The Instigator
Con (against)
0 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
0 Points

Resolved: Just governments ought to require that employers pay a living wage.

Do you like this debate?NoYes+2
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
It's a Tie!
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/15/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,235 times Debate No: 68388
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (27)
Votes (1)




I am against the government implementing a living wage ordinance. Please accept this debate only if you will take it seriously. Further, anyone who wishes to debate must understand that a living wage will replace the minimum wage for full time workers. Due to requests to do so, I will now provide definitions as to what each important word in the resolution means.

Just: treating people in a way that is considered morally right
Government: This is open to interpretation. It can mean federal, state, or local leadership.
Living wage: a wage sufficient to provide the necessities and comforts for an acceptable standard of living.
This also refers to full-time workers, not part-time employees.

Here is how the rounds will take place:

Round 1: Acceptance, presentation of Pro case.
Round 2: Presentation of Neg. case and refutations (Con) - Rebuttals and rebuild of own case (Pro).
Round 3: Attack on opponents case and rebuild of own case (Con) - Voter issues, no new arguments (Pro).

Thank you, and good luck! :)


I value morality. Knowledge is created through the reflection of objective reality onto our consciousness. UTI:[1]

  • “cognition takes place as objective reality is reflectedonto consciousness. we comprehendconcepts-as the reflection by the mindof an external world existing independently The first step in the process of cognition is contact with the external this [is] perceptionThe second step is to synthesize perception this [is]therational cognition proceeds from sensory cognition to rational cognitionand from rational cognition to practice. knowledge can in no way be separated from human actionand social activities, …”

This rules out a priori side-constraints since objective reality is the only truth and human experience is the only relevant way of understanding it, making material ends ontologically and epistemologically relevant.

And, the universe is causally closed, so moral statements must be based in physical facts about our mental states. Papineau:[2]

  • “the conservation of energy impl[ies] that if mental forces arose spontaneously, then there would be nothing to ensure that they never led to energy increases.Detailed physiological research, … gave no indication of any physical effects that cannot be explained in terms of basic physical forces that also occur outside living bodies. ...since the only laws governing behaviour are those connecting behaviour with physical antecedents, mental events can only be causes of behaviour if they are identical with those physical antecedents.”

This means util since there are no side-constraints in nature – suffering is a mental state which we have a reason to avoid. Metaphysics confirms the undesirability of suffering - each agent values their own pleasure, so they must also value the pleasure of others. Sayre McCord:[3]

  • “the evaluative starting point is each person thinking "my own happiness is valuable," this fact about each person is taken as evidence, with respect to each bit of happiness that is valuedEach personha[s]reason to think there is the same evidence available to each for the value of the happiness that another person enjoys as there is for the value of one's own happiness. happiness is such that every piece of it is desired by someone, … in taking ourselves to have reason to see the bit we value as valuable, we are committed to acknowledging the value of all the rest.”

Even respect for the rationality of persons mandates consequentialism. Cummiskey:[4]

  • “If I sacrifice some for the sake of others, I do not deny the unconditional value of rational beings. Persons may have unconditional worth” …but persons also have a fundamental equality that dictates that some must sometimes give way for the sake of others The concept of the end-in-itself thus dictates that one maysacrifice some to save many.”

Thus, the standard is maximizing wellbeing.

First, a living wage encourages economic growth. Luce[5]:

  • “the Boston living wage ordinance begins with … the City of Boston awards millions of dollars in contracts for services each year that result in the creation or maintenance of a wide variety of employment opportunities; and … these contracts are paid for by taxpayer dollars and-should be used to promote the sustenance and creation of jobs that will increase consumer income, decrease levels of poverty, invigorate neighborhood businesses and reduce the need for taxpayer-funded programs in other areas; … living wages can be good for businesses: If employers raised wages they would benefit from lower turnover and increased productivity. “

Covert[6] furthers how a living wage would help the economy:

  • “Raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by 2016 would increases wages by $35 billion, and the resulting increase in consumer spending would mean a GDP boost of $22.1 billion, which would support about 85,000 new jobs, according to an analysis by the Economic Policy Institute. …”

And, implementing a living wage means that we can preserve social security and ensure that it doesn’t go away. Burton ‘14[7]:

  • “Current projections about the future of the Social Security trust fund are made with certain assumptions in mind, such as economic growth, job growth and wage growth (or lack thereof). If we increase wages for millions of low-wage workers making less than $10 an hour, that will mean more revenue for the Social Security system, and likely a rosier financial picture for its future. Yes, it also will mean higher future payments to those workers. But we have seen that economic booms and downturns always affect Social Security's solvency. More jobs and more revenue will … help shore up the system, …”

And, this works both ways. Living wage increases worker productivity, which helps businesses prosper. Brenner[8]:

  • “the higher wages associated with living wage laws are also likely to have a salutary effect on employee performance. In the latter case, the benefits of higher wages have several sources. For example, paying higher wages is likely to increase the individual effort and motivation of those workers receiving raises. These higher wages are also likely to reduce other less appreciated labor costs, such as turnover and absenteeism. While their precise costs are difficult to quantify, the evidence is clear that living wage laws can dramatically effect on both turnover and absenteeism. …”

Second, implementing a living wage solves for poverty. Without a living wage, poor workers are caught in a deadly catch-22: too little money to support themselves, but too much money to qualify for government aid. It becomes impossible for them to escape the cycle. Living wage solves this. Lipp[9]:

  • “The working poor consist of people whose “full-time, year-round earnings are so meager that despite their best efforts they can’t afford decent housing, diets, health care or child care.” They illustrate the inability that many wageworkers face trying to support themselves … without … assistance, … The problems facing the working poor remain … removed from … their nonworking counterparts, as full-time minimum wage earners often make too much money to qualify for government assistance.”

This is mathematically true for many minimum wage workers: they physically can’t meet their needs on a minimum wage job alone. Wilson[10]

  • “Today, a parent working full-time at minimum wage will simply not earn enough income to cover basic needs like food, clothing, and shelter. Even working a second job and well over 40-hours a week, it's mathematically impossible for many minimum wage workers to pay for childcare, clothing, and gas. …”

And, solving for poverty is key. Poverty directly correlates with higher HIV and other deadly illness infection rates. Varela[11]:

  • “the maps of poverty in the United States—where officially 14.5 percent of the population is poor and another 5 percent are nearly poor—overlay quite seamlessly onto the maps of HIV. That should come as no surprise to anyone who studies or treats chronic conditions, most of which—diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, etc.—correlate with poverty.”

This is even more key since HIV claimed the lives of almost 14 thousand people in 2011[12] and has killed more than 640,000 people in the United States alone. On a global scale, 1.5 million people died in 2013 alone[13], and AIDs has claimed the lives of 39 million people since it’s discovery. This makes the reduction of poverty via implementing a living way a key way to fighting the spread of deadly diseases such as AIDs.

[1] [Unification Thought Institute. The Essentials of Unification Thought. 2007. Pp 179-180.]

[2] David Papineau, “Naturalism,” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2007.

[3] Geoffrey, “Mill's "Proof" of the Principle of Utility: A More than Half-Hearted Defense.” UNC/Chapel Hill: Social Philosophy & Policy, vol. 18, no. 2; Spring 2001, p. 330-360.

[4] Cummiskey, David. Kantian Consequentialism. Published by Oxford University Press. 1996. (p.142).

[5] Stephanie Luce, Economist and Contributor to the Living Wolf Project, January 25, 2011, Living Wage Ordinances, p. 2

[6] Bryce Covert, Economic Policy Editor for ThinkProgress, December 19, 2013, “Raising the Minimum Wage to $10.10 would Boost Growth by $22 Billion,”, (accessed 7/20/2014)

[7] Wayne Burton, Professor Emeritus of political science at West Chester University, May 25, 2014, "Hike in Minimum Wage Could Benefit Senior Citizens," Lancaster Online, (accessed 7/7/14)

[8] Mark Brenner, Assistant Research Professor at Political Economy Research Institute University of Massachusetts, July 2003, The Economic Impact of Living Wage Ordinances, p. 26-27

[9] Marybeth Lipp, USC Law School, 2002, Legislators' Obligation to Support a Living Wage: A Comparative Constitutional Vision of Justice, p. 480-481.

[10] Frederica Wilson, U.S. Congresswoman from Florida's 24th District, October 30, 2013, “Raising the Minimum Wage: Good Ethics and Good Economics,” Huffington Post,, Accessed 12-5-2014

[11] Alejandro Varela, teaches public health advocacy and policy to graduate students at Long Island University, December 7, 2014, “The Best Way to Beat AIDS Isn't Drug Treatment. It's a Living Wage,” The New Republic, cuomos-truvada-hivaids-plan-should-include-living-wage-too, Accessed 12-9-2014

Debate Round No. 1


I would like to thank my opponent for his/her quick response, and wish the best of luck.

I would also like to point out that my opponent mentioned a lot about objective reality, we need to not only look at morals in this debate, but pragmatic solutions as well.

Former US Representative Ernest Istook was once quoted in saying, “Our economic freedom is founded on individual property rights; government should never be permitted to take those away.” Our economic freedom is very important, and is even founded on rights so sacred that no one wants them taken away. Infringing on our economic freedom is an explicit example of a government being unjust. Consequently, I stand in firm negation of the resolution previously stated by my opponent. Please note:

Value: Capitalism.

Capitalism: an economic system to control personal and corporation economy rather than government regulations.

Value Criterion: Quality of Life

Quality of life: the daily activities that people undertake that have been enhanced by external factors.

C1: The living wage ordinance hosts a pool of flaws.

  • A: A living wage is indeterminable.

Allison Schrager, economist and journalist, Huffington Post, August 4th, 2013

“Living wage measures are completely arbitrary and that members of the upper middle class, both conservatives and liberals, aren’t well qualified to determine what’s an acceptable lifestyle for other people.”

Each individual, each family, and each community, are different. It is beyond anyone to be capable of instigating a just living wage.

  • B: A living wage won’t create jobs.

Brendan Buck, spokesperson, US House of Representatives, USA Today, February 18th, 2014

“Mandating higher wages has real costs, including fewer people working. With unemployment Americans' top concern, our focus should be creating — not destroying — jobs for those who need them most.”

