Resolved: The United States Should Implement a Progressive Consumption Tax
Select winner. Minimum voting Elo of 2k.
As this is bsh's tournament, it seems appropriate to use his rules:
== Rules ==
1. No forfeits
2. Any citations or foot/endnotes must be individually provided in the text of the debate
3. No new arguments in the final round; R1 is just for acceptance
4. Maintain a civil and decorous atmosphere
5. No trolling
6. No K's of the topic
7. My opponent accepts all definitions and waives his/her right to add resolution definitions
8. The BOP is Shared; Con must argue that Progressive Consumption taxes should not be implemented, I must argue that it should be
9. Violation of any of these rules or of any of the R1 set-up merits a loss
== Definitions ==
Progressive consumption tax (aka X tax): "The X tax modifies the VAT, so that it no longer imposes a flat-rate tax on all consumption. It splits the value-added tax base, which equals aggregate consumption, into two components, wages and business cash flow. The X tax achieves progressivity by applying graduated tax rates to wages and a high flat tax rate to business cash flow, which reflects consumption financed from wealth accumulated prior to the reform and from above-normal business investment returns, which largely accrue to well-off households." -- http://www.aei.org...
Should is a common definition. Don't troll meh. Pretty much everything except progressive consumption taxes are common knowledge definitions. Rule 5 prevents ya from trolling.
R2) Pro's case, Con's case
R3) Pro rebuttal, Con rebuttal
R4) Pro defense, Con defense
R5) Pro defense, rebuttal, and crystallization (if room m8); Con defense, rebuttal, and crystallization (if room m8)
Thanks for accepting the debate.
C1) The tax code needs reform
The American people spend 7.6 billion hours working on filing taxes and $140 billion per year to keep the IRS off of their back . That means the average American spends 23 hours working on filing taxes rather than doing other economically productive activities. And the number is probably higher than I estimated because many Americans do not pay taxes.
Our current tax code unfairly harms investors which are central for economic growth. The current tax system has many layers of taxation that, when added together, impose a tax rate of 54% on investments. This is an issue because investors invest only when they think they will obtain a profit. If they are destined to lose at least half of that profit no matter what, many business deals which would be mutually beneficial for both parties are canceled because the investor fears the cost of high taxes. The tax code also has many deductions, credits, and and exemptions which are crafted to favor one group over another. This distorts how the market allocates resources. Some tax preferences actually harm businesses. As the Heritage Foundation explains, “the tax preferences for renewable energy sources make it more difficult for entrepreneurs to develop a type of energy that does not qualify for the tax preferences. This further reduces the opportunities for families by reducing the dynamism of the economy.” 
The Heritage Foundation isn’t defending some fringe viewpoint. The liberal NY Times and leftist Joseph E Stiglitz argue that the current tax system is deplorable. “[T]he wealthy have been enormously successful in getting special treatment, shifting an ever greater share of the burden of financing the country’s expenditures — defense, education, social programs — onto others. … One of the reasons for our poor economic performance is the large distortion in our economy caused by the tax system. ” 
If bossy and I will agree on one thing in this debate, it is this: incentives matter. Human nature never goes away. People are influenced by incentives, it is a fact. If you decrease the cost of something more people will consume that product. The current system disincentivizes innovation which causes young people who enter the job market to not innovate. People do not want to deal with 73,000 pages of tax forms before they start their business. 70,000 pages plus of tax code does not cause equality. It causes economic manipulation at the hands of statist bureaucrats . Both liberals, conservatives, and libertarians agree : the tax code needs a fix. Whether it is to spur growth, reduce income inequality, or simply cut back on government power, the tax code must be thrown out in order to achieve any of those goals.
C2) Consumption taxes are better than income taxes
Many different groups of people want to fix the tax code. Where disagreement begins is when people propose their solutions. The Heritage Foundation supports a flat tax; liberals want to take out the loopholes to make the rich pay more. But the reforms all have one thing in common: they focus on income taxes.
Income taxes are always growth constricting. Sales taxes, on the other hand, tend to promote more economic growth.
Taxable income is equal to labor earnings plus capital income. Income taxes are applied on all of your taxable income, whereas consumption taxes affect taxable income minus saving. Unlike income taxes, consumption taxes do not affect what you are not spending, and thus encourage you to spend, invest, and save. Many households will save more because the current income tax code punishes them. Under a consumption tax this will *never* happen. Under an income tax, not only does current capital income get taxed, but any earnings from that transaction are taxed. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, “Under the income based system, households face a higher overall tax burden on capital income and have less incentive for new saving.” 
Of course, savers do not permanently avoid taxation. Over time the savers or the heirs of the savers will use the money for consumption, and this means it becomes taxed. Since savings gain value over time, and saving increases under a consumption tax, long term consumption is higher than it otherwise would be. Any investments are also untaxed until the money is spent. This means long-term investment and consumption increases, leading to economic growth. Income taxes tax both savings now and any profits later, and thus have a much larger burden on both the common people and the producers in the economy.
To again quote the Kansas City Federal Reserve, “Most research suggests that switching from the current federal income tax to a consumption tax would raise real GDP in the long run.”  The studies assume revenue neutral reforms, which is rational because deficits reduce long term growth . Any consumption tax that does not increase the deficit would significantly boost economic growth. Instituting a regressive income tax (or just a flat income tax) actually biases the result the Kansas City Fed is talking about, and even then such reforms increase output by 9.4%, capital stock by 25.4%, and increase the labor supply by 4.6% . Even using a system which depresses growth relative to a progressive consumption tax, we still see massive gains in economic output, the amount of capital stock, and increased labor supply (means more incentives to work). Consumption taxes consistently outperform flat tax reforms when it comes to spurring economic growth, though flat taxes still spur more growth than the current tax code.
