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Pro (for)
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The Contender
Con (against)
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Resolved: The United States Federal Government should privatize Social Security

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Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/1/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,041 times Debate No: 80389
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (34)
Votes (4)




I would like to thank Whiteflame ahead of time for accepting this debate as it has been 2 months in the making.

First Round is terms and definitions by Pro and acceptance by Con.
Second Round is for Opening argument, NO REBUTTAS!
Third Round is for rebuttals.
Forth Round is for Rebuttals and conclusions.
No trolling.
No semantics, the definitions provided will be the ones used in this debate.
No counter-plans
No Kritiks
No prophanity
Sources may be placed in the comments section if needed.

The United States Federal Government is established by the US Constitution. The Federal Government shares sovereignty over the United Sates with the individual governments of the States of US. The Federal government has three branches: i) the legislature, which is the US Congress, ii) Executive, comprised of the President and Vice president of the US and iii) Judiciary. The US Constitution prescribes a system of separation of powers and ‘checks and balances’ for the smooth functioning of all the three branches of the Federal Government. The US Constitution limits the powers of the Federal Government to the powers assigned to it; all powers not expressly assigned to the Federal Government are reserved to the States or to the people. (

Should- must; ought (used to indicate duty, propriety, or expediency): (

Privitize- to transfer from public or government control or ownership to private enterprise : (

Social Security- TheSocial Security program's benefits include retirement income, disability income, Medicareand Medicaid, and death and survivorship benefits. Social Security is one of the largest government programs in the world, paying out hundreds of billions of dollars per year. (



Thanks to lannan for engaging in this debate with me. It'll actually be my first time really arguing it (though I do agree with my position), so this should be interesting. I accept, and await his argument.
Debate Round No. 1


To clearify as my opponent has asked, Priviatization shall be the ending of Federal Control in Social Security and a phase out to private control in a 10 year peroid. People with money curently in federal funds shall have this transfered to the compan the client chooes. My opponent is defending the Status Quo, Social Security as it is in this current moment.

Contention 1: The Role of the Government

P1.The Government should only act to enforce the Imperatives of Perfect Duties.
P2. Social Security does not meet the standard of a Perfect Duty.
C1: Thus, the Government should not act to enforce Social Security.

""Kant's first formulation of the CI states that you are to “act only in accordance with that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it become a universal law... Perfect duties come in the form ‘One mustnever (or always) φ to the fullest extent possible in C’, while imperfect duties, since they enjoin the pursuit of an end, come in the form ‘One must sometimes and to some extent φ in C’" [1]

According to the above we see that Kant establishes two duties of that of the government; Perfect Duties and Imperfect Duties. Perfect Duties are those things of which the government must provide to ensure that the government and that society is fully functional. What are these things you may ask? These things are the simple things ensured under that of the Social Contract that you give up for a Civilized Society. These things are indeed key as we can see that this ensures that of a Minarchy at the minimum. What that means is that the Government is to ensure that the people are safe. Everything else falls into that of the Imperfect Duties. Now note that these things may protect and benefit the public, we can see that if they're not of the Social Contract like ideals that they automatically fall into this category and SHOULD NOT be carried out by the government, but by Private entities. As a matter of fact the Social Secutiry Program is actually the exact opposite of a Perfect Duty and is shown to be that of something that the Federal Government should protect against, or at least not do. I'll get more into this in a later contention.

“Any action is right if it can coexist with everyone's freedom in accordance with a universal law, or if on its maxim the freedom of choice of each can coexist with everyone's freedom in accordance with a universal law” [2]

We can see that if the government intervenes on the behalf on the people to infringe on that of an Imperfect duty that they would undermining humanity to achieve their due ends. We can see and must ensure that the Imperfect Duties are carried out by the Private Entites as things like people's health and Private debt is something that is to be delt with by the individual NOT the government. [3] Kant also argues that Rights are not created by the establishment of government. [4] So this furthers that the Social Security Program is not a right for the people and thus it should not be preformed by the federal government, but instead run by a private company.

The finial part of the argument here revolves around Distributive Justice. We can see that the there are two types of rights: Positive Rights and Negative Rights.

Positive Rights- Duty to help others, like provide Social Security, Free internet, food stamps, welfare, etc...
Negative Rights- Freedom of Speach, Press, property, etc... Freedom from Crime, violence, etc... [5]

Nozick, Libertarian Ethics Philosopher, has shown that the federal government shoul only enforce negative rights. [6] The distributive justice is the distrabution of society's burdens and benefits. The Libertarian Principle argues for there being no positive Rights, but negative rights on the grounds that people will work the hardest and for the greatest possible soceity through their own means. This was even acknowledged by Alexis De Tocqueville who noted that the American individualism caused them to be self-entrapenurial and to work towards improvement for their own good and that it also helps society. [7] Though many may argue that this causes a division De Tocqueville saw that America was a Civil nation where they they were treated equally and was the only country that called the waiter "Sir" as if he was a knight.

Contention 2: Social Security flawed and will crash.

When Social Security was created the US federal government made a profit from it as there was 25 people paying for 1 person that recieved Social Security. Now it is nearly a 3 to 1 person and if something isn't done soon the system will be bust as there's no way that a 2 to 1 or even 1 to 1 ratio could work. The reason this is occuring is that the Baby Boomers are starting to retire also we have lower birthrates which have massively declined since the Row V Wade decission. [8] Since 2010, the US income that they would generally make off of Social Security has evaporated and they began loosing money. The Treasury reports that by 2034, the US funds will run out and eventually Social Security will engulf the entire US budget. [9] Although Social Security only takes up 13% of the US Budget by 2020 its expected to be up to 29%, by 2030 it's suppose to be 49% and if this trend continues then in 2080 it will consist of 89% of the US budget. [10] Alternatives that is not ran by the government needs to be found in order to protect our nation's welfare. Another key issue is that of taxes. When Social Security was created the taxes was $3,000, but now it is a whopping $118,000 which rose 700% higher than inflation showing how much harm it is preforming on the system. [11] It has risen to 12% for many self-employed and small business owners harming our business and industries. The privatization will solve for this issue and will boost economic growth in the process.

Contention 3: Privitization solves.

