The Instigator
Danielle
Pro (for)
Winning
62 Points
The Contender
Geekis_Khan
Con (against)
Losing
61 Points

Upon dying, a person's wealth should NOT be taken by the government.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/9/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,705 times Debate No: 3965
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (22)
Votes (38)

 

Danielle

Pro

I noticed that you and I have a different opinion regarding estate taxes as displayed in your profile. I stand in affirmation of the resolution; I was hoping that as my opponent you could shed some light on your opposing perspective.

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First: What is included in the estate?

"The Gross Estate of the decedent consists of an accounting of everything you own or have certain interests in at the date of death. The fair market value of these items is used, not necessarily what you paid for them or what their values were when you acquired them. The total of all of these items is your Gross Estate. The includible property may consist of cash and securities, real estate, insurance, trusts, annuities, business interests and other assets. Keep in mind that the Gross Estate will likely include non-probate as well as probate property" (Source: http://www.irs.gov...).

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I believe that an individual has the right to do as they please with their own money, whether it's spending it on frivolous material goods, investing in lucrative projects, or giving it to a homeless person on the street. It is their money - they've either earned it or inherited it - and nobody should be allowed to take what is rightfully theirs and disperse it as they please.

If I pass away and wish to leave all or most of my money/estate to my children, grand children or other person(s), what right does the government have to tell me that I can't? Similarly, if I wish to give my money away after passing and donate it to charity, that should be my right -- it is, again, MY money. I can invest it any way that I choose while living, and thanks to the legal documentation known as wills, I can even invest that money any way that I choose after my death!

Barron Hilton (Paris Hilton's grandfather) intends to donate 97% of his estimated 2.3 billion dollar estate to charity when he dies. The foundation supports projects that provide clean water in Africa, education for blind children, and housing for the mentally ill. Its aims, based on founder Conrad Hilton's will, are "to relieve the suffering, the distressed and the destitute." Conrad Hilton himself left virtually all of his fortune to the charity when he died, a charity that he founded to do great things... yet my opponent's position of being In Favor of the Estate Tax would mean that all or most of one's estate be mandated to go directly to the government upon one's passing.

An estate tax is a bad idea for several reasons. First, it is more wise for an individual to invest in a trustworthy organization that they believe in than to invest in the government. Say I died and $1B of mine went to the White House. Certainly George Bush would be using that money to continue to wage war on Islamic nations - a war that I do not agree with. Therefore my money is being used to support policies that I do not. Similarly, a Conservative may not want their hard-earned money to go to programs such as Welfare or Medicaid.

If I had donated my estate to a charity that collects money for breast cancer research, I would be content to know that my contribution helped to save lives, not take them. And since it is my money, I should be able to support whatever programs I choose - not leave it up to the government to decide how my money gets dispersed. Afterall, what if they agree upon a huge Dick Cheney pay increase or something just as upsetting?

Another reason why an estate tax is wrong is because it can hurt the family of the individual whose estate is being taken away. For example, many people place significant value on family heirlooms, which are defined as a valued possessions that are passed down in a family through succeeding generations; articles of personal property included in an inherited estate (dictionary.com). If an estate tax were implemented, heirlooms would no longer take precedent over the government, and memories or other valuables would be lost.

Rather than supporting an estate tax, I believe that an individual should be held responsible for that year's annual income taxes due in full by the following April 15th after their death just as they would if they were still alive. Aside from that, I feel that a person's will (if they have one) shall determine where the rest of their estate goes once they die. If they do not have a will, whatever the current procedure is in determining dispersement shall continue, but an estate tax shall NOT.

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Thank you in advance for accepting this debate. I look forward to your rebuttal.
Geekis_Khan

Con

Thank you for the challenge! This will be the first serious debate that I've had in awhile that wasn't against some libertarian who didn't know what they were talking about! Even though you are arguing a view point that is more libertarian... But that doesn't matter. :)

Anyways, first, I'd like to point out that the way to list your support for certain things on Debate.org is not truly sufficient. This is true of the estate tax. While I support the estate tax, I do still believe in respecting a person's will, at least to some extent. However, since this resolution that you are affirming offers an absolute engative rather than a partial negative, this distinction should not really matter in the debate. I just wanted to make the clarification.

But let's go into your argument.

"I believe that an individual has the right to do as they please with their own money, whether it's spending it on frivolous material goods, investing in lucrative projects, or giving it to a homeless person on the street. It is their money - they've either earned it or inherited it - and nobody should be allowed to take what is rightfully theirs and disperse it as they please."

Under this logic, all taxing is bad. You make the same illogical argument that leads to all forms of taxing being bad several times thoughout the debate. I'll get more in-depth with that premise later in this round, but for now suffice it to say that if an individual should be able to do whatever they want with their money, then it doesn't matter what the tax is, it's bad. NOw, we can't have a system without any taxes, as much as people dislike them. Without taxes, our government falls apart. But I'll return to this idea later.

