The Instigator
RepublitariansUnite
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
MyDinosaurHands
Con (against)
Winning
10 Points

Should other states in America model their economies after the state of Texas?

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
MyDinosaurHands
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/29/2015 Category: Economics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 652 times Debate No: 69144
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (5)
Votes (2)

 

RepublitariansUnite

Pro

Texas has the most economic freedom in the United States of America, and it has been considered for more than a decade to be the best state to start a business and build up your life. No longer is the economy here dependent on the oil industry. We have large corporations, small businesses, lots of manufacturing, the best technology industry in the entire nation, and one of the best education systems. There are no state income taxes, and corporate taxation is nearly non-existent. Shouldn't Texas be heralded as a champion of the free-enterprise system, and the model for other states to follow?
MyDinosaurHands

Con

I will be demonstrating that the Texan approach to economic structure is not one other states should follow, despite its amazing job growth.



HOSTILITY TOWARDS MIDDLE CLASS, POOR, ENTREPRENEURS
At one point during his opening, my opponent said, "[Texas] has been considered for more than a decade to be the best state to start a business and build up your life."

This is untrue, despite what my opponent said later about there being no income tax. While it is true that the state of Texas has no income tax, sales and property taxes are present, and they are higher than they might ordinarily be in order to make up for the lack of income taxes[1]. The effective tax rate turns out to be 12.8% for the bottom fifth of earners, 8.6% for the middle group of earners, and only 3.2% for the 1%[1].

Texas ranks in the top ten states that tax most heavily their poor[2]. This kind of theft of those who already have so little takes its toll; Texas is ranked as the 5th worst state in terms of income inequality, number 1 in terms of most minimum-wage workers[3], number 1 in the largest share of uninsured citizens[4], and relatively low in terms of economic mobility[4][5].

The outlook is bleak too for the middle class and entrepreneurs, who both face tax rates higher than my opponent would have you believe. As stated, the middle class must pay taxes nearly triple that of the top 1%. This, no doubt, is a contributing factor to Texas' poor economic mobility performance. Further, despite all the conservative rhetoric that Texas is the land of the start-up, self-made entrepreneurial man, the tax rate on businesses not given special exemptions by the state (exemptions which only go to a few big players) is 5.2%, a rate higher than the national average[1]. This, coupled with the disadvantage of facing off against large corporations with massive tax breaks, clearly affects entrepreneurship, as "..Census Bureau data [shows] that a smaller share of people in Texas own their own business than in all but four other states."[1] Texas is not the land of opportunity that conservatives suggest. It is one of the most regressively taxing states in the nation, it hurts the poor, stymies entrepreneurship and economic mobility, and leaves all the money for the rich.

WHERE DID ALL THE JOBS COME FROM?
So if all of these things are true, why are there so many jobs being produced? The answer is quite simple. While the rest of the nation's job growth has been in the negative, Texas has been booming thanks to the massive amounts of immigration it has been facing and the second highest birthrate in the country[6].

"[immigration] swells the supply and lowers the cost of labor, while at the same time adding to the demand for new products and services. As the population of Texas swelled by more than 24 percent from 2000 to 2013, so did the demand for just about everything, from houses to highways to strip malls."[7]

INFRASTRUCTURE NEGLECT
Were it not for Texas' huge population swell assisting economic growth, it would be apparent that its inadequate infrastructure would need repair. Texas has nearly a one fifth of their roads in need of repair (poor roads cause motorists nearly $400 per year), 50 sites of National Priority due to hazardous waste, $33.9 billion in drinking water needs, $11.5 in waste-water needs, $12.6 billion in school infrastructure needs, and only 28 employees overseeing 142 state dams, over 20% of which are without emergency action plans[8].

Studies have shown that infrastructure spending not only puts more money in the pockets of the average citizen, but also benefits businesses, driving the economy $1.5-$2 for every $1 spent on infrastructure[9]. Texas is clearly not on top of infrastructure maintenance, and it would be economically unwise for other states to neglect their infrastructure in the same way.