A study taken by the non partisan Congressional Budget Office indicated that job loss was inevitable. The report explained that approximately 500,000 jobs would be lost.

  • C: Inflation is an inevitable consequence.

Report, Congressional Budget Office, February, 2014

“The real value of the minimum wage has both risen and fallen, as the

nominal increases have subsequently been eroded by inflation.”

When the minimum wage has been increased, the benefits have been countered by dire levels of inflation.

C2: A living wage ordinance would harm Capitalism and Quality of Life.

When considering the implementation of a living wage, one must consider its harmful effects. With a rigid living wage, equality becomes too harsh. Individuals who fail to produce high productivity still would receive roughly the same pay as an individual who works hard, and this is mainly due to budget cuts. Capitalism allows for economic freedom, which enables corporations and even cities to mandate the wages of their workers rather than an ordinance.

Quality of life is also lowered. Individualism and creativity are harmed because individuals aren’t able to receive ample rewards for high productivity. Because of this, a living wage ordinance should not be implemented. With this in mind, please move with me to my opponent's case, where his value is that of morality.

However, we must understand that morality is not upheld through a living wage. Morality is harmed by the detrimental effects of a living wage.

American Legislative Exchange Council, March 2014

"Raising the minimum wage favors those who already have jobs at the expense of the unemployed. While some workers receive a marginal addition to their wages, others- usually less educated or experienced- are left unable to find employment."

This isn't moral. The living wage fails to help the ones for which it is targeted. These people are still left with the problem of unemployment as competition increases.

My opponent also standardizes the maximization of well being. These benefits do not not exist with a living wage. He says, to fulfill well being, that a living wage encourages economic growth. Unfortunately, the opposite is reality.

David Neumark [Professor of Economics, U. of California, Irvine] ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT QUARTERLY, November 2013

"Moreover the larger report (Charles River Associates, 2011), of which our labor market research was one component, also studied how the real estate market in New York City was likely to be affected by the proposed living wage law. The real estate analysis suggested potentially quite adverse effects on real estate development in New York City owing to the coverage of the living wage law, to whom liability would have been extended, and the penalties for non compliance, which include repayment of the financial assistance received. Because labor markets and real estate markets are closely related, were these adverse effects on real estate development to occur, the labor market impacts could be worse than the relatively modest impacts suggested by our labor market analysis."

New York isn't the only area that can suffer from living wage laws.

Kris Hart, THE WASHINGTON POST, September 7, 2013

"The District [of Columbia] has made so much progress in business development and local neighborhood revitalization. This conversation about a "living wage" is ridiculous and will only further slow our economy. Are all workers in the city to be paid a "living wage"? The Large Retailer Accountability Act reveals a lack of understanding among city leaders about fundamental economics. Jobs create jobs. Development creates better neighborhoods."

Instead of economic development, we find that local economies are stifled, and unable to be successful. My opponent also mentions how the economy is helped by a living wage. This is once again a false claim. His evidence is from the EPI (Economic Policy Institute), which is a Washington-based liberal think tank. This institute has been pushing for a raise in wages since its creation, and thus does not publish any findings of harm caused the living wage. On the other hand, the American Legislative Exchange council is an agency in which legislators and representatives hire to find, study, and compile research in order to either pass or deny legislation.

American Legislative Exchange Council, March 2014

“The current proposal before Congress to raise the federal wage to $10.10 per hour would likely eliminate an estimated 300,000 jobs per year and lower the national gross domestic product by an average of $40 billion per year.”

The impact of the negative effects bear far more weight. 85,000 people might gain a job, but 300,000 others will lose theirs.

My opponent brings up an argument that the living wage will sustain Social Security. While this may be true, we see little long-term benefits with a host of short-term problems. Implementing a living wage will overburden taxpayers.

STATES NEWS SERVICE, January 14, 2014

“Finally, the report cautions that the cost of living wage laws may be passed on to taxpayers. "With higher labour costs for city contractors, there is the potential for living wage laws to result in larger city budgets and higher municipal taxes," Lammam [Fraser Institute, Canada] said.”

While partial Social Security could be preserved for the future, all taxpayers will suffer the brunt of the cost short-term, even the ones who don’t receive benefits from a living wage (employers paid above a living wage).

My opponent also makes the claim that productivity will be increased. As I have already explained, that is false. Low productivity and high productivity will still have roughly the same pay due to budget cuts (C2).

My opponent blatantly claims that a living wage solves for poverty. In actuality, it does not, and cannot.

Forbes Magazine article, December 31, 2012,

“As a poverty program, raising the minimum wage is like killing flies with a shotgun, not very well targeted. About 60% of the officially poor don’t work, so the only thing raising the minimum wage does for them is to make it harder for them to get a job if they ever decide to get one...Congress raised the minimum wage 10.6% in July 2009...In the ensuing 6 months, nearly 600,000 teen jobs disappeared.”

Unemployment was spiked. Without a job, people can’t escape poverty. Logic comes into play here. The most impoverished are the low-skilled, less-educated citizenship. When employers are required to pay a higher wage, they won’t look for those people to fill their jobs. Any applicants with experience, better education, and deftly skilled in multiple areas will automatically win the position over anyone else. This either leaves those people in poverty, or pushes more into poverty.

