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Resolved: The USFG ought to tax the rich more

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Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: Select Winner
Started: 1/29/2016 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 799 times Debate No: 85773
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (21)
Votes (0)




1. This is a TEAM DEBATE!!!


-- Famousdebater
-- TheProphett


-- lannan13
-- Balacafa

2. The Burden Of Proof is shared

3. First round for acceptance. No new arguments in the final round.

4. No semantics, kritiks, trolling, forfeiture etc.

5. Failure to agree to the definitions, rules and burdens analysis is an automatic forfeiture of all points.


USFG - United States Federal Government

Ought - used to indicate duty or correctness, should

Tax - a compulsory contribution of money to state revenue

Rich - Somebody earning $1,000,000 per year or more.

More - Of a higher amount.

Good luck to all participants.


We accept this debate.

Good luck.
Debate Round No. 1



Thank you Lanann13 and Balacafa for agreeing to do this debate with us. This is a team debate that I’m sure that we’ll all learn something new from. This topic is a largely controversial one, and has been an increasingly debatable issue in both the UK and US for a while. I (famousdebater) would also like to thank TheProphett for agreeing to do this team debate with me. I’m sure that this will prove to be as successful as all of the other team debates that I’ve done so far.


Our framework will be centered around the ideology of socialism. Socialism promotes equality for the poor. Socialist goals include making sure the poor aren’t too burdened (basic needs are met) and making sure that they are given equal opportunities and sufficient living and working conditions [2]. We will demonstrate that socialism is the morally superior and preferable ideology and I will explain the position that a socialist would take in this debate and why.

Morality is defined as the degree to which something is right and wrong [1]. Socialists care about all members of society. Socialism’s rival economic system, capitalism [3], violates the universal system of morality [4]. In order for capitalism to work it needs poor people. Without poverty the whole concept of capitalism crumbles because society would be equal and would therefore be socialist [5]. Poverty kills people, and it kills them inhumanely in a slow and painful manner [6]. Since poverty violates our universal concept of morality then we ought to consider socialism as the more moral option and as a result, the option that we ought to incline towards.

This issue is simple and will become even simpler when our counterplan is taken into consideration. By taxing the rich more the burden put on the poor can be taken off due to the amount needed for tax collection being fulfilled by the rich alone. The burden put off of the poor is immense, and we will prove this in the following arguments. If the poor have to pay less, then this effectively means that the poor are put into a more financially stable position which fulfills the goal of socialism.

Morality plays a big part in this debate. Our framework lays the foundation for the creation of arguments based on morality and the betterment of society. If our framework is not adequately rebutted, I would like the judges to look through a lense of morality at the cases, and determining what team justified the rights and wrongs of their arguments.

Taxing the Rich

Those who would wish to negate this resolution see the taxation of the wealthy as detrimental. This team will prove that this statement is false and that society as a whole would benefit from increased taxation of the wealthy (as defined in the opening round). [7] Economist Joseph E. Stiglitz, a nobel prize laureate in economics, stated the following, “It is “absurd” to argue that most wealth at the top is already highly taxed or that there isn’t much more revenue to be had by raising taxes on the 1 percent. The only upside of the concentration of the wealth at the top is that they have more money to pay in taxes.” This statement carries an immense amount of weight with regard to the resolution. The wealth of America is concentrated at the top of the economic totem pole while those who are less fortunate endure an unreasonable tax burden [7]. The taxes paid by the less fortunate could be used to pay for education or increase the quality of the lives of their children. The idea that taxing the rich is in some sense wrong or detrimental to any component of society or our economy is absurd, and if taxes are not increased at the top so as to benefit the less fortunate, then the bottom will continue to sink lower.

(a) Concentrating an increase in taxation on the wealthy and lessening the burden on the lower fifths [7] would lift the bottom up. There are many reasons to allow the poor “breathing room,” such as better care for our future generations and increased quality of life for the lower class (which has many net benefits for society). Other problems the poor face include [8] holding the lowest paying and most unstable jobs, having part-time rather than full-time employment, lacking access to higher education, and less access to healthcare. It is not wrong or questionable to concentrate taxation on the wealthiest earners in the nation, but rather it is a reasonable approach to solve simple problems within our economy and society.