CONCLUSION
Texas is an example of classic trickle-down economics, and it exemplifies its classic criticisms: income inequality, and the death of true economic vitality. Upward economic mobility is poor, entrepreneurship is poor, the number of minimum wage workers ($7.25 per/hr[9]) is startlingly high, infrastructure maintenance is sub-par, and yet, conservatives can't help but tout Texas as a shining example of the American Dream in action.




Sources:
[1] http://www.washingtonmonthly.com...
[2] http://www.itep.org...
[3] http://www.washingtonmonthly.com...
[4] http://www.dallasnews.com...
[5] http://www.washingtonmonthly.com...
[6] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[7] http://www.washingtonmonthly.com...
[8] http://www.infrastructurereportcard.org...
[9] http://www.progressivepolicy.org...
Debate Round No. 1
RepublitariansUnite

Pro

My opponent brings up the fact that there is a lot of income inequality in the state of Texas and how the state has a large share of minimum wage workers. He's right.

However, the situation for minimum wage workers in Texas is not nearly as grim as my opponent would lead you to believe. The minimum wage in Texas is currently the national minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. HOWEVER, the COST OF LIVING in Texas must also be taken into account. The cost of living in some areas of Texas is nearly 20% below the national average, one of the lowest rates in the entire nation. The state as a whole has an extremely low cost of living in comparison to other states. And is income inequality really a bad thing? Don't some people deserve to be paid more than others for the jobs they do?

My opponent also fails to recognize the regional varieties in terms of income and infrastructure. ALL BUT TWO of the counties in Texas with poverty rates of more than 15% in Texas lie within two counties of the border with Mexico. As is commonly know, illegal immigrants flood across the border every day, and struggle to make a living, which is partly responsible for the poverty rates in these areas. Infrastructure is also much worse in these areas of the state, so much worse that newly elected governor Greg Abbott went far enough to call these areas "third world countries". Governor Abbott has also released plans to ADDRESS these infrastructure problems in these area. But do these areas of Texas employ the same socioeconomic policies as other areas of the state? Absolutely not. These areas are controlled by liberal governments, which largely ignore policies that are enforced in other areas of the state.

For a success story, allow me to present the suburban areas north of Dallas, Texas. Some of these suburbs have increased their population by as much as 23 times the original amount in the last 25 years. The economy is bustling with large corporations moving into the area, along with small businesses popping up left and right. Now why have these former farmlands sprung up into mini economic metropolises? Simple. They have employed the economic policies that the state of Texas has advocated, and which my opponent seems to deny.

While my opponent may continue to cry out in favor of higher wages and cheaper health care for illegal immigrants living in South Texas at this current moment in time, life is prosperous and booming in other areas of the state.

My opponent also claimed that I was wrong in stating that the state of Texas is the best place to start up a business and build up your life, but he is incorrect.

Time Magazine, in a 2013 report, proclaimed the state of Texas as the future of the United States of America, saying that "Texas has no income tax. Per resident, it collects roughly $3,500 in taxes overall (including all state and local taxes) every year. By way of contrast, California collects $4,900 per resident " New York collects a whopping $7,400 per resident. Both states, of course, have income taxes. People are going to Texas because it"s a low-cost, low-tax state."

Clearly, this disproves my opponent's point of the tax situation in Texas not being as good as I would lead you to believe. Also, Money Magazine included several Texas cities in its 2014 edition of the best places to raise a family. Among these was McKinney, Texas, which ranked 1st in the entire nation. Clearly, Texas does have many areas suitable to building up a life.

The GDP of Texas is nearly 1.6 trillion dollars as of 2015. That puts us in the top 15 economies in the world. This is solely because of the beautiful economic policies Texas has employed. Oklahoma and North Dakota are following in our lead, and have been met with enormous success. Other states must join them.

I urge an affirmative vote.
MyDinosaurHands

Con

INCOME INEQUALITY AND COST OF LIVING
My opponent does not deny that Texas has the most minimum wage workers in the nation, and counters by claiming that this is OK because of the cheap costs of living in Texas. While I do not deny that the cost of living in Texas is fairly low, there are several important factors to keep in mind.