My opponent explains that families can’t be supported with the current minimum wage. While this is true, I have already shown how the living wage cannot bring people out of poverty. However, the EITC (Earned Income Tax Credit) can.

Richard Toikka (Economist, The Lewin Group) GEORGETOWN PUBLIC POLICY REVIEW, 2003

“Tax credits can target the assistance to families most in need rather than giving a wage boost to all low-wage workers, many of whom live in relatively high-income families. Recent research has shown that only about 15% of workers who might see a pay increase from a living wage ordinance live in poor families and only 12-26% of families who might see an increase in income from living wage ordinances are poor. The rest have other sources of financial support, such as a spouse, parent, or relative, who keep the families out of poverty.”

As I have shown, the EITC can better target and support the impoverished who really need the extra wages. By using tax credits, the government succeeds in helping poverty and fighting against the other problems resulting from poverty, as my opponent mentioned. It is a better and more successful solution than the harmful and immoral living wage. Vote Con.

I would like to once again thank my opponent for allowing me the privilege to debate this topic. Best of luck!



Starting on his value:

1. My value comes first. There's no reason why we ought to even have capitalism without some other kind of justification, the kind of justification my framework provides.

2. If we value capitalism and helping businesses, you still affirm. Cross-apply my Brenner evidence which is talking about how a living wage increases worker productivity. This outweighs his analytical argument saying that workers won't work as hard since you prefer my evidence to his word.

3. F*ck capitalism. We need to be fighting the corporate machine, not giving money to it. They can certainly afford to pay their workers better. White[1]:
    • "The average CEO of an S&P 500 company makes $12.3 million a year on average. They can afford it. The 1% is able to make that kind of money by only paying workers an average of $34,645 per year, despite escalating productivity. Corporations are using the excuse of the recession to slash pay, attack pensions, and ratchet down their health care contributions. You’ve heard the rhetoric: “We all have to tighten our belts.” But in the last year, we saw 100 new billionaires added to the Forbes Billionaires List. ..."
Then, onto his standard of ensuring quality of life.

This flows aff so hard. Living wage improves the quality of life of the suburban poor. Berube[2]:
    • "As so many jobs today are located in suburbs, especially lower-wage sectors like retail and hospitality, suburban residents are increasingly likely to experience working poverty. So it stands to reason that measures to boost their wages, like ... living wage campaigns, could be important tools for addressing the economic hardships facing suburban workers and communities."
And without a living wage, this forces 60% of the working poor to rely on welfare to attempt to make ends meet. Walsh[3]:
    • "Americans notoriously hate welfare, unless it’s called something else and/or benefits us personally. We think it’s for slackers and moochers and people who won’t pull their weight. So we’re not sure how to handle the fact that a quarter of people who have jobs today make so little money that they also receive some form of public assistance, or ... that 60 percent of able-bodied adult food-stamp recipients are employed. ... 52 percent of fast-food workers’ families receive ... Medicaid, food stamps ... to the tune of $7 billion annually, ..."
And, studies show that in areas without a living wage petty crimes are higher. Implimenting living wage is shown to decrease crime. Fernandez, et al.[4]:
    • "In this paper, we evaluate the unintended consequences of living-wage policies on crime. ... First ... we are the first to study the impact of living wages on related deviant behaviors. Second ... we are able to explicitly mitigate the potential endogeneity bias of living-wage ordinances using a variety of empirical approaches. We find robust evidence that living-wage ordinances lead to modest reductions in expected robbery, burglary, larceny, and MVT rates ..."
And, you can cross-apply the Varela evidence I read in my case as how implimenting the living wage will lower rates of HIV infections which went completely uncontested.

And, implimenting a living wage will close up the income gap between minorities and the rest of America. Right now they lack this access. Berg[5]:

    • “The numbers themselves are staggering, but we look at these outcomes as deeper systemic problems,” ... race and ethnicity, as well as gender, play a huge role in income inequality. ... “Forty-seven percent of all workers earn a living wage greater than or equal to the living wage for two working adults and two children, but only 33 percent of workers of color were able to provide the income needed for that family type,” ... “Fewer people of color, Latinos and females have access to a living wage."
And, his claims that a living wage will reduce jobs is bull. Multiple economic studies show that implimenting higher wages won't actually affect jobs. Boushey '14[6]:

    • "Careful studies of the economics literature find that increases in the minimum wage have little to no effect on employment. Economists ... found that the increase in the minimum wage did not reduce employment. ... Research by ... the University of North Carolina ... and ... Berkeley ... found that minimum wage did not have a significant effect on employment."
This responds to virtually all of the contentional complaints as well, and because of this not only am I fulfilling my own framework, but I also fulfill his framework by affirming. So it doesn't really matter which framework you look at it because I'm winning both of them. But let's go to specific contention responses:

First, off of his living wage is indeterminable argument:

This doesn't even mean that the living wage is indeterminable. It just means that the cost of living in Montana is probably gonna be different than in California, which is common sense. Different places cost different amounts to live there.