"I can invest it any way that I choose while living, and thanks to the legal documentation known as wills, I can even invest that money any way that I choose after my death!"

Okay, I agree with you. A will should be respected. But to what extent? You see, inheretances are basically a bonus; you didn't have it before and you didn't really do anything to earn it. I don't see why bonuses shouldn't be taxed. You get something extra, but because you didn't really earn it, there's nothing wrong with the government taking some of that. What you have to distinguish here is that the wealth isn't being taxed, but rather the transfer of wealth. You still get your inheretance, you simply have to pay some taxes on it, just like you do with bonuses. Lottery winners have to pay taxes, why shouldn't people gaining inheretances?

"Conrad Hilton himself left virtually all of his fortune to the charity when he died, a charity that he founded to do great things... yet my opponent's position of being In Favor of the Estate Tax would mean that all or most of one's estate be mandated to go directly to the government upon one's passing."

It's not all or most. The actual rates average around 50% (because of changes in the law, it changes from year to year). Now, sure, this seems like a large amount of taxing, but bonuses are taxed generally at 50%. What you also must remember is that only estates above a certain level are taxed. In 2008, that level is $2,000,000 at a max tax rate of 45% (http://www.finance.cch.com...). So, the thing is, you're only going to be taxed if your estate is over 2 million dollars. And even if it is over 2 million, that first 2 million dollars isn't taxed. So, if your estate being passed down is $2,000,001, then only that $1 is taxed. So you have to pay $0.45.

So, in reality, the estate tax only comes into play with very few people. For example, in 2000 (which had a lower level that was able to tax and a higher max rate), only about 52,000 estates (2 percent) were subject to the tax (http://www.nytimes.com...). This number has dropped over the past eight years.

"First, it is more wise for an individual to invest in a trustworthy organization that they believe in than to invest in the government. Say I died and $1B of mine went to the White House. Certainly George Bush would be using that money to continue to wage war on Islamic nations - a war that I do not agree with. Therefore my money is being used to support policies that I do not."

First, I'd like to point out that you cannot necessarily count on an individual to donate to a trustworthy organization any more than you can count on the government to use the money wisely.

But right here, you have another logical fallacy. Your objection is to how the government might use the money. But this problem is non-unique to the estate tax. It exists with EVERY tax. You talk about supporting the income tax toward the end of your case, but the government could still use this taxed moeny in ways that the taxpayer doesn't want. By your logic, every tax is unjust.

But taxing isn't unjust. First of all, it is justified through the social contract. We expect the government to do certain things: protect our rights, provide stability, etc. In order to do these things, we are expected to give the government the ability to do these things. In order for the government to have this ability, it needs money. It is not only justified, but it is a necessity.

Also, keep in mind that even if the government does things that you don't agree with, it's not necessarily your money that is supporting it. Since the tax money goes into a pool of government funds, all of that money is divided. Who's to say that your dollar isn't going to support the program that you want? Since all the money is part of the same funding, we cannot distinguish whose tax is supporting what.

"And since it is my money, I should be able to support whatever programs I choose - not leave it up to the government to decide how my money gets dispersed."

Once again, the governemnt decides how all tax money is dispersed, so in order for you to carry this argument through the debate, you have to be willing to denounce all taxes. Seeing as how you support both a national sales tax and the flat tax, I'm assuming that you don't denounce all taxes. You have to keep in mind that it doesn't matter what tax it is, the government decides how your moeny is dispersed with every tax. This is a non-unique problem to the estate tax.

Furthermore, making donations to charities gives you a what? A tax-write off. Now, of course, this write off isn't immediate and you have to go through the proper paperwork, but such inconviences are the price you have to pay in order to uphold the social contract.

So, ultimately, if you make a donation, you don't pay as much in taxes. And you claim the system is unfair?

"Another reason why an estate tax is wrong is because it can hurt the family of the individual whose estate is being taken away."

Once again, I'd like to point out that these estates being taxed are less than 2 percent of all estates. So, even if I grant you that it's bad in this sense (which I don't), I should still win on a cost-benefit analysis, as you have only shown a harm in less than 2 percent of all estates.

And as for the heirloom thing, the IRS isn't interested in taking my guitar. They're interested in its fair market value, and they tax for money. The problem arises when I don't have enough money to meet the tax, and I have to sell the heirloom in order to pay the tax. But this isn't a problem with the estate tax. Why? Because only the wealthy wind up being taxed! They'll be able to compensate for what ever taxes that may exist upon any heirloom. If I inheret an heirloom like a guitar from my grandfather and nothing else, chances are it's not worth $2 million. I don't have to pay any taxes on it.