Firstly, it should be noted that even with cost of living rates where they are right now, most Texans are either economically suffering or in danger of suffering. The minimum wage in Texas is $7.25, and recent, comprehensive studies reveal that the living wage for Texan adults is just a little over that, $7.64[1]. The fact that the majority of Texan citizens are riding the edge should be worry enough, but once you throw in the fact that the living wage for children is $14.95[1], you've got some problems, especially when we're talking about poorer people, who tend to have more children[2]. Perhaps some people consider a living wage to be too generous. I would refer those people to the poverty wage, which places adults at $5.04 per hour and children at $6.68 per hour[1]. Obviously anyone with children, or perhaps just an unexpected expensive payment, will be suffering greatly.

Not only do there appear to be problems in the present, but we can see that if the economy were to take a downturn, and the cost of living were to go up, many Texan residents would not be prepared. Obviously the minimum wage families who are already in rough shape would be in an even rougher one, but so too would those 50% of Texans who do not have 'minimum savings', a term that describes the inability to pay for 3 months of expenses with savings should some kind of emergency occur[3].


Other signs of lack of economic security include the 25% of Texans without healthcare, the 45% of renters in Austin who sacrifice a third of their wages to afford housing, or the 25% of homeowners who do so, those residents that face rising utility costs for their living spaces[4], and those facing rising housing prices[5].
Many make sacrifices to afford cost of living
Dallas County,TX real estate house value trend
The economy is not guaranteed to remain constant, and it is unrealistic to assume that Texas' will continue chugging along at its current rate. What happens when Texas suffers an economic hardship? I can't speak for the 1%, but it seems reasonable to conclude that there will be a significant number of Texans who will be extraordinarily negatively effected in economic terms.


My opponent also asks:
"Don't some people deserve to be paid more than others for the jobs they do?"
Well that depends on what 'deserve' means. If you mean that harder work makes you deserving of more money, then you'd have to prove that Bill Gates works billions times harder than a McDonald's worker does. I don't want complete economic equality, I want that to be clear. It's just that at some point, where you start seeing the kinds of things mentioned above and in the previous round, you have to realize that it simply is not in the interests of the greater good for a small group of people to have money that would create so much more happiness elsewhere.

INFRASTRUCTURE
My opponent has stated that the poor infrastructure within Texas will soon be fixed. I leave it up to the voters to decide whether something that will supposedly soon happen counts as legitimate within the confines of the debate. Meanwhile, I'll stay on the safe side and argue as if they do.

Even if the state of Texas does get about to fixing its roads, there are serious problems to be addressed, the kind that come up in an economic system where the poor are most heavily relied upon for money. The most pressing issue is the massive road debt Texas has accrued: $23 billion[6]. According to government officials, in order to simply maintain road and traffic conditions over the next 20 years, they will need to pay off this debt, which, with interest included, will likely cost the state $31 billion[6]. Legislators are attempting to amend the state's constitution in order to allow revenues from gas to be used. However, were this to be successful, this would earn the state roughly only $2 billion per year[6].

More generally speaking, the state is in horrible debt. Combining state and local governments, the state of Texas has spent $307 billion more dollars than it has[7].

So in this department, Texas has four options:
1. Spend money they don't have on infrastructure.
2. Take money from one program and apply it to infrastructure.
3. Let their infrastructure continue to crumble.
4. Raise taxes to pay for massive debts and finance infrastructure.

I would think 4 would be the smartest and most responsible choice. However, if Texas were to do that, Texas would be outside the confines of the debate, having enacted an economic system not like the one it practices now, and one which we are currently discussing.

It should also be noted that government debt impedes economic growth because, "foreign governments and private investors purchase this [debt], which means money that could have gone to investing in new businesses pays for government spending instead."[8]

TAXATION AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP
My opponent has asserted that the per person, the state of Texas collects only $3,500. This is not true. As this database shows, per capita, the state of Texas collects $7,562.2, far more than what my opponent alleges[9]. I would just like to remind voters that the total tax on private sector product is 5.2% in Texas, and, I'd like to add, not only higher than the national average, but higher than California's 4.5% (first round source [1]).