Then, off of his inflation argument.

The card literally doesn't have any kind of warrant to it. He's trying to show you that a living wage causes inflation with a piece of evidence that barely, if at all, shows correlation. Even if you buy that the card shows correlation, which it really doesn't, correlation still isn't the same thing as causation.

And off of his second contention:

There's really not a whole lot to respond to here because there's literally zero warrant to any of this other than it's just his say so. Not to mention that I have carded evidence and empirics that disprove this contention already.

Then, on his response to why the living wage isn't moral:

There's zero warrant to this as well. Moreover, prefer my evidence that directly contradicts this.
Then, off of his argument where living wage doesn't benefit the economy:

His two pieces of evidence don't actually have any kind of warrant to them. The Neumark card says that there were some kind of affect on the HOUSING MARKET, and then tries to establish a link between that and labor markets somehow by just saying that "they're closely related" without actually establishing how or if this "relationship" actually is true in this case. The Hart card says even less than that, it's just his bland assertion on a tangent without any kind of evidence to back up his assertion.

His only argument against my Covert evidence is that it's from the EPI and they're liberally biased, but that's not actually responding to the statistics at all: I can be liberally biased in my analysis, but if I say 1+1=2, that doesn't suddenly mean that 1+1 may not equal 2. Moreover, he ignores the Luce evidence I read right above it which explains the exact same implications, so I have non-biased sources saying the exact same thing.

Then, off of his argument where he says living wage overburdens tax payers:

All his States News Service card actually says is that implimenting a living wage COULD POTENTIALLY mean higher municipal taxes. But a) this doesn't show how this is always the case, refer back to my card at the top of this round talking about how top CEOs can certainly afford to be paying the increased wages without having to rely on tax support, and b) he's not even warranting how these new taxes would "overburden" the public if they were to happen.

And social security is important because it's what provides for the elderly in retirement. Without it, they'll have to continue to work and take jobs from those who aren't retired and are unemployed, meaning that because I'm protecting social services I'm allowing the opportunity for the unemployed to find jobs that otherwise would've been taken.

Then, off of his argument that living wage doesn't solve for poverty

1. He's making the same correlation = causation argument. He seems to be forgetting that we were also in a massive recession in '09.
2. Refer back to the truck-loads of evidence I read off already how a living wage won't actually cut jobs.
3. His analysis here ignores the working poor: those who have jobs yet can't make enough to support themselves, which is what literally all my evidence talks about. Extend this out because it's a direct counter-example to this. Implimenting a living wage will lift the working poor out of poverty, which is something he doesn't respond to.

And, off of the EITC argument:

1. He's not actually showing how EITC actually solves the issues that he claims living wage has. His card doesn't have any kind of warrant for this, only that people who would see a pay increase from a living wage is small which doesn't have anything to do with the point he was trying to make.
2. He provides literally no reason why I can't impliment this along-side a living wage. This is damning to his argument here because without some kind of uniqueness argument as to why living wage and EITC are mutually exclusive, there's no reason why I can't impliment this as well in the affirmative world.

[1] - Sarah White, Seattle Contingent for The Socialist Alternative, February 17, 2014, “Why We Fight for a $15 an Hour Minimum Wage,” The Socialist Alternative,
[2] - Alan Berube, senior fellow and deputy director at the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program, November 8, 2013, “The Living Wage in SeaTac: Confronting Suburban Poverty?,” The Brookings Institute,
[3] - Joan Walsh, Salon's editor at large, December 15, 2013, “Poverty nation: How America created a low-wage work swamp,”,
[4] - Jose Fernandez, et al., Department of Economics, University of Louisville, July 2014, “The Impact of Living-Wage Ordinances on Urban Crime,” Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Volume 53, Issue 3, p.
[5] - Lauren Berg, Staff Writer, November 23, 2014, “Study shows families lack a ‘living wage’," Daily Progress,
[6] - Heather Boushey, Executive Director and Chief Economist, Washington Center for Equitable Growth, March 12, 2014, Testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions on “From Poverty to Opportunity: How A Fair Minimum Wage will Help Families Succeed”, Equitable Growth
Debate Round No. 2


I would like to thank my opponent for his response.

As for his value of morality, my opponent claims that morality should come first, before any other value. While true, it is vital to understand that a living wage isn’t moral. The policy itself isn’t sound.

Doug Bandow, senior at Cato Institute, Special Assistant to Former President Ronald Reagan, January 13, 2014

“Government [living] wage-setting is immoral. It simply is unfair and wrong for politicians to posture as philanthropists while arbitrarily forcing other people to pay higher salaries.”

It is crucial to understand that upholding morality is definitely not going to be found with a living wage, as it actually doesn’t help the moral problems that should be fixed (Ex.: poverty, unemployment)

Furthermore, my opponent completely ignored evidence I gave in argument to his value in the previous round from the American Legislative Exchange Council (or ALEC). Preserving capitalism is the moral superior over a living wage. Because a living wage is immoral and would harm capitalistic freedom, we must negate the resolution.

