equitable for each person to pay for themselves and thier own family. The same situation goes for a single or family making $80k, or $8M. They worked for it, they earned it, they deserve the wages from thier labor.

And thier responsibility is above all else, to provide for thier own families and not burden other families.

But we do have the destitute, the poor, and the handicapped. Some people are greedy, but many are generous, and do give to charity. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that, especially when it's voluntary. A voluntary giver is more incentivized to check to see if the fruits of thier own labor is actually being put to good use, than an official in a position easily tempted to give other people's money, forcibly taken, to others for the purpose of support in November. One has actual generocity with his own honest money for the purpose of helping the poor. The other has outward appearance of generocity with someone else's money to gain popularity to keep a job.

Now we're back to conflict of interest. We even have an example of the welfare systems being expanded at the same time private charity is attacked by the government. Why would that be? The less private charity is available, the more people will be on government assistance. The more people on government assistance, the more votes can be extracted by telling people on government assistance your opponent will remove it. As the article below points out, people give for far more than tax reasons, but the government with it's current handout system will try to hem in voluntary generocity.

http://www.forbes.com...

My opponent asserts that charity was not enough during the Great Depression (no source), but I would argue that's not all bad. Should children go hungry? No! But should adults who don't work or make stupid mistakes that cause them to loose thier jobs or not advance be given incentive to not make those mistakes? Yes. It's called learning through trial and error, and it's one of the best and most memorable learning tools. Being hungry incentivizes the worker. Charity is great, and I encourage it, but the recipient knowing the charity is not a never ending gravy train is critical. You must try to not be a burden to others, and you have a responsibility to take care of your own kin. It's not a standard I don't apply to myself, and if someone wants to learn to fish, I'll give him a few free ones, but the rest he must catch on his own. If someone absolutely cannot take care of themselves through no fault of their own, and have no family, that is the time for true compassion and generocity by the willing, not bueraucratic handouts pulled by force of law from the working class.

This sideways Robin Hooding (Powerful taking from the sufficient and wealthy to give to non-workers, rather than a renegade taking from the over-taxing government to give back to the exploited) needs to be stopped by removing the official capacity of government as a charity. NIT is better than our current system, but history and human nature strongly indicates it will be corrupted quickly.
a
Debate Round No. 2
Valladarex

Pro

Conflict of interest: Government as Charitable Organization

"The biggest problem with government doing the job of long-term charity to its citizens, especially in a system with elected officials, is that it becomes a conflict of interest. Our representatives seek to get themselves reelected. If increasing the amount of taxpayer funds going to people increases the number of votes from the beneficiaries in that district, that could be a huge temptation to an official. The simple and well constructed NIT would quickly be corrupted, just as many other programs have been mutated into payouts for special interests and vote buying. The changes over the years to the Tax Reform Act of 1986 and US Farm Bills are prime examples."

Skynet brings up a legitimate issue with government assistance to the poor. It is true that the NIT would be subject to special interests attempting to increase or decrease the amount of money the NIT gives to the poor. In response to this criticism, I assert that the NIT would be less subject to these changes by special interests.

The negative income tax is basically a modification of the federal income tax system. The federal income tax system is not as vulnerable to bloated, pork-barrel spending and adjustments by politicians to help their specific districts when compared to the welfare system. The 126 federal welfare programs, in contrast, are very much up to variations by people to benefit in specific ways. In total, yes it could be effected and changed over time, but it is much harder and far less vulnerable to these modifications when compared to the current system.

Equity to the Providers

Skynet brings up an argument that the NIT is not fair because the funds would "come almost exclusively from people who do not partake of the system, and it's not voluntary."

The problem with this idea is it can be extended to the idea that taxation is never justified without the consent by each individual.

Skynet claims that "It's reasonable to pay for fire and police protection, public services like national defense, reasonable public servant's wages, public roads, and maybe even some other programs he does benefit from."

What may be reasonable to you may be completely unreasonable to someone else who pays taxes. For example, an man may not want to subscribe to the police protection system, and would rather defend his property himself or hire private security. It's still involuntary and therefore it isn't justified to force him to pay for something he doesn't want.

