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The Contender
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The United States Congress Repeal the 16th Amendment

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/10/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,623 times Debate No: 26137
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
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This debate will focus on the Sixteenth Amendment passed in 1913, giving Congress the explicit power to tax an individual's income. The creation of the IRS, income taxes, and the U.S. Tax Code were all subsidiaries of this Amendment.

The con side of this argument will argue against the repeal of the Amendment, showing their support for taxing income in the United States. The debate will consist of three rounds.

1. Opening Arguments/Debating Points
2. Arguments/Debating Points/Rebuttals, etc.
3. Closing Rebuttals/Debating Points

Debaters will not be able to introduce new points during the Closing part of the debate (Round 3).

Good luck to con side of debate.


I accept! Im only too glad to debate on the intricacies of the tax code. Its very exciting. So I'll get right to it.

1. Income Taxes provide a substancial source of revenue

File:Federal Receipts by Source, 2010.jpg
As the graph indicates, income taxes make up 41% of Federal Revenue. However, the constitution prevents a head tax, which the 16th amendment authorizes. The 16th amendment also allows for the payroll tax to exist. Compare the above graph to graph below and it will become apparent very quickly that the revenue doesnt exist currently to match our spending by 1.45 Trillion dollars. If we were to wipe out income taxes and payroll taxes, the deficit would be about 3.2 Trillion.

If we wipe out the 16th amendment as my opponent suggests our fiscal policy becomes impossible to carry out. Even if we wiped out ALL medicare/medicaid/social security/defense and ALL discretionary spending, we would still be operating at a 300 Billion dollar deficit every year.

I suspect my opponent knows all of these statistics, and has an alternative system. As a result, I dont have much more of a case until its presented. Thanks again!
Debate Round No. 1


I do thank my opponent for accepting this debate, as I too look forward to debating the intricacies of the U.S. Tax Code and taxing matters.

In view of my opponent's argument that "Income Taxes provide a substantial source of revenue," I would like to lay out my own argument and alternative plan to counter his first and only point.

1. Income taxes are a tax on success

With income taxes becoming more and more unfair by favoring the poor with a small rate and making the wealthiest among us pay more than 50% of the federal government's revenue in taxes, the system needs perfecting. The effective marginal tax rates fluctuate from 35% (people making $388,351 and more) to 10% (people paying $8,700 to $0).

With most state and some local municipalities also taxing individuals (and couples) at a progressive rate, the wealthiest constantly bear the brunt of the tax rates in the United States.

2. Progressive Tax Rates (as exhibited in the U.S.) is straight out of the Communist Manifesto

At the heart and soul of America, we have shown clear and decisive hatred and rejection of communism. From its very beginnings in the late 1800s to the McCarthy trials, communism has almost never received a receptive ear in American society or American values.

Many things in American society are being more and more bent towards this doctrine. The most obvious but seemingly hidden (or just plain ignored) one is the progressive tax rate. As you get richer, the government takes more of your money, providing a clear incentive for people to stay where they are at.

3. Tax Code and IRS are archaic, obsolete, and far to comprehensive

The system is horribly bad at not enforcing it's own rules. The cause of this problem is subject to much speculation, but for the sake of debate, I will summarize it in light of my own opinion. It is due to the fact that the tax code is over tens of thousands of pages, and an entire industry exists simply to exploit the innumerable loopholes, deductions, and such.

Tax code is so comprehensive that IRS agents who, after being taught for 3 months on how to evaluate, discern, and interpret the code, don't remember half of the things they learned 3 months after training is over.

The code is broken, the system needs fixing, and these are only a select few problems that represent the miscues in the entire industry as a whole. Now, I will present a clear way for us to fix the problem all together.

-----A National Sales Tax-----

As a national sales tax is one of the most heated debates in tax philosophy to date, it is indeed an argument to be heard. For decades, the U.S. has lived with a progressive income tax system that penalizes success and destroys incentives for advancement.

When someone works hard for their income and risks a lot of it with daily investments and choices (opportunity cost analysis; a little economics sprinkled in there), it should and will be their's to keep and use properly, under this system.

Instead of taxing an individual's hard earned money, you tax them on their spending habits. This is not discouraging consumption by any means, and with our standard of living, it isn't a faulty argument whatsoever. This will more accurately provide a better way to both reward people for working hard and watching what they spend. This will not only better teach individuals and households to live within their means, but also a good chance for the government to re-evaluate it's own spending habits and make adjustments that must be made for this system to thrive.