In terms of entrepreneurship, my opponent has provided an anecdote where small businesses are popping up right alongside large corporations. This anecdote completely ignores the previously stated fact that Texas ranks 45th in terms of citizen business ownership (previously sourced). Even if the circumstances within the anecdote are true, they do not override the statistically backed, proven trend that shows that big corporations, not entrepreneurs or the middle class, rule Texas, a statement further backed by the fact that Texas is 43rd in income equality[10].

CONCLUSION
My opponent has not supported any of his assertion with sources, and even if he had, I have shown that for all its job production and GDP growth, the benefit has been decidedly in favor of the upper class and 1%. Income inequality is such that there is a whole subset of people barely scraping by. These people would be in serious economic trouble should there ever be a downturn, much in the same way an unbuckled person might face serious injury or even death in the event of a car accident. Eventually however, all the people of Texas will pay for the massive debt that has collected thanks to a reluctance to tax those most able to handle it.

There are some positive aspects to the Texan economy, primarily in raw job creation. But the growth if an irresponsible one; every step forward for a corporation is a step backward for the people shouldered with their taxation burdens. There is a better way to measure an economy's strength besides job growth or GDP alone, and that is job growth/GDP in responsible balance with income equality, to ensure that the growth is not enjoyed by just a lucky few.

Sources:
[1] http://www.burntorangereport.com...
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[3] http://bizbeatblog.dallasnews.com...
[4] http://impactnews.com...
[5] http://www.city-data.com...
[6] http://www.star-telegram.com...
[7] http://www.usgovernmentspending.com...
[8] http://dailysignal.com...
[9] http://www.usgovernmentrevenue.com...
[10] http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 2
RepublitariansUnite

Pro

My opponent has once again failed to recognize the importance of regional variety in Texas, completely forgetting to refute that argument at all. He decides to cite the city of Austin as an example of the failing economic policies of Texas. However, once again, he fails to realize that the economy of Austin is not run the same way as that of the rest of the state. In this basic situation, Austin manages its economy the same way that Southern portions of Texas do, a policy different than the state government, and a policy that I have shown has failed.

He also claims that I have not supplied any sources to support any of my main assertions. However, I clearly cited both Time and Money Magazines in saying that low taxes benefit Texas, and that Texas is the right place to start up a family.

And he claims that my citation for the tax amount is incorrect, though considering it is from a 2014 report from Time Magazine itself, I don't see how my opponent's claim there is viable at all.

But going back to infrastructure, my opponent cites the debt of Texas as a function of their inability to improve infrastructure. However, I would once again like to bring up the principle of regional variety in the state of Texas. Infrasturucture is only bad in places at or near the Mexican border, areas that do not correspond with the overall state policy on economics. Meanwhile, central, eastern, and northern Texas, areas that use the economic policies given from the state government, are growing, bustling, and have excellent infrasturucture.

Considering that my opponent loves generalizing the entire state, fails to recognize regional variety in development and economic policy in Texas, and fails to recognize the effects of events such as illegal immigration upon Southern portions of the state, I urge an affirmative vote.
MyDinosaurHands

Con

Since my opponent's response was pretty short, I'll just quote and respond.

"My opponent has once again failed to recognize the importance of regional variety in Texas, completely forgetting to refute that argument at all."
I have hoped that my use of statistics that were not region specific would have negated this issue for my opponent. As a reminder: 1/4 of Texans don't have healthcare, the most minimum wage workers in America, 49% are without minimum savings, Texas is 45th in entrepreneurship, and state tax rates that the rich at the expense of the poor, creating income inequality and all its aforementioned drawbacks.

Either way, the point is moot, because the topic of this debate is: Should other states in America model their economies after the state of Texas?

After Texas. Using only Texas would imply that we're talking about all of Texas. If somebody pointed at our debate and said, "They're good debaters," would it make sense for that person to really only mean one of us? Does it really make sense to use the blanket term of Texas and then go back and say, "No, only these parts of Texas." That is simply not how the English language and our understanding of it works. When someone makes a blanket statement, it is concluded that there are no exceptions. As such, my opponent needs to defend his resolution, which means defending the economic policies of Texas, not just one part of Texas' governmental structure and part of another part of their governmental structure.