Another study by Altig et al. in 2001 found that consumption taxes produced the most income gains when compared to other variants of progressive income and flat income taxes .
The International Monetary Fund looked into income, property, and sales taxes. If you decrease income taxes but increase consumption taxes to make up for it, growth increases. This suggests that even though the tax burden may be the same, consumption taxes are better suited to increase growth. This holds even when controlling for endogeneity, which is a serious problem in tax research .
The consumption tax erases pretty much all of the flaws I pointed out in C1. Just like the flat tax, consumption taxes reduce complexity--and have the benefit of not being income taxes. According to the CATO institute, “The chief source of federal tax complexity is the income tax on individuals and corporations … replacement of the income tax with a retail sales tax would reduce compliance costs by 95 percent.”  All the complexity related to compliance would disappear. According to businessmen surveyed, one of the largest complaints was that the income tax was complicated in the manner which it timed taking money. The consumption tax is reliable. Of all of the complaints business leaders had, CATO says that “[n]early all of those sources of complexity would be eliminated or greatly reduced under a consumption-based tax.” 
I have convincingly proven that (1) consumption taxes fix the problems of the current tax code, (2) that consumption taxes are better than income taxes, and (3) that consumption taxes would create huge amounts of economic growth. But why a progressive sales tax?
C3) Progressive consumption tax > Fair Tax
The Fair Tax is a flat consumption tax. I have proven that even a regressive sales tax trumps the current income tax proposals. But the question is why should we favor a progressive tax over a regressive/flat one?
I just gave it away: progressive taxes aren’t regressive. The main negative to a sales tax is that it increases the burden on the middle class. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, FairTax proposals would lead to “an overall tax increase for [the poor].”  This has the negative of preventing consumption in both the short and long term for the middle class. Since they cannot afford to pay the brunt of the taxes it would be unfair to have a flat rate. Progressive consumption taxes have the benefit of being both consumption taxes, proven to cause growth, and also not reduce middle class spending. This means a progressive tax is even better than the normal flat consumption tax--which has been proven to grow the economy.
The leading progressive sales tax reform is the X-Tax, which was invented by the American Enterprise Institute. The X tax is a modified VAT tax. It works by having two taxes: an individual tax and a tax on business firms. The taxes on individuals only apply to incomes, it does not affect savings. The corporation part is oriented towards business firms like corporations. It would not apply to their income but instead their business cash flow. The X tax is progressive because there are different tax brackets. Workers with higher wages pay higher consumption taxes; workers with lower wages pay lower taxes. The taxes are highest for those who get money from from huge business investments as well as higher wage workers, so it is *not* regressive . It still has appeal because it still encourages savings and investment through the use of consumption, not income, taxation. The X tax has all of the benefits of a consumption tax and does not have the down side of harming American workers that a flat consumption tax does.
1. We need to reform the current system
2. Consumption taxes are the best reform option
3. Progressive consumption taxes have all of the benefits of consumption taxes and they do not harm the middle class
Since taxation is primarily an ethical issue, we must look at what ethics is. Ethics is the field that deals with values and actions taken to obtain those values. In this way, ethics is only useful to entities which can value; trees and cadavers have no use for morality. The concept of "value" requires not only life but also freedom, for it cannot be said that a man being blown in a strong wind with no control over himself is able to make moral decisions about what to hold as values, nor can he decide how to act with those values in mind. Because of this, volition is a prerequisite of any moral system, and it can never be proper to subjugate any individual for any reason.
If it is true that forced entities cannot make moral decisions, then the use of force cannot be just. The initiation of force, by its very nature, destroys the capacity for morality, and, if this is so, force and morality are opposites. There is a fundamental contradiction in saying that force is morally acceptable, considering that force destroys the foundation for moral judgements in general.
Applying this to taxation, one can see that no taxation can be morally justifiable, no matter its so-called "pragmatic benefits". The government has no special justification that it can use to violate the rights of individuals (such rights coming from the requirement for the protection of volition for morality to make sense) no matter what. Taxation is, by definition, the forceful taking of property, something that cannot be reconciled with the idea of freedom. Given this and my previous arguments against the use of any force, it has been made plain that there is no level or type of taxation that can be justified.
Pragmatism is not a primary - it is a moral system. As such, it has to "play by the rules" of morality to be acceptable, and, since morality is opposed to force, pragmatist ethical philosophies like those of my opponent cannot be valid - they undercut their own frameworks.
If it can never be said that we "should" tax people (since any question of what we "should" do is moral in nature, and taxation is incompatible with morality), then all of my opponent"s arguments are rendered irrelevant. They assume that the pragmatist philosophy is sound, but, as I have shown, it is really untenable. Without a grounding in anything, his arguments are reduced to baseless assertions that carry no weight and will continue to carry no weight unless he succeeds in defending pragmatism to my objections.
Bossy seems to agree with my pragmatic benefits. So any voters must weigh in all the good progressive consumption taxes do. He argues, though, that pragmatism fails because it allows force, and morality is against force. This is incorrect. Bossy’s entire argument is this: taxes are force; force is bad; taxes are bad. Essentially he is saying that taxes are theft. I will offer compelling reasons that taxation is not theft.
Bossy seems to think that when the state takes your money that you get nothing back. That is theft. But taxes, in many cases, are insurance. Payroll taxes go to social security -- as would part of the PCT (progressive consumption tax) -- so, in that case, you will get a return on the investment later in life. The state also provides roads, schools, and other services.
