The Instigator
BeatTheDevil89
Pro (for)
Winning
19 Points
The Contender
RedEye
Con (against)
Losing
15 Points

The "Fair Tax" isn't really fair but helps the rich and hurts the poor.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/12/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,430 times Debate No: 4397
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (8)
Votes (11)

 

BeatTheDevil89

Pro

Here is a quick link to inform anybody who wants to know more - http://en.wikipedia.org...

But since most won't, I will give a brief summary of what the Fair Tax is. The Fair tax is a 23% sales tax that would replace the income, property, and estate tax and the act would also take a monthly payment from all households who earn incomes above the poverty level depending on family size.

I would contend that this tax is in fact not fair and benefits the wealthy at the cost of the middle and lower classes.

While the United States brags many stores with many items from many countries. However, the driving forces behind our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) are large and expensive appliances and cars and services. The Fair tax would affect both of these sectors. While most services are relatively inexpensive, imagine how much haircuts, entertainment, mail deliveries, or other simple services prices would rise only slightly, making the change tolerable. However, items that are already really expensive would become unaffordable to most Americans. Houses, cars, construction, would become 23% more expensive. Cars that cost $40,000 would become almost $50,000.

This new tax would also be unfair to anyone other than rich americans compared to income taxes today. For example, Bill Gates and a middle class woman want to buy a washing machine that costs $5,000. Bill Gates with average 2 kids makes lets say for easy math one billion dollars a year. The middle class woman makes $50,000 with the average 2 kids again.

Fair Tax:
1,000,000,000 - (5,000 + {5000 x .23})= 999993850 or .001%
50,000 - (5,000 + {5000 x .23})= 43,850 or 12.3%

Compared to the income tax:
1,000,000,000 - 2% = 20,000,000 (2% is a made up number)
$50,000 - 2% = $1000

While both people may be paying the same price, Bill Gates has a virtually untouched income while the middle class woman spent almost an entire years of grocery money ($7200 for a family of four with no pets). The income tax on the other hand took out the same percentages, leaving the middle class woman and Bill Gates with plenty of money left over.

Now lets look at the family charge:
Bill: 4 people = $28,000 a year or .01% again
Woman: 4 people = $28,000 a year or 56%

For property tax
Mansion: lets say $5,000,000 2% is $100,000
Average Home: around $100,000 est. 2% or $2000

As you can see it makes more sense to base taxes on what one can afford to pay rather than a set price. The property tax is also better than the compared fair tax payments because (1) it should be based on how much the house is which relates to income and (2) normally poorer families tend to have more children, making thousands of families unable to afford the "Fair" Tax.
RedEye

Con

I. The Fair Tax would be "progressive" in the sense that it would avoid taxing financially challenged (i.e., poor) people for basic necessities. This is accomplished by means of a "prebate", which according to Fairtax.org would be $2,348 per year for a single person or $6,297 per year for a family of four.
The Fair Tax is calculated to be "revenue neutral", meaning that all current government services would continue to be fully funded because the money that is raised from this national sales tax would be equal to the amount of revenue that is lost due to the repeal of federal income taxes. Programs such as Social Security, Medicare, etc. would be unaffected.

II. Because this tax system is consumption-based rather than income-based, people could exercise a certain amount of control over how much tax they pay. Since the tax is only applied to new (not used, secondhand, etc.) items at the point of sale, a relatively frugal person could avoid paying taxes on most things, and might even make money because of the "prebate". Meanwhile, wealthy people who choose to live "high on the hog" without paying attention to their spending choices would probably pay more tax.

III. Since the Fair Tax only taxes consumption, it would not punish businesses for expanding and creating more jobs, investing in research and development, or donating to charity. Also, because the individuals who create and maintain those businesses would have more disposable income to expand and compete in international markets (assuming that they make relatively wise choices, see the point above).

IV. The base price of goods and services (that is, their cost of production before adding any taxes, profits, etc.) would be lower because the embedded costs of the current income tax system would no longer be a factor. This would partially offset the increase in the total price of new products and services that would result from the Fair Tax.