One of the greatest tragedies of today's market system is that the government is trampling our right to Choose. In the 1990's a think tank came together and found that the US should privitize social security. Bill Clinton and Newt Grinrich came together to discuss this issue and they came to to an agreement though nothing came of it as it disappeared from the Congressional agenda after the Contract with America. If privitized people will see a larger investment for a cheaper cost. Research has found with trials in Texas and Florida that with the privatization there is a 11.5% yearly growth where the current rate of Social Security is 2.5%. [12] That's a huge difference and it's more money you can use when you retire and maybe you can even retire earlier. Martin Feildstein, former US Treasurer has found that, "someone with $50,000 of real annual earnings during his working years could accumulate enough to fund an annual payout of about $22,000 after age 67, essentially doubling the current Social Security benefit." This was only at a 5.5% increase as well. [13]

A Gallup poll found that 60% of Americans believed that they will not see their retirement money from Social Security. Why's that you may ask? It's simply the matter the fact of governmental interfearance in these accounts by "reaching into the cookie jar" when they are sore on funds, but they do this in boom and bust. Privatization will transfer full control to the individual and they will have the money. [14] Unlike the status quo, when you die, your Social Security funds will be transfered down your inheretance line to your family, so you are able to still use it instead of being like the South Park Cartoon "Aaaaand it's Gone." [15]

1. (
2. (Lectures and Drafts on Political Philosophy, translated Frederick Rauscher and Kenneth Westphal (in preparation). Relevant contents: "Naturrecht Feyerabend" course lecture, fragments on political philosophy, and drafts of works in political philosophy.)
3. (Johnson, Robert. "Kant's Moral Philosophy." The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2012.)
4. (
5. (The Objectivist Ethics, Ayn Rand (1961)
6. (
7. (
8. ( Social Security Administration, "Frequently Asked Questions: Ratio of Covered Workers to Beneficiaries," (accessed Aug. 17, 2015)
9. ( Board of Trustees, Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Federal Disability Insurance Trust Funds, "The 2015 Annual Report of the Board of Trustees of the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Federal Disability Insurance Trust Funds,", July 22, 2015)
10. (
11. (Bureau of Labor Statistics, "CPI Inflation Calculator," (accessed Aug. 17, 2015)
12. (Michael Clingman et al., "Internal Real Rates of Return under the OASDI Program for Hypothetical Workers,", Dec. 2014)
13. Martin Feldstein, "Private Accounts Can Save Social Security,", May 2, 2011
14. (President's Commission to Strengthen Social Security, "Strengthening Social Security and Creating Personal Wealth for All Americans,", Dec. 21, 2001)
15. ( Michael Tanner, "Privatizing Social Security: A Big Boost for the Poor,", July 26, 1996)


Alright, thanks to lannan for kicking this off, and let's get started.


This debate hinges on the comparison of two cases. As the rules in R1 don't stipulate that I cannot run a counter plan, I am allowed to do so. It is my burden to prove that my case is superior to Pro's, and Pro's burden to accomplish the opposite goal. Evaluation should focus on the net benefits of our impacts since we're discussing a policy change.

1) Harming retirees

Note: SS = social security.

Retirees will lose their SS benefits and have it replaced with three options: spend it, save it, or invest it.

Spending the money provides a short term benefit to retirees that quickly runs out. Pro might argue that this is still better than the public system because it affords them increased liberties, but running out of funds when one is retired drastically reduces their options. Individuals who spend all of their money will end up becoming dependent on help from the government, especially as their health issues become more dramatic.

The most conservative thing that these people could do with their money is place it in the bank. If they do that, however, they"re still doing far worse than they would through the public SS system. At the moment, SS payouts are indexed to wages, which have historically exceeded inflation and thus provided a measure of protection against changes in the value of the dollar.[1] Banks don"t provide that protection.

How about investment? Investing through a brokerage firm is expensive to start, costing people 1% of their investments every year (as opposed to the single payment of 0.8% in expenses for the SS system).[2] Most people aren"t professional money managers. They won"t have the knowledge base to manage their own investments. Hell, most people don"t even have the basic financial literacy to know what a stock market is or why diversifying investments is important (many believe it guarantees them success in the stock market).[3] This is really bad, because even professionals generally underperform indexes of the market as a whole.[4] This means that most people are going to be dramatically underperforming in the stock market.

Even if they were experts, the basic fact that the stock market fluctuates will ruin lives. There are countless examples of market downturns that could absolutely bankrupt retirees, and if someone retires at an unlucky time right before one of these occurs, they will lose everything.[5] Even during times of plenty, picking the wrong stock can lead to a dramatic loss.

However, all of this is beside the point because we"re not just evaluating outcomes based on whether they"re net positive. If the rate of return is lower after turning to the private system than it is right now, that"s reason enough for us to eschew this option. Remember that I mentioned inflation earlier " that"s important here as well, because if rates of return on investments aren"t high enough, then they won"t beat inflation and the value of all that money for retirees goes down over time. Pro has to prove that the returns will be high enough to cover for inflation.

Pro also hasn"t talked at all about the costs of implementing his plan. The government is going to have to create a large number of private accounts into which this money will be deposited, that"s pretty much how every privatization scheme works. The cost of doing that is not small. It will take some 2 to 4% of the payroll tax out of the 12.4% that"s taken, which means up to almost a third of the revenue generated from this tax would be removed.[6]. This is largely the result of having to plunge into the trust fund currently being set aside for retiring baby boomers (which is the reason that SS is still alive and kicking), requiring that the government start borrowing from the private sector (increasing our debt), raise taxes, or slash benefits.

(2) Failure of Privatization

To start, I'd like to be clear that Pro's proposal has never been done anywhere. His system doesn't exist in any part of the world. An untried, completely theoretical system like his should not be employed anywhere, but if it is going to be employed, it shouldn't be country-wide where the opportunities and consequences of failure are at their absolute worst.

That being said, there are examples of other countries that have implemented privatization schemes. I couldn't find an example of a country where something like this was employed where the governments didn't implement a subsidy system to ensure that workers who fail to accumulate enough money into their accounts earn a minimum pension, a plank that is not visible in Pro's plan. However, even with those protections, country-wide privatization has only resulted in dramatic failures. Both Chile and the UK have done it, and both of them have encountered tremendous problems.

In Chile, "more than half of all workers [are excluded] from even a semblance of a safety net during their old age."[7] Their investment accounts are so low that 41% of those eligible to collect pensions continue to work. In fact, it"s so bad that their returns are less than if they"d simply kept their money in a savings account.[8] They"ve also suffered abnormally high transition costs, making just the process of transitioning in each decade cost a sizable slice of the GDP.[9]

In the UK, people have become victims to poor investment choices and crooked brokers. The government itself has suffered major expense increases and lost tax revenues. According to Adair Turner, the head of a British government commission assessing reports on these problems, "[w]hat looked like a very good idea from a financial perspective in cutting costs has put pensioner poverty, which had been all but eradicated, back on the agenda."[10]

But we can also look to an example from the U.S. Yes, some areas of Texas opted out of SS before the law was changed in 1983. This amounts to 3 counties: Galveston, Brazoria, and Matagorda.[11] Now, let's be clear that I'm not supporting the notion that the results of these 3 counties should be used as evidence for the effectiveness of such a program country-wide. They're all on far too small of a scale (they amount to roughly 674,000 people total [12]) to be comparable to implementation on a nationwide scale. Moreover, the Alternate Plan that they have in place is significantly different from Pro's proposal, since money is still taken out of their paychecks on a constant basis and placed into a separate account, meaning that this system bears far more similarity to SS than Pro's proposal does.

But if we are going to compare them, it should be noted that even the creators of the Alternate Plan note that the options for rapid removal of funds end up depleting these accounts, leaving people unprotected and resulting in individuals becoming "wards of the state."[11] In other words, they just become wholly dependent on the system to keep them alive through other means.

(3) Counter Plan

To understand this, I first must explain that while SS is flawed, it is not inherent to the program. In fact, SS is not only currently solvent, but generating a surplus of some $2.8 trillion as of 2014 (and rising). [13] It will take at least two decades for this program to run up a deficit, by which I mean that it will deplete its reserves.[14] Pro"s system would utterly destroy SS, so he"s essentially responding to the problem by demolishing it early.

But let"s be clear that SS does a lot more than just provide a safety net to 59 million Americans.[15] The government does use that money for a lot of important tasks, including other safety nets and military spending.[16] Removing that money from the government necessitates that they either borrow or tax more to cover them, or that they slash those programs, which adds to the various harms Pro"s plan incurs.

However, I recognize that SS has its problems, and it"s because I do that I"m offering a counter plan. My fix is two-fold: (1) to eliminate the tax cap currently in place on SS payroll taxes, and (2) slightly increase SS taxation.

(1) Currently, people who earn more than $118,500 don"t pay these taxes on any amount they earn above that.[17] This system is inherently biased for them, allowing individuals who probably will have more than enough money upon retirement to simply coast without SS to go free of payroll taxes on what could well be the vast majority of their earnings. This plank would be implemented over the course of 10 years, and they could even get a boost in benefit payments for their extra input. This comes out to a 74% reduction in the SS shortfall. It"s also a change that garners widespread support.[18]

(2) Currently, workers pay 6.2% of their earnings into the system, with employers paying a matching amount. Simply increasing that amount to 6.9% over the course of the next 20 years would eliminate the remaining 26% shortfall. Note that this amounts to 50 cents more per week for someone earning $100,000 a year. This is also extremely popular.[18]

Note that the CBO also did estimates of the effect of both of these, and came to similar conclusions.[19]


While I do wholeheartedly support my counter plan, even the status quo stands as far better than Pro"s proposal. His case is a clear net negative. Meanwhile, the status quo keeps this system around for at least the next two decades, and my counter plan leaves it solvent for the foreseeable future.

Back to Pro.

Debate Round No. 2


I thank my opponent for his argumentation though there was a bit of confusion regarding a few things, but my opponent shall speak on that subject his next round. Let us get back to the debate.

Contention 1: Harming Retirees

My opponent argues that Privitazation would harm the retirees, but this is fallacous. I have shown last round they will be given an oppertunity to do with it as they please as they will have full ownership of the money in their private accounts. [1] With the ending of the government monopoly on the issue they can chose to do a multitude of things from investing in the stock market to banking or from investing in things like existing Roth IRAs and 401K plans. We would have to realize that opening the market will allow a multitude of new businesses to rush in and take over helping the Senior Citizens and look out for their best interstests. Not to mention that you would be able to own your own accounts. Just as a Legal immirgrant was denied any sort of Social Security even though he was a registered US citizen and he paid taxes, but was dennied his SS benefits, but under privitization these options are open to anyone. [2]

My opponent fears a stock market SS option, but that is a rediculious fear. We have seen that upon an investment you can see an anuall growth of 11% of your account showing a great deal of economic growth. That's just without a large investment if this plan is ennacted. [3] Let's do some generic math here to see the net benefit or loss from this.
-The average stock grows 10% each year. [4]
-Average dividend is 3%[5]
-Inflation is about 3.2% [6]

So mathematically we can expect to see an average of 9.8% growth in earnings each year while the individual under Social Security would be at 2.7-3.2%. Which after 42 years (from age 18-60) under this plan you'll get $711,000 vs. if you just stuck with the status quo Social Security you can get the maximum of $118,500. [7] Even if this cap is eliminated under this estimate under my opponent's system it will only rise to a whopping $126,000. Not to mention that this is just simply the average stock vs. SS max. Can you image if you get better than normal? You'd be a millionare. We can see that on the Solvency here and the balance of the impacts my plan outweighs my opponents. We can see that this would be a gradual thing that will be phased out of in 10 years. Last year Social Security ate up 26% of the US budget with $906 billion and this number is growing. Funding will simply come from the existing SS budget as the number will sink as the accounts are being privitized. [8]

Contention 2: Privatization

I know that my system hasn't been tried anywhere, but that doesn't mean that it would outright fail. How do you think we've gotten to the moon. With that I will move on to some of the examples that my opponent has brought up to show why he is incorrect and ommitting a great deal of the truth from you.