I would also like to note that all pretax income is printed by the government and distributed as currency. This is because all monetary systems are a form of fiat currency . As government print the money we use, by extension they also own what we have. Bossy could always argue that we should abolish the state, but this is problematic because any currency (or object we use as having worth) would have no worth. No government to enforce the worth of the product, no entity to make it something. So incomes would be worthless. So, in either scenario, you do not have a right to your pretax income.
The thing that destroys Bossy’s case are social contracts. Taxes are not without consent. When one chooses to be part of our system we use the goods and services the government provides. Further, by using the currency provided by the government you consent to a few terms and must pay a fee for participating in the system. Say I broke my computer. I am raging and going through withdrawal because I cannot access steam. I need to play Hearts of Iron 3 and invade Iraq with support from my Indian allies. I go into the computer store and say “fix dis”. They said “aight m8”. A few minutes, hours, days, or weeks later I get my computer back. They say “bruh here is da bill”. I get angry and shout “I did not consent to paying money!” But I did. It was never stated that I would pay money for the service, but because I used the service the shop provided I consented to payment. If one does not follow the contract -- like in the case of taxation -- it is justified for the involved parties to use coercion in order to acquire what is due. This is all the government is doing.
Thus, only people who literally consume nothing or use nothing in the current system are actually morally obliged not to pay. But to point out how extreme this is, read this: “How they can avoid this when the very dollar bills that the economy runs on are printed by the government is a good question. Try to imagine participating in the economy without using public roads, publicly funded communication infrastructure, publicly educated employees, publicly funded electricity, water, gas, and other utilities, publicly funded information, technology, research and development -- it's absolutely impossible. The only way to avoid public goods and services is to move out of the country entirely, or at least become such a hermit, living off the fruits of your own labor, that you reduce your consumption of public goods and services to as little as possible. Although these alternatives may seem unpalatable, they are the only consistent ones in a person who truly wishes to reject the social contract.” 
Now, I will note that in this instance under my system they would pay *zero* taxes. Yes! They consume nothing so they are taxed nothing. So my system actually upholds the theory.
TURN: PCT’s are consensual. PCT’s, a modified VAT tax, adds costs at each stage of the supply chain. This means if someone chooses to (1) emigrate, (2) not consume goods, or (3) consumes fewer goods they can pay zero taxes, or significantly reduce their taxes, through consensual means. The PCT also abolishes the IRS. Every time you purchase a product it is a social contract -- just like with my PC -- so there is no way my tax is actually coercive. The IRS is abolished. We do not arrest people who do not pay taxes because they chose not to consume. So, arguably, the PCT is actually moral even under Bossy’s criteria. At the very least, it is the most moral system we have.
Note: Thanks for turning this into philosophy. (https://www.youtube.com...)
My opponent seems to have a strange definition of theft. He says that, since taxes are used to pay for governmental programs and initiatives, taxation isn't really theft; after all, you're getting something in return for your money. However, this view can be shown to be absurd by example. Imagine that a mugger walked up to you, pulled out a gun, and demanded your wallet. You, not wanting to die, gave it to him. I hope I don't have to explain how this incident is non-consensual and how the mugger coerced you into surrendering your wallet. Now, imagine that the mugger took your money, went to the store, and bought a television. By this point, nothing has been consensual – you did not give him consent to take your money or buy a TV with it. Does anything change if he looks up your records, finds your address, and mails the TV to you? Does that suddenly make the mugger any less guilty of coercion? Obviously not. However, my opponent seems to indicate that something did change – after all, he made the same claim, only replacing “mugger” with “government” and “television” with “social programs”. As can be seen, the idea that compensation neutralizes the force that was used is ridiculous, so my opponent's stance is untenable.
My opponent says that doing so wouldn't work since the government is the only entity that can assign worth to currency. This is wrong on multiple levels: firstly, fiat currency itself is valueless. By definition, fiat currency is backed by nothing but promises. If money is not directly tied to any tangible object, it's completely floating – it has no worth in itself without an entity declaring that it does. As such, there is no objective value inherent in fiat currency, so the claim that fiat currency is any more intrinsically valuable than anything else is false.
Secondly, objects can have values without a central organization dictating what they are. For example, if two men, one with ten cows cow and one with ten goats, were to meet, if each decided that the value of the things they each currently had was lower than the value of the thing the other person had, a trade would occur. There was no centralized entity dictating that ten cows are worth ten goats. No one, other than the traders, decided what they valued. This is entirely unchanged if, instead of ten cows, one person was offering gold. The advantage of gold is that it's easy to use in trade, and, because of the collective impact of individual trades, it would have value based on people valuing it for either its being a luxury item or its ability to be used as currency. All trades involving gold would have one side wanting the gold because of the value they place on it, and, if this is so, the gold must have value regardless of government intervention. If my opponent denies that gold is valuable to people, I would ask him to look at its current price (the measure of the value of a thing to the market).
Even if these values are based on nothing more than the arbitrary whims of consumers and gold has no value in itself, this can be said for fiat currency as well. The difference is that fiat currency has no backing, allowing its value to be manipulated by the government without the input of the market, effectively allowing the Fed to control the values of its citizens' wealth without their consent. If my opponent replies that people don't have to use fiat currency, I would say that, in the current world, they very much do – if a man gets paid only in under-the-table gold, the government would label him as a tax evader.
