The Instigator
glnkmbl
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Numidious
Con (against)
Winning
3 Points

The US government should eliminate the funding toward programs aiming to help those in need

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Numidious
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/25/2013 Category: Economics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 821 times Debate No: 41223
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (0)
Votes (1)

 

glnkmbl

Pro

Hi, this is my first "debate"; I'm not going to present a formal case, but will simply list a few points.

-Programs that give food to the homeless are good, but they spend money that could be used on other, more useful things
-From a utilitarian perspective, it does not do anything to help our economy (Can you see a homeless man becoming successful and giving money to the government?)
-People may pretend to be poor and go get some free food.

-Please list counters to my points; I'm looking forward to reading them :)
Numidious

Con

I appreciate that my opponent has posted an interesting debate. However, I disagree with them strongly for several reasons.

My points

The US only spends $131.9 billion per year on welfare (2), and by contrast $668 billion on it's military, but this relatively small amount of money (as a part of the entire US budget) goes a long way.

- In America, there are 46.7 million people on food stamps (1). This is 14% of the US population. There is no evidence to suggest that these people would be able to pay for food if they did not have food stamps available. If they could, they wouldn't need food stamps.

- 4.1% of American rely on welfare (1), if they didn't have welfare, is it not entirely possible that these people would be homeless? If one has no income, it follows that one will not be able to pay rent. Considering the benefits of finding a job, which will evidently pay better than welfare (there are only 6 states where welfare pays better than a $12 an hour job) it is evident that many of these 4.1% of Americans would be homeless without welfare. Is this morally right?

- Since when is the US government necessarily utilitarian? There is no evidence of this. In fact, the US congress, an elected body, may pass any legislation it wants within constitutional limits, which you introduce new points on if you wish.

- Please provide evidence for other points...

1) http://www.statisticbrain.com...
2) http://www.cfr.org...
Debate Round No. 1
glnkmbl

Pro

Thank you for accepting this argument! :D
I hope we have fun.

-The US owes about 17.2 Trillion dollars (1); why not save money to pay it off?

-You contradict yourself in arguing through a deontological basis by building your arguments off of morals rather than the final outcome, whilst you yourself criticize me for using a utilitarian perspective.

-We aren't talking about Congress--It doesn't matter if Congress is for the greater good or not--we are talking about our arguments :)

-To counter your first argument, there is also no evidence that they wouldn't be able to pay for food either; and since you are making the claim, the burden of proof is put on you. In addition, food stamps are given to people with low income, and even in places simply where the unemployment is high, so it is probable that they will be able to pay for their food.

-From your very own source (2), there are 39 states that offer more money for Welfare than and $8/hour job, and 8 states that offer more than an average American teacher.

(1): http://www.usdebtclock.org...
(2): http://www.statisticbrain.com...
Numidious

Con

Interesting points...

Unfortunately my opponent, as instigator, does have burden of proof, and he has not proven why the US gov't should eliminate welfare funding.

The US does owe 17.2 billion dollars, but my opponent has not explained why welfare would be a better place to cut costs than, say, the military which more is spent on than the next 11 countries combined.

My opponent is arguing from a nihilistic point of view. This is permitted, but it does not prove why his utilitarian MORALS are better than my social democratic ones.

My opponent then generalizes, with "food stamps are given to people with low income, and even in places simply where the unemployment is high, so it is probable that they will be able to pay for their food" but gives no reason why these people would, in fact, be able to pay for food if not for food stamps. I not only go back to the fact that my opponent has BOP but also that 15% of Americans (1) lived in poverty in 2010. Poverty by definition is having an income less than the minimum required to support a family, single person, whatever the case may be. Without this income, malnourishment, meaning not having enough money to buy food to eat, becomes a factor.

"From your very own source (2), there are 39 states that offer more money for Welfare than and $8/hour job,"

Yes, they do. This is because an $8 job is not enough to support in some cases a family of several children or in some cases oneself, depending upon where one is. In fact this would amount to $14720 a year by average work hours (8 hours a day, five days a week, eleven and half months a year) by my own calculations, and the poverty line for a a single parent of one child is $15030 (1) so no, an $8 an hour job isn't enough to support many families, that's why welfare is necessary.

"and 8 states that offer more than an average American teacher."

I don't see evidence provided for this. But given the ridiculously low pay of US teachers I wouldn't be surprised.

In closing, my opponent seems to base his arguments loosely on nihilism (no moral values) and utilitarianism (a kind of morality). However, no evidence is provided that the two are compatible. Why is balancing the budget moral then? I had assumed that we were basing the debate on standard moral values that the audience will share (i.e. people starving is bad, not putting our descendents in debt is good), but if not, please provide evidence for the new morals that you are basing your argument on, since neither they nor, as you rightly pointed out, conventional western values are pre - set and ultimately intrinsic (i.e. the only ones). You are allowed to say that conventional morality is false, maybe it is, but please prove, as instigator of a positive debate (i.e. we should do something) why your moral values are better than any other set and thus should be followed.

I do, however, appreciate the debate and my opponent's interesting responses.

1) http://www.npc.umich.edu...
Debate Round No. 2
glnkmbl

Pro

Please don't judge me as I am doing this for the sake of debate/fun and may have personal viewpoints differing from the ones I put down :)

"The US does owe 17.2 billion dollars but..."

*17.2 trillion*

My opponent criticizes my way of justifying my arguments with utilitarianism (for the greater good), but has not shown why using util is bad.

He uses deontology, which is flawed for the following example

Say a stupid robber came into my house, and asks if my brother was at home; he won't kill me if my brother is not, and if he is, he will kill both me and my sibling. Lying is obviously immoral, and if I apply deont philosophy to this, I should not lie and simply say that my brother is at home, getting us both killed. However, if I apply util, I may lie simply for the greater good and save both of our lives.

My opponent also says that we should base our cases off of the majority. He contradicts himself here: he bases his case off of deontology where most people follow the philosophy utilitarianism. In the famous experiment with the runaway train problem of killing one man to save 5, 90.5% of the tested pulled the switch to save the 5 people and kill the one person (1). Also, in chess, most people will sacrifice several pieces in order to win the game.

To counter my opponent's claims about how I have burden of proof as instigator, please realize that he instigated the claim that if people lose welfare, they would not be able to pay for food or other necessities.

From (2), 8 dollars per hour is actually 75 cents per hour more than the minimum wage. Since minimum wage was created long before welfare was, the government probably had the idea that it would be enough to support the people receiving it, so your counters regarding salaries fall.

To specify, the money spent on welfare could be spent on other, more useful places such as R&D on things that would boost our economy and give us more *excess* money that then could be spent on welfare. As of now, we have no excess money or we would be doing something with it.

Thanks for not forfeiting or going AFK :P

I await your reply :D

Sources:

(1): http://medicalxpress.com...
(2): http://www.dol.gov...
Numidious

Con

I make it a habit not to take others' views personally :) And I appreciate that my opponent hasn't forfeited either

I shall respond to attempt to my opponent's attempts to justify his utilitarian values and, in this case, reconcile them with the standard ones that I had thought we had agreed on.

"Say a stupid robber came into my house, and asks if my brother was at home; he won't kill me if my brother is not, and if he is, he will kill both me and my sibling. Lying is obviously immoral, and if I apply deont philosophy to this, I should not lie and simply say that my brother is at home, getting us both killed. However, if I apply util, I may lie simply for the greater good and save both of our lives."

My opponent is now trying to reconcile his values with mine. What he hasn't shown, however, is that my side, that we should NOT eliminate funding, ISN'T for the greater good. Much of politics is based on the greater good. Surely the greater good is to not have Americans, living in a first world country, malnourished, rather than eliminating food stamps for them on the basis of an IMMEDIATE reduction of the budget deficit? Surely the greater good, in this case, rests with myself, since after all my opponent is now reconciling his values with mine and thus agreeing with my original case.

"To counter my opponent's claims about how I have burden of proof as instigator, please realize that he instigated the claim that if people lose welfare, they would not be able to pay for food or other necessities."

This is where my opponent makes a logical error. He has a positive case, that we SHOULD eliminate something which exists. If welfare didn't exist in the US, then my opponent would be quite correct in saying that I should prove why it SHOULD exist. However, we are changing something, something it would take a bill in congress to do. In order to support that bill (call it the Malnourishment for Wal - Mart workers act) my opponent must provide a positive case.

"From (2), 8 dollars per hour is actually 75 cents per hour more than the minimum wage. Since minimum wage was created long before welfare was, the government probably had the idea that it would be enough to support the people receiving it, so your counters regarding salaries fall."

My opponent does not really provide evidence here. The government PROBABLY thought so. Maybe they thought so back in 1968, when it was $11 per hour in 2013 dollars (1). The government PROBABLY thought many things, but going back to the National Poverty Centre statistics, objectively the minimum wage in the US is NOT ENOUGH to support (meaning pay for food, rent) for many families.

"To specify, the money spent on welfare could be spent on other, more useful places such as R&D on things that would boost our economy and give us more *excess* money that then could be spent on welfare. As of now, we have no excess money or we would be doing something with it."

My opponent has not told why, for instance, the military budget of the US which is higher than the next 11 countries combined (2) and is widely used (this is common knowledge) to support military bases around the world that don't directly serve the interests of American defense, cannot be cut. This budget, at approx. 668 billion (689 now under Obama (2)) is considerably higher than the 131 billion the US uses on welfare. Why should welfare be cut instead, causing malnourishment? I would appreciate if my opponent would defend the military budget of the US

Maybe welfare boosts the economy? It seems logical to me that if a person is not malnourished and has some kind of abode with access to some kind of digital technology (which will be more affordable if they have food stamps) they will have a higher chance of getting a job and producing than if they are living on the street.

And here's another suggestion. Since vast inequalities do exist (richest 1% of Americans have 43% of wealth and bottom 80% have 7% (3)) why not raise the tax on the wealthy, as the richest individual in America and the world, Warren Buffett, suggested (4) and therefore decrease the budget deficit? I would appreciate if my opponent would respond to this point as well.

Interesting debate, I look forward to pro's arguments.

1) http://en.wikipedia.org...
2) http://www.globalfirepower.com...
3) http://currydemocrats.org...
4) http://www.today.com...
Debate Round No. 3
glnkmbl

Pro

glnkmbl forfeited this round.
Numidious

Con

Darn, forfeit!

My points remain unrefuted, please vote con.
Debate Round No. 4
glnkmbl

Pro

glnkmbl forfeited this round.
Numidious

Con

Vote Con!
Debate Round No. 5
No comments have been posted on this debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by TheGhostOfFreedom 3 years ago
TheGhostOfFreedom
glnkmblNumidiousTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Con wins due to forfeit.