I'm running out of characters, and I believe I've made every point that I need to (though not every point that I want to). Your turn and good luck!
Debate Round No. 1
Danielle

Pro

My opponent's assumption that I presume all taxation to be bad is false. For one, I am a democrat. Two, I noted in my argument that I clearly supported paying taxes (I suggested a deceased individual should be required to pay income taxes the following 4/15 after their death). However Con was noting that my wording was illogical -- I disagree -- but I do feel the need to clarify. When I stated, "I believe that an individual has the right to do as they please with their own money" I was referring to after their death. I continued to say, "I can invest it [my money] any way that I choose while living, and thanks to the legal documentation known as wills, I can even invest that money any way that I choose after my death!"

My opponent agrees that one's will should be respected. However he believes that because an inheritance is a bonus, one didn't really "earn it" and therefore it deserves to be subjected to taxation from the government. I disagree for a few reasons:

1. By this logic, if my mom bakes me cookies just because she felt like it, I should be forced to share some of those cookies because I did nothing to earn them.

2. My opponent is assuming that one did nothing to earn that inheritance. Often times a child will inherit their parent's business/money/estate after working hard with their parents prior to the death.

Next my opponent establishes, "What you have to distinguish here is that the wealth isn't being taxed, but rather the transfer of wealth." Okay so suppose I am away at college and my parents wish to send me money in the mail. They send me a check for $100. Well the postage for that transfer of wealth DID cost some money (about 35 cents); however, it was not a fraction of the amount being transfered but rather a set amount of money that is to be paid by everyone who wishes to transfer wealth via mail.

Finally on this subject, my opponent asks, "Lottery winners have to pay taxes, why shouldn't people gaining inheretances?" Well playing the lottery is a form of gambling, and in fact the lottery was specifically designed to raise money for the government. Gambling and winning money verses receiving an inheritance are completely different things, and should not be subjected to the same rules of taxation.

Moving on, my opponent asserts that taxation of one's estate is estimated at about 50 percent... 50 percent! That means that one's inherited wealth (rightfully earned by their predecessor) is cut in half! Again Con reminds us that winning the lottery and other bonuses are subjected to the same taxation. So again I must vehemently disagree that one's inheritance be regarded/taxed as some lucky break. Think of it this way: any moron off the street could endure a strike of good luck win the lottery. In playing the lottery, this individual has accepted that half of the reward would be taxed by the government. That is not the case regarding an estate tax.

Consider a father founding a company and working hard to sustain it. Upon his death, his child expects to receive the wealth that his father worked so hard for and left behind for his family. Why should the government be allowed to take half of his father's earnings? Especially since the father already pays what he owes the government via his INCOME TAXES. If he hadn't yet for that year, then like I said - one final payment on his behalf could be paid on the following April 15th after his death.

To support his point, Con mentions that only estates worth over 2 million dollars are subjected to estate taxation. This only proves my point that estate taxes are unfair; they only impose a ridiculously high tax rate upon the wealthy. Con argues that because $2 million is a large sum of money, it is okay to subject citizens to unfair taxation (unfair for all of the reasons I have provided in my argument). He points out that in the year 2,000, "ONLY" 52,000 estates were subjected to the tax. In my opinion, that's 52,000 estates too many.

My opponent's same New York Times source mentions that once the estate tax is fully repealed, the treasury would lose $70 BILLION DOLLARS IN ONE YEAR. That $70 billion/year is money that could be pumped back into feeding the economy (instead of funding an unjust war, but I digress :P). Anyway, just because the number of estates being taxed since 2,000 has decreased, doesn't mean that an estate tax is the right thing to do as my opponent wrongfully suggests.

To conclude his argument, Con again brings up taxation in general, and how the government ultimately decides where our tax dollars are dispersed. As I've mentioned, I do not denounce all forms of taxation. However my point was not about the problems of dispersing tax dollars in general. My contention is that the government *already receives* tax money to disperse via income taxes and various other forms of taxation - sales tax, property taxes, etc. Thus upon one's death, the government is actually the one receiving a bonus (a $70 billion dollars a year bonus to be precise), and that bonus is not justified.
Geekis_Khan

Con

"However Con was noting that my wording was illogical -- I disagree -- but I do feel the need to clarify. When I stated, "I believe that an individual has the right to do as they please with their own money" I was referring to after their death. I continued to say, "I can invest it [my money] any way that I choose while living, and thanks to the legal documentation known as wills, I can even invest that money any way that I choose after my death!""

You kind of missed the point of my argument, but I'll return to it later. You bring up another illogical point here. Why do you suddenly have more rights to do what you want with your money when you're dead? I want to know your justification for supporting giving dead people more rights than the living.

"1. By this logic, if my mom bakes me cookies just because she felt like it, I should be forced to share some of those cookies because I did nothing to earn them. "

Once again, the estate tax only taxes the first $2 million. So, prove that your mother's cookies are worth $2 million dollars, and you may have an argument.