The first part is that people are mishandling their money by seeing that as people can choose when they want to retire they have to pay a higher amount of taxes. Some people take a higher tax burdern to retire quickly where the max age is 65 for males and 60 for females and the workers can choose to invest up to 20% in to this Pay as you go system, which mind you isn't the same system as mine since it still contains the Public Option while I'm phasing out from public to private. This leaves no government option. So the Chilean Expirament is like mine, but is not the same so my opponent may argue against this, but there is no direct link since the public option still exsists and even Jose Pinera Chile's former Secretary of Labor and Social Security. What adds to his stature was that his administration lasted through the transition. [9] In the country no AFP (spanish accronym for Pension Fund Administration) has gone under in the 14 years that the country has been doing this plan and no worker has lost a dime. The only reason, Pinera claims, that there is a loss reported was due to the financial crisis and lack of consumer confidence. [9] Not to mention this plan has caused the nation to see a 2% Gross Nation Product increase each year in this span. This, what they call Capitalization, has greatly helped the nation by them changing from Socialistic policies to that of the Chicago Boys and slowly adjusting over the years. Now why does this actually matter that I am arguing this? It's a reflection of the current state transition from State controlled Monopoly on the Social Security down to the private control.

You'll have to forgive me as I'm running out of characters here for the rest. On to Galveston. We can see that it did this out of the fact that the US Congress was not doing anything to combat the growing Social Security issue that was arrising in the 1970s, so they acted. The Alternative Plan in Galveston is actually still in effect today and for the past 18 years people in the three Texas counties have seen a 6-6.5% return on Social Security compared to the 2-3%. [10]

Contention 3: Counter Plan

I agree with my opponent that something here needs to be done, but his purposal is purposterous and will wreck the economy.

We currently see that the tax rate is currently 6.20% for Social Security and Medicare is approximately 1.45%. We can see that the tax rate wouldn't go up by 0.7%, but we would see a jump to at least 9% in order to cover the Social Security Costs over the next 75 years. Economicst Emmanuel Saez and Jefferey Libberman have found that even if we eliminate the Tax Cap we can still see a 40% short fall of SSA statistics. [11] So even if Con's plan is enacted it wouldn't improve the situation, but actually make it worse. He also found that if any raise did occur then they actually found that poor women would actually have a negative earnings and their money that they would be pooring into the system would be worth a whole lot less then if it was implamented. Not only was it found that the nation would get less income from the taxation, but people in the long run tended to end up with less money on this plan than the SSA's by $1,000s at many times and begins to stagnate around those who make $60,000 and up. [12]

RPO 2011-01 Figure 1

We can actually see that one of the key things we have here is that those above the Tax Max make well less than those who pay into the system. It turns out that those over tend to make a whoping 5% over the tax limit while the rest make out richer in the end. We can also see that with the current federal tax bracket there is 45% tax rate for the top bracket. [13] After the increase at federal and state level which includes raising the tax rates to accomidate this we can see they will wind up with an overal 12% tax increase to the point to where they are tax higher than those in Scandinavia and we still wouldn't see Substantial solvency in the long run still leading to this counter-plan to be a failure. [14]

Not to mention that this plan still doesn't solve for much of the issues with current Social Security Standings as not only is it worse, but we can see that there's still holes in it. We can still see that in the long run we will still see a Bridge Payer system here and with the US population growing older we can see that this issue will only continue to grow worse and the problem needs to be fixed now. Just as under Con's plan and the Status Quo, the US Federal Government can still use the SS funds to do whatever they want with it as they please and for many Americans it will just seem like another way more money is being squeezed out of Americans and our Senior Citizens still won't see a dime. [15] Not to mention if they die before they reach the age that they would be able to receive it, under Con's Plan just as the Status Quo, the funds would dissolve, but under my plan, as I have shown last round, will move to the clostest living relitive.

1. (Michael D. Tanner, "Is There a Right to Social Security?,", Nov. 25, 1998)
2. (Social Security Administration, "Social Security History: Supreme Court Case: Flemming vs. Nestor," (accessed Aug. 17, 2015)
3. Aswath Damodaran, "Annual Returns on Stock, Bonds and T-bill’s: 1928 - Current," New York University Stern School of Business website, Jan. 5, 2015
4. (
5. (
6. (
7. (
8. (Courtney Baird, "Diving into the Deficit," Committee for Economic Development website, Nov. 6, 2014)
9. (
10. (
11. (
12. ( 1 Saez (2001) shows, when deriving the optimal non-linear marginal tax rate formula, that the same Laffer rate formula applies when considering a local marginal tax rate increase exactly as in our 90% of earnings)
13. (
14. ( Andrew G. Biggs, “Entitlements: Not Just a Health Care Problem,” AEI Retirement Policy Outlook (August 2008), See also Congressional Budget Office, The Long-Term Budget Outlook (Washington, DC, June 2010), /doc.cfm?index=11579 (accessed March 8, 2011).
15. ( Michael Tanner, "Privatizing Social Security: A Big Boost for the Poor,", July 26, 1996)26, 1996)



To clarify the situation, both Pro and I have agreed that we will roll forward with the counter plan I've presented as my advocacy. I will stick to it. The rule in R1 that I could present no counter plans is therefore no longer in effect, and I do apologize for the confusion on this issue.

Pro's case:

C1: The Role of Government

Pro never supports his P1. He hasn't explained why governments should not enforce imperfect duties, only why they must enforce perfect duties. In fact, his own quote belies the fault in his claim, stating that imperfect duties "come in the form 'One must sometimes and to some extent... aid and assist others." This means that governments must engage in SOME imperfect duties like SS.

Pro claims that SS is somehow infringing on some unknown governmental duty, and that this somehow undermines humanity (not sure what that means). He doesn't explain why private actors are inherently better, and none of his sources support that view. Health and debt are public issues, especially with regards to infectious diseases and their effects on the overall economy.[20]

Pro seems to be arguing that any loss of freedom cannot be justified, but becoming a ward of the state is a bigger loss of freedom. This is also an argument against all taxation, which would defund the entire government and stop enforcement of perfect duties.

I never argued that governments create rights. SS is beneficial, and governments should protect their citizens after a long life of working and contributing to society. That's reason enough to support its continued existence.