On the Social Contract
Imagine that I own a store. A man walks in, sees a jug of water with cups by it, and drinks some. I then point a gun at him and demand his credit card information. He objects – he says that I can't morally do such a thing. In response, I tell him that, by walking into my store and drinking my water, he has implicitly consented to anything I might do to him. Would anyone defend my actions? How is this scenario any different than the scenario of the government sending threats via means of taxation? How can you prove that I gave “implicit consent” to be robbed in one scenario but not the other? My opponent's argument is fundamentally undeveloped and provides no way of distinguishing between these two scenarios (he never explicitly defines what constitutes implicit consent nor what you can implicitly consent to), and, since one is obviously unjust, the other, by the same principle, must be as well.
I must ask: where is this supposed social contract? When did I sign this contract? Show me my signature.
Quoting Lysander Spooner:
“The laws holds, and reason declares, that if a written instrument is not signed, the presumption must be that the party to be bound by it, did not choose to sign it, or to bind himself by it. [...] Neither law nor reason requires or expects a man to agree to an instrument, until it is writteN; for until it is written, he cannot know its precise legal meaning. And when it is written, and he has had the opportunity to satisfy himself of its precise legal meaning, he is then expected to decide, and not before, whether he will agree to it or not. And if he do not THEN sign it, his reason is supposed to be, that he does not choose to enter into such a contract. The fact that the instrument was written for him to sign, or with the hope that he would sign it, goes for nothing.
Where would be the end of fraud and litigation, if one party could bring into court a written instrument, without any signature, and claim to have it enforced, upon the ground that it was written for another man to sign? that this other man had promised to sign it? [...] The very judges, who profess to derive all their authority from the Constitution — from an instrument that nobody ever signed — would spurn any other instrument, not signed, that should be brought before them for adjudication.
Moreover, a written instrument must, in law and reason, not only be signed, but must also be delivered to the party (or to some one for him), in whose favor it is made, before it can bind the party making it. The signing is of no effect, unless the instrument be also delivered. […] The Constitution was not only never signed by anybody, but it was never delivered by anybody, or to anybody's agent or attorney. It can therefore be of no more validity as a contract, then can any other instrument that was never signed or delivered.” 
On Public Services
My opponent posits that, since roads, schools, utilities, etc., are publicly funded, and since people use those things, people have no right to protest against taxation implemented to pay for them. However, my previous example about the robber who has bought a television for his victim still holds true – no matter what “benefits” a thief takes your money and then grants you, he is still a thief. It doesn't matter how much roads cost or how much you drive on them – public roads are inherently contrary to morality, were built based on coercion, and do not have any moral claims on anyone. I doubt my opponent would argue that it is immoral for slaves to object to their status because they're being provided with food and clothing that they eagerly use. It is on this same principle that my opponent bases his argument, and it is a principle of mass subjugation based on UNCHOSEN “benefits”.
My opponent somehow tries to claim that PCTs would be consensual, since you could always leave the country or stop buying goods. This is equivalent to saying that, had Soviet Russia allowed open emigration, it would have been a consensual State – after all, the citizens could leave, so those who didn't were obviously consenting to the policies of the Reds. The insanity of this is clear for the following reason: any State that designs policies that affect people with legitimate claims to property within its borders cannot use the idea that people can always leave to defend itself. If citizens rightfully own property and have done nothing wrong, who is the government to implement new mandates and then tell them that they can no longer live the way they had been living? If they had every right to live as they were previously, no amount of reasoning can lead to the conclusion that they can suddenly lose those rights and be forced to choose between slavery or expatriation.
I see no reason why receiving government aid mitigates Bossy's argument. The government is trying to work for the greater good. Taxation means the government can provide services (e.g. law enforcement, military, infrastructure, social programs) better than the private sector. Bossy and I agree that the private sector is usually more efficient, but due to the fact that the government has more bargaining power than individual companies, there are instances where government intervention is preferable to no intervention. The mug example is not directly comparable. That is a functioning action: a man who is stronger (or better armed) than a person uses said power to take a product. The point of taxes are different. You take the money in order to smooth out arbitrary inequalities which may arise in a dysfunctional market. Taxes which raise the price on carbon, for example, make it so you incur extra costs on using a pollutant. It makes people directly responsible for any harm they inflict on society. Wealth is not created solely on an individual level -- although I do agree that individuals should be able to keep a large part of their income (hence a consumption tax). Society works in order to provide the institutions for the individual to work, invest, save, and create wealth. It seems logical for a community to request dues so that it can continue to provide goods and services. An analogy much more fitting would be one of a club. Like a country club. ResponsiblyIrresponsible owns a country club. Bossy and I both are members of the club. We use the pool, eat the food, play golf, and sneak into the strip club when our wives are sleeping. At the end of the month the services -- some of which we don't use (say, the workout area, cause we are fat fvcks) -- need to be paid for. Even though I do not use the services, for the ones I do use, I acquiesce and pay the bill. Bossy jumps up and down screaming "this is theft! I don't use that stuff". That is really how absurd calling taxes theft really are. Even if we assume you use almost none of the services it is your duty to pay for them because you utilize other ones. Whatever you create at the club was only created because of the services provided. It would be right and just to pay a tax in order to (1) pay for the goods you used, (2) the unspoken social contract, (3) pay the community for what it helped you create, and (4) be responsible for any damages you may have created, even if they were indirect.
But it should be noted that not only social programs are in this mess. It is also national defense. Bossy focuses on the individual -- which is great, I love individuals -- but there are many services which are required for the collective society as a whole. National defense is something that *everyone* utilizes and *needs*. Without national defense we would be under threat from pretty much everyone. We would be hell under Mexico or socialist under Canada. It would be awful. Not paying for national defense would be theft because you are being a freeloader and leading to even worse aggression than paying a tax. Since taxes are the most efficient way to pay for these services, and not paying for them would lead to worse violations of freedom than paying a simple tax, he must somehow justify a weird libertarian anarchist utopia.