"2. My opponent is assuming that one did nothing to earn that inheritance. Often times a child will inherit their parent's business/money/estate after working hard with their parents prior to the death."

I can give you that point. However, not completely. Once again, this only actually happens in less than 2% of all cases. Furthermore, the entire estate is not taxed. The first $2 million is protected, and then it's only taxed at less than 50%. Furthermore, one would think that this scenario wouldn't even come into play as in most situations where a child works that closely in a family business, they are just as big of a legal partner as the parent. At least this is true with bigger estatesm which is the only scenario where the estate tax would ever come into play.

"Okay so suppose I am away at college and my parents wish to send me money in the mail. They send me a check for $100. Well the postage for that transfer of wealth DID cost some money (about 35 cents); however, it was not a fraction of the amount being transfered but rather a set amount of money that is to be paid by everyone who wishes to transfer wealth via mail."

Your parents weren't giving you a $2,000,000+ bonus. And you're miscunderstanding the point I was makig. Part of the point of the estate tax is to keep this transfer of wealth from simply crossing generations. We want the younger generation to work just as hard as the older, rather than simply inhereting wealth and contributing nothing to society. This is what is meant by taxing the "transfer of wealth".

"Well playing the lottery is a form of gambling, and in fact the lottery was specifically designed to raise money for the government. Gambling and winning money verses receiving an inheritance are completely different things, and should not be subjected to the same rules of taxation."

Why are they completely different? You've given no reason why they are different in any way. In both scenarios we're talking about rather large bonuses. And even if you want to accept that they're different, you have given no valid reason why an estate shouldn't be taxed.

"Consider a father founding a company and working hard to sustain it. Upon his death, his child expects to receive the wealth that his father worked so hard for and left behind for his family. Why should the government be allowed to take half of his father's earnings? Especially since the father already pays what he owes the government via his INCOME TAXES. If he hadn't yet for that year, then like I said - one final payment on his behalf could be paid on the following April 15th after his death."

I addressed this earlier. This scenario would almost never actually occur because of the way that the estate tax is set up and because of the way large and welathy family businesses are often set up. If you want to keep running this point, I'll ask that you present some actual examples of this occurring.

And even if you do present some examples, the vote should still belong to the CON based on a cost-benefit analysis, because this would only happen toa fraction of that 2%.

"To support his point, Con mentions that only estates worth over 2 million dollars are subjected to estate taxation. This only proves my point that estate taxes are unfair; they only impose a ridiculously high tax rate upon the wealthy. Con argues that because $2 million is a large sum of money, it is okay to subject citizens to unfair taxation (unfair for all of the reasons I have provided in my argument). He points out that in the year 2,000, "ONLY" 52,000 estates were subjected to the tax. In my opinion, that's 52,000 estates too many."

Even if it is too many (which it isn't), I should still win on a cost-benefit analysis.

And it's not unfair to the wealthy. It's protecting smaller estates, protecting those "heirlooms", and at the same time keeping unearned the transfer of wealth to a minimum. Obviously, no system is perfect. But the estate tax gives a very good way of balancing these two issues.

"My opponent's same New York Times source mentions that once the estate tax is fully repealed, the treasury would lose $70 BILLION DOLLARS IN ONE YEAR. That $70 billion/year is money that could be pumped back into feeding the economy (instead of funding an unjust war, but I digress :P). Anyway, just because the number of estates being taxed since 2,000 has decreased, doesn't mean that an estate tax is the right thing to do as my opponent wrongfully suggests."

That $70 billion dollars is pumped back into the economy. You see, the governemnt spends that money. It doesn't matter who's spending the money, it's still going back into the economy. You make a completely null point here. And even if you accept eh "unjust war" thing (which is really irrelevant), the money alos goes to fund schools, law enforcement, various public safety institutions, and other worthy causes.

Moreover, you're also assuming that the individual will spend the money better than the government. Isn't it entirely possible that if that money wasn't taxed, it would go to be supporting something worse than an unjust war? You can't prove a better spender either way, so what the government spends this money on isn't really a point for you.

"To conclude his argument, Con again brings up taxation in general, and how the government ultimately decides where our tax dollars are dispersed. As I've mentioned, I do not denounce all forms of taxation. However my point was not about the problems of dispersing tax dollars in general. My contention is that the government *already receives* tax money to disperse via income taxes and various other forms of taxation - sales tax, property taxes, etc. Thus upon one's death, the government is actually the one receiving a bonus (a $70 billion dollars a year bonus to be precise), and that bonus is not justified."

No. You stated quite clearly that you have a problem witht he money taken by the government being spent on programs that you don't want it spent on. Here, it doens't matter whether you're living or dead. This is a non-unique problem to the estate tax. If you want to carryt hrough with your objections as to how the government uses your money unjustly, you have to denounce all taxation. Otherwise, you are a hypocrite, especially considering that you have given no justification as to why you have more rights over your money whne you are dead than when you are living. This is a glaring contradiction in your case.