Lastly, Pro brings up distributive justice. He mainly just name drops, citing Nozick and Toqueville, but fails to explain their views on SS, why anyone else should share those views, or why enforcing positive rights is harmful. He gives no reason why SS prevents individuals from being "self-entrapenurial." Since they can use all of the money they get from SS and any money they have left over from earnings to invest, Pro isn't providing any clear harm.

He mentions the Libertarian Principle, but only asserts its claims. He doesn't show how he's ensuring that people will work harder or work towards the betterment of society. Placing the elderly in a situation where they will likely become wards of the state and huge burdens on their families ensures that all of these purported benefits are turned against him.

C2: SS flaws

This contention attacks the current system, and is therefore not responsive to my case. However, the status quo is still better than Pro's case. All he's shown is that by 2034, SS will no longer fully pay for itself. That's not an insurmountable problem, and Pro's system is the only one that ends SS benefits without recourse.

C3: Privatization "solves"

Pro talks about the right to choose (while denying SS as an option) without impacting choice. He showcases political efforts towards privatization, again sans impact. He points to Texas and Florida as examples, but a) his source [12] doesn't support his numbers or even reference the states, b) they only reduced the size of SS, which is actually another alternative to his case.

Pro cites Martin Feldstein, whose views on this issue have been widely debunked.[21] Even Arnold Kling, an economist who supports privatization, states that his "'stock market scenario' is bogus... [it] assumes that the stock prices will grow faster than the economy forever. This violates Stein's Law, which says that anything that can't go on forever, stops... real GDP growth will be closer to 3 percent than 5.5 percent." That return still fails to beat inflation.

I'll address the remainder of this on my case.

My case:

C1: Harming Retirees

Pro drops that professional money managers, by and large, will not even make the 3% market index I cited above, and gives no reason why anyone is likely to do better, let alone do well enough to beat out the wage indexing of SS payouts (which consistently exceeds inflation). He drops that investment through brokerage firms, one of the few safer places to do so, automatically reduces their returns. He drops that any market downturn will bankrupt retirees.

Pro points to IRAs and 401K plans alternative investments. However, both of these are terrible options. When the economy crashed between 2007 and 2008, IRAs and 401k plans lost 47% of their value, showcasing a tremendous risk. "Retirement experts find that these plans have numerous shortcomings, including high operation costs and low investment returns. The biggest problem with defined contribution plans is that alone they do not provide retirees with guaranteed retirement income."[22]

Pro presents a fantasy scenario where businesses "rush in and take over helping the Senior Citizens". He doesn't support this, and it's incredibly unlikely, given that private medical providers have exploited such opportunities to bilk seniors out of money.[23, 24]

Pro's "generic math" is absurd.

His first source here shows that the stock market improved over the last century, but unless Pro can show that this trend will continue (no such luck [25]), this means nothing going forward. Moreover, the upward trend isn't consistent. From his own source: "Stock returns are wild and unpredictable. Since 1927, the S&P 500 stock index has gained 10.4% a year on average. But in any given year it could be up 29.9% or down 9.0% or somewhere in between."[26] Many investments will fail and these seniors will be without any funds whatsoever. The harms to them and their families outweigh some people getting rich.

Pro's dividends source actually shows them averaging at 1.87% as of 2014. That number is highly taxed. Not all stocks pay dividends, but those that do aren't actually better investments, as: dividends are highly taxed, they don't hold up in bad markets, dividend-paying stocks generally underperform the market, they sacrifice diversification, and are unreliable as a source of future income.[27, 28]

Pro's source on inflation is correct, but that's still more than the 3% average I cited.


Pro admits his case is entirely theoretical, which makes it that much harder for him to prove he has any solvency.

Pro ignores all my sources and warrants on Chile, asserting that the problem is the public option. However, a) he doesn't explain how the public option is harmful, b) he fails to note that 90% of people switched to the private system (from his own source), c) the transition costs, which Pro dropped, still apply to Pro's case, and d) Pi"era, the economist Pro cites, has been widely criticized by both World Bank, which found that fees and costs negate much of the benefits and returns are lower than he claims, and the Chilean government itself, which estimates "that as many as half of all workers" will not even be able to receive a minimum pension after paying into their account for 30 years, making them reliant on subsidies. "More than 17 percent of Chile's retirees now continue working because they can't afford to live on their pensions... and another 7 percent want to work, but can't find jobs."[29]

Pro drops the UK example, and thus the link to his case is solid. As for Galveston, Pro's not implementing the Alternate Plan. He's not garnering those benefits. He dropped that many seniors in these 3 Texas counties become wards of the state, a harm that applies to his case.

C3: Counter Plan

On the tax cap, Pro's chart isn't applicable, since it only focuses on numbers of people rather than amounts of tax money. His [11] doesn't explain the effect of this change within the context of what SS requires to be solvent. By contrast, my [18] from U.S. News and World Report and [19] from the CBO both discuss the correct subject in the correct context, which means voters should buy my 74% estimate from my [18], and the decade by decade analysis on page 47 of my [19].

On the tax increase, Pro doesn't explain why 9% is the magic number at which SS is made solvent. Pro drops both of my sources, which show that a 0.5% (lower than mine) rise as sufficient to cover 26% of the SS shortfall, so that level of solvency is certain.

Pro claims that poor women will somehow "have negative earnings" despite being taxed only 0.7% more of them. He gives no warrants for this, nor does his source explain. The reality is that women are likely to do far worse under privatization, since they rely more on SS and they cannot outlive these benefits, among other reasons.[30]

Pro's states "people in the long run tended to end up with less money on this plan". His source for this doesn't discuss SS at all, he doesn't explain where he got his numbers from, and he doesn't show the calculation. He continues on this path with arguments that somehow turn an increase of much less than 6.9% (because most of that's already applied to a good portion of their income) into a 12% increase on the rich, though he doesn't explain how this happens or how it's harmful.

I agree that the government uses the money from SS for other things " that was part of my argument. It's extremely important towards keeping other programs (like the military) afloat. Pro doesn't say why this is bad. As for perception, Pro ignores clear support for both my proposals, which shows that both the outcomes and the means to achieve them are likely to improve public opinion of SS.