The truth is, taxation is a necessary evil. There will always be things that the government ought to use resources for in order to maintain a prosperous, free society. Things like national defense, the court system, infrastructure, education, and a social safety net can be justifiably funded through taxpayer money so long as they increase the net freedom, well being, and prosperity of the general populace.

"But paying to raise another man's family? That's not equitable, when this young man is taking nothing, and trying to provide for his own future family. It's far more equitable for each person to pay for themselves and thier own family."

It's a balancing of freedoms. Yes, a man may not want to pay for another man's family. Yes, involuntarily paying for it may decrease his own freedom. But what if not paying for someone else through taxes causes the ability of someone else to have the opportunity to succeed in life decrease to nearly zero? Is it truly a fair system when one does not have enough resources to eat, have shelter, receive an education, and begin to be self-sufficient later in one's life?

America ought to be a land of opportunity. Some people have very little opportunity to exit their current adverse circumstances and become successful in life. If the private market can't provide this opportunity better than government, then this is one thing the government should provide. The negative income tax is the most fair, efficient, and cheapest way to go about providing people enough resources to live and have a chance to get on their feet.


Supporting Private Charity

My opponent supports the use of private charity to help the poor. I do as well. In fact, I would also support the advancement of private charity through tax credits.

He claims that private charity is more efficient and generally better than government assistance. I agree with this. The problem is private charity doesn't guarantee assistance to every person, and so the government needs to help those that don't get helped by others

Should We Let People Starve?

"Should children go hungry? No!"

If you don't think children should go hungry, then it sounds like you would support government assistance to poor children if they aren't being helped through private charity. Would you then support a welfare system for at least children?

"But should adults who don't work or make stupid mistakes that cause them to loose their jobs or not advance be given incentive to not make those mistakes? Yes."

Not everyone who lost their jobs in the Great Depression were at fault. Forces completely outside their control caused the economy to decline, businesses to close, and hence jobs to be lost. It's not a stupid mistake by them that caused them to go unemployed and no longer able to support themselves or their families. In circumstances like these, it makes sense for there to be some type of system to alleviate poverty and misery through government assistance.

" It's called learning through trial and error, and it's one of the best and most memorable learning tools. Being hungry incentivizes the worker."

It's misguided to think that it's simply error that causes people to lose their jobs. Nobody was able to predict what was going to happen. There was nothing to learn that could have prevented so many people from losing their jobs. Hunger could be an incentive to work, but it would be pointless to have people go hungry if there really is not enough jobs to fully employ everyone. And there really wasn't enough jobs at the time.

"if someone wants to learn to fish, I'll give him a few free ones, but the rest he must catch on his own".

Life is not that simple today. Learning skills doesn't guarantee that there will be a job opening for someone with that skill. The world changes and is unpredictable. What was once a popular job may be completely replaced by a new technological breakthrough. There needs to be a system to allow those that can't find a way to support themselves to have the means to survive until they can support themselves.

"If someone absolutely cannot take care of themselves through no fault of their own, and have no family, that is the time for true compassion and generocity by the willing, not bueraucratic handouts pulled by force of law from the working class."

You and I both know that compassion and private charity has never been efficient and perfect enough to guarantee help to every person with such circumstances. In a utopia, idealistic society, it would be and I would fully support this idea. But in reality, the only way to ensure everyone has enough resources to live is through government.

Political Feasibility

Skynet, you have stated that "NIT is better than our current system, but history and human nature strongly indicates it will be corrupted quickly."

If you truly believe that that NIT is better than the current system, then I have a proposition for you.

The current political landscape basically guarantees that there will be a system to help the poor. Your desire for welfare being ended and having no more government assistance to the poor is idealistic and infeasible. As you said, politicians get elected for the specific purpose of guaranteeing benefits to their constituents.

Because of this, it would make sense for you to call for a compromise. The current political landscape could indeed support a smaller, cheaper, more efficient, more fair system to help the poor. The negative income tax is much more politically feasible than your idea of ending welfare entirely. If you think that the size of government should be decreased and taxation should be decreased, you should support the negative income tax. This is a system that trends toward your goals, even if it doesn't accomplish them entirely.

Support the negative income tax because it is indeed better than our current welfare system.