I urge a CON vote.
Debate Round No. 2
Danielle

Pro

I hate throwing around trite phrases like straw man in a debate; however, my opponent is clearly twisting my words around in an attempt to make himself look better. For example, he first exclaims that I am indicating a dead person has more rights (regarding dispersement of their funds) than a living individual. That is clearly not the case. What I said -- I'll repeat it for about the 4th or 5th time now -- was that after a person dies, they should be required to pay their income taxes on the following 4/15 after their death. That way the government still gets the money it "rightfully deserves" and the individual (who is DEAD) has absolutely no say in where the government decides to spend his or her tax money. HOWEVER, the dead person DOES have the right to decide where the REST of their money goes after their death via a will... a will that my opponent agrees should be respected.

This policy is essentially the same as how a living person must pay a certain amount of their money to the government (and has no say over tax dispersement); however, they can spend the rest of their money as they please. So obviously what I am advocating for is justice on behalf of the deceased individual -- I am in no way claiming that a dead person has more rights than a living person. So again, I hate trite phrases like "my opponent is being abusive" in a debate (it sounds so whiney), but in all honesty, Con has clearly purposefully distorted my argument here and throughout the rest of the round.

A second example of this "abusiveness" comes about when he challenges me to prove that my mother's cookies are worth $2 million. What does that have to do with my point? My argument concluded that according to his logic -- that inheritances should be taxed because they are an unwarranted bonus -- if my mom bakes me cookies, I should be expected to share them because he ASSUMES that I haven't earned them, and they are therefore not rightfully mine but rather a bonus. Well like I said later on in the round, it doesn't matter if only estates over $2 million are taxed. If it is an unfair policy, it shouldn't be implemented whether only estates over $20 million were taxed, or estates over 20 cents were taxed. The bottom line is that it's unfair either way.

My opponent hasn't proved why estates over $2 million deserve to be taxed whereas others do not (who not tax cheaper estates too?), or even why estates over $2 million deserve to be taxed in general. Throughout the rest of his round, my opponent repeatedly claims that because only 2% of estates are taxed, this somehow makes it okay. He is completely missing the point, but I hope the readers are not.

What's funny (or "abusive" lol) is how Con attempts to turn this all around and claim that *I'm* the one not understanding HIM. For instance, he first makes the claim that the estate tax exists to tax the TRANSFER of wealth. I argued this by presenting the example of my parents sending me a $100 check via mail. The cost to send me the check would have been 35 cents either way (for postage), whether the check was for $100 or 1 penny. That's in terms of the actual "transfer" here.

However my opponent pointed out that by transfer he meant the transfer of wealth between generations. But what Con is not realizing is that the example of my parents sending me a check applies to this argument too. He writes, "We want the younger generation to work just as hard as the older, rather than simply inhereting wealth and contributing nothing to society." By this logic, a parent should no longer assist their children (I'm assuming once they're 18?) by giving them money when the children should be working for it themselves. Well, a good work ethic is a great ideology, I'll admit. But one's right to spend their money how they see fit - money that isn't going to the government via taxes - is also a great ideology.

Now of course my opponent will say, "Well your parents should only have to pay a tax if they send you a check for $2 million or more." But again he is missing the point. If my parents are worth 20 million dollars and decide to give me 1/5 of their money - 4 million dollars - they are taxed HALF that amount, and in turn I would receive only $2 million. But if John Doe's parents are worth 5 million dollars and decide to give him 1/5 of their money - 1 million dollars - they aren't taxed, and he gets to keep the entire million. How does this seem fair? Clearly I understand the logic behind it (rich people have more money so they won't miss it as much); however, that does not make it a fair or just policy at all. What the government is saying is that rich people deserve to be taxed simply because they are wealthy.

Next I'd like to present a CLEARLY "abusive" paragraph in which my opponent literally ignores all of my arguments and blatantly distorts the course of the debate. It came about after I pointed out that paying taxes on lottery wins and paying taxes on estate inheritances are two totally different things. Con writes, "Why are they completely different? You've given no reason why they are different in any way. In both scenarios we're talking about rather large bonuses." LOL okay...

First, I already explained that the two are different because one instance is a form of gambling, and one is not. While gambling (in playing the lottery, for example), one accepts the fact that the government will take almost 1/2 of their winnings and they decide to gamble anyway. Regarding inheritances, an individual has no say on the outcome - the goverment will take almost 1/2 of their money just because. So yes, although both scenarios are discussing large bonuses, they ARE different and I HAVE explained how/why. So finally, as to your point, "And even if you want to accept that they're different, you have given no valid reason why an estate shouldn't be taxed." That again is a blatant lie.