Pro is wrong that SS funds disappear if you die. Survivors insurance uses your SS benefits to protect your family after death.[31]

Pro's is just not responsive to any of my explanation of the solvency of my counter plan. He barely introduces any doubt, and what doubt he does introduce is rarely supported.

Back over to Pro.

Debate Round No. 3


I would like to thank my opponent for this debate, but just like all good things this too must come to an end.

Contention 1: Role of the government

Since a lot of these arguments mesh it'll seem like I'm jumping around a bit here, so please try and stick with me on this.

My opponent starts by stating that this argument could be used against ALL taxation, but yet that statement is entirely flawed as Kant argued that the government must be able to enforce the Kingdom of Ends. This would includes things like fire fighters, police force, military, etc...[1] When also cross applied my opponent ignores that this argument is backed up by the Libertarian distributive principle of which shows that only Negative Rights should be enforced. For the sole purpose my opponent doesn't refute the Libertarian principle on face value, but attacks it from a different angle which I'll get to in a minute. We can continue to see that since my opponent has dropped the Negative Rights portion of this we can see that this is one of the key areas of which the government is only able to preform in. Which would eliminate my opponent's stance here concidering that Social Security would be concidered a Postive Right and Not a Negative Right. My opponent also ignores that I brought up the Social Contract and that some freedoms, like my freedom to punish you, should be given up to the federal government to ensure that it is enforced. Does this means that we should give up our "Right to Choose" how we want to spend our money or economics to the government to ensure that we would actually get less then we could've gotten if we had that freedom? The answer is a resonding no.

My opponent is confused as to why a private company is better yet once again he ignores my own arguments as I sited Kant in R2 of which he pointed out that the Imperfect Duties should not be carried out by the government. Thus leaves only two possibilities that are it should be illegal or that it should be carried out by a private company. Now my opponent and I can agree that this is important, but we disagree who should do this issue and since it is not a Perfect Duty or a Negative right it should not be enforced by the Federal government. Now I also realize that the Public's health is a key part, but it should not be the government's job to ensure people are heatlhy as it is their choice. That's like the US impossing a fat tax on fast food items to ensure that people eat healthier. (but that's a different debate) I never stated that he was claiming that the federal government was creating rights, but yet it was an argument that I was making to the regards of the federal government creating rights through this program and it should not be preforming this duty due to it being an attrocity upon our freedoms. We can see that rights are natural and not made by the government and my opponent is doing the opposite even with his counter-plan.

My opponent claims that I never clairified as to how it prevented people from creating business, but I have stated this several times throughout this debate. I showed that the government is restricting our choices to a government option in the status quo and in my opponent's plan. While under my plan I am opening up the options and we can see that these options will finially allow those into the field and increase our "right to choose."

Contention 2(3): Privatization solves

My opponent argues that I am not allowing the right to choose by closing off the federal option, but I have already shown how this is restrictive by not allowing competition and how the government option is still horrendous, both under the status quo and my opponent's plan. Indeed stocks will change constantly, but yet my opponent assumes that by doing this alternative that I am purposing that we will run everyone off a cliff like lemmings. This is incorrect as even though stocks fluctuate we can still see that stocks continue to clime upwards and constant shifting of these funds will cause an economic take-off which was dropped by my opponent. [2] Also mind you that people have control of their own personal accounts which is something that doesn't occur under my opponent's plan and also mind you that this isn't the only plan that can occur under privatization since the people have the ability to choose how their money is spent/saved. [3] Continuing my opponent is under selling the market with the 3-5% growth rate while the actual growth of the stock market has been much higher than that around 10-15% Compound Anual Growth. [4]

Now onto my opponent's case.

Contention 1: Harming Retirees

My opponent's entire argumentation relies on his incorrect statistic of a small growht, but this is completely false due to the fact that I have already shown otherwise making this a great way of investment. Again my opponent spins on the fact of my math by going off of the market flucutations while I have shown tha tin 2013 the markets were up 32% to counter the crash in 2008. Not to mention that 5 out of the last 6 years have well been over 10% meaning that the 10% that I gave was a conservative estimate. [4] My opponent even brings up the new dividend tax, but yet that is almost a non factor as it would 20% at the highest, pending how good of a profit you make from the dividend, so it would chop off only a small amount from the 3% dividend and we would still see a high profit margin for our senior citizens. [5] So from this point alone we can still see a high return regardless of the taxation.

Contention 2: Privatization

My opponent want to talk solvency, but yet all I have to do here in this debate is prove that my plan is better than my opponents and not to mention that so far I have already shown a great deal of solvency.

My opponent claims that I haven't shown how the public option is desasterous, but mind you that I spent an entire option on attacking the public option, status quo, my opponent's plan, and the restriction on the Freedom of Choice. My opponent's claim on this is just purposterous. My opponent claims that I had dropped how we would solve the price, but I have already addressed that by showing a transfer from the Social Security budget and we would not even need to use all of it. Concidering that it takes 26% of the budget such a task would be a simple phase out over the span of 10 years as I have already addressed.

When the New York Times reporter visited a small town in Chile he found that,

(1)Retire in 10 years, at age 62, with an annual pension of $55,000. That would be more than triple the $18,000 I can expect from Social Security at that age.

(2)Retire at age 65 with an annual pension of $70,000. That would be almost triple the $25,000 pension promised by Social Security starting a year later, at age 66.

(3)Retire at age 65 with an annual pension of $53,000 and a one-time cash payment of $223,000." [6]

Investors Business Daily had also found that in Chile in the past 30 years that the annual rate of return is 9% compared to the 1-2% here in the US. [7] We can already see that this sucess has been drowned out by criticisms that doesn't speak to the amount of sucess reached here. We can see that it was coastly, but that was paid off and not to mention that the short term pain turned into massive long term gains ranging from massive returns on pensions to doubling and even trippling of the nation's growth rate. [8]

I ran out of characters in the previous round so I was unable to refute these for the most part and cannot due so since it would be unethical to bring up new arguments in my finial round. All I can do is repeat that I have already shown that the UK's crookedness that occured there was on their own terms meaning that it was corruption of the brokers. Not to mention that there are other ways than the stock market as I have brought up before already showing that this does not refute nor link to my case completely.

Contention 3: Counter Plan

I'm running out of characters so I'll try to address what I can.