"He also claims that I have not supplied any sources to support any of my main assertions. However, I clearly cited both Time and Money Magazines in saying that low taxes benefit Texas, and that Texas is the right place to start up a family."
Even by my opponent's standard, he has not sourced many of his statements. More importantly however, it should be noted that he is not meeting the DDO expectation for citing sources. In order to consider facts legitimate, they need to have a link attached to them, which must lead to credible sources. So far, my opponent has not done any of this. I was tempted to not say anything and let my opponent take the hits in the voting section, but frankly that would be unsporting as this is his first debate.
Debate Round No. 3
RepublitariansUnite

Pro

The point of regional variety in this debate is not moot contrary to what my opponent claims. The point of this debate is whether or not other states should follow the economic example that the STATE GOVERNMENT of Texas has employed. Now how could regional variety be so important then? My opponent cites inequality (Which isn't bad), lack of minimum savings, and lack of healthcare, but I will say once again, this is all centralized in the southern and western regions of Texas, areas that DO NOT employ the economic policies implemented by the state government of Texas. Considering that these areas do not even follow the economic policies that the state government of Texas employs, my opponenent's previous points of lack of healthcare coverage, inequality, and infrastructure are moot, considering that, as I stated previously, these problems are centralized in areas that do not follow Texas state economic policy. My opponent simply cannot shrug off the value of regional variety in this debate. I have given an actual example, the suburbs of Dallas, of areas that have thrived and prospered under Texas economic policy, which they actually employ, which my opponent has failed to address. For these reasons, I urge an affirmative vote.

http://www.texastribune.org...
http://partisanid.blogspot.com...
http://www.dchpkids.com...
http://www.dallasfed.org...
http://www.star-telegram.com...
MyDinosaurHands

Con

"The point of this debate is whether or not other states should follow the economic example that the STATE GOVERNMENT of Texas has employed."
That's not what I was led to believe. I thought we were talking about Texas as a whole when I entered this debate. It would only be reasonable to assume so based on the topic sentence. I have already proven why, and you have not proven why not, you've merely asserted a contrarian position. Everything else following this statement is based on the idea that this statement is correct; it's not, ergo everything following it is not legitimate.

My opponent also leaves us five sources.
        • The first talks about how things aren't going too well in 4 Texan border towns. This is hardly conclusive evidence supporting my opponent's claims that we can blame it all on the liberal Southern local governments, especially because the article never blamed the reasons for poor conditions on a liberal government.
        • The second is a map of the 2012 congressional districts, detailing how they voted in the Presidential election. It is true that much of Southern Texas is liberal, but that does not mean that those areas are poor because they're liberal. They could be liberal because they're poor. Either way, my opponent never proved the causation behind liberal districts and poverty. Moreover, my opponent never showed in what ways the liberal local governments acted differently. He only asserted that they did. Just to reiterate, this point doesn't matter anyways, because my opponent is bound by his resolution to defend the liberal counties as well.
        • The third takes us to an insurance provider's webpage, which states that they provide to South Texas. This is presumably to show how awful things are in South Texas, and only South Texas, however the page provides no statistics to prove this.
        • The fourth is about housing prices in Texas, which appear to be at, near, or below the national average. I don't understand what this link is meant to be for. Regardless of the lower housing prices, my opponent has not refuted all the other information I've provided regarding lack of economic security.
        • The fifth is a story regarding the 108,000 population increase in Dallas from one year to another. Again, I don't understand the point behind this one. I haven't disputed that the Texan population is growing. There is an opinion statement from a County Judge, but the Judge doesn't use any statistics, so it's not as if it can cited as a fact.


My opponent has not sourced the following claims:
        • All the conservative counties in Texas have excellent infrastructure.
        • $3,500 taxation stat
        • "The GDP of Texas is nearly 1.6 trillion dollars as of 2015."
        • That Dallas has entrepreneurs popping up all over.
        • "The cost of living in some areas of Texas is nearly 20% below the national average, one of the lowest rates in the entire nation."
        • "No longer is the economy here dependent on the oil industry."