V. From the standpoint of government revenue collection, the "problem" of tax evasion would be reduced because people who currently resist paying income taxes and/or derive their income from black market sources would be taxed automatically at the point of sale whenever they purchase new goods and services. Moreover, the government would no longer need to spend taxpayer money in order to chase down income tax evaders.

VI. A national sales tax such as this would be much more transparent than the current tax system. There would be no more loopholes, special exemptions, payroll taxes, embedded costs, or other factors that allow people under the current system to avoid realizing how much tax they are actually paying. With the amount of taxation clearly visible to the general public, people (hopefully) would be less likely to tolerate wasteful spending, corruption, and inefficiency in government, resulting in lower levels of taxation and a stronger economy overall.

VII. Trickle-Down Effect. My oppoent says the rich is helped out much more then the middle-class. He even does math to show this. Ok, mathematically it does. However he is missing one big fact. The Trickle-Down Effect. This theory was the basis for supply-side economics, i.e. reaganomics. This brought the US out of one of the worst times in history. Because of progressive tax reform, the US's economy was practically destroyed. Only until reagnaomics, which had high tax cuts did the economy flourish. Why? Because of the trickle-down effect. This theory states that if the upper class gets the load off mathematically, the middle class and poor will get the same effects. ill show you through diagram:

Rich Company ---> Pays employees (Middle Class) ---> The Upper and Middle Classes then spend into the economy ---> Other money goes into charities, etc, to help the poor.

Now extend this to the fair tax: It will open more jobs and companies, it will lead to a larger tax break for middle and lower classes. I.e. we have achieved what my opponent says wont happen. It has worked up until now, and now people want to use "progressive" reform, which has at one point almost destroyed our economy.

Rebuttal:

My opponents argument has 3 huge flaws.

1) He never shows you mathematically, all the tax breaks associated with the Fair Tax

2) He fails to show how the "progressive tax" will work.

3) He is only looking at the immediate, not the overall final effect.
Debate Round No. 1
BeatTheDevil89

Pro

Fair Tax Debate:

"The Fair Tax would be "progressive" in the sense that it would avoid taxing financially challenged (i.e., poor) people for basic necessities"

True, those below the poverty line would be exempt from most of taxes on necessities. However, what about those with to much money to be poor but not enough to get by anyway? The woman making $50,000 a year with two children, how is she going to make it? Between the cost of items plus the tax she would mathematically be better off quitting her middle class job and taking a minimum wage job to be under the poverty line in order to avoid paying taxes. Under the current system the poor are exempt from taxes anyway, there is a stable middle class, and a very small but wealthy upper class.

"Since the tax is only applied to new (not used, secondhand, etc.) items at the point of sale, a relatively frugal person could avoid paying taxes on most things, and might even make money because of the prebate"

It takes a lot of research but just Google: Statistical Abstract of the United States. This has any information one could need. Any way, this number is a little old, but the average family spent approx. $35,500 including taxes. Taxes only accounted for 3,068 on average. The average household also made only $43,000 in 1994 (also in 1994 dollars). The numbers are based of four person families.

Sources:
http://www.census.gov...
http://www.stretcher.com...

Even without taxes, the average household wasn't able to make enough money to cover their expenses in 1994. Today it's even worse with higher gas prices and inflation, not to mention stagnant wages. It's harder for Americans today to pay their bills than in recent years.

If the Fair Tax were enacted in 1994, the math would look like this.

Average expenditures 32,500 (without taxes). 32,500 + (32,500 x 23%) = 39,975

This tax has inched closer to consuming the whole family's income, but that's not all.

Now add the 28,000 set yearly payment for a family of four, that makes the total cost of expenditures approx. 68,000.

But including the rebate, it becomes $61,700. This is way more than the family earned for that same year. Even if this family manages to buy everything second hand, thereby negating the 23% sales tax, they still won't be able to make more than they spend. With the current tax system, most families can live comfortably with more money to spare for savings, under the fair tax, this would not be the case.

"Since the Fair Tax only taxes consumption, it would not punish businesses for expanding and creating more jobs."