== Fiat Money ==
1. Why should it be abolished? Fiat money is extremely effective in moderating recessions and preventing total economic collapse other monetary systems provide. The Federal Reserve is the most effective weapon against economic downturn (http://www.nber.org...).
2. Fiat currency is valueless? Everything is valueless except for the value we give it. This argument is just silly. What gives anything value? Fiat currency has value because we give it value. Money backed by gold has value because we give gold value. Everything is worthless until we say it is worth something. Everything is "completely floating". So, really, everything is worthless. If anything that damages your position more than mine.
3. Due to the fact that fiat currency has a worth because we say it does (like everything pretty much), you have no right to your pretax income. The government has it. They allow us to have it because we earned it, yes, but they do have a claim on our earnings.
Bossy says that gold must have some inherent worth because it is easy to trade. I think trading light weight paper-fabric mixes is probably easier, but whatever. And gold actually has zero worth. Gold prices are very volatile, much more so than the money supply (http://goldprice.org...). If we left the market to control the money supply through gold you would literally crucify our economy. Our economy needs long-term deals to work. If gold is the currency long term investments would never occur. They couldn't gauge profits because gold may deflate or hyper inflate. Having a governing entity determine the worth is much, much, MUCH more efficient than allowing a volatile gold market control our economy.
Fiat currency has no backing. But it actually does -- the government printing it is the backing. That is the point. What backing does gold have? What makes it magically worth something? It is on the exact same level as fiat currency. Gold as a currency is just a tradition. The demand for gold for productive things -- which make it worth something -- is tiny. It is used mostly for recreational decoration. It is super weird that libertarians think gold has some worth when fiat currency doesn't. One is green and has backing because we say it is. One is a little bit prettier and is worth something because... we say it is. In the black market, Tide -- yes, the detergent -- is used for currency (http://nymag.com...). All money is fiat money. Everything is "floating" because it is only worth what we say it is. And that is the most efficient way to transfer goods. Fiat money proves that taxation is not theft. And it is the best, and pretty much only, way to conduct business.
== Social contracts ==
Actually, I would defend your actions. As a libertarian you would support that, too. The water is on your private property. The water is your private property. By entering your store there is a social contract that he should pay for services you provide. You could always not care, but in a society with scarce resources, it is conceivably justified to do that. So, in reality, it could be considered stealing if you, the owner, said it was. But as a collective this annoys us so we prohibit it. Instead of having vigilantism we have a government deal with issues like this. As no taxes mean no government, we must rely on vigilante justice to enforce contracts. Getting rid of taxes means imposing *worse* coercion than we deal with today. That is the big point which must come accross. And, of course, that his analogy really isn’t immoral.
Bossy then asks for a contract in writing. Have you heard of a verbal contract? Or even unspoken ones? By living, as a citizen, and utilizing services which the government provides, you consent to paying for said services. The government provides a legal system for you to use directly, but you also use it indirectly because it promotes stability. You are obligated to either pay for those services, leave the country, or vote in representatives which would abolish these institutions. You don’t need to sign on a dotted line to consent to something.
I already responded to services. Bossy has to pretty much justify anarchism. Goods and services are for the common good. Focusing on the individual, although great, pretty much screws over the common man. And bossy acts like these social programs are not chosen. Seriously? Governments are at the will of the populace. The mugger in your analogy gave you an unwanted good. The government gives people goods based on how they vote. If taxation was truly theft party running on that platform, if they had good marketing skills, would win by a landslide and make the government go bankrupt.
== Consensuality ==
The USSR was not consensual because they didn’t have elections. And bossy has a point. Forcing people to leave is rude and if they leave they have to go live under some other government who has other dumb rules, blah blah blah. The USSR was not democratic in any way, shape, or form. So that right there is the difference between the US or EU and the USSR. But in some crazy anarchist world you would also be subject to someone’s rules on private property. That would be consensual because you choose to live on his land. The tyranny of being forced to do things will always exist unless you live alone. Taxes are the least coercive way to pay for goods and services.
The murder analogy is just insane. This is not even comparable to murder. And living with little-to-no consumption would not be that difficult. You could easily obtain water from a river and boil it to clean it. You can grow your own food, make clothes, etc. Sure, it would be annoying, but it is not as clear cut as the illogical, extremist, and improbable analogy you gave. Every time you buy something you would make a conscious decision to pay the tax. You could get goods with lower taxes. And the best thing about it is that you only pay it when you consume something. You are using a government service which has given you something (roads, schools to read labels, etc.) every time you pay the tax. It isn’t as bad as the government taking all of your money. It is a lot more fair than an income tax. That much is clear, and that is the only point I was trying to make.
Pro’s country club example would be valid IF he can produce the contract I’ve signed with the gov that gives them ownership over me. A country club gets consent from its members, but a big gov does not. The default state of all persons born is that of subjugation – you’ve forfeited your rights unless you say otherwise. This is inherently non-consensual. If Pro’s example were honest, the members of the country club would have been kidnapped at birth and raised in the club, never having a say in whether or not they wanted to be a member. Even if they are allowed to leave, it’s clear that they’re being unjustly forced to live in the country club’s “society”. They never agreed to its terms, so they should not be bound by them. This situation is entirely equivalent to that of the gov – the idea of an unwritten “social contract” is nothing but faerie dust and no rational person would apply it to scenarios like the one I’ve described.
A country club sends out armed gunmen to abduct you. Once at the club, you eat its food and drink its water. No one would say that you must pay them back. You did not choose to go to the club, so anything that you did to it is not your problem.