Repeatedly, I have insisted that an estate should not be taxed because an individual has the right to distribute their money as they please outside of regular government taxes (not including the estate tax). One pays taxes based on their income, property, etc, and that is money that the goverment is "entitled to" and can disperse as it pleases. I acknowledge that upon one's death, they shall pay one final tax payment to the government during that tax year for which the goverment can use to their liking. But just as an individual could spend the rest of their non-tax-money however they please while alive, they should also be allowed to disperse those funds via a will after their death. To disagree is (1) to assume that the deceased have no rights (but let's not get into the morality of this debate in Round 3), and (2) to punish the living that are left behind.

Next I'd like to move on to my opponent's so-called "cost benefit analysis." Several times he claims that my points are invalid because he wins based on this CBA. For instance, I provided an example in which half of a hard working father's money is unfairly taken away from his son upon his death. Con says that this is irrelevant because only wealthy families are taxed (again - it is unfair to penalize someone based on their wealth). Then he has the audacity to make this statement, "the vote should [still] belong to the CON based on a cost-benefit analysis, because this would only happen to a fraction of that 2% [of estates]." By this logic, it's okay for me to steal from designer stores like Gucci and Armani because they make a lot of money. It doesn't matter that I steal from them so long as I don't steal from lower-end small businesses that aren't as successful. This logic is WRONG. Stealing should be wrong in either instance regardless of the store's value. In fact, stealing is still wrong even if I intend to donate those designer clothes to charity... i.e. this high taxation of the wealthy is still unfair, even if it benefits government spending.

I urge a PRO vote.
Geekis_Khan

Con

"I hate throwing around trite phrases like straw man in a debate; however, my opponent is clearly twisting my words around in an attempt to make himself look better. For example, he first exclaims that I am indicating a dead person has more rights (regarding dispersement of their funds) than a living individual. That is clearly not the case. What I said -- I'll repeat it for about the 4th or 5th time now -- was that after a person dies, they should be required to pay their income taxes on the following 4/15 after their death. That way the government still gets the money it "rightfully deserves" and the individual (who is DEAD) has absolutely no say in where the government decides to spend his or her tax money. HOWEVER, the dead person DOES have the right to decide where the REST of their money goes after their death via a will... a will that my opponent agrees should be respected."

Once again, respected to an extent.

Furthermore, I am not strawmaning your case. You said, word-for-word:

"When I stated, "I believe that an individual has the right to do as they please with their own money" I was referring to after their death. "

Does this not imply that a person who is dead has more of a right to do as they please than a living person does? After all, you were only referring to people after their death.

And either way you look at it, you're still becoming more committed to the dead than to the living. Why are we giving more respect to a dead person that no longer has any use for that money than we do to the living people that it can help? You are effectively putting the dead above the living.

"My argument concluded that according to his logic -- that inheritances should be taxed because they are an unwarranted bonus -- if my mom bakes me cookies, I should be expected to share them because he ASSUMES that I haven't earned them, and they are therefore not rightfully mine but rather a bonus. Well like I said later on in the round, it doesn't matter if only estates over $2 million are taxed. If it is an unfair policy, it shouldn't be implemented whether only estates over $20 million were taxed, or estates over 20 cents were taxed. The bottom line is that it's unfair either way."

You missed the point of my argument. You were trying to get across that you don't pay taxes on your mother's gift of a cookie. My point was that these taxes only apply on large sums, because we want to keep the transfer of wealth to a minimum. We want to make sure that people actually deserve their wealth rather then just inhereting all of it (this is an idea that my opponent has largely ignored. Your mother's cookie in this scenario is the family heirloom that is still protected.

"My opponent hasn't proved why estates over $2 million deserve to be taxed whereas others do not (who not tax cheaper estates too?), or even why estates over $2 million deserve to be taxed in general. Throughout the rest of his round, my opponent repeatedly claims that because only 2% of estates are taxed, this somehow makes it okay. He is completely missing the point, but I hope the readers are not."

First of all, I have proven why they deserve to be taxed. It is, once again, the idea that you ignored of keeping the transfer of wealth to a minimum.

No, the point of the 2% thing is a cost-benefit analuysis. We're taxing in 2% of all cases, agnd gaining $70 billion because of it. This gives us a larger benefit than the cost, so the CON clearly wins on a cost-benefit analysis, even if you accept that the estate tax is bad.

"For instance, he first makes the claim that the estate tax exists to tax the TRANSFER of wealth. I argued this by presenting the example of my parents sending me a $100 check via mail."

Once again, that doesn't matter, because we're only worried about large sums, because we don't want the LARGE TRANSFER OF WEALTH TO HAPPEN. We want to keep this to a minimum,a nd want to make sure that people aren't simply inhereting a fortune.

"Well, a good work ethic is a great ideology, I'll admit. But one's right to spend their money how they see fit - money that isn't going to the government via taxes - is also a great ideology."

