The Instigator
JacobHession
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
MrScipio
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Resolved: In the United States, current income disparities threaten democratic ideals.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/14/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,107 times Debate No: 19873
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (3)
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JacobHession

Pro

I hope for an interesting debate over the December Public Forum topic. As for the format of the debate, in the first round, only cases. After that, rebuttals for each of the following rounds. As for evidence use, I will only use legitimate sources if my opponent will do the same. Otherwise, good luck.

We affirm;
Resolved: In the United States, current income disparities threaten democratic ideals.

According to Robert Dahl of Yale University, democratic ideals are [political principles] in which each person in is entitled to have their interests be given equal consideration or chance by the government. UC San Diego defines these principles as commitments to equality, in which…each person may demand an equal share in political rule.

Contention 1: Income inequality skews political influence and government responsiveness.

As Professor Larry Bartels of Princeton points out, political campaigns have become dramatically more expensive since the 50s, increasing elected officials' reliance on people who can afford to help finance their re-election bids. These newly important constituents have filled their role well using two primary mechanisms to exert their influence. First, as the Campaign Finance Institute points out, the American Wealthy have successfully monopolized individual campaign contributions. Indeed, in the status quo, a whopping 95% of campaign donors come from the richest 12% classification. The second mechanism used by the richest demographic utilizes lobbying and advocacy groups as another avenue to enter the political arena. As the Taskforce on Inequality and American Democracy has found, nearly three-quarters of the rich Americans are affiliated with an organization that takes stands in politics as compared with only 29 percent of the least affluent.
To put this influence in perspective, a recent study by Harvard finds that if senators made decisions based on campaign contributions, they'd attach about six times as much importance to the views of a typical affluent constituent as to the views of a typical middle-income constituent – and virtually none to the views of low-income constituents. While this degree of influence exists in a hypothetical world where politicians have no free will, our reality is almost as bleak. Indeed, two separate Princeton University studies by Larry Bartels and Martin Gilens conclude, "[that] when the views of those in the 10th to 50th percentiles of income differ from those of 90% upward, government policy appears to be responsive to the well off and virtually unrelated to the desires of low and middle income citizens…In fact, the probability of a proposed policy change being implemented rises almost 30 percentage points as support changes from the poor to the affluent divisions." This empirical inequality in political voice conflicts directly with the definition outlined at the top of our case.

Contention 2: Income Disparities threaten the middle class, and thus the economy.

The Progressive Pulse reveals that in 2010 there was a growth in income inequality and the continued erosion of the middle class. The result is what analysts are calling the hourglass economy where the wealthy do well, those with low-incomes fare poorly, and the middle-class disappears. The Democracy Journal provides an impact to this, arguing that the middle class is the source of economic growth. A strong middle class provides a stable consumer base that drives productive investment. In contrast, economic inequality and a weak middle class make the political system imbalanced and depress the political participation of the non-wealthy, reducing voting, discussion, and interest in public policy. As such, the middle class plays a vital role in the health of the American Economy and must be protected.

Contention 3: Income inequality depresses voter turnout.

As UCLA professor Carole Pateman outlines "Those with fewer economic resources conclude, correctly, that the political system is not responsive to them, and they consequently see little reason to participate in elections." Rice University quantifies voter perception, finding that those in the highest income quintile were 88% more likely to feel that the government was responsive than those in the bottom fifth, thus those in the top income quintile are 68% more likely to participate than the lowest-income individuals. This problem has been widely researched, as a study on several democracies by the University of Southern Illinois finds that a rise in [income] disparity from low to high levels reduces political discussion by 12 percent and voting by 13 percent. As Henry Brady of Harvard points out, not only does this phenomenon decrease the amount of middle-class participating in politics, but the government will increasingly become less responsive to the needs of the poor: a demographic group that most certainly needs better representation.

Thus we urge you to vote in affirmation.
MrScipio

Con

I apologize if I was a bit late on responding to this. Anyways, this is my first time debating on this website, but I have debated the current resolution twice in real-life.Even though I won't be debatingagain until next month, I'm always open to new ideas and beliefs! Within this debate however, since the topic is on Democratic Ideals, I feel that the arguments begin to lie more into the logical realm as opposed to the repeated use of statistics and figures. If the format for the rounds is the same as usual, then I will proceed with my argument.

Resolved: In the United States, current income disparities threaten democratic ideals.