Skynet

Con

Feasability

The compromise Valladrex calls for is not really a compromise between our two positions, but rather a compromise between supporters of the current bloated system and my position of eliminating the system. If the compromise is between Valladrex's and my position, it is really no compromise at all because I'd just be giving up my position to support his. Granted, his position may be more feasible since so many people have grown accustomed to drawing money from the government sow. I'm not bashing my opponent, because in reality, I would probably hold my nose and support the NIT if it came up in Congress. I'd still be holding my nose, because the income tax system is VERY malleable to political pressure,
http://americansforprosperity.org...
http://www.msnbc.com...

and I would not expect the gain to last long. As I pointed out earlier, the nearly flat tax in 1986 was quickly chopped up to create a campaign issue "against" the wealthy, and a profitable edge for those who made thier support to Rep. A and Sen. B.

Some reading this might want to ask me what exactly would happen to people right after the current system was eliminated. Well, those who could would get employed out of necessity doing SOMETHING for now. Those who are able but won't work will get hungry, then will actually have motivation to work. Some people will realize they maybe don't need as much as they thought to get by. But what about the genuinely needy who truely can't? This is why I said "quickly phased out" and not immediately eliminated. If some people have been unemployed for generations, or thier whole life on the dole, they'll need one last hand out and hand up and order to brace before the rug is yanked out from under them. I propose offering a lump sum "early retirement" for every welfare recipient. It will surely cost less than $1 trillion a year in perpetuity to give all 50 or 60 million, or 100 million Americans $100,000.00 each in a tax free lump sum or annuity. (100,000,000 x 100,000 = $10 trillion) This would give time for individuals to ramp up charities, and for us all to find out who really needs help. In the mean time, the government would offer information on how to get and keep a job, and put more emphasis on public schools training students to be employable when they graduate. The quick payout would satiate many users of the current system, making it more politically feasible.

http://www.foxnews.com...

Of course, my plan is not intended to eliminate programs people paid into, like SS and unemployment. Those are seperate issues.

Equity

I still disagree with Valladrex's view of equity. It is one matter to require taxes from workers to pay public servants, supply public roads and "common defense," (police, fire, military). It is an entirely different matter to require tax from a private citizen to pay another private citizen for NOT DOING WORK. This is not fair to the worker, and incentivises the non worker, if he has the ability to work, to not try any harder. NIT does help bridge the gap for someone who's scraping by to advance at work, but it does nothing to incentivise in a posative way those who do not work.

Shall we let them starve?

Generally speaking I would not support a government program that proports to prevent starvation. If you are starving, who's to blame you for using it? It might help you survive, but it won't help you thrive or succeed. Some people are in such a bad way, I'm afraid no amount of charity or government assistance will make them succeed. That's the messed up world we live in. And, no people don't only fail due to thier own faults, I didn't mean to make it sound that way. So let us line up outside my door all the people who of no fault of their own can't succeed. If they ask for help, that's fine. But I should be under no outside compulsion to give to these strangers. When I turn around, I see my wife who spends her full time taking care of our son. Why should those strangers use the police power of the government to take bread from my family to give to them? Will charity always be adequate? No. Will my best always be adequate? No. That's the way it is for me, that's the way it is for everyone. What's fair is me providing for MY family FIRST. Charity is wonderful, but it is icing on the cake, and not a requirement. Charitable giving must come from a cheerful and willing heart, or it means nothing, as our current system does. It's just extortion.

Making a way for people to subsist for no labor by forced taxation of others is not fair, and it is idealistic and unrealistic to expect a country to last long when there is a system that allows people to live for nothing. NIT is still a toxic incentive to not work.

Debate Round No. 3
Valladarex

Pro

Compromise

The compromise Valladarex calls for is not really a compromise between our two positions…I'd still be holding my nose, because the income tax system is VERY malleable to political pressure

I did not mean to call for a compromise between our positions, but for a compromise between your position and the current system.

You want to keep more of your money for you and your family. This is the most feasible way to substantially decrease welfare spending today. When looking at this country realistically, your proposal for ending welfare entirely is not going to happen so long as there are poor people, people that want to help them, and politicians who can use this problem to get votes. The best one can hope for is a compromise to minimize the size and scope of the social safety net.