(b) Taxing the rich will increase the ease of access to top tier education in our nation, and we have tangible evidence to prove this claim. According to the New York Times [7], “If the tax increases were limited to just the 115,000 households in the top 0.1 percent, with an average income of $9.4 million, a 40 percent tax rate would produce $55 billion in extra revenue in its first year. That would more than cover, for example, the estimated $47 billion cost of eliminating undergraduate tuition at all the country’s four-year public colleges and universities, as Senator Bernie Sanders has proposed, or Mrs. Clinton’s cheaper plan for a debt-free college degree, with money left over to help fund universal prekindergarten.” We can do a lot more for our economy and society than just improving the quality of lives for our citizens; we can give them an education that will serve them throughout their lives. What could be of greater value than increasing taxes by about five percent on the rich and in return allowing for the broader education of the nation’s citizens?

Counter Plan

As briefly mentioned earlier, we will be proposing a counterplan. The counterplan will be the new system that we believe should be enforced. The counterplan is as follows:

Proposal 1: Bracketed tax system, with the “rich” as specified in the debate receiving a percentage less than 50% but at least 5% more than the middle class.

Proposal 2: The lowest earners receive no taxes and instead are allowed to focus on employment, raising children, education, etc.

Our first proposal fits the resolution as the rich are being taxed more. Therefore it stands.

Our second proposal is fits in with the resolution since there is no debate format prohibiting us from making additional proposals that ultimately lead us to affirming. This also coincides with our socialism based framework since we are creating equality since the rich are making $1,000,000+ per year (as the definitions state) and therefore, additional taxation (especially since we do not believe that it should be increased to an unrealistic or an overly high amount), is not an unrealistic claim. Since the poorest members of societies often have families and children it violates socialism (and our socialist framework) when you make the claim that they should have to continue to pay tax.

National Debt

This is relates back to the counterplan. If the minimum amount of money required to be considered rich is $1million then let’s look at what 1% of that is. 1% of $1 million is $10,000. So adding on 1% to the poorest of the richest will get $10,000. In the US there are 536 billionaires [9]. Logically the lowest amount of money that these people have is $1 billion. So let’s see the taxation of an additional 1% and see how much we can make from it. 1% of $1 billion is $10,000,000 ($10 million). The members of society grouped into the lowest fifth make slightly under $13,000 [7],with an additional 1% of their tax (similarly to the the proposed taxation on the rich),then their contribution would make no impact in the grand scheme of things considering that $130 (1% of 13,000) is 0.0013% of 10,000,000. Now let’s put this into the context of the national debt, the national debt is currently at $19,000,000,000,000 ($19 trillion). To expect people paying $130 in taxation to pay this off is ridiculous.

With the money and wealth of the billionaires in the US not only could we wipe out the national debt significantly quicker but we could also use the increase in taxation to prevent further accumulation of our national debt before paying it off. This will ultimately be done because with the increase in taxation on the rich government borrowing will be reduced because they will not have as much of a demand for the money. This could easily go a long way towards wiping out this year’s estimated federal deficit of $426 billion [7].After this we can work towards paying off the national debt which will take 29 years with the accumulated taxation of the richest 1%, however since the definition of rich includes all of those that make over $1,000,000 yearly this means that it will be quicker than 29 years to pay it off. That means the debt could be payed off in less than 1 generation [10]! Therefore we stand with our claim that taxing the rich more would result in beneficial actions towards the national debt and our deficit.


To conclude, we believe that the resolution is affirmed due to the fact that we have provided tangible and reliable evidence to prove our contentions and arguments to be true. We thank our opponents once again for their acceptance. Vote Pro!














We thank our opponent's for their patience in this debate, but without further ado, let's jump in.

Contention 1: Laffer's Curve

Arthur Laffer came up with the argument commonly referred to as the Laffer Curve or Laffer’s Curve. The idea behind the relationship between tax rates and tax revenues is that changes in tax rates have two different effects on revenues. They are called the arithmetic effect on revenues and the economic effect on revenues.

Laffer describes the arithmetic effect,

“simply that if tax rates are lowered, tax revenues (per dollar of tax base) will be lowered by the amount of the decrease in the rate. The reverse is true for an increase in tax rates.” [1]

He then goes on to explain the second effect on revenues which is the economic effect. He explains the economic effect on revenue by saying:

“The economic effect recognizes the positive impact that lower tax rates have on work, output, and employment--and thereby the tax base--by providing incentives to increase these activities. Raising tax rates has the opposite economic effect by penalizing participation in the taxed activities.” [1]

As we can see is demonstrated by these explanations, the arithmetic effect clearly works in the opposite direction to the economic one as a result of this when both of the tax rate changes are combined it is more difficult to predict the consequences of the change in tax rates on total tax revenues [2].

Laffer constructed the following figure (figure 1) to “graphically illustrate” the concept of Laffer’s Curve. It is important to note that the graph does not represent the exact levels of taxation corresponding to specific levels of revenues. He notes that there would be no tax revenue at a tax rate of 0% no matter how large the tax base is [1]. He also notes that on the opposite end of the spectrum the result that they would conclude from would be the same. At a tax rate of 100%, the government would collect no tax revenue because no one would willingly work for an after-tax wage of zero, as is evident, there would be no tax base. Between these two peaks, there are two tax rates. A high tax rate on a small tax base and a low tax rate on a large tax base.

Contention 2: Tax Cuts in History

History teaches an important lesson as it has shown that high taxation has hindered the US economy while on the flip side, tax cuts and lowering taxation on the rich has had major economic benefits as well as helping the average American.

The World had begun to change during World War 1 when the world began to expierence key economic powers fight each other after the first failure of the Concert of Europe. Many people mistake the economic recession in 1920 on the retooling of US factories in the post-war era. This is completely false as taxation during the Wilson administration were at 73% [3]. Normally, the US would have recovered after the war due to the inflow of cash, but the factory owners had little money to spend on retooling which had left a great deal of people unemployed. When Harding took office he cut taxation down to 58% by 1923 and Cooledge brought it down to 25%. This massive cut in taxes created a great deal of open and aviable capital for the business who created more jobs and the economy expanded into an era known as the Roaring 20’s and unemployment was haved!

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Another factor to measure this is by economic growth from the GDP. Under Wilson the growth rate was a mere 1.4% while under Harding and Cooledge it was over 4%. [4]

Despite the lowering of taxes by these two presidents, they were undone by President FDR who raised taxes into the 90s. They remained that way until JFK came into power. Despite only cutting taxes by 20% down to 70%, this cut unemployment in half. To make things even better, GDP had expanded to a 5% growth rate, bouncing back from the recession. [5] The budget deficet was nearly dropped to 0 under these tax plans.

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Finally we have Ronald Reagan, the fiscal conservative. Since the JFK administration, the tax rate stayed at 70%. Reagan tackled this issue, dropping tax rates down to 28%. Unemployment was, once again, cut in half as it fell from 10 to 5%. [6] The Real GDP per capita skyrocketted under Reagan as it was 8.6% under President Carter, it grew to 23.4% at the end of Reagan’s 8 year term. [7] During this time period millions multipled by 7 and the nation’s wealth grew.

Contention 3: Ethics

John Rawls's Veil of Ignorance

We my first clarify a few things and the first task is to eliminate the bias behind this topic. Here we have to look at it through John Rawls Veil of Ignorance. Here one must look through Rawl's Veil of Ignorance. In order to do that one's creed, race, sex, religion, political views, and generation does not matter. This in in order to eliminate bias from the viewer in order to view his two principles of Difference and Equality. The Equality Principle is that the greatest extent of Liberty for everyone. The other states that it must benefit everyone, including the least advantaged, must be open to everyone, and your enemy chooses your position in that society or scenario. [8] In order to come behind this Veil must be a Rational Creature. Though this creates an interesting point of view since no person would have their taxes raised. This would create a system where jobs loss and high unemployment will cause people to go against this plan due to it's negitive affects. to continue, we can see that when you observe the fact that your opponent will decide your place in society then you can see that you would be the unemployed and worst affected by the plan. This plan creates a new kind of underlying societal class that leaves much to be desired.

This situation fails the Veil of Ignorance and thus it is unethical.

Social Costs Principles

The Social Costs Prinicple, or also known as Externality, states that even if something negative comes out of a plan then it should be negated. [9] This is due to the fact that humanity is completely needed and should be cared for to the upmost care. The fact is, that when we observe this plan we can see that the high unemployment rates, job loss, and other negative effects, will cause a harm to humanity and should not occur. Due to the failure under the Social Costs Principle, this plan should not be enacted.