First off, I'd like to remind my opponent and the audience that the United States is a Democratic-Republic. The term "Democratic Ideals" applied to the U.S. alludes to a government of the people in which, according to the definition set forth by the case United States v. Cruikshank, "the equal rights of citizens" is a central idea. This leads into my contentions.

Contention 1: While inequality is unpopular and undesirable, it does not threaten democratic ideals.

Inequalities are natural, have always been part of society, and will always continue to be. However, in the United States Constitution, the 1st, 9th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 17th, 19th, 23rd, and 24th Amendments all provide for each and every citizen's equal representation and limits any inequalities to matters of wealth rather than personal rights and freedoms. While income disparities may affect political participation among the lower classes, or increase the upper classes’ influence, each citizen is still entitled to exactly one vote and the same rights.

Most arguments against inequality are targeted towards wealth disparities rather than income disparities. However, one must keep in mind that the median income for all Americans is rising: not falling. Claims of inequality come from the fact that the upper classes’ income is rising faster than that of the lower classes. While causing disparities in income: a person must remember that this rate of growth does Not affect democracy.

Inequality within the U.S. is mostly a difference in success: not politics or representation. A great many of those in the “1%” are some of the hardest-working, most ingenious people in our nation, many of whom came from lower class upbringings.

Contention 2: Economic Power does not buy political power.

Many argue that lobbying, campaign contributions, and vote-buying are all ways that those with higher economic means gain even greater political power than others. Despite their use, all three of these do not truly “buy” political power. Lobbying and lobbyists are heavily regulated and do not pose any real threat. In the case of campaign contributions, most of the time, those who donate have views that already align with those of the candidate and do not extend the benefactor’s political influence. Although once a problem in the past, vote buying is no longer an issue anymore with the secret ballot in place. Also, the 17th amendment states that senators are elected solely by popular vote. Each citizen is entitled to one vote, and may use it any way her or she wants.

Contention 3: Our Current capitalistic system actually promotes democracy.

The fact that the means of business and economics lie within the private sector gives most citizens an increased reason to participate in government and politics. Ironically, this argument on inequality and income disparities has encouraged an even greater amount of democratic participation among the lower classes, thus proving this point. Obviously, increased participation is even better for a democracy, and certainly not threatening.

Contention 4: Low to Upper-Class Grassroots movements are gaining ground and influence.

With movements like the Tea Party and Occupy Wall street on the rise, Grassroots activism is proving to be an effective was for citizens to gain influence and express their views. Some may argue that the Tea Party or Occupy are not powerful enough to truly cause any differences: this is not necessarily so. Each movement has grasped the media and have both become household names. It has even gotten to the point where many news organizations report further on the Tea Party than the established Republican or Democratic parties. This amount of influence and attention is easily enough to cause a change.

Also, multiple unions and businesses such as Facebook and Google have created Political Action Groups (PAC's) for their employees to contribute to campaigns and have a say in government. Unions such as the United Mine Workers of America are all made up of the working-classes and have shown great influence in recent elections and campaigns.

___________

This argument over inequality within the United States matters especially to all of us because it could unfairly place the blame for economic downturns and increasing dissatisfaction upon income disparities when the true problems lie elsewhere. Income disparities are simply a byproduct of our capilitalistic system which stems from our democratic ideals: they are not the problem.

In conclusion, I urge the audience to vote against this resolution.

Debate Round No. 1
JacobHession

Pro

JacobHession forfeited this round.
MrScipio

Con

MrScipio forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
JacobHession

Pro

JacobHession forfeited this round.
MrScipio

Con

MrScipio forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
JacobHession

Pro

JacobHession forfeited this round.
MrScipio

Con

I wasn't quite sure as to what I was suppposed to do if my opponent forfeited, so i left all of the other rounds blank up until this one. What happens now? We haven't exactly debated.
Debate Round No. 4
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Marauder 4 years ago
Marauder
I want to take this debate topic with you, but you have a history of not finishing the last 2 rounds of a lot of your debates. I don't want to do this unless I'm going to put effort into it and I don't want to put effort into it just to have you forfeit on me in the end.
Posted by OldIronGuts 4 years ago
OldIronGuts
I might take up this debate if i have the time to make a solid argument
Posted by ConservativePolitico 4 years ago
ConservativePolitico
These debates are such BS. Everyone gets to vote, everyone. Being rich or poor has nothing to do with it. Everyone is equal in the political system. Sheesh.
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