And the estate tax balances both. It takes half of the money to keep the transfer of wealth minimal, and it leaves half to be spent as the owner pleases.

"If my parents are worth 20 million dollars and decide to give me 1/5 of their money - 4 million dollars - they are taxed HALF that amount, and in turn I would receive only $2 million. But if John Doe's parents are worth 5 million dollars and decide to give him 1/5 of their money - 1 million dollars - they aren't taxed, and he gets to keep the entire million. How does this seem fair?"

Once again, it is fair because we are not taxing the money, we are taxing the transfer of the money. Since your parents are transferrign more money, they are taxed more.

"First, I already explained that the two are different because one instance is a form of gambling, and one is not. While gambling (in playing the lottery, for example), one accepts the fact that the government will take almost 1/2 of their winnings and they decide to gamble anyway. Regarding inheritances, an individual has no say on the outcome - the goverment will take almost 1/2 of their money just because."

But... The governemnt takes the money with EVERY TAX "just because. You don't ahve a say in it, either. You accept that wen you're transferrign wealth that you have to pay this tax, anyway. You haven't proven a clear difference that means taxes should be different.

"Repeatedly, I have insisted that an estate should not be taxed because an individual has the right to distribute their money as they please outside of regular government taxes (not including the estate tax). One pays taxes based on their income, property, etc, and that is money that the goverment is "entitled to" and can disperse as it pleases."

The problem is an the reason why you're contradicting yourself is that you have given no reason as to why the government is entitled to this moeny, and not the other money. Lacking any valid reason for this, you have to vote CON.

"To disagree is (1) to assume that the deceased have no rights (but let's not get into the morality of this debate in Round 3), and (2) to punish the living that are left behind."

1.) There is no reason why the dead should have rights. Even if they do, we should uphold the rights of the living first.

2.) The government gains $70 billion to help the living that are part of their society. How is this hurting the living are left behind?

"By this logic, it's okay for me to steal from designer stores like Gucci and Armani because they make a lot of money."

You misinterpreted the CBA. The benefits of robbing this store do not outweigh the costs, as you are risking going to jail for stealing a coat. It truly benefits neither party.

What you have to look at here is that the cost of taxing 2% of all cases to KEEP THE TRANSFER OF WEALTH MINIMAL is outweighed by the $70 billion the government gains in order to better uphold the social contract. My opponent tries to work around the CBA, but that's not really fair. Why? Because he's attempting to make the CON absolutely prove something. THis is never to be expected in a debate. My opponent is the one who is utting abusive burdens on me.

Now look at these voting issues:

-My opponent loses a CBA.

-The dead are not more important than the living.

-There is no reason why the government is entitled to other taxes but not the estate tax, as my opponent claims. Even if there is a reason, my opponent has not offered one.

-The estate tax balances an individual's right to disperse their money with keeping the transfer of wealth to a minimal (hence why we're only taxing larger amounts).

Cleary, the CON has won this debate.
Debate Round No. 3
22 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by whiteflame 2 months ago
whiteflame
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>Reported vote: fire_wings// Mod action: Removed<

2 points to Con (Sources). Reasons for voting decision:

[*Reason for removal*] Vote placed outside of what is considered to be reasonable expectations for proper voting conduct. Contact head moderator Airmax1227 for details.
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Posted by Im_always_right 8 years ago
Im_always_right
Sorry Lwerd, I agree with you but Con made a better argument.
Posted by liberalconservative 8 years ago
liberalconservative
i meant ever else is left is taxed heavily
Posted by liberalconservative 8 years ago
liberalconservative
ill admit i hate when i see rich kids lving off there daddies money, they contribute to society in no form. on the other hand the low class people regularly become middle class due to there parents hard work to let there children suceed. I think we soulde put a cap of $250,000 on money and assetts you may recieve from family what ever over the government keeps.
Posted by Geekis_Khan 8 years ago
Geekis_Khan
FBJames, you're referencing a joke debate I did with my friend. It was a joke, and he knew that. Anyone who read the debate would know that.

Furthermore, I don't care if you're allowed to write whatever you want in the comment section, you are still effectively continuing the debate so you can get last word. You all know that people are manipulated by what they read down here.

And you're still a ahypocrite! You say you don't want to get into morality and then you attack me on moral grounds. It doesn't matter who brought up what, you're stilla hypocrite.
Posted by DoubleXMinus 8 years ago
DoubleXMinus
"She never gave one reason as to why those taxes should be used as opposed to the estate taxes. She kept claiming that you have the rights over this money, but never gave a reason. Had she given a reason, I might've voted differently." -- Dave.

theLwerd didn't need to discuss why the other taxes should or should not be there, all she needed to achieve is a convincing explanation as to why the estate tax specifically should not be there. She's only objecting to the death tax here and provided a reason why she separates that from the rest numerous times.

"The rights over this money but never says why..." .... gah! Anyway.

Mmad, very nice contribution, I really like the way you managed to explain that.

theLwerd, I'm happy to see the votes are finally reflecting the fact that you did indeed prove what you were after... you seemed discouraged the last time I was here and there is clearly no reason for that. *Smiles at you* you've proven that again and again.

Geek! Seems like you're sinking in here, eh? Thank God. I'm glad you joined the party, James..... =P
Posted by Danielle 8 years ago
Danielle
Again, completely manipulating my words to fit into your agenda. Excellent.

"...but let's not get into the morality of this debate in Round 3..."

Yep. I said it. Now if you read that quote in CONTEXT (as in what is before and after the dot dot dots), you would see that I was discussing the rights of deceased individuals. Any reader with even minimal comprehension can see that the 'morality' I was discussing was in reference to those rights. I wanted to avoid talking about morality/death because it was the final round and I would be unable to respond to your arguments. Considering you're not the fairest debater out there, it is not unreasonable for me to have pointed that out to you in reference to that particular subject.

"So your CBA argument? Void because it is immoral."

Yep. I said that too. That's because we had already been discussing the cost benefit analysis (I got to present my input), AND you would have had a chance to respond and include yours. So uh, I'm not sure if you're just a little slow or what, but clearly these two quotations do not conflict. To claim that they do only makes YOU look dumb - not me - because obviously in the first one I was discussing the morality of one particular subject, and in the other, I was talking about something completely different.

I wanted to avoid the whole death/morality topic because this debate is not about that (I didn't want religion or other beliefs to come into play), but rather the estate tax... whereas CBA morality discussion is legit - you brought it up - and I explained in depth during the round why it is wrong. That's what I meant by immoral. For the record, immoral/moral and MORALITY are *two different things!

But what is MOST laughable about Geek's accusation here is that what I said about the CBA argument WASN'T EVEN INCLUDED IN THE DEBATE. It was mentioned in the comments section - a section that has absolutely nothing to do with my presentation in the debate. What a moron.
Posted by mmadderom 8 years ago
mmadderom
The "death tax" has to be the most morbid from of taxation available to the Government.

Let's examine it.

Throughout my life, the Government takes 35-40% of every dime I earn in taxes right off the top. And that's just federal. Doesn't include state or local.

Then I get taxed at some 10% for every dime I spend of what's left in the way of sales tax.

If I gamble and win I get taxed. If I gamble and LOSE I can't write it off as an expense. Huh?

I can save but if I have a net increase in my position...yep, I get taxed on it.

NOW, when I DIE, you want to TAX what's left, too? How many times are you going to tax the SAME MONEY? It's MY money! It's already BEEN taxed time and again. How on earth does my death change the disposition of the money? IT DOESN'T.

The death tax MUST die in a free society. If I leave a million dollars to my child, it's a million dollars I accumulated AFTER paying all the taxes. Taxing HER for the transfer is OBSCENE and INSANE. That money has BEEN taxed to death. And people wonder why wealthy folks seek refuge in overseas banks?

You want to know why the value of the dollar is falling? I just told you. It doesn't behoove the wealthy to invest in this country. They get taxed out the rear for doing so.
Posted by FBJames 8 years ago
FBJames
Uhmm, first of all, people are entitled to write whatever they want in the comment section and it should not be considered part of the debate. People don't vote based on the comments but by what is included within the 3 rounds. So Geekis relax yaself.

Also, everything theLwerd said about your tactics is true. You are also the biggest hypocrite on this site. You just said, "I used to respect you, but you just tried to continue the debate after it was over. Even if I was strawmanning, posting another argument after the debate is done is more dishonorable than anything I could have done in that round."

LMFAO. Check out this debate in which you continued a whole argument in the comment section: http://www.debate.org...

For those who don't feel like clicking, it reads, "Screw it. You're wrong, so let's keep debating here. My opponent stated, "First of all, I'd like to point out that the cost of my plan that he is giving you is not taking into account all the budget cuts I gave you in Round 2." In fact, I did. Your plan would cost over 73 trillion, but save 4 trillion. Whereas my plan would save the 4trillion, and not spend the 73 trillion. Clearly a better plan." You're lying Haden...

...and he goes on and on and on and on. This is just one example in which he does this (continues the debate). So honestly, Geek, you're a hypocrite, and you should seriously feel like an a****** after just trying to make theLwerd look dumb when you yourself do the same thing. Liar.
Posted by Geekis_Khan 8 years ago
Geekis_Khan
Oh, and wait one second...

"...but let's not get into the morality of this debate in Round 3..."

Hmm...

"So your CBA argument? Void because it is immoral."

Hypocrisy much? Oh, wait. I guess the comment section doesn't count as Round 3.
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