The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
21 Points

The US should distribute/lease federal lands to the poor

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: Select Winner
Started: 6/22/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 700 times Debate No: 56984
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (3)




First round is acceptance!



I accept.

This is my first serious debate, but I feel like I am ready for it. I know ChosenWolff is a strong debater so this will be a good way to test my skills. I look forward to it.
Debate Round No. 1


I. The BLM, USDA, NFS, and FWS hold plenty of unused land

The Bereau of Land Management and US Department of Agriculture, hold 100's of millions in acres of land. As most people know, when the US government attains property, the government puts it up for sale like any other transaction. The US government is sitting on these acres of land, and what are they being used for? Absolutely nothing!

That's right, this land is being say upon for future development, although it could be used now.

II. 6% unemployment with no earned income

Right now, over 6% of Americans are not earning any income. This is a serious problem, and a economy isn't healthy if it isn't sitting around 4% at minimum. These acres of land are being unused, and we have people hurt now. I strongly contend that these people should be given land held by the US federal beauracracies. That way, they will be able to earn income, recieve justifable welfare, and begin to pay their taxes.

III. The USFG can still administer distributed lands

I do fully acknowledge the importance of preserving land for future development and extraction, but the hard fact is, we don't have the money, resources, or investors to make full use of all the deposits were sitting on. With that said, there is no reason US citizens can't be distributed land and still have that land controlled by the federal government.

We can easily lease free land to our people, and claim it back later, once its needed. Can my opponent provide any evidence to the contrary?

IV. Why hasn't this already happened

I am only bringing this point up to deter my opponent from making a "why don't they now" argument this round. I'll tell you why. Because big sharecropping companies like Kelloggs and Tyson fear having millions of workers operating private farms for free. It creates competition, which helps the economy. They do not like competition, as it hurts them.

The only reason this hasn't passed, is because the US corporate lobbies prevented it from happening. This initiative would produce billions in revenue through levies by the US, and will stir economic competition among US corporates. This wont cure unemployment, but it will ensure that there is always a job oppurtunity, whether it be fishing, ranching, or farming. All at no expense to the US government or the people.

Thanks for the debate! Cheers!


Thanks to my opponent for his arguments. My argument and my rebuttals are interconnected, but I will provide a short argument to start off. I want to remind the voters that my opponent has the BOP. He must sufficiently prove that this a sound action and one that will benefit citizens nationwide.

My main argument won't be nearly as long as my rebuttals, but here goes. Although this may seem at first glance like a sound and fair solution, it is not. Despite what my opponent says, these lands do have uses (which I will explain in more detail in my rebuttals. The current uses of the lands are things that my opponent apparently takes for granted. The whole of the U.S. is entitled to these lands. These lands have been developed, maintained, protected, and paid for by tax dollars. We, as American citizens, have set aside these lands. Government land is not to be merely given away to a certain demographic of society, it is for everyone. It is simply unfair to the majority of America if these lands are forsaken by the Government. That is why these lands must remain in government hands, in our hands.


1. There are millions of acres of Government-controlled unused land.

This is simply not true. Government agencies do indeed control a vast amount of land, but they are not being used for nothing. The BLM uses vast amounts of land for various purposes. These purposes benefit society in general (not just one demographic, which is what simply handing them out to the poor would be.) The various uses of these lands include: providing lands for renewable or otherwise energy production, animal grazing, outdoors recreation, mineral development, and many other society-benefiting programs and operations. Just click on the link to see all the other uses for BLM-controlled land.

2. Future Development

If there is really Government-owned land being used for absolutely no purpose, I would like some actual proof. Once you specify what land you are talking about, which you have not done at all, I will be able to rebut your properly on this point.

3. Distributing or Leasing?

My opponent seems like he can't decide if the land will be simply handed out to the poor and unemployed, or if the poor and unemployed will sign lease agreements with the government for control of the land. I would remind him that these are very different things and that he must specify.

4. Giving land to unemployed would fix unemployment.

I hardly see how this would work. My opponent suggests that simply by leasing (or at least I think he means leasing) land to the unemployed we would cure the problem. However, just because an unemployed citizen has leased land doesn't mean he will be successful. How is this person to purchase a home? What job is the person expected to take? How is this person expected to feed his family? There are many viable solution to the unemployment problem, but this is not one of them.

5. Earn income, receive justifiable welfare, and begin to pay their taxes.

What income is my opponent referring to? How does moving to the American countryside help these people earn an income? How are they to start farms and ranches? My opponent is making a lot of assertions without properly explaining any of them. He has a fanciful and all-to-simple solution to a real world problem. Don't be deceived audience, this is not the simple fix to unemployment the U.S. is looking for.

6. Administering distributed lands

I think this is much more complex than my opponent realizes. The U.S. government may not be able to reclaim the land as easily as he proposes. Picture this. Pro's plan actually works (which I highly doubt it would) and a previously unemployed family starts a new life as ranchers in Nebraska. They build up their ranching business, buy more cattle, and lead a successful life. Then, say 50-100 years later, the government shows up at their homestead and demands that they leave the area because now the government wants to develop it. Would this really go off without a hitch? We have already seen plenty of examples of farmers and ranchers protesting government intervention on their land with armed defenses, Supreme Court cases, and absolute refusal to vacate. Why would this situation be any different? I'd like for Pro to explain that to the audience and I.