Kant's Universal Principle

Kant's Universal Principle is exactly as it sounds. The principle is applied to everyone and if this fails to work for everyone then it fails as a plan and should not be enacted. [10] My opponent's plan even shows that this plan fails as the rich are being taxed more. This alone shows that the plan fails this test as not everyone's taxes are not being raised. It is also well known that people do not like their taxes being raised and that is a factor that needs to be accounted for in this debate. When we look at raising taxes on everyone we can see that there would be less revenue and less jobs avalable, as we've shown in earlier arguments.

This plan fails the test of Universalization and is unethical.

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[5] ibid

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[9] Buchanan, James; Wm. Craig Stubblebine (November 1962). "Externality". Economica 29 (116): 371–384.
10. Kant, Immanuel. Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals. Cambridge University Press. 1998. pg 53.

Debate Round No. 2



Thank you for your argument lannan and Balacafa. We looking forward to addressing them and we hope that this debate can continue to go in such a good direction. The discussion that has taken place so far has been excellent so let’s keep up the good work and continue with the debate. Without further ado, we’ll get started.


OBV 1: There is no clear framework set by our opponent’s since they refer to a number of moral principles. Since there is no alternative framework provided then voters ought to vote based on our framework since there is no alternative. Our opponent’s cannot bring an alternative framework as a rebuttal to our framework because an alternative framework is an argument, not a rebuttal. In the rebuttals round our opponent can critique and prove our framework wrong (if they are able to do so), however since no alternative framework is provided voters ought to presume our framework (unless our opponents manage to prove that our framework is worse than no framework).

The Laffer Curve

Our opponents brought up the interesting argument of the Laffer Curve, but our team is not quite sure about the role it plays in their argument. The Laffer Curve is defined as, “this curve shows the relationship between tax rates set by the government and how much money the government collects based upon the set rate.” [4] Judging by the picture seen in source [4], there is a spectrum of tax rates, starting at 0% and stopping at 100% (which is the maximum amount of possible taxation). According to the graph, the highest point of the graph (T*) is at about a 50% tax rate, more than our proposed tax rates actually are. This highest point represents the maximum amount of government revenue while maintaining a reasonable rate, so that employment does not drop or people do not feel motivated to work purely because of an obscene tax rate. An argument such as this one, in which the highest yield of tax rates is closer to one that the affirmative side is suggesting, is in all honesty quite silly, considering the fact that it plays directly into our main point of contention. “High” tax rates, or what the Laffer Curve considers to be the point of maximum revenue and satisfaction, do not penalize workers for their hours put in at the job; tax rates are all about raising money for the government so that programs can be further developed to aid the citizens in all respects. In the end, high tax rates concentrated on the rich is the means by which to achieve a bottom of society that doesn’t look so far from the top.

Historical and Beneficial Tax Raises

Our opponents historical examples here are not picked. To neutralize the impact of this contention we simply must provide examples in which taxes raises were beneficial. We aim to take the rebuttal further into turning it round to support our case.

It is important to note that our opponent’s mention that JFK lowered tax rates down to 70% however, that is still in favor of our proposed percentages. Our opponent’s suggest that the 70% tax rate was beneficial to the economy so this example actually supports our case rather than theirs.

Now I’ll get onto some beneficial historic tax raises. Of course we have the JFK argument which our opponent’s have kindly given us and we also have another historical example.

During the American revolution, congress accepted loans from France. Paying off these loans was proven to be a difficult task. However, 20 years after the loans were taken from France (in 1775), they managed to completely pay off these loans (in 1795) [1]. Congress’ first solution was to print more money but this just lead to hyperinflation. Eventually, under the US constitution of 1789 the the new federal government raised taxes on the rich which ended up paying off the debt to France and even extended even further than the aims that they set because it managed to also contribute to some of their other debts to other countries as well due to its success [1].

Even if you are buying Con’s argument over ours you should be aware that a large portion of their argument is bare assertion and is justified using source [5]. If you were to look at source [5] you’d find this word: “ibid”. That is not a source of information. Our opponent’s argument is primarily bare assertion, this is enough to negate the contention alone.