I would argue that it isn't punishing business but instead making them pay more because they can afford to.

"The base price of goods and services (that is, their cost of production before adding any taxes, profits, etc.) would be lower because the embedded costs of the current income tax system would no longer be a factor. This would partially offset the increase in the total price of new products and services that would result from the Fair Tax."

Products would not be any cheaper, in order to make products one has to have certain tools to create them. You can't build a house without a hammer, cars without the assembly line, clothes without sewing kits etc. All of these tools needed to create new products will be bought with the 23% sales tax.
"From the standpoint of government revenue collection, the "problem" of tax evasion would be reduced because people who currently resist paying income taxes and/or derive their income from black market sources would be taxed automatically at the point of sale whenever they purchase new goods and services"

People could still avoid taxes with the new system and do it with even more ease than before. They can still avoid the monthly payments based on family size and steal items from stores thereby committing two crimes, making tax evasion and theft an even bigger problem.

"A national sales tax such as this would be much more transparent than the current tax system. There would be no more loopholes, special exemptions, payroll taxes, embedded costs, or other factors that allow people under the current system to avoid realizing how much tax they are actually paying. With the amount of taxation clearly visible to the general public, people (hopefully) would be less likely to tolerate wasteful spending, corruption, and inefficiency in government, resulting in lower levels of taxation and a stronger economy overall."

I will give you the first point, but not the fact that people would be less tolerable of wasteful spending or corruption. The reason people are so tolerant of these practices is because of ignorance. They choose not to know what really is going on and swallow whatever is fed to them. How they pay their taxes wouldn't change people's beliefs about how little government affects their lives. A false belief might I add.

Finally my favorite argument, my opponent invokes "voodoo economics." We went through this with Reagan and we're going through with it now with Bush.

I am running out of room so it's gonna be brief. The rich don't increase pay for their workers they buy more stuff and give bigger Christmas bonuses to top executives. Employees get nothing. That's why the economy was bad for the middle and lower classes then and the same goes for today. Wages are stagnant and the rich are getting richer.
RedEye

Con

Ok first I will go through some extensions of my case:

1) He failed to attack my 3 rebuttal points, so you can extend that through the entire round.

2) He failed to throughly attack my trickle down effect point, so extend this.

Now I'll make my responses:

My opponent makes only 1 valid claim, which is warranted: His claim about people between the rich and poor, i.e. the middle class. H agrees that the poor would also get tax exemptions with the fair tax.

My Response: I argue that the middle class are the ones most helped by the fair tax. The middle class are the ones who pay the most taxes. By implementing the fair tax then the government is taking the brunt off the middle class. The Fair tax is one straight tax, i.e. its not dependent on all the little necessities and buys here and there. The middle class stimulates the economy because they are the ones most active in the market. They would be spurred on too buy more because all the little taxes are gone.

My opponent uses a lot of math to back his point up, but if u notice his math it is too narrow-minded. He is not looking at all the other factors. Plus, the fair tax also has tax breaks FOR THE MIDDLE CLASS.

The deciding factor of this round is: who helps the middle class.

Here is why the Fair Tax does:

1) Is in cohesion with the trickle-down effect, which has been proven true.
2) The Fair Tax includes tax breaks for the middle class.
3) The Fair Tax promotes a more healthy market, which leads to the Middle Class.
4) The Tax eliminates all the other taxes which hinder the middle class. I.e. estate, clothing, etc.
5) The Fair tax helps the family owned businesses. I.e. businesses owned by middle class people.
6) It stimulates corporations which hire middle class people.
Debate Round No. 2
BeatTheDevil89

Pro

Rebuttal:

Sorry I thought the common sense behind my math would was an attack on your 3 points, no matter let me clarify.