It doesn’t matter if the gov implements taxes for so-called “noble” reasons. It doesn’t matter if the citizens, in the end, benefit from these taxes. If each individual does not consent, the policies are immoral. These pragmatic benefits are only relevant in a debate about what “should” be done if the means to them are not immoral. It doesn’t matter if PCTs would make every man a millionaire in a day – if Pro cannot show how something can be both coercive and moral, PCTs cannot be morally forced on citizens that do not consent to them.
Pro makes the arg., both here and later on, that, since things like National Defence are necessary to preserve rights, it’s okay to fund them by way of violating rights. This is equivalent to saying that, since antibiotics are necessary to stop infections, if one has an infection it’s perfectly reasonable to inject snake venom to get penicillin. Both a lack of gov and a gov that violates rights are equally immoral for the same reasons, so to say that you can justify one because of the other is impossible.
== Fiat Money ==
1. Any economic manipulation of the value of currency is manipulation of the ability of individuals to trade their actual wealth. By being able to arbitrarily change the value of currency, the Fed is allowed to effectively set decrees about the medium of trade to be used by controlling the amount of goods that one dollar can buy. This allows the Fed to control the purchasing power of individuals’ fiat-currency fortunes at whim, essentially staking a claim on the products of their work and reducing wealth to something to be played with by bankers.
2. I agree that we give gold value. However, this does not make it “valueless” – it does the exact opposite. By giving gold value, it obtains value, not loses it. We give gold value because it has qualities which we value, viz. stability and aesthetics. Fiat currency’s only claim to value is its ability to be manipulated, something that should be considered a vice.
You can intentionally manipulate the value of fiat currency MUCH more easily than you can manipulate the value of gold. You can print bills; you cannot print gold.
Pro says that “trading light weight paper-fabric mixes is probably easier [than trading gold]”. This ignores the fact that pretty much nobody who’s in favor of the Gold Standard wants people to literally carry gold around – fabric notes that are exchangeable for a certain amount of gold are to be used. The difference is that a Gold Standard would force banks to be accountable for their promises, instead of allowing them to play games with currency to embezzle money, and would also help reign in fractional-reserve banks by forcing them to keep some tangible wealth at all times, instead of operating on thin air.
Even if gold prices are volatile, this is a reflection of the production and trade of a real thing, and, as such, gold would still be tied directly to something with inherent qualities regardless of its price.
== Social contracts ==
The water was intentionally set up with cups beside it. It’s entirely unreasonable to say that the shopper “signed a non-verbal contract” to have guns pointed at him if he tried to drink water, given conventional social norms and expectations.
Unless Pro can show otherwise, I did not sign a written contract, agree to a verbal contract, or “implicitly” sign an “assumed” contract. Pro makes the arg. that, since you use the gov’s legal system, vote in its elections, and so on, you’re doing so consensually. However, like in the example of the kidnapping country club, you are not consenting to a system by working within that system if you never chose to be put in that system originally. Quoting Lysander Spooner yet again:
“[Individuals'] voting is not to be taken as proof of consent, even for the time being. [...] Because, to save his own life in battle, a man takes the lives of his opponents, it is not to be inferred that the battle is one of his own choosing. Neither in contests with the ballot – which is a mere substitute for a bullet – because, as his only chance of self-preservation, a man uses a ballot, is it to be inferred that the contest is one into which he voluntarily entered [...] On the contrary, it is to be considered that, in an exigency into which he had been forced by others, and in which no other means of self-defence offered, he, as a matter of necessity, used the only one that was left to him.” 
== The “Common Good” ==
It doesn’t matter if the “common man” gets screwed by the elimination of social services. Unless Pro can refute my moral framework, the concept of the “common good” is entirely worthless. It would be begging the question to assume that this is a problem. Pro needs to show why society should put the collective over the individual rather than simply stating that that is how it should be.
== Consensuality ==
Quoting Robert Nozick’s “Tale of a Slave”, showing the absurdity of this distinction:
“ Consider the following sequence of cases, which we shall call the Tale of the Slave, and imagine it is about you.
He then says that the rules of private property owners are comparable to the goval rules he’s proposing. This misses out on the fact that, if no rights are being violated, all interactions on private property would be completely consensual. There is no subjugation when both parties are in agreement. However, taxation and other such things completely ignore consent – they override the fundamental rights of individuals in a way that would not be possible in a free society. That distinction renders the comparison groundless.
Pro says that the analogy I used fails because a consumption tax is “not even comparable to murder.” He ignores the point of the example – just because you have a way to avoid something, that thing is not always voluntary. If he rejects this, he must say that, under my described scenario, being murdered is voluntary. If he does not reject this, then he has effectively undercut his arg. .
He then says that it’s “not that difficult” to avoid consumption. This, again, misses the point. It’s irrelevant if a PCT makes someone’s life twice as difficult or a thousand times as difficult. If it would violate the rights of individuals to restrict free trade by implementing a consumption tax, then it can never be moral. Every tax would be unjust, so they shouldn’t have to be avoided in the first place.
He then says that a PCT would not be as bad as the current system. The debate isn’t about whether a PCT is more desirable than an income tax. It is about whether a PCT is desirable absolutely. I have shown that, since a PCT would violate rights, it could never be redeemed.
