The Instigator
Balborus
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Beagle_hugs
Pro (for)
Winning
10 Points

The Constitutionality of the Progressive Tax

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Post Voting Period
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after 2 votes the winner is...
Beagle_hugs
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/27/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 962 times Debate No: 67578
Debate Rounds (3)
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Votes (2)

 

Balborus

Con

The progressive tax is not supported by the Constitution and completely bred out of class warfare. I propose the abolition of the progressive tax, and the replacement of it with the flat tax system. This is the most fair tax system, even though the wealthy still pay more.
Beagle_hugs

Pro

I'm your huckleberry.

The claim that the progressive tax is not supported by the Constitution is either preposterous or trivial, as the Constitution authorizes taxation and does not specify any preferred formula. The proposition that a progressive tax is bred out of class warfare is profoundly ignorant of the millenia-long history of the progressive tax. The assertion that the progressive tax is unconstitutional is absurd, and the position that a flat tax is the most fair tax either relies on a hopelessly ill-defined word ("fair") or is patently false.
Debate Round No. 1
Balborus

Con

Balborus forfeited this round.
Beagle_hugs

Pro

My opponent has forfeited (annoyingly enough). The basic refutation of his resolution is:

(1) The 16th Amendment to the Constitution (which controls) removed the arguments surrounding apportionment and the income tax: "the Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration." Thus, income taxation is broadly authorized.

(2) The Supreme Court held, in Brushaber v. Union Pacific Railroad Company, that a progressive income tax did not violate the Constitution, specifically explaining that (i) the requirement of due process would not invalidate a tax authorized by the Constitution, and (ii) questioning the wisdom of a tax is beyond judicial review.

(3) Subsequently, the Court has, in general, declined to apply the equal protection clause to invalidate taxes. http://constitution.findlaw.com.... In any case, an argument that a progressive tax affects the wealthy more would meet with the same response under the equal protection clause as under the due process clause, which is that the Court does not have the power to review the wisdom of the tax and that a power authorized by the Constitution cannot be wholly removed by application of due process or equal protection.

(4) The progressive tax was originally instituted in the U.S. to pay for serious national expenses, not out of class warfare. The reason for taxing the wealthier at a higher rate and exempting lower income levels was the necessity of meeting national expenses without unduly increasing the poverty of individuals. This is self-evident from reviewing a history of the income tax in the U.S. and considering the reality of whether "class warfare" against the wealthy was likely to be a realistic explanation of a progressive tax, as compared to the nation's immediate war debts. Marginal tax rates have actually plummeted over the last 50 years. http://www.infoplease.com....

(5) Because taxation is authorized without regard to formula (in the Constitution), your suggestion that it is "unsupported" is without any merit. By your logic, no tax would be "supported." Making matters worse, the Constitution as interpreted clearly allows progressive taxation.

(5) Your case would be better if you referred to ancient history, but the reality is that the results are still mixed. http://rationalwiki.org.... Although politicians from time to time have not neglected the potential for exemption from taxation to garner votes and other support, I would be remiss if I failed to point out that this has occurred on both ends of the wealth spectrum. This is not class warfare, this is opportunism. In general, progressive taxation has been used to raise money for national necessity from those who are more able to pay, while avoiding increasing the burden of poverty.

(6) "Fair" has a wide range of meanings. You are committed to arguing that a tax is not "fair" if the percentage of income taxed is not equivalent. This is arbitrary, but worse, illogical, as the flat tax would do nothing to address the fact that much of the income of the wealthy is already untouched by payroll taxes, marginal income taxes, sales taxes, and other taxes that touch most people's incomes. What you advocate is not a "flat tax" but a regressive tax, where the poorer actually pay more of their income in total taxes.

(7) One point of a progressive tax is to tax marginal income at a higher rate, because we assume that it is lower-value thus will not affect incentives as much. Another point is to raise revenue in a way that avoids exacerbating social ills such as poverty. Those who leap to the 47% should note that most of those people are retired, students, etc., and that those who are not actually do pay payroll taxes.

The progressive tax is constitutional and "fairer" than a "flat" tax, which is really a regressive tax.
Debate Round No. 2
Balborus

Con

Balborus forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
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2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by lannan13 2 years ago
lannan13
BalborusBeagle_hugsTied
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeiture
Vote Placed by jzonda415 2 years ago
jzonda415
BalborusBeagle_hugsTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit.