The Instigator
l2jperry
Pro (for)
Winning
24 Points
The Contender
NapoleonofNerds
Con (against)
Losing
12 Points

U.S. citizens under the age of 18 should not pay taxes.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/5/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,538 times Debate No: 1417
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (7)
Votes (12)

 

l2jperry

Pro

It is my belief that U.S. Citizens under the age of 18 should not have to pay ANY taxes.

Although we do get to have much of the benefits of where the tax money is spent, we have no representation in the government.

Because we are not eligible to vote, we should not have taxes taken out of our pay checks.

This was the battle cry of the American Revolution, "Taxation without representation."
NapoleonofNerds

Con

This is inconsistent with the philosophy of taxation in American Law and History for three basic reasons:

I. Minors are Represented

Kids actually are represented in government - their interests are spoken for in local, state, and federal government even if they do not directly elect that representation. Put another way, a congressman still speaks for the people in his or her constituency even if they did not vote or don't intend to. There was also a time in American history where no one directly elected their Senators but nobody made the claim that Senators didn't represent the states they spoke for in the Congress. The American colonies had no voice in the British Parliament, and not even one seat was given for their interests. The disanalogy between the American Revolution and the modern American system really hurt your case.

Further under this idea is the fact that minors can and do petition the government for a redress of its grievances in a huge variety of ways, from letter writing campaigns to demonstrations and student strikes. Minors have a diminished say in governmental function that goes along with their diminished legal responsibilities.

II. Functionally, most minors don't pay income tax anyway

Only those minors with income above the poverty line actually pay income tax. You can argue that this is still a harm for rich white kids, but the tax system systemically fails to equally protect the rich and that's a separate case. The only actual harm relative to income that a teenager suffers is the fairly small amount withheld for Medicare and certain other forms of tax and must suffer the inconvenience of applying for a refund. All in all, there's no major oppressive burden on kids that needs to be redressed. If there were a higher tax burden it might matter, but your plan is so low impact it's almost irrelevant.

III. Other Taxes

Virtually every other tax that a minor might have to pay is levied against all people in the United States and aren't based at all on citizenship - these are sales taxes, property taxes, tolls, etc. Every society makes any person who does the action with which the tax is associated pay it (I have to pay sales tax in the UK and British citizens have to pay sales tax here) but those actions aren't strictly necessary, so there's no harm incurred given that minors are travelling, consuming, and owning property of their own free will despite the knowledge they will have to pay a tax.
Debate Round No. 1
l2jperry

Pro

To counter your points:

1. Citizens under the age 0f 18 are not represented! To say that their interests are spoken for is incorrect. If a person can not vote then they did not have a say in their representation. Yes, the colonies rebelled because their wasn't any colonist representing them in Parliament. However, it is not that far of a stretch to say citizens under 18 are not represented because we don't get the oppurtunity to vote. Even still, if my vote never got the person I chose elected. We would still be represented because not all citizens under 18 would vote for the same candidates. Just because older citizens get to vote for representation, does not mean that citizens under 18 are represented.

2. Yes, because most don't make money over the poverty line we don't pay income tax. However, there is still taxes taken out for social welfare programs like Social Security, and Medicare. Things that we will never see the benefits of, and yet still, we don't have a vote to support the politicans who speak out against these things. Yes, we are entitled to campaign for the candidate, still what it comes down to is the votes. We also pay a federal and state tax. At the end of the year we do get more money back then most, but we still lose out on some money. This would be fine, if we were able to vote. Since we are not able, it is wrong. And if it was so low impact, then why not just stop taxing us?

3. This is probably your best point. However, I still don't agree. People from here that are just visiting are not viable to represented. Since they are just visiting they should pay the taxes because they could go back home at anytime. But if they applied for citizenship they would have the right to vote. Us, under 18, would still not have that right. And in that lies the reason why we shouldn't have to pay taxes. I will say though, that i'm more for paying these "Other taxes" more so then I am for the taxes that get taken out of my paycheck.

Thanks for the debate sir! I really liked your points, they at least made me think about it in a different light.
NapoleonofNerds

Con

I. This is perhaps one of the most misunderstood things about a Republic as a form of government. When Ted Kennedy is elected to represent Massachusetts, he's chosen to represent the whole Commonwealth, not any specific segment of the constituency. He was as much my Senator before I turned 18 as he is now that I'm 19. The Constitution specifically envisioned that everyone would be represented even if they couldn't vote - women, blacks, and immigrants were and in the last case are still disenfranchised but they nevertheless enjoy the government's protections.

Another key thing are the diminished responsibilities that go with diminished rights. Kids are guaranteed state housing and care when they are in bad family situations, they're protected from having their assets pillaged, they are not legally responsible for the crimes they commit, and there are some crimes which are only crimes when the victim is a child, like age-of-consent laws designed to prevent sexual exploitation of children and drug laws that are stiffer if the incident occurred near a school, all while generally allowed to be a productive member of society. It seems the degree to which the state goes out of its way to help minors entitles it to taxes no more severe than those collected from adults. The most obvious government protection which adults don't enjoy is schooling - public schools are a huge expense which are totally unparalleled anywhere in the adult world and exist solely for the good of children, as do child courts and departments of Children and Families.

II. It's low impact on the kid, it's a huge impact for the Federal budget. And the truth is that those social programs do go to help minors - there are tons of children on welfare and medicare, and those programs are available to any minor who might have need of them in the future, and it's inconceivable that some form of Social Security won't be available barring the collapse of the government. Just because you personally don't consume government aid doesn't mean it wouldn't be available to you if you had need of it, which is the entire reason people enter a social contract in the first place.