7. Millions of workers operating private farms for free

I have a problem with this statement. Operating private farms for free? First of all, just because someone has land doesn't mean they have a farm (I am a "farm-boy" as one might say, so I would know.) The costs of purchasing the equipment alone for farming is extremely high. I'm talking hundreds of thousands of dollars for a single tractor or combine. Not to mention property tax. (or would the rest of us foot the bill on this as well?) M
My second problem with this statement regards the "for free" segment. How can these workers be operating farms "for free?" As I just mentioned, farms take money to run, even after the initial price of land. Who is paying for the operation of these farms? Because if you really expect millions of workers to operate private farms "for free," then that would translate to millions upon millions of extra tax dollars being required.

Billions of dollars in tax revenue and stir corporate competition

It would not if these unemployed people couldn't successfully start farms, which you haven't proven yet.

Always a job opportunity

Having land doesn't necessarily equate to job opportunities. You made a very large and illogical jump in saying that just because these unemployed people have leased land they would have job opportunities.

fishing, ranching, or farming

All of these professions require a large amount of start-up money. My opponent has not show where this start-up money will be coming from or how it will be raised.

All at no expense to the US government or the people

Yes. No expense other than the loss of public lands that belong to the U.S. government (which translates to the U.S. populous) These lands have many current uses that benefit those in all walks of life, not just the unemployed.

I have made apparent that my opponent has a half-baked plan to fix unemployment that may sound good on paper but would obviously not work in a real-world environment. I once again would like to point out that my opponent has the full BOP. The resolution has been negated and dismantled. Thanks to ChosenWolff for his arguments and a fun, interesting debate.
Debate Round No. 2


I. Lands can benefit the collective

This is a matter of one sided opinion. I honestly believe that having more people in the workforce, stimulating the economy and consumption, is more beneficial to the collective at this point in time. As I said earlier, we hold millions of acres in land, IE, a lot of other land that can benefit the collective;.

Tight sharecropping operations can be run pretty compact. Which is why I posted the above photo. In truth, with current interest rates on BLM controlled land, the farms can be distributed at 400-500 m2 a piece, with you average farm being about 1000-3000 acres. A well organized and structured government share farm will be efficient and beneficial to the collective.

II. Land Use

It is important we set a basic ratio, for distributed land, and land held in reserve. We have established that the US has plenty of unused land it seems. I reason that a fair distribution equation would be DLm2 =(FEI - CI)/4) +200. If you couldn't figure out what the abbreviations meant, ask me in the comments. Honestly, given current demographics, and the reserved land comparative to what would need to be distributed, we have everything to gain and nothing to lose.

Oh, and just to run the equation for practical application, it would look something like this. The federally established income right now is 10,000, and lets say a random person only has 8000 in total income. You would deduct 8000 from the FEI to equal 2000, which you would proceed to divide by 4, leaving you with 500 m2, which you would add 200 to, leaving you with a land plot of of exactly 700 m2.

700m2 =(10,000 - 8000)/2) + 200

I tinkered with some charts for awhile, and this equation would ensure a perfect balance of distribution. It would be great to give everyone the same plot of land, but my opponent is right. That would be nearing the line, as that land is used for development at the moment.

III. Operating Costs Exceed Demand

I doubled up on my research for this round, and it turns out that operating a farm costs more than the average real estate bid. The USDA is trying to push for a new agriculture surplus, which is desperately needed to lower the commodity prices of food items in Europe. We are sitting on all the land we need to do this, and since people are spending no money, and the sharecropping institution is ran collectively, we can operate and run farms for nearly free.

IV. Success on the homestead

My opponent brings up a good point. You can't just drop someone on a farm and tell them to make money. It doesn't work like that. I should of been more clear. I am advocating for government leased sharecropping zones, operated by the people, under the supervision of the government.

Do you see the central housing in these two screen shots? Those are known as villas, and they're usually the center of a share cropping farm. Most share croppers sleep in cabins, even in the commercial world. These are cheap, inexpensive, and can be built in two days time. Housing isn't a problem. Welfare isn't a problem. And food certainly isn't a problem.

V. Distribute or Lease

My opponent is mistaken. They can in fact go hand in hand. Leasing means you are allotting that land for a shortened period of time. Distributing means you are cutting up land for people. In this scenario, I am advocating we distribute land to be operated by citizens for a allotted period of time. Thanks for the debate Con, and sorry I didn't refute in order of your arguments.



Thanks for the argument, Con.

Well, it is quite apparent that my opponent has dropped a few of my points. I had more than 7 points while he had only 5 in rebuttals. First, allow me to rebut the one's he did actually refute, and then I will display the arguments he didn't even touch.