My opponents next argument was vulgar and very unprofessional. However, I must explain how capitalism is very important. He argues that we should be fighting capitalism rather than feeding it. This is flawed on many levels. First, we need to understand that capitalism is an old concept and has worked well in the United States. Its relative of Laissez-Faire economics also allows for free market rather than complete government rule. With a living wage, and without capitalism, we find our governments becoming very socialistic. These concepts have failed miserable in the past. Just ask Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union. Secondly, many corporations cannot afford to pay their workers more, contrary to my opponent’s claims.

ALEC, March 2014

“Businesses cannot afford to pay employees more than those employees produce on the aggregate… Most minimum wage earners work for small businesses, rather than large corporations… Small businesses often push profits as low as they can go to stay open. Minimum wage earners employed by large corporations would also be affected, because these corporations are under tremendous pressure from shareholders to keep costs low.”

These logical reasons show that businesses are not able to pay a living wage without it creating for them a host of problems.

My opponent attacks quality of life from multiple angles. However, he assumes all of these attacks under the premise that a living wage is actually a moral system. As he said, morality should be of utmost priority. If the living wage is not moral, quality of life is not enhanced. External factors (in this case a living wage) mandate the quality of a life. If a system causes problems and doesn’t solve them, the immorality harms quality of life. Also, quality of life is relatively the same as well-being. I will use them synonymously in this round.

Armstrong Williams, journalist, Washington Times, July 20, 2014

“Economist Thomas Sowell sums it up well: “The net economic effect of minimum wage laws is to make less skilled, less experienced or otherwise less desired workers more expensive — thereby pricing many of them out of jobs.”

These problems are immoral, and caused by a living wage. Thus, quality of life is harmed.

My opponent also claims that “implimenting” a living wage will help, and close the income gap. There are 2 problems with this. First of all, “impliment” is not a word. Secondly, while the income disparity might be closed a little, a living wage would push more people into unemployment. We can refer back to Thomas Sowell’s conclusion, that many people will be out of jobs. That number can total up to, or even exceed, 500,000 (CBO Report).

My opponent then states that my claim that a living wage will harm the job market is false (using another vulgar slang). He says it has no impact. I would like to point out that this contradicts his previous claims. In his first round of argumentation, he uses evidence from Covert[6] that claims it will result in more jobs. He is inconsistent in what a living wage will do for the job market, thus his argument falls without merit. I have proven through multiple pieces of evidence that it will actually result in more unemployment. (ALEC, Congressional Budget Office [CBO])

My opponent claims that he has fulfilled both frameworks. However, that is false. In fact, the negative side has better proven that the living wage is immoral, will not maximize well-being, will harm quality of life, and ultimately won’t preserve capitalism. Thus, both frameworks are better upheld by negating the resolution.

From this point forward, my opponent uses no new evidence to back up his claims.

My opponent declares that a living wage is determinable. He says that the cost of living in Montana is “probably gonna” be different than in California. That is exactly the issue. Because of the differing costs of living, there is no just or moral way to implement a living wage. That makes a living wage indeterminable for a just government, and goes directly against the resolution.

My opponent asserts that my argument of inflation has no warrant. My evidence did directly correlate to inflation and the raise in wages, and explained how it was the cause of the problem as well. To quench my opponent’s thirst for better evidence, I will acquiesce with a more explanatory piece.

Debra Burke [Professor of Law, Western Carolina U.] GONZAGA LAW REVIEW, 2010-2011

“Finally, the increase in labor costs [living wage] can spur inflation and undercut the real minimum wage, precipitating an endless spiral.”

My opponent claims that my second contention has no warrant, because it is my “say so.” It actually does maintain warrant. It is the logic of morality. Furthermore, it has already been proven by the negative side of the problems and results of a living wage prove again and again to go against capitalism and preserving a good quality of life.

My opponent also states that I have no warrant in saying that a living wage is immoral. To counteract this, I will assume my opponent thinks that living in poverty and unemployment is morally right. Regardless of what he might think, it’s not.

Mark Trumbull, THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR, August 20, 2013

“Economists David Neumark of the University of California at Irvine and William Wascher of the Federal Reserve Board, surveyed studies that have been done over the past 2 decades, [and] they found the evidence weighted toward the view that boosting the minimum wage has at least modest negative effects on job creation.”

My opponent also says that there will be economic growth, and when I provided 2 pieces of evidence that showed how a living wage would stifle local economies, he professes they have no warrant. Yet he still provides no verification as to why they have no warrant, and simply states himself that they are useless. No evidence is provided to show why his stance is right, while I provided 2 pieces of evidence. He also tells us to prefer his evidence, with no real reason as to why. Furthermore, the evidence he used was from 2011, while the evidence I used was published in 2013. He tells us to prefer 1 piece of old evidence over 2 pieces of new evidence. I will provide him with a 3rd piece of new evidence.

Nancy Ploeger [President, Manhattan Chamber of Commerce], THE NEW YORK TIMES, January 3, 2012

“(Editorial, Dec. 26) did not mention New York City's own failed experience with a so-called living-wage law: the Kingsbridge Armory in the Bronx. Rather than a bustling retail center creating thousands of jobs, the armory sits embarrassingly empty after politicians demanded wage requirements more than 2 years ago. Today, no serious plan is in sight for Kingsbridge, and the community is deprived of good jobs.”