You do not need a written contract for consent to exist. You don’t sign a contract with Wal Mart every time you go into the store, but it is still stealing if you do not pay for the item. You do not sign a contract to be “forced” to pay for the product, but you are still binded and it is not considered theft. Merely because you do not sign on the dotted line does not mean that there is no consent. By the same logic, being born to our parents is also immoral. We do not consent to being born to our parents, our social class, or at the time we did. Yet we are at their mercy until we turn 18 for a variety of items, whether we like it or not. But we do not think it is immoral (unless the parent is abusive) because they provide for their children. The same goes for the government. They may or may not be chosen — though we *do* consent to our government through elections — but it is considered just because they provide for us. Which is what a government does.
The gunmen analogy is flawed. With the government, you consent via voting and other activities. Further, the analogy fails to show that the ‘gunmen’ should give back, like a government does. So a better analogy would be you are a member of the club. There is a mandatory event you consented to — you may have even assisted in constructing it. You go there and consume the food and pay at the end. And there are services — lap dances, for example — given to you. I see nothing inherently wrong with this. If you consent through elections and are given goods and services it would be logical to pay.
And, remember, no taxes = no government. And without a government other voluntary transactions would not occur. Worse infringements of liberty would occur without a government. Bossy has yet to justify anarchism despite the necessity of him to do so, and me asking of him multiple times. If no taxes *worsens* the ability for individuals to be free, having a tax > having no taxes. Bossy argues that the government is an evil in and of itself. This isn’t true, but even assuming it was, the one which hurts you less is preferable to the one which harms you more. If the infection was worse than the snake venom, we would choose to treat it first or more vigorously.
== Fiat Money ==
1. If this was true, *any* monetary system would be immoral or unjust. The gold standard ties the worth of a dollar to a specified amount of gold. This is, in and of itself, manipulation of currency as you are changing its value. And if you wished to change the monetary supply — which would be required for economic growth (and poverty alleviation) — you would need to mine more gold, and change the gold market, which changes the worth of a dollar. So this argument means we must abolish all currency, which doesn’t make sense. The value of a dollar changing due to a central bank is no different, morally, from an oil company producing more, which affects the price. But is Bossy going to argue that this is immoral? In fact, Forbes Magazine argues that the free market would choose fiat money over commodity based currencies [1. http://www.forbes.com...]. The reason is because as the world is moving towards electronic dealings, checks, and credit cards favors fiat money. Fiat money is a convenient currency with stable inflation. A gold standard, for example, is impractical but may have a lower inflation rate. So, as Forbes writes, “a free market in currency would likely result in a consortium of large banks controlling the money supply. This consortium would have a strong incentive to maximize real economic output, since doing so would maximize the profitability of its money-supply franchise in the long run. And so if, as many economists believe, the output-maximizing inflation rate is around 2 percent, that’s likely the inflation rate private issuers of currency would target.” So a fiat money system may actually be what the market would move towards. It may actually make voluntary transactions easier because of the economic benefits it provides.
2. This is a cop out. He is arguing because we give gold value because it is shiny makes it superior because we support a dollar because a government is behind it. Seriously? That is an arbitrary distinction. Plus, the market gives money value in and of itself because it is *more* efficient to use than gold or other commodities (say, a barter and trade system). If gold somehow has value because it looks shiny, money can have value because it is useful. If anything, the efficiency of money makes it worth *more* than gold.
3. Fiat currency was forced on the populace? Ok… so was a gold standard . And, as noted, the market may actually opt for fiat currency, meaning it would not be ‘forced’ in the modern era. Plus, a lot of things were forced. We forced the south to abandon Jim Crow laws and slavery — something they wouldn’t have abolished without conflict. In fact, it took a war. Just because something is ‘forced’ does not make it bad.
== Social Contracts ==
1. Bossy makes a good point — conventional societal interpretations. But wasn’t it him who argued that pragmatism is focused on the present? So that rebuttal is invalidated by his old reasoning. Plus, if the owner owns that property, there is no reason under Bossy’s logic that it should not be considered immoral. He was merely protecting his resources from someone who was taking them away.
2. You sign a contract by using the government’s resources. By merely living in a country which provides stability — which is essential for the market to work — you are using the government and are consenting to using their services. And you do not consent to being born to your parents, either, but if you aggressively ignore their instruction you would be punished. You don’t have to actively consent for there to be consent.
3. Bossy seems to argue that democracy is not consent. Again, this means there would be no state. Bossy has not justified anarchism and this alone invalidates his point — and it is last round so he cannot do so. And the battle analogy (Bossy loves analogies, doesn’t he). And the source says voting actually is consent if it is fully voluntary. A battle, or at least when you are in battle, you have no choice (though, unless you were enslaved, you probably chose to enter the military). Voting actually is voluntary. If you fail to vote, then have fun being alone. No one forces you to vote. But the option for consent exists; if you deny it, it is your fault, and you consent to any government which arises due to your inaction.
== Common Good ==
1. I really think that this argument is sickening. If 200 million people were to starve to death in the name of ‘individual rights’ bossy would support it because of his ‘moral framework’. I do not know how any thinking person could support that position. 35% of americans, or over 100 million americans, use welfare services [2. http://www.cnsnews.com...]. If 100 million americans are harmed if we get rid of taxes, I don’t see how any thinking person would abolish taxes.
== Consensuality ==
The slave story is absurd. So absurd only a libertarian could make it up. They actively excluded someone from voting. In the US, it is illegal to bar anyone from voting (except criminals, who have already broken the social contract). Also, in the US, you can leave and avoid paying US taxes. You could go to Switzerland where taxes are super low, or move to one of those nutty private countries. Regardless, the slave analogy works because those people are forced to live there and people are forced to *not* vote. In the US, this does not happen. Plus, assume 1000 of those people would have starved (like would happen in the US… but on a colossal scale) had that one gotten his way. Which would be preferable?