1. Lands can benefit the collective

My opponent concedes here that this is simply a matter of opinion. That's not a very good way to refute an argument, however, especially no in the last round. We have differing opinions and no one proved it either way. Luckily for me, my opponent has the BOP. It was his job to convince the audience that this would indeed benefit the collective, he did nothing of the sort. All that my opponent is saying on this matter is that "I honestly believe that having more people in the workforce, stimulating the economy and consumption, is more beneficial to the collective at this point in time." Saying you think one way or another is not proving a point. This point is effectively shattered. (I'm lumping the second paragraph in my next rebuttal.)

2. Land Use

This is a fine demonstration on how the land would be divided up, by isn't my opponent getting a little ahead of himself? This seems pretty far from anything I said in the debate, so it must not be a rebuttal. I'm not sure why at all this is necessary. I actually never questioned how the land would be cut up or challenged the idea that giving the same amount of land to all poor would be unfair. Again, it is a nice demonstration and equation, but has no bearing on the case at hand.

My opponent claims that the average private (sort of) farm given to poor families would be 1000-3000 acres. Lets just make it 2000 for simplicity. I'm going to try my hand at some math here as well. Since m opponent did earlier say, "Millions of workers operating private farms for free." earlier, I think I can expose a fallacy. I'm still not clear on my opponent's intentions. He claims that receiving land would now be based on your income. However, there is a problem with this. Not everyone with a low income can be given land. The U.S. government simply doesn't have enough to do this. Lets just take one million private farms (that is what my opponent proposed is it not?) and times that by 2000 (2000 acre farms). The number you receive is 2 billion. Yes folks, that's 2 billion acres my opponent think the government has, ready for farm use. That is preposterous. We have millions of acres of government land, not billions. My opponent's idea is much smaller than he imagined. However, no matter the size, it wouldn't even work.

3. Operating Costs Exceed Demand

I find this point to be very, very weak. First off, my opponent claims that "operating a farm costs more than the average real estate bid." I honestly do not see what you are getting at. What is the connection between the case at hand an average real estate bids? Audience, please ignore that point, it has no connection to the case.
My opponent also brings up the USDA trying to push for an agricultural surplus. This may be true. However, the U.S. is not "sitting on all the land we need to do this." My opponent completely ignored my point about the ways in which this land actually is being used. These uses included recreation, energy production, animal grazing, and many others. See my link in round 2 for more.

"We are sitting on all the land we need to do this, and since people are spending no money, and the sharecropping institution is ran collectively, we can operate and run farms for nearly free."

Don't be misled by this nice plate of word salad. Since people are spending no money? Which people is this referring to? The U.S. citizens I know spend their fair share of money. My opponent claims that somehow this statement shows how farms can be run and operated for nearly free. However, this does not really make sense. No matter what, tractors must be purchased, diesel and gas must be supplied, seed must be bought, repairs must be paid for, and taxes must be fulfilled. That seems like a good number of expenses there. Farming is hardly free, even sharecropping.

4. Success on the homestead

I'm certainly glad my opponent clarified himself. However, I have little to refute here because I have now been using the idea of sharecropper farms for all my rebuttals. I do want to highlight one thing though. "Under the supervision of the government." This may not be a problem, but again it may. I'm not saying the government is corrupt or something, I'm simply saying that when things are fully in the hands of the people, they seem to be much more effective and productive. I want talk to much about this point, but I thought I should point it out.
My opponent's explanation of the housing on these collective farms is fine, I suppose I have no real problem with that. However, it doesn't really correspond to any of my arguments. Again, I think my opponent is getting ahead of himself. He is trying to start the project before he has been granted approval (by the audience that is). I can see my opponent has put a lot of time into developing his idea, but I am sorry to say, it wouldn't work.

5. I will concede this actually. I thought that by "distribute" my opponent meant to just give the lands away. This makes more sense. I'm glad we are now on the same page. Don't think this has much bearing on the debate though, audience. This point is relatively meaningless. We have been debating over the leasing idea this whole time anyway.

My opponent has completely dropped a few of my points. I won't restate them, but I will list them here.
Point 6 regarding the rancher scenario
Point 1 regarding land usage
Point 2 regarding future development
Point 7 regarding the purchasing of equipment


My opponent strengthened his case perhaps, but not considerably. He still fails to show that his would benefit society as a whole, how operating expenses would be paid for, and what land the government actually holds that could accomplish this. Pro had the BOP on this one and he did not fulfill his burden. The resolution has not been proven and is therefore, null.
Thanks for an awesome debate ChosenWolff. This really was a lot of fun.
Vote Con
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by ChosenWolff 2 years ago
I reread your argument, and am pretty confident all questions have been answered. I hope my equation got across, as it might of not been clear I was refuting the start up argument. Income already within ones hands at the time of receiving leased land, although I must say, I am confused on why you thought fishing and farming costed money. It is one of the cheapest, but most important markets in the US.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Rhodesia79 2 years ago
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: This seems like another step towards communism and the flag in Pro's acceptance is a dead give away!
Vote Placed by Manastacious 2 years ago
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: The Pro does a poor job of explaining and elucidating a plan that could be more thoroughly examined and would have led to a more thorough debate. I vote Con.
Vote Placed by FuzzyCatPotato 2 years ago
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: Con proved this plan untenable in (a) that the indicated land is already in use, removing economic benefit, (b) that costs are high, and (c) that insufficient land exists.