My opponent avows that I did not make any argument to his evidence from EPI other than saying it is liberally based. This is not true. Refer back to the evidence I brought from the ALEC directly after his EPI evidence from Covert, where it adequately responded to his statistics.

He also says that “implimenting” a living wage can only potentially increase taxes. That is true. But that extra money to pay those raised wages has to come from somewhere. To compensate, there will be 1 of 3 things happen. 1) taxes will be increased to pay for wages, 2) companies will raise the price of their products, or 3) the company will hire less and fire more. Either of the 3 choices are immoral and a detriment to the economy.

He declares that a living wage will create jobs. He says he has “truckloads” of evidence, yet barely mentioned the creation of jobs except with the EPI, which I have countered with ALEC and CBO. He also says that I didn’t respond to how a living wage will lift people out of poverty. In actuality, I explained that a living wage would do no such thing.

CBO, Feb. 18, 2014

“Those earnings [of a living wage] would not go only to low-income families… Just 19% of the $31 billion would accrue to families with earnings below the poverty threshold, whereas 29% would accrue to families earning more than 3 times the poverty threshold.”

He also states that the EITC hasn’t shown to fix problems in which a living wage is designed to do, and that there is no reason why he can’t “impliment” it along side the living wage. He again uses vulgarity in his argumentation.

Here is what the EITC will do fix those problems that a living wage cannot.

“A refundable tax credit for low-income households that phases out as income rises, helping the working poor without imposing a harmful mandate on employers.”

It will actually allow those people money without potentially costing them their chance of a job. Secondly, a living wage can’t help low-income families, (as I have shown) so there is no reason why it should be implemented in the first place.

The next round is voting issues only, no new arguments or evidence. (Rd. 1 Rules)

Thank you, and best of luck!



Extend Sayre-McCord. The purpose of morality is the eliminate suffering to the greatest extend possible because suffering is inherently undesirable.

Then, extend Lipp. The working poor are stuck in a deadly catch-22 where they work constantly yet can't afford to support themselves, forcing them into poverty regardless of how hard they work. The wages they earn on a minimum wage salary literally cannot support them. Creating a living wage lifts these workers out of poverty and allows them to support themselves and their families.

Extend Wilson: under the status quo working for a minimum wage mathematically prohibits the working poor from supporting themselves, let alone their family. McDonalds, in their attempt to show their workers how they can afford to live on a minimum wage salary, essentially told their workers to work a second job. Without a living wage, the working poor cannot pull themselves out of poverty, and they require this living wage in order to actually be able to afford to live.

And, extend Varela. Poverty correlates with HIV infection rates, meaning the more poor there are, the higher rates of infection for diseases like HIV that the US will have. Since I'm solving for the working poor, I'm eliminating a boat-load of poor which reduces HIV infections. And extend out the death tolls from diseases like HIV, meaning that I'm saving hundreds upon thousands of lives by implimenting a living wage simply because I'm allowing the working poor to not longer be the working poor, but rather the working.

All of his responses (without actually being sourced, which makes me question most of his actual pieces of evidence) and in response to the poor overall, which isn't actually responsive to my arguments. Unemployed people have hosts of other government resources and welfare to pull from in order to be able to maintain a decent standard of living. But refer back to my argument which says that the living poor don't actually get that option: they don't make enough money to support themselves, but they make too much money in order to qualify for things like welfare.

And, saving lives are going to outweigh other economic impacts because there's not much point to economic impacts if we're not alive: if I'm saving my family and I three billion dollars a year but I'm dying because of it, it won't matter how much money I'm saving because I'll still, y'know, be dead.

This means that you're affirming because I'm making it clear that I'm winning this impact analysis: there's contested economic benefits and harms coming from both sides (overall economic impact, job availability, worker productivity, etc.) which is a really messy part of this debate. I'm extending off clear offense as to why implimenting a living wage will save lives because I'm getting the working poor to be able to lift themselves out of poverty which reduces their chances for things like HIV, which means I'll be saving lives. None of this has been responded to by my opponent, and his responses to people in poverty overall don't actually apply to the specifics of my argument. I'm showing you why saving lives outweighs other economic impacts, so that even if you think the economics debate is clearer than I'm saying it is, you're still preferring this offense anyway. It's a clear affirmative ballot from there. But let's move on.

But let's go back to the negative side of the flow. Let's go down the top.

Group the entire economics debate.

First, You're preferring my evidence because they're providing actual warrants within the cards themselves. Read over his pieces of evidence that he's cited so far. Virtually all of them, save maybe one or two, actually have analytical or empirical warrants within them. The rest are literally just assertions that he's citing as evidence because someone else said it, which is not only a bare assertion for the making a claim without actually providing evidence part, but just saying "This person/group says it so it must be right". So on the places we have clashing pieces of evidence here, like on job losses and economic benefits, you're prefering my evidence here because all of my cards are actually warranted within the cards themselves. The cards that he's trying to use as warrants for his arguments don't have warrants themselves.