I would not expect the gain to last long. As I pointed out earlier, the nearly flat tax in 1986 was quickly chopped up to create a campaign issue "against" the wealthy, and a profitable edge for those who made thier support to Rep. A and Sen. B.

No doubt political pressures will influence what happens to the NIT, but there is also no doubt that reducing 126 programs into 1 will allow for increased accountability and oversight. It will likely be changed over time, but I’d rather have a more efficient and effective system of helping the poor be slightly modified when compared to the huge, bloated, ineffective welfare bureaucracy that we have today.

The Cause of Unemployment

Some reading this might want to ask me what exactly would happen to people right after the current system was eliminated. Well, those who could would get employed out of necessity doing SOMETHING for now. Those who are able but won't work will get hungry, then will actually have motivation to work.”

It is a misconception to think that the majority of the those people that are unemployed just don’t have the motivation to work. Employment rates change for a variety of reasons and they fluctuate greatly. For instance, the economic growth of a country is correlated with employment rates (1). When there is a recession, increases in unemployment follows.



The graph above demonstrates that recessions lead to unemployment. Obviously it would be unrealistic to think that this is because people just get lazy in predictable cycles. So what causes the unemployment to rise?

When economies are expanding, businesses can grow, so they are more willing to hire workers. When economies are contracting, businesses must deal with reduced revenues and may actually have to lay off their workers. Even if a particular business has not seen any recent decreases in revenue, if its analysts project that revenue will decrease in the future as a result of a general economic slump, it may start laying off workers pre-emptively or at least halt all hiring processes (2).

As a result, the majority of people gain and lose jobs not because of their motivation level, but because there is simply not enough jobs openings for everyone. Other things, like excessive regulations and the minimum wage can further lessen the ability for businesses to hire more workers.

Skynet’s Proposal to Phase Out Welfare

I propose offering a lump sum "early retirement" for every welfare recipient. It will surely cost less than $1 trillion a year in perpetuity to give all 50 or 60 million, or 100 million Americans $100,000.00 each in a tax free lump sum or annuity….The quick payout would satiate many users of the current system, making it more politically feasible.

This proposal is not a viable solution because unemployment is not a temporary issue that can be eliminated by simply giving every poor person $100,000 and expecting them to find long-term work after. This proposal ignores the very real market fluctuations that increase and decrease the amount of job openings available for people. Education and information given by the government does not guarantee a job, which can be easily proven by looking at the current high unemployment and underemployment rates for college graduates (3). The graph below demonstrates that college graduate unemployment is also correlated with market fluctuations, which means their unemployment isn’t simply because they are lazy.



Overall, Skynet's proposal would leave the poor to fend for themselves after that one-time payment runs out, and poverty and suffering would increase dramatically in this country. It is not a solution, and it is certainly not politically feasible.

Equity

“NIT does help bridge the gap for someone who's scraping by to advance at work, but it does nothing to incentivise in a posative way those who do not work.”

False. In many cases, getting a job while on welfare would actually decrease their net income. Welfare payments can actually pay better than a job. As Michael Tanner of the CATO institute writes to New York citizens, “Here’s an offer for you: $38,004 per year, tax free. No work required. Apply at your local welfare office.” Also, “ There is no evidence that people on welfare are lazy. Indeed, surveys of them consistently show their desire for a job. But they’re also not stupid. If you pay them more not to work than they can earn by working, many will choose not to work. (4)”

My NIT proposal, on the other hand, would only give the bare minimum amount of money required for people to stay out of poverty, and their incomes could only increase for every dollar they make through work. This is not the case with the current system. The NIT encourages work while also providing a social safety net for the worst off.

Shall we let them starve?

“Generally speaking I would not support a government program that proports to prevent starvation. If you are starving, who's to blame you for using it? It might help you survive, but it won't help you thrive or succeed.”

You continue to portray poverty as a personal motivation issue as opposed to largely an economic issue. Giving the poor money to survive is needed for them to be able later to find work and thrive. Having them suffer and starve as a result of this mischaracterization and generalization of poor people is unjustifiable and will result in a less fair, less prosperous, and less free society.

Fairness, prosperity, and freedom increases by allowing people in poor circumstances to have enough to live and later have the opportunity to achieve their goals, and have a job to pay for themselves and their families. The NIT is not in support of the equality of results, but is in support of a greater equality of opportunity.