III. If we wanted to, we could give any person residing in the United States the right to vote. It'd take a Constitutional amendment, but it would be possible. There are a plethora of arguments against it which almost everyone in the US agrees with: They don't fully understand or appreciate American culture, they aren't necessarily producing for societal good, they aren't well versed the in functioning of our government, and they haven't been in the US long enough to fully acculturate. These things are all as true of children as they are of residents. They aren't truly productive members of society and by virtue of their lack of education and experience almost none of them appreciate or understand the mechanics of our government. They are part of the society and consume communal resources, so they should contribute to those resources in turn, but they are not qualified to be members of the electorate. Taxes are part of the debt necessary for protection by the state, they are not necessarily tied to voting rights.
Debate Round No. 2
l2jperry

Pro

Wow, two times now I finished typing and then the website went unresponsive. I'm not going through it all again. Brief:

1. Me not being able to vote for my representative (Although still supposedly being represented) Is no different then the colonists not being able to vote for their representatives (Althouh still representated by Parliment)

2. Minorites, Woman, Immigrants are not proteted by government all the time. Ex. Slavery, Japenese concentration camps. They were not set up to be represented through the constitution. Blacks were not considered human in the founding father's days, so to say they were thought of during the time of the constitution is absurd.

3. Social Security and other welfare programs are going bankrupt, when I am older they will not be there for me. Im paying into something I'll never see. I should have a say where my tax money goes, so either give me my right to vote, or stop taxing me.

Brief, but I didn't want to retype it all again.

Thanks.
NapoleonofNerds

Con

I'm sorry the site went down. Huge drag.

I. The difference is that there was no Member of Parliament for Massachusetts, and the Commons sat exclusively for the interests of the British, and for that matter mostly English, people. There was no representative anywhere for the colonies, but there are representatives for every person in the United States. To argue that you must vote for a candidate to be represented by him is absurd and runs entirely contrary to the Republican philosophy of the Constitution.

II. Blacks were thought of - haven't you read any of the controversy over the inclusion of slavery as a charge against the King in the Declaration of Independence, let alone during the Constitutional debates? But you're forgetting the 3/5ths compromise. The South, in a legal system where some humans were thought of as property, still consented to a system in which legal non-entities were counted for the purposes of representation in the House, and the North considered it a major first step in the legal disestablishment of slavery. Even the musical 1776 treats the slavery issue with more depth than you do.

I mean, the fact is that nobody is perfectly safe from the government. Many of the people interned during the War were American Citizens. What you're arguing for, if your concern is the abuses of government, would actually delegitimize the claims of minors to many rights and freedoms. How can we argue that mandatory schooling laws are abusive, that we should be able to enter into contracts on our own, that curfews ought to end, and that status offences are unjust if we accept status as legal non-entities who don't contribute to society? We can't secure greater protections when any claim we have to them - that we're taxpaying, duly represented members of American society, goes away under your plan.

III. Petulant answer. First of all, it's in everyone's interest that poor people not starve, even the interest of minors, because they probably like their grandparents too. Second, and perhaps more importantly, not everybody gets to enjoy every program to the same degree. Equality before the law doesn't mean that every program must help every person the same way.

The fact is that you don't get a say because while you understand the government or its functions, and and you understand the philosophy of our civic institutions, at least to some degree, most kids don't. I'd be horrified to know that some of the people I went to high school with would be allowed to vote because they barely knew what a state was let alone anything about politics or the system. You never answer my arguments about the fundamental incapacity of children to participate in the system, and I think it's a major issue in this round. You also never answer the plethora of services which exist partially or exclusively for children which take up a huge portion of Federal, State, and Municipal budgets. You also never answer arguments about diminished legal responsibilities, or about why voting is a necessary legal consequence of taxation.
Debate Round No. 3
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by artC 6 years ago
artC
l2jperry, how do you feel about resident aliens paying taxes? People who live in the United States legally but are not eliigible to vote.
Posted by kels1123 6 years ago
kels1123
You get more of your taxes back than the average citizen which I believe makes up for that . Also your parents could claim you and get more taxes back , which as they are your legal guardians that is actually money for you. Taxes they have been getting back because of you , all through your life. If you are an American , you should pay taxes. When you are 18 you will be an adult and then get your chance to vote , until then since your parents benefit on their taxes through you, they represent you. Your parents can vote.
Posted by l2jperry 6 years ago
l2jperry
Yes I am an American, and I would gladly pay taxes if I had my right to vote. I don't support the social programs I pay taxes into, I want my vote to support candidates who don't support those. If I can't vote, I shouldn't have to pay. It's that simple.
Posted by kels1123 6 years ago
kels1123
You are also an American and you have to pay taxes .
Posted by l2jperry 6 years ago
l2jperry
I am a full time student, but I still work 25-30 hours a week. Yes, I get taxes back, but still a large amount of it I don't see come back. I'd rather have control over my own money then give to the government to save for me. I'm perfectly capable of making those decisions myself.
Posted by kels1123 6 years ago
kels1123
Okay if you are under 18 , you should most likely be a full time student and can claim that and get all your taxes back. Why is this an issue?? I got some great tax returns when I was younger and nothing was sweeter than that big large refund check that I could go spend anyway I wanted.
Posted by SolaGratia 6 years ago
SolaGratia
I object to the whole idea of taxing productivity, but taxing people under 18, who cannot vote, is taxation without representation. Didn't we go to war about that, a long time ago?
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