In short

I. Tax breaks
II. How it works
III. Long term effect

First – I just showed how the tax breaks would work, turns out their not very sufficient.
Second – It has been shown, everything you buy (that's new) has a 23% sales tax.
Third – Long-term effect, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

About the middle class: Yes they shop they most, that means this sales tax would affect them the most, so your claim about how the middle class pays the most taxes would still be true under the Fair Tax system. Furthermore, I would argue that if measured by amount, the wealthiest actually pay more in taxes. Since taxes are now determined by the size of your income and your property, the rich end up paying more. Remember it is done by percentages, so as shown above, someone making $1,000,000 gives more than someone making $50,000 for a 2% income tax. The same math would apply to property. However under the fair tax, a $100 item that is being purchased my 2 people who make the above two incomes becomes less fair. An extra $23 out of a middle class pocket is more than the same amount taken out of a millionaire's.

Ok, my opponent has made several comments now about how he doesn't like how my math works out. How about we see some of your math.

About voodoo economics (that's what I call supply-side economics) it has been proven to do three things
1 – It bankrupts the government
2 – increases income stratification
3 – fails to promote economic growth.

Point one – During Reagan's reelection, was considered a great triumph because it was the first time a president won a re-election after creating a deficit. This was also the first time voodoo economics were used by a president as well. The second time was papa Bush, and the third time is the current administration. As shown by all three economies – they create deficits.

Point two – Most of the tax cuts under this economic theory go to the rich. This money was predicted to then "trickle down" to the rest of the nation. Question for my opponent – how is the middle class supposed to get most of the tax benefits AND how's the rich supposed to get tax cuts as well for the trickle down theory to work. Secondly, as shown by the economy today, even though the economy was growing and stock prices were growing (only until recently) I would contend that the growth didn't affect the middle class. Most Americans can't afford to invest in stock or bonds, they need the money now. Now we are on the brink of recession. Under the Reagan administration, it was shown that while taxes were cut by 50% for the rich (Bush only cut them by 10%) they didn't let that money trickle-down. Wages rose to about $4,000 over eight years (1982 to 1989) for a middle class family, roughly 36,000 to 40,000. Inflation ran an average of about 4% over these years as well, so lets do some of that math again (sorry).

36,000 x .04% + 36,000 = 37,440
37,440 x .04% + 37,440 = 38,983
38,983 x .04% + 38,983 = 40,540

What this pattern basically shows is that even though income rose, it didn't rise nearly as fast as inflation. This means that even though a person had more money, they had less spending power because everything cost so much more. Meantime, the riches tax expenditures were cut by 50%; I don't want to bore you with more math but lets just say they got a better deal.

So to refute your earlier points

1) Is in cohesion with the trickle-down effect, which has been proven true.
2) The Fair Tax includes tax breaks for the middle class.
3) The Fair Tax promotes a more healthy market, which leads to the Middle Class.
4) The Tax eliminates all the other taxes which hinder the middle class. I.e. estate, clothing, etc.
5) The Fair tax helps the family owned businesses. I.e. businesses owned by middle class people.
6) It stimulates corporations which hire middle class people.

My points:
1) It does compliment the voodoo effect, it increases the income gap
2) Not as many tax breaks as does the rich
3) Promotes a healthier market, but excludes the middle and lower classes from taking part in that market because they don't have the money to "ante up"
4) Eliminates all other taxes with one outrageous one that eventually takes more money from them.
5) The Fair tax helps corporations
6) It stimulates corporations which higher middle class people, but doesn't stimulate the middle class economy
RedEye

Con

Ok, for my final rebuttal.

First off, I should win by means of topicality. The Fair tax is supposed to be fair. I.e. the same for all. That is obviously being done because the government is not punishing someone for making more money. It's not a fault if someone has become rich.

Next, I'll go through his last points:

1) Increases income gap. ---> No it doesn't, the trickle-down effect will eventually lead the money from the top to the bottom.
2) Not as many tax breaks as rich get. ---> That actually hasent been determined, it has been said that the upper and middle will get tax breaks, not sure yet. Your making an assumption.
3) Promotes market, only for the rich. ---> This is totally false. The trickle-down effect, plus the tax breaks will help stimulate the middle class to spend more into the system. Also, you have already conceded that the poor get "prebates" so its helping them too.
4) Eliminates all taxes for an outrageous one ---> Thats the point, its fair for all classes. It takes away the pointless ones.
5) The Fair tax helps corporations. ---> which therefore helps the middle class, and then the poor.
6) It stimulates corporations which higher middle class people, but doesn't stimulate the middle class economy. ---> you keep on saying this, but you are forgetting my TDE point,a and tax breaks. All of which stimulate both the upper and middle economies.
==============================================================================
Voting Issues:

1) I win the topicality debate
2) Trickle-down effect helps all classes.
3) Fair Tax comes with many tax breaks
4) Overall the Fair tax is fair because it doesn't discriminate. Everyone is equal when it comes to paying taxes.
Debate Round No. 3
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by TXFairTaxer 6 years ago
TXFairTaxer
Correction: In my previous comment I incorrectly stated "Neither of you produced any plausible evidence either for or against the FairTax." After re-reading the arguments, that should have only been directed at BeatTheDevil89. RedEye's comments were in fact accurate. Sorry about that.
Posted by TXFairTaxer 6 years ago
TXFairTaxer
Good debate? Seriously? That was a complete disaster. Neither of you produced any plausible evidence either for or against the FairTax. Furthermore most of your "points" were either flawed, or just flat out incorrect.

BeatTheDevil89: "and the act would also take a monthly payment from all households who earn incomes above the poverty level depending on family size." What you're thinking of is the REBATE that is GIVEN TO (not taken from) every household. The FairTax untaxes ALL SPENDING up to $2500/mo.

BeatTheDevil89: "Houses, cars, construction, would become 23% more expensive. Cars that cost $40,000 would become almost $50,000." That is incorrect. First, prices may only increase slightly, but the FairTax also gives you back ALL of your Federal Income Taxes, all f your FICA taxes, and the monthly rebate mentioned above. So, even if prices rose slightly, the money you get back from everything else will still give you more purchasing power.

BeatTheDevil89: "This new tax would also be unfair to anyone other than rich americans compared to income taxes today." You're using class-warfare to claim that Bill Gates should pay more for an item than a middle-class woman? Yet you fail to show how that same woman only pays an effective tax rate of 9% versus the 23% that Bill Gates would pay when they both spend ~90% of their annual income.

Bill Gates:
> Spends: $2,000,000 (or above)
> FairTax Paid: $460,000
> Receives: $6,767 for prebate
> Total Purchasing Power: $1,546,767
> Effective Tax Rate: 23%

Average Family:
> Spends: $45,000
> FairTax Paid: $10,350
> Receives: $6,767 for prebate
> Total Purchasing Power: $41,417
> Effective Tax Rate: 8%

BeatTheDevil89: "As you can see it makes more sense to base taxes on what one can afford to pay rather than a set price." Actually, wouldn't it make more sense to tax you for what you DO spend, rather than what you CAN spend? Doing so promotes savings and investment. Something our current tax system fails to d
Posted by HandsOff 9 years ago
HandsOff
Taxes aren't "fair" based on who they hurt and don't hurt adn to what degree. They are deemed fair based on simple mathematics. An equal percentage assures that we all pay the same proportionate amount of income tax commensurate with our incomes. However, you can say a flat tax hurts one group more than the other. Just as you can say a fighter lost a fair fight. Fairness is not based on equal pain, but equal opportunity. Do you suppose it would be fair to charge one person more than the next for a sandwich, even though it would be kind, and create a nice outcome?
Posted by BeatTheDevil89 9 years ago
BeatTheDevil89
Good debate, nice job Redeye that was fun
Posted by BeatTheDevil89 9 years ago
BeatTheDevil89
I am actually a socialist, and my view doesn't affect our taste in topics, you might get the liberal leader one cause the other guy hasn't really done anything.
Posted by RedEye 9 years ago
RedEye
Lol yes we do....except your a liberal =) I wanted to do the topic that u made about liberals have been better leaders. But someone beat me too it. =(
Posted by BeatTheDevil89 9 years ago
BeatTheDevil89
Stop being interested in stuff I am interested in then. Ha we just have good taste in topics.
Posted by RedEye 9 years ago
RedEye
LOL, the is the 2nd debate with you today. Stop popping up =)
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