“Some people are in such a bad way…. So let us line up outside my door all the people who of no fault of their own can't succeed. If they ask for help, that's fine. But I should be under no outside compulsion to give to these strangers.”

You may very well be a generous person who would help poor people lined up outside your door. The reality is there are not enough generous people in every poor neighborhood and city in this country to ensure that no person goes without their basic needs. Voluntary action could not fully perform this important task. Only a government program can.

“When I turn around, I see my wife who spends her full time taking care of our son. Why should those strangers use the police power of the government to take bread from my family to give to them? Will charity always be adequate? No. Will my best always be adequate? No. That's the way it is for me, that's the way it is for everyone.”

You and your family are very fortunate to have had the opportunities to have lives outside of poverty, and through your hard work you are capable of supporting your family. The unfortunate truth is that not everyone has had the same chances that you have had, and people living in poverty, are a lot of the time, stuck in their circumstances as a result of systematical disadvantages.

For instance, you may have the means to send your son to a good school, while a poor child in a poor neighborhood will likely get a poor education, decreasing their chances to succeed later in life. Your wife has the wonderful ability to raise your son full-time, while a poor mother might have to raise 3 kids while working two jobs because the father abandoned them. Was it the mother’s fault? Some may say so, but it certainly was not the fault of the children. If that mother loses her jobs, she may no longer be able to put food on the table and a roof over the heads of her children.

Maybe there are private charity programs nearby, but maybe there isn’t. I don’t see how any just society could allow these children and their mother to starve and live on the streets when it certainly has the capability to provide a basic social safety net to them. And if hard times were to hit your family, I would like for there to be a system in place to help you and them get through it. This is security not just for the poor, but for everyone.

Conclusion

“What's fair is me providing for MY family FIRST... Charitable giving must come from a cheerful and willing heart, or it means nothing, as our current system does. It's just extortion.”

It is fair that most of your money goes to providing for your family, but taxes are a necessary evil. The government will take your money even if you’d rather keep it. All taxation is extortion, because you don’t have the ability to say no. So then it’s up to people to decide what the government should use their taxes on. It’s reasonable for people to support the NIT as a replacement of the current welfare system because it will decrease taxation, decrease the size of government, increase efficiency, increase the incentive for the poor to work, and give enough money to people to live and have the chance find success later in life.

I urge you to support the negative income tax for a fair, free, rational, and prosperous society.

Vote pro.

Sources (in link): http://www.multiurl.com...

Skynet

Con

Thanks for putting forward the NIT in debate, Valladarex. It's an interesting idea I've not heard of before.

There seems to be a few very important misunderstandings about my position.

I am not anti-taxation. I have said that it is reasonable to pay taxes so the government can provide important services to the general public. Sewers, roads, law enforcement, operating costs, national defense, fire, etc. Taxation becomes extortion when the taxpayers do not receive a benefit from the taxes paid. This is the case with welfare.

I am not under the impression that virtually everyone who is unemployed is so because of laziness. I've been fired before, both fairly and unfairly, and I've been unemployed after quitting. (At the time, very young, no one to support, some money in savings, no need to work for a while, and very simple tastes)

Elimination of poverty is not a realistic goal. As pro pointed out a number of factors can leave a person jobless and/or impoverished. These cannot always be foreseen or prevented. So it will always spring itself upon somebody somewhere. Should the poor be helped? Yes. Should the government seize funds from working citizens to do so, where it is streamed by the very often power hungry and ambitious so they have an opportunity to skim off the top? That's no longer helping the poor, but helping the greedy and the poor. If helping the poor in such a manner increases the cashflow past the powerful, why not make it mandatory?

Or... we could not take 1/5-1/2 of the income of a historically very generous population and allow them to give 100% of what they want to the poor:

The World Giving Index consistently puts Americans at the top of the list of for several types of philanthropy.

https://www.cafonline.org...

"Early Welfare Retirement" is entirely feasible. People that are temporarily out of work who are willing to work would do just fine with $100,000. They'd still look for a job, after maybe a vacation. How about the people who won't or can't work? Prediction: Most of them would take it, whether or not it's smart. People will be generous with them after that, if they can't find a steady support. If people aren't helpful with someone who can't work, that's a shame on the stingy community. While everyone has a right to live, that doesn't mean they have a right to live off other people, or a right to a certain level of lifestyle. Was it fair that people 4000 years ago in Europe were living in caves wearing bison hide? That's what everyone was doing! Was the entire continent deprived of basic human rights until gas heat and government pensions were invented? Where does this right to have at least $10,000 a year for no work come from? You got a right not to be killed, and a right to what you work for.

Does the NIT reduce the ability of politicians and bureaucrats to skim off the top? Yes, but it still leaves them with a foot in the door, and my opponent has conceeded that this will probably be exploited. This would make the NIT a temporary solution to a problem that can't be permanently solved.
Education, drive, health, and position are no garuntees to avoid poverty. So we're stuck with it in one form or another. If you're poor, the best solution is to work your way out. If you can't, you'll have to rely on generosity of others. Americans ARE generous. Even with the amount of generocity we have, and the number of welfare-type programs, I've met several people in very tight spots, some homeless, who for some reason can't find thier way into the system. I wouldn't blame them for trying to get in, even if I don't like the system;

"Men do not despise a thief if he steals to satisfy himself when he is hungry, But when he is found, he must repay sevenfold; He must give all the substance of his house."


But it's not fair to extract by force money from our paychecks to give to them. That's our choice, and our money that we worked for, and apparently are generous with anyway. This police state solution to poverty is not a good one, NIT or welfare, and it needs to be headed off at the pass in all it's forms.

Debate Round No. 4
17 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Skynet 2 years ago
Skynet
16kadams, if you're out there, when did I say I think the government has an obligation to take care of the poor? I was not in favor of a compromise, and only said if the only option to get away from our current system was the NIT, I'd go for it over what we currently have, but it would be the lesser of 2 evils. When I don't take into account what actually causes unemployment, it's not because I don't understand the causes, I think the causes are irrelevant for our discussion because the government shouldn't be paying people to not work under any circumstances.
Posted by Skynet 2 years ago
Skynet
Wow, accoding to 16kadams, I did not make myself clear at all. What he understood was much the opposite of what I was trying to convey.
Posted by Skynet 2 years ago
Skynet
It was fun!
Posted by Valladarex 2 years ago
Valladarex
Thanks for the debate, Skynet.
Posted by cheyennebodie 2 years ago
cheyennebodie
That should be " gimmick".
Posted by cheyennebodie 2 years ago
cheyennebodie
A rose by any other name still smells the same.Any kind of freeloader gimme stinks .No one is entitled morally or constitutionally to another man's labor. We fought a civil war to end slavery once. Maybe we need to do it again.
Posted by Valladarex 2 years ago
Valladarex
I have opened the debate for either Skynet or Libertatis to accept. If someone else who has above 2000 elo and at east 3 wins also wants to accept, they can too.
Posted by Libertatis 2 years ago
Libertatis
The government shouldn't have to replace he welfare system, they should just completely get rid of it. I'm not a fan of income tax, but i believe welfare is terrible.
Posted by Valladarex 2 years ago
Valladarex
Skynet, would you be arguing for an alternative system? If so, what?
Posted by Skynet 2 years ago
Skynet
I meet all the requirements, and I can do the debate this week. I have a history of respectful no-nonsense debates. I will not be arguing for keeping the current welfare systems, but that a negative income tax would not be a good alternative system.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by 16kadams 2 years ago
16kadams
ValladarexSkynetTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Interesting debate. PRO proved that the current welfare system was a failure. Although Sky seemed to argue for a "compromise", that automatically loses him the debate, as the resolution speaks about *welfare*, presumably in the current state. So PRO, and in some ways CON, agreed that the current system was flawed. PRO explained how the NIT would encourage economic growth and reduce spending, and mentioned the costs associated with the current welfare system. PRO noted flaws in CON's system, mainly how CON's "compromise" would increase poverty and harm the economy, and the assumptions behind CON's model were based on spurious understandings as to why unemployment exists. The government, according to PRO (and CON) has an obligation to support the poor. The NIT is efficient, effective, and cheap. Therefore, PRO seems to win the argument overall. Sources even. They both seemed chill, so no bad conduct. And both of them have high IQ's, so they had good grammar. PRO won.