But, even if you're not buying the economic part of the debate and are leaning in his favor, I'm still outweighing by saving the lives of the working poor, which is something that my opponent hasn't actually made a response to throughout the entire debate. This is his major game-over mistake because not only will it be an economic benefit of reducing the poverty by bringing these working poor out of poverty and giving them more money, with which they can re-invest in the economy by spending it, but I'm literally saving their lives from diseases like HIV whos infection rates correlate with poverty rates: the more poverty, the more infections. Not only that but by bringing the working poor out of poverty, I'm lowering the crime rate of crimes like theft and vandalism (this is coming from Fernandez et al, which empirically proves this and my opponent never made a response to this) which improves everyone's quality of life and eliminates suffering, which in turn maximizes wellbeing.

So to summarize all of that into quick little bulletpoints, just in case I haven't made this absolutely crystal-clear:

1. My opponent never makes a response against how implimenting a living wage would lift the working poor out of poverty. He never contests my empirics that show that the working poor physically cannot get out of poverty on their own and require something from the government (i.e. a living wage) in order to escape from poverty. This impact is absolutely massive in the debate because not only will this benefit the economy (less poverty, more money in the hands of people who will spend it/save it), but it lowers the rates of infections from diseases such as HIV, which kill thousands upon millions of people. His poverty respones address people who are unemployed, not people who are employed but cannot make enough to avoid being poverish.

2. He drops the argument I make on his case that implimenting a living wage would decrease petty crime rates and doesn't contest the empirics I use to back this up. Not only is this a voter in terms of my framework since less crime is obviously a good thing in terms of my framework, but it also promotes people's quality of life, which fulfills his framework as well. This in and of itself is something you can pull the trigger aff on.

3. The economics debate is muddled, but you prefer my evidence mainly because they're the only evidence being cited in the round that contains actual warrants in them. You can go back over his cards and see for yourself how all but, like, two, have actual warrants within the texts of the cards. And don't let him say that "Oh the article explains the stats or empirics behind it" because he doesn't actually provide you with any of that: his citations are literally just who published it and when and nothing else. So you're preferring my evidence on the economics debate because not only are they the only pieces of evidence that are actually warranted, but they're verifiably warranted, whereas you can't really verify his pieces of evidence. This is critical because this means that literally every single one of the negative impacts coming off of his case won't actually happen, leaving you with literally no other option but to affirm.
Debate Round No. 3
27 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by ColeTrain 3 years ago
Thank you, to all of you who have commented on this debate. :) @Max, true. I still think a living wage would be a bad idea, regardless of whether or not national debt was paid.
Posted by Max.Wallace 3 years ago
Someone needs to do a calculation of how high the minimum wage needs to be to eliminate the national debt in 3 years or less. Then the points of pro could be understood.

I am willing to bet if the plan is implemented then world war 3 will be right around the corner.

The world will not continue to pay for our armies, in order to posses our dollars, they will make their own currency, why wouldn't they?

Why should anyone be a slave to the Fed, Rockefeller tyranny.
Posted by ColeTrain 3 years ago
I apologize.. I was going to post my response, and lost all of my progress. I'm in the process of rewriting it, so it should be up in an hour or so.

@Beagle_hugs It was not meant as an insult, but I accept your apology as it is. I was only intending for someone knowledgeable about Lincoln-Douglas debate and the living wage itself to accept the argument. With those two criteria, they would understand that the affirmative is allowed the liberty to set the parameters of the debate, provide the definition, and begin the debate.
Posted by Beagle_hugs 3 years ago
I'm sorry, I shouldn't have reacted to your insult.

I have things to donduring the day, so, someone beat me to acceptance.

I stand by what I said, and it has nothing to do with the presumed ignorance of an opponent. A debate that's structured and worded so that the instigator gets to "clarify" (really shift) a definition after the response delivers the first actual argument is simply for the purpose of exploiting a difference in interpretation. Your original format would be fair if you delivered the definitions and parameters that you intend to be acceptable.
Posted by ColeTrain 3 years ago
Of course. :)
Posted by Zaradi 3 years ago
Sure. What's the character limit set at, and can you set it to 10k if it's not?
Posted by ColeTrain 3 years ago
Zaradi, would you be willing to debate me if I took out round three? That would be LD format without cross x (which is not plausible on an online site.)
Posted by Zaradi 3 years ago
Cole if you want to do this in LD style I'll accept. Tempted to even if you say no though
Posted by Rubikx 3 years ago
They're called taxes.
Posted by Valkrin 3 years ago
It's really up to the contender. Upon accepting a debate they accept the instigator's definitions and the format of the debate. If they have questions, they should feel free to ask in the comments (as I have done). I merely questioned the wording of the debate and decided it would probably be best not to debate a topic such as this. The one who accepts the debate is implying they understand the debate format and are willing to continue with it.

My advice to Cole...make the wording not as vague. (i.e. define a "government", especially a "just government" for that matter. What qualifies a government as just?)

As well, change the format to the one I mentioned, to make it simpler for both parties.

If you do those two things, people would probably be more willing to accept. I still won't, personally, but others might.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by The-Voice-of-Truth 3 years ago
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:--Vote Checkmark3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:00 
Reasons for voting decision: Reasons stated above. After carefully considering this debate, I voted honestly.