Bossy also says a PCT is bad because it makes people’s lives more difficult… Guess what zero taxation does? This refutes his entire ‘moral’ case. Millions of people living in poverty and starving because we abolish taxation outweighs pretty much everything. Although Bossy makes a distinction between absolutely and a current system, I think it is a valid point that a PCT improves the system within realistic boundaries. Brushing it off isn’t a good tactic.
My opponent says that you don’t have to sign a written contract for such a contract to exist – I agree with this. However, you must sign some contract, agree to some statement of terms, or consent to some conditions. You cannot assume consent any time you like – if this was so, I could say that my opponent has “implicitly consented” to forfeit this debate. When asked to produce proof, I would just say that he did unconsciously and automatically. This is obviously not a valid defense, but my opponent tries to use it in the case of the gov.
My opponent’s attempt to show that my stance is absurd by bringing up children fails because there is a fundamental difference in the previous state of a child and of an enslaved man: the child, before being brought into the world, was nothing, and, as such, had no rights. Before the child becomes an adult, he has limited rights, since he does not have the rational and moral capacities that rights are aimed to defend. As such, in both childbirth and parenting, no rights are violated. The enslaved man, on the other hand, wasa free man – his rights were stripped from him by his slaver. He was initially in possession of autonomy and morality, but, in the case of taxation, the gov took these from him. As can be seen, the two cases are incomparable.
Re: Voting = Consent:
I refer back to the passage I posted from Lysander Spooner:
I don’t have to justify anarchism if I can show that statism can never be moral. It’s irrelevant to this debate if there is any moral society – as long as I show that taxation is absolutely and unquestionably immoral, I win. You can’t say that it’s “less” immoral to tax people than it is for anarchy to reign and use that to justify taxation – if they’re both immoral, then they both, by definition, should not be pursued. It doesn’t matter if the conclusion of this argument is that everyone should commit mass-suicide or whatever else – if the argument stands that taxation is immoral absolutely, then it should never be put into action, regardless of the alternatives.
== Fiat Money ==
I’m conflating this whole section into one main argument: that the market-chosen and not govally-chosen currency/value of said currency is the better of the two because it responds to voluntary consent, not goval decree. This is not a new argument – I made it in point 1 of my last round (”Any economic manipulation of the value of currency is manipulation of the ability of individuals to trade their actual wealth. “) If the market opts for fiat currency, it would, by definition, opt for a non-goval fiat currency – a fiat currency detached from gov rule. The only way a fiat currency would be established in a market economy is through goval force, which, as argued before, is universally immoral. If this is the case, then the gov wouldn’t have the right to tax based off of its provision of fiat currency, so this point is irrelevant.
The South was forced to abandon slavery because slavery is force. The force the North used was used in order to eliminate the force used by the South. It was wholly reactionary in nature and, as such, the example does not apply to this discussion – all it shows is that force is fine in retaliation to force, making the initiation of force immoral.
== Social Contracts ==
1. I’ll drop this particular argument because it has now become too overbloated to be useful – this dropping is irrelevant in light of the same point being made in other places.
2. Cross-apply my responses to the first segment of the debate.
3. My opponent says that my source “says voting actually is consent if it is fully voluntary”. However, he completely ignores the fact that the entire purpose of the passage was to show that, in the case of gov, voting isn’t fully voluntary, since you are operating within a framework that you never agreed to in the first place. No one forces you to vote, no, but someone did force you to live under the gov and someone did force you to be subject to democracy. Neither of these things were consensual, so voting to change them is not, in itself, proof that the individual did consent to them.
== Common Good ==
Saying “this argument is sickening” is not an argument. Asserting that “no thinking person” can support my position does not refute it. There is nothing of substance in my opponent’s paragraph – he essentially just says “you’re wrong” without any reasoning against my moral framework. As such, all voters should consider this point dropped.
== Consensuality ==
Yes, at a point in the story, the individual was excluded from voting. However, in step 9, his vote is given equal weight to the votes of everyone else. The exercise is to show that there is no distinction between not being able to vote and being able to vote if the framework of “voting” is one of rule by majority – i.e. one of subjugation of the individual.
As addressed previously, even if you can leave, you shouldn’t have to leave. The gov isn’t a primary force – it doesn’t have eternal and absolute power. Why should you have to be forced to move to escape it, rather than it being forced to reign itself in? After all, it is the individual that is the starting point of all morality, not the state.
If those people would starve, then so be it. It is not the fault of the escaped slave – he did not choose to be put in such a situation and should not be coerced into staying in it.
My opponent says that “Bossy also says a PCT is bad because it makes people’s lives more difficult”. However, I NEVER made this argument. I literally said that “difficulty” caused by policies is completely irrelevant – quoting my last round, “It’s irrelevant if a PCT makes someone’s life twice as difficult or a thousand times as difficult“. I’m not sure how my opponent got what he did from what I said.
My opponent then says that “millions of people living in poverty […] outweighs pretty much everything”. He never justifies this. Throughout this debate, he has never disproven the moral framework I put forth – the moral framework that makes it universally unjust to violate rights in any scenario for any reason. If my moral theory holds, then, by definition, the protection of rights would “outweigh” the costs of such protection (if such costs even exist, but that’s irrelevant). My opponent cannot refute my case by saying “but you’re wrong! I’m right!” – he must make logical arguments attacking my foundation. He has not done so.
Again, even if a PCT would be better than the current taxes, I have shown that it is absolutely bad. Given that, I can definitely “brush it off” – I’ve shown that it can never be desirable.
|Who won the debate:||-|
|Who won the debate:||-|