9% would have to be there in order to include other costs such as Medicare and Medicade. My opponent has also advocated in previous rounds that an increase of 0.7% is needed, but it is greatly impossible to do such a thing as I have shown in my previous round in order to meet the Social Security deadline under the status quo. Anything under that would actually lead to falling short of the status quo which my opponent has already conceded to as being the defunct system. Thus his plan is actually worse than the status quo. [9]

My opponent claims that using the money in the Social Security accounts is beneficial for other programs and though that is true Social Security runs out of excess by next year and even if his plan is enforced it will only extend the problems for the long run. We cannot think of a band-aid here we need an actual solution which is something I have provided. We can see that with current interest on US debts ballooning the Social Security funds will be soaked up more and more and before too long we'll wake up without a Social Security program since the government sucked it dry. [10]

My opponent uses smoke and mirrors when he stated that you get to keep your Social Security when you die. He forgot to mention that it depends on your earning. What level and amount are these earnings? We might not know since the SSA website doesn't specifiy, but we can see that this harms a great deal of people as I have already shown in previous rounds that many people are excluded from SS like legal immigrants and many poor people are striken when this SS doesn't trickle down to them because they "excede the earnings amount." I have also shown how my opponent's plan doesn't solve for the Bridge-payment system which is broken showing that within years this plan will be destroyed and broken just like the status quo, but my plan solves compared to my opponent's and we receive better and more benefits under mine.

I thank you and please vote Pro.

Sources in the comments section.


Thanks to lannan for the solid debate. It was a pleasure.

Pro has 2 ways to win this:

1. Showing that my CP doesn"t uphold the role of government
2. Showing that his plan is more net beneficial

I"ll go through both.

1. The Role of Government

Pro"s just not clear on why the role of government outweighs a basic net benefits calculus, never explaining why phantom duties are important and dropping all of his nebulous impact calculus from the previous round. He keeps touting the "Right to Choose" but never examines why that right is essential, and even states that there are instances where the right to choose is outweighed by other issues. So even if he is winning this, it"s not clear enough to matter alongside the central debate on net benefits.

However, he"s not winning this. He provides absolutely no response to my quote from his own source on imperfect duties, which I"ll repeat: "imperfect duties" come in the form 'One must sometimes and to some extent... aid and assist others." That quote is the nail in the coffin for this argument. Pro has to explain why this is not one of those times that government should aid and assist. Instead, he simply makes a blanket assertion that they should NEVER engage in imperfect duties, which is in direct contradiction to his own source. Private actors don"t have any duty to assist, but governments do. Moreover, as health and debt are public issues (Pro only asserts that they"re private, in spite of my warrants and evidence to the contrary), they need to be handled by the government.

But let"s say you"re buying his argument that choice and freedom matter most. You"re still siding with me. He doesn"t explain how becoming a ward of the state, which is so often what privatization leads to, is a lesser loss of choice and freedom than taxation. He doesn"t explain how the lack of a public option improves the right to choose. Any of the potential harms he presents for creating businesses and investing lack any sort of brink analysis, with Pro assuming that there"s no way anyone paying into the system can actually accomplish these. They can! They still have money, and they"re getting more of it! Clearly, I"m upholding the right to choose and basic freedoms better than Pro. With all these turns, you can flow this argument to my side.

2. The Case Comparison

So, let"s take a step back from the contention debate for this one. What are the benefits and harms of Pro"s case?

In terms of benefits, some minority of seniors may do extremely well. He can"t assume that what they"re going to do with that money is broadly beneficial, but sure, some will do well. If you sent all of these seniors to a casino and had them play blackjack for a few hours, the odds tell us that some are likely to come out with a lot more money than they started with.

The harms, however, are far more blatant.

Many seniors are likely to lose everything in the process of these few gaining riches. Pro CONCEDES that stocks will change constantly, granting Stein"s Law and thus inconsistency in the stock market. Note the quote I took from Pro"s source last round: "Stock returns are wild and unpredictable. Since 1927, the S&P 500 stock index has gained 10.4% a year on average. But in any given year it could be up 29.9% or down 9.0% or somewhere in between."[26] This isn"t a matter of average gains. People are going to be randomly bankrupted in mass by any downturns; that dramatically outweighs any potential and temporary benefits to those who just happen to get lucky with their timing. The big boosts of the last few years followed on a terrible recession where many people lost their life savings. However, what we should be most concerned with is the future of the stock market, not its past. Pro drops my [25], which shows that any beneficial trend occurring right now is going to come to a screeching halt. Pro doesn"t contest this, the very scenario that matters most for his case.

Further, Pro drops that doing as well as the market index (a major assumption of Pro's) isn"t going to happen. If professional money managers can"t do it, most seniors won"t be able to do it either. So even if you"re buying Pro's numbers and that they'll remain stable, it doesn"t matter because most people won"t be achieving anywhere near them. Pro doesn"t defend any of the alternate choices for the use of this money, so extend all of my arguments to this effect. Pro cannot fiat that individuals will just invest in the stock market, and since many are likely to a) spend it all quickly (as many have in the 3 Texas counties I cited), b) save it in a bank and get less return than SS, or c) place that money in IRAs and 401K plans, which are highly risky, all of these people are going to be dramatically harmed. Pro gives no upside to any of these.

So you"re not buying his financial arguments. You"re not buying his fantasies of private industry swooping in and saving the day. You"re not buying that dividend stocks are a safe or consistent source of funds for seniors. You"re not buying that most seniors are going to make out like bandits with a system they barely understand.

What you are buying is that more seniors will be put in danger. Seniors investing in stocks they don"t understand for dividends that won"t pay the bills and putting their funds (and thus, the freedoms that are supposed to come with retirement) at great risk reenforces this. You're buying that the examples I"ve presented showcase this risk:

A) Chile, which both the World Bank and the Chilean government itself have independently concluded to be a dramatic failure in this area. Pro has dropped every source I've given on this, and none of his sources counter them. It doesn't matter whether some people are theoretically doing better. It matters "that as many as half of all workers" will not receive a minimum pension. It matters that "[m]ore than 17 percent of Chile"s retirees" will have to keep working because of it, and many won"t even find work. Pro spends a lot of his final round focused on how the country is doing, but a) he ignores the extensive criticism of Pi"era (who is his only source on this) that I posted last round, b) he ignores the Chilean government, which estimates that privatization costs alone account for 4-6% of GDP every year from the 1980s to 2037,[29] c) Chile"s economy is not looking good as of late,[32] d) the reasons for its growth aren"t nearly so straightforward as Pro claims,[33] and e) it doesn"t matter how Chile as a whole is doing if it"s throwing its senior citizens under the bus in order to get there.