Not only does the lack of sourcing harm my opponent in the 'sources' portion of scoring, it should also hurt him in the 'arguments' section, because the majority of his points rest on unproven statements.

In conclusion, I urge a vote for Con, on the following grounds:
1. Texas' economic growth is coming at the cost of a significant number of its citizens, many of whom sacrifice large portions of their wages on housing, have very little to no emergency savings, are paid less than necessary to support children, even on a poverty wage scale, and who own the 5th fewest businesses per capita in the nation. If the economy were to take a downturn, things would be looking very bad for quite a few people who have poor economic security.
2. My opponent's arguments are founded on unproven points, or are completely illegitimate. The idea that all of Texas' woes are because of a certain, minority portion of their state is not proven. Even if it were, the wording of the topic would not allow for the point to work in my opponent's favor.
Debate Round No. 4
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by Blade-of-Truth 2 years ago
Blade-of-Truth
RFD -

Conduct - Tie. Both had proper conduct throughout.
S&G - Tie. Both had adequate spelling and grammar throughout.
Arguments - Con. Right off the bat (R1&2) Pro drops the ball by failing to refute any and all statistics presented by Con. Regarding taxes, Pro fails to rebut the gap in numbers between lower, middle, and upper class. Instead relying on the living wage, which Con then defeats by giving statistics showing that even living wage-wise Texas has clear issues via poor people and unexpected emergencies. Pro then drops this line of argumentation after Con shows the accurate numbers regarding total taxes collected. Regarding jobs Pro actually agrees with Con pertaining to the origin of the high rate, and goes on to show that in extreme cases of population boosts there are certain areas in Texas designated as "third-world countries" by the Texas Governor. This harms his case significantly. While some of infrastructure was touched on earlier in my rfd, essentially Pro ends up relying on potential fixes in the future, which leaves Con having to argue against a hypothetical "fix" (and only because he wanted to), ultimately Pro lost this line of argumentation as well since he eventually drops it.
Towards R4 Pro seemingly drops a majority of his original arguments, and starts arguing that Con is unfairly assessing random regions and generalizing Texas, but as Con points out later on, that's exactly what should be occurring in a debate of this nature. By now, Pro has already lost the debate due to all the dropped arguments, but there is one final push in the final round where Pro correctly sources *some* of his previous arguments. Con closes by thoroughly showing the flaws in each source, while also pointing out several arguments that were left sourceless and dropped. Con soundly wins arguments.
Sources - Con. Pro failed to properly source everything until the final round. Con effectively utilized multiple, respectable sources to strengthen his arguments
Posted by MyDinosaurHands 2 years ago
MyDinosaurHands
You're the man BoT.
Posted by Blade-of-Truth 2 years ago
Blade-of-Truth
Just finished reading this. Gotta go run some errands but I'll be working on & posting my RFD either by tonight or on Friday (my next day off of work).
Posted by MyDinosaurHands 2 years ago
MyDinosaurHands
Thanks.
Posted by Sandra888 2 years ago
Sandra888
If I was eligible, I'd vote for con
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Blade-of-Truth 2 years ago
Blade-of-Truth
RepublitariansUniteMyDinosaurHandsTied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.
Vote Placed by Paleophyte 2 years ago
Paleophyte
RepublitariansUniteMyDinosaurHandsTied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro made only minimal arguments and didn't develop them well. Sources were only provided after Con gave him a nudge and were lackluster even then. Pro attempted to argue that portions of Texas should be exclude from consideration in spite of the resolution that says "after the state of Texas" not just the parts that are doing well. Pro fails to make any substantial argument about why the economic model in Texas should be extended to any other state. Con made much more fully-fleshed arguments and cited more reliable and more extensive sources. His rebuttals effectively dismantled Pro's arguments and built a solid case for Texas' economic policy being a failure for Texas so hardly a model for anywhere else.