This will also give the government to straighten the tax code out. No longer will an entire industry exist to exploit one government document's loopholes. They can simply draft the guideline for the national sales tax. This draft will include how, where, when, and why it will be implemented. With said reasons, I think that this system would reward success and not restrain incentives. This would be a hard change, and it will take time. But, with the American people, all things are possible.

With Americans spending money the way we do, revenue will not decline by much. The national sales tax would make almost all the necessary government funding needs and more. But, as previously mentioned, it will force the government into a decision making period. There will be changes. But, as President Obama (although I don't agree with his philosophy or political views) said in his campaign speech in 2008, "We should not run away from change. For change is what keeps progress in line."

This will give states the chance to re-evaluate their own tax codes and tax systems to better comply with the federal level's changes. It will also add more power and pressure to the states to make their own economic climates suitable for living.

Thank you, and I look forward to closing rounds of debate.



My arguments in this rebuttal will be centered around the federal income tax vs. federal sales tax, because this debate has basically become 'which policy is preferable?'

1. Income taxes are a tax on success & 2. Progressive Tax Rates is straight out of the Communist Manifesto

My opponent makes several unfounded assumptions here.

Firstly, a flat income tax would wipe out all tax margins, simplify the tax code, and make everyone pay the same percentage of their income. These would accomplish everything my opponent sets out in doing.

Secondly, my opponent makes the assumption that the wealthy pay well above the poor as a percentage of their income in taxes. Warren Buffett, the second wealthiest man in America, famously made the case that the wealthy should pay more. He paid less, as a percentage of his income, than his secretary. Warren Buffett paid 17.4% in taxes, while his secretary paid 35.8%[1] Curious results from a "communist" policy.

Thirdly, my opponent says there is a disincentive to make more money because of income tax brackets. My answer is only this. Would you not want to make more money because you pay more in taxes? Of course not. The progressive tax system requires more of wealthy individuals. Why? Because they make more. Its that simple.

3. Tax Code and IRS are archaic, obsolete, and far to comprehensive

I agree that the tax code needs to be simplified. I also agree there are reasons why a number of exemptions exist, and we can not get rid of all of them, categorically, because its messy. We can and should simplify the tax code. But it should be done with a scalpel, not a shovel.

-----A National Sales Tax-----

We can talk about the philosophy of a tax code all day and get nowhere, so I'll just get straight to the facts.

1. None of my opponents sources or his plan says how high the sales tax would have to be in order to make the same revenue as the income tax.

2. In fact, none of his sources go into any specifics of a national sales tax, they're just sites stating pros and cons.

3. According to the Urban Brookings Tax Policy Center in 2005, a national sales tax would require 60% additional cost to products just to match the revenue provided by income tax[2]. This study was conducted in an economic boom. Now, the percentage would have to be much higher to account for the loss in revenue.

4. A 60% increase in the cost of products would dramatically decrease demand for products in a recession(producing a double-dip recession).

5. The national sales tax unfairly targets the poor[3]. The poor spend a huge percentage of their income on products they need to survive, and we cut their ability to do so by 60%-making the poor poorer.

6. Seniors have already paid income taxes and payroll taxes into the system all their lives. They largely live on reduced incomes, and making a consumption tax would be, in effect, taxing them twice. Inherently, taking back the sixth amendment would have to eliminate the payroll tax as well, leaving seniors with no income and a huge tax rate just to survive.

In short, a national sales tax hurts everyone it sets out to help. It hurts the poor by reducing their means to live to a tiny percentage of what it was. It hurts seniors when they need their benefits most. It hurts the middle class by cutting their ability to buy. It hurts the rich because people buy fewer of their products. It hurts the economy and everyone in it.

I look forward to closing arguments!


Debate Round No. 2


austinnoyes95 forfeited this round.


Please vote Con! I would be psyched if you did.
Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by kckettler 4 years ago
...please vote, guys...
Posted by kckettler 4 years ago
Idk if those graphs didnt show up on there, but ill post them again here. Theyre supposed to be in this order.
Posted by AlwaysMoreThanYou 4 years ago
I approve of this resolution.
Posted by Wallstreetatheist 4 years ago
I support the resolution as well. A word of advice: if the first round is acceptance, make the debate four rounds. You put yourself at a disadvantage with only two rounds of debate.
No votes have been placed for this debate.