B) Pro's only response to the UK only reenforces the link. Why does Pro believe that crooked brokers aren"t an issue in the U.S.? If anything, they"re a bigger issue here.[34, 35] As such, you're buying widespread pensioner poverty as a result of privatization.

C) Pro wholly drops the 3 Texas counties. This is devastating to his case. It"s a U.S. example and, as such, it applies most directly of these. My citation clearly shows that many seniors in these counties are becoming wards of the state. This re-enforces the turn on Pro"s C1 and supercharges the links to all of his negative impacts.

So all that"s left is to cover my counter plan, and this is where Pro"s in the most trouble. Almost all of his rebuttals amount to little more than assertions that my numbers are wrong, but he never challenges any of the sources that support them. Over and over, he claims that 9% is the magical number, but he never provides any sources that show this. Again, look to my [18] and [19], both solid links that reinforce my numbers. He can"t just throw random numbers out and hope to get anywhere.

His view that my case is somehow worse than status quo is beyond absurd. He doesn"t explain where the harm comes from, merely providing a vague source without a single quote. I don"t see how making SS solvent for the foreseeable future is a net negative, and even if it was just extending the life of it a few decades, I don"t see how that"s harmful.

But this isn"t a Band-Aid. This isn"t smoke and mirrors. It isn't, as Pro asserts, a "Bridge-payment system". It's a real solution.

Pro simply asserts that my source is wrong when it comes to SS insurance, but his claims amount to little more than complaining that he can"t find evidence against it. SS may exclude some people, but Pro"s idea to simply exclude EVERYONE is not a rational response.

While these harms are nebulous at best and terribly flawed at worst, the benefits of my counter plan are evident. I"ve shown that it will keep SS solvent, despite Pro"s claims to the contrary, meaning that all of the financial harms he"s cited go away. I"ve shown that my counter plan gets huge majority support. I"ve shown that the government needs these funds to delve into in order to keep programs like the military and other safety nets afloat. This is CRITICAL, as it"s the one impact that Pro has utterly failed to address. You can extend it across the board: without SS, many U.S. programs would falter and even our military funding would be put at risk.


Pro"s case has been all about ideals of choice and financial freedom, but that idealism simply doesn"t pan out when faced with the harsh light of reality. There"s simply no way his theoretical case will have any real solvency. He fails to address even one of my sources, merely presenting more and more sources that are more and more flawed, and giving numerical analysis that makes no sense whatsoever. Meanwhile, my case is clearly supported by the facts on the ground and real, widely verified numbers from reputable sources. I'm addressing all of the major relevant issues behind the potential success and failure of Pro's case, and those of mine, and explaining how my analysis applies best to the cases as they stand. Therefore, I urge a vote for Con.

Debate Round No. 4
34 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by famousdebater 1 year ago
Yeah, sorry about that, I had started typing out an RFD but I never got round to finishing it.
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
Appreciate the vote, Philocat. Too bad no one else got their votes up in time. Good debate, lannan.
Posted by Philocat 1 year ago

As a policy debate, this was essentially a fight between Pro's plan and Con's counterplan. Approaching the debate from a cost/benefit angle, I judge that the counterplan was shown to be better than the plan.

Pro begins by arguing that SS lies outside the remit of the government, but Con is right to point out that Kantian theory doesn't actually rule out imperfect duties being performed by the government, hence it cannot be used to advocate privatization of SS.

But the meat of this debate lied in the cost/benefit analysis of the plan vs the counterplan. Pro mainly argues that his plan would allow some people to get more out of their money than they would alternatively get from SS. But Con is right to point out that this benefit is far outweighed by the fact that some retirees will inevitably lose a8ll* their money and end up as wards of the state - such is the result of the gambling nature of private schemes. The fact that some will gain a lot from privatization doesn't mitigate the financial harm suffered by unlucky pensioners who have lost everything.

Pro's final card argues for the 'right to choose', which seems quite compelling, but Con does point out that the inevitable result of many pensioners becoming wards of the state will mean that all these people will actually have no choice at all. Nevertheless, even if this card is sound, it isn't made clear that a right to choose should be held at a higher value than actual benefits.

Con's counterplan seems to provide a more beneficial outcome - it avoids the risk of pensioners losing all their money to bad investments (a serious pitfall of Pro's plan) but improves on the existing SS program. Therefore, Con wins. He also maintained a higher level of spelling and grammar throughout, whereas Pro made multiple spelling errors.

Nevertheless, both debaters showed a high level of professionalism, intellect and attention to detail - I commend them both.
Posted by tejretics 1 year ago
I've just prepared a flow. Will have an RFD up tomorrow I've got to sleep
Posted by lannan13 1 year ago
Got it done with 12 characters remaining.
Posted by lannan13 1 year ago
1. (
2. Peter Ferrara, "A Progressive Proposal for Social Security Private Accounts," Institute for Policy Innovation website, June 13, 2003
3. Michael Tanner, "Privatizing Social Security: A Big Boost for the Poor,", July 26, 1996
4. (
5. (
6. (
7. (
8. (
9. (
10. (

Note that the rules permit me to post sources in the comments section if need be.
Posted by lannan13 1 year ago
Working on the debate now.
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
Alright, cool.
Posted by lannan13 1 year ago
I should either get to this debate some time tonight or tomorrow.
Posted by lannan13 1 year ago
I should be getting in my argument tomorrow.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by Philocat 1 year ago
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.
Vote Placed by famousdebater 1 year ago
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Reasons for voting decision: I don't know if I'll have time to vote on this but I will try and read through it.
Vote Placed by ColeTrain 1 year ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Will vote if I have time. Big exam tomorrow, so we'll see.
Vote Placed by Death23 1 year ago
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