Our opponent’s arguments are cancelled out because they haven’t proven anything other than that taxes can be beneficial and bad. Since it is very difficult to observe every single tax raise and drop to calculate which is more beneficial overall this contention is neuralized. But it doesn’t end here. Our opponent’s end up arguing in our favor so the argument that they provided changes the previous neutralization into a contention that ultimately provides us with weight that bares impact upon the resolution.


We agree that the debate should be looked at through the veil of ignorance however our opponents make big leaps in their argument which is important to note. Con asks who would want their taxes to be raised? Since their arguments is subjective we will also provide examples of subjective inclinations as to why somebody would agree with higher taxes. Our opponent’s argument seems very dismissive of details in the resolution, specifically the fact that we are raising taxes on the rich, not everyone. Somebody may want higher taxes on the rich so that the poor do not have to pay as much in taxes (as our plan suggests); so that the people that have enough money to lead good quality lives can ensure the same for those less fortunate; so that the national debt can be payed off; so that we can pay for more equal opportunities (ie. lowering university fees), etc [2].

Social cost principles completely ignores this as a two sided debated. It looks at the negative arguments solely and says that because of these harms we ought to presume Con. This, again, fails to account for all the negatives of Con’s side. I’ll restate the list just as a reiteration, the poor do not have to pay as much in taxes (as our plan suggests); so that the people that have enough money to lead good quality lives can ensure the same for those less fortunate; so that the national debt can be payed off; so that we can pay for more equal opportunities (ie. lowering university fees), etc [2]. Both sides of the debate fail under this principle, so therefore it should not be considered when analyzing the debate.

Kant’s Universal Principle begs the question of whether subjectivity is superior to objectivity. Our opponents state that rich people do not like being taxed, therefore they shouldn’t be taxed. Firstly, the claim that the rich don’t like being taxed is unsupported. Secondly, we have to analyze the wider impacts. We’re ultimately weighing happiness vs poverty. Our opponent’s state that we shouldn’t do this because the rich will be unhappy. We state that we should because otherwise poverty will be of greater quantity because the poor do not have to pay taxes and can focus their money on providing for their family. Since our opponent’s provide no alternative framework voters should be viewing this contention under the socialist framework and this is made evident that it should go in our favor. Socialism works towards equality between the rich and the poor. If we allow poverty to be considered inferior to happiness of the rich then the poor are being burdened with poverty which is an immediate violation of the socialist framework proposed [2][3].








lannan13 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


We extend all of our arguments and our rebuttals. Our opponent's have violated rules #4 and #5. The resolution is affirmed. We urge you to vote Pro!


lannan13 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
21 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by whiteflame 8 months ago
>Reported vote: CodingSource// Mod action: Removed<

7 points to Pro. Reasons for voting decision: Team Con have violated rules 4 and 5. Therefore, the winner is Pro.

[*Reason for removal*] The debaters requested that any votes on this debate be reported and removed.
Posted by whiteflame 8 months ago
>Reported vote: Petfish// Mod action: Removed<

7 points to Pro. Reasons for voting decision: Con violated rule #4. Therefore, con forfeited all points.

[*Reason for removal*] Voter requested that this vote be removed. In the future, you can alter your vote by changing the RFD and nullifying the point allocation.
Posted by Petfish 8 months ago
Sorry, didn't read the comment section. Reported my vote.
Posted by lannan13 8 months ago
Confirming the bellow.
Posted by famousdebater 8 months ago
Because lannan allowed me to tie a different debate with him when I was busy, in return I will allow him to tie this debate with me. Me and lannan have agreed that nobody should vote on this debate and that votes will be reported and removed.
Posted by FortisAnimi 8 months ago
ibid +1
Posted by famousdebater 8 months ago
LOL - ibid.
Posted by famousdebater 8 months ago
This is gonna be close.
Posted by famousdebater 8 months ago
Nevermind, you aren't supposed to refute the title you are supposed to refute the content which isn't a counterplan it's a plan.
Posted by tejretics 8 months ago
In a "should" debate where Pro is defending a change in the status quo, whatever Pro defends is a plan. A counterplan is something that solves the harms without creating the plan.
No votes have been placed for this debate.