The Instigator
DonJuan4565
Pro (for)
Winning
3 Points
The Contender
UtherPenguin
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Votes should be weighted by the percentage of total income paid out in taxes?

Do you like this debate?NoYes+2
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
DonJuan4565
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/29/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 636 times Debate No: 80329
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (3)
Votes (1)

 

DonJuan4565

Pro

Alexander Fraser Tytler famously said:

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury. After that, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits with the result the democracy collapses because of the loose fiscal policy ensuing, always to be followed by a dictatorship, then a monarchy."

What if someone's vote weighted more or less in relation to the net total percentage of their income paid out in taxes? That is, if you paid 10% of your income in taxes, your vote weights half the vote of someone who paid 20%.

The following argument will probably get brought up against it:

Q: Wouldn't politicians then change the tax system so that the rich pay the bare minimum and the poor pay nothing, just so that the rich have all the saying? Wouldn't that effectively strip the poor away from their vote?

A: No. Remember that taxpayers can always send the IRS whatever amount they want in excess of their actual taxes owed. People who paid 10% extra in taxes in excess of the 0% they actually owed, for example, would have as strong of a vote as the rich who paid their 10% owed. People choosing to pay taxes because they care? Sounds like a dream come true!

Under this system, the people who pay the price of the decisions being made would be the ones with the largest say in such decisions. It would also promote voter's investment in public policy and a proportional share of the responsibility.
UtherPenguin

Con

I accept (assuming that this round is for acceptance).

I'll do my arguments and whatnot in the next round.
Debate Round No. 1
DonJuan4565

Pro

I'm not sure how the format for these debates is supposed to go but I believe I already made an argument for it: Your decision making power in the system is proportionate to how much you contribute to said system, which would promote voter's investment in public policy and a proportional share of the responsibility.

Am I supposed to do something else?
UtherPenguin

Con

Thanks to Con for the debate. Apologies if my arguments are slightly shorter than what I usually write.

Arg 1
The problem with the system proposed by Con is that it would be very easy to exploit or abuse. Firstly, having one's votes being measured in accordance to their paid income would be largely unfair to lower income individuals. Simply put it, the gap between the Upper and Lower classes would increase even more, sense the votes of the upper class would literally count more than that of the lower class. This would essentially mean that the opinions of the upper class would count for more than that of the lower class, since the upper class is capable of paying more in taxes.

Arg 2

Furthermore, a voting system like this would also contradict with democratic values. The majority of historical and modern democratic constitutions state that each vote is equal in Merit. This can be seen in the French Constitution, in the "Declaration of the Rights of Man" which stated the equality between votes. This can also be seen in the American constitution. As a result, this voting system contradicts the values coming from the earliest modern constitutional democracies.

Arg 3

As mentioned in the first argument, the proposed voting system would increase social disparities between the upper and lower classes. That being said, with the United States (assuming this debate is in regards to the US voting system), lobbyists representing different groups, often major parties or trans-national companies have an influence in the voting of proposed bills and laws. Take for example "Super PACs" seen in the United States election. Another group, the Koch Brothers managed to spend up to 1 billion dollars in donations to Republican ad campaigns. That is almost the equivalent to the GDP of Los Angeles. Meaning that if the proposed voting system was applied, two brothers would have more voting influence than the population of an entire city. This puts a large and unfair disparity between the upper class and those that cannot afford to pay more in taxes.

Sources:

1. http://www.equalrightstrust.org...
2. https://en.wikipedia.org...
3. http://constitutionus.com...
4. https://www.youtube.com...
5. https://www.youtube.com...
6. https://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 2
DonJuan4565

Pro

Arg 1

The problem with the system proposed by Con is that it would be very easy to exploit or abuse. Firstly, having one's votes being measured in accordance to their paid income would be largely unfair to lower income individuals. Simply put it, the gap between the Upper and Lower classes would increase even more, sense the votes of the upper class would literally count more than that of the lower class. This would essentially mean that the opinions of the upper class would count for more than that of the lower class, since the upper class is capable of paying more in taxes.

Counter Arg 1

There appears to be a fundamental misunderstanding by my opponent of the system I'm proposing. My opponent shows this misunderstanding by stating "having one's votes being measured in accordance to their paid income would be largely unfair to lower income individuals". The system I'm proposing does not measure the vote on the individual's income or the dollar amount the individual pays out in taxes. The system I'm proposing measures the vote on the amount the individual pays in taxes as a percentage of income. Therefore, the votes of the upper class will not necessarily count for more than the votes of the lower classes. For example, the vote of an upper-class individual who pays $1 Million in taxes out of their $10 Million income can be easily matched by a lower-class individual making $50,000 by simply paying $5,000 in taxes.



Arg 2

Furthermore, a voting system like this would also contradict with democratic values. The majority of historical and modern democratic constitutions state that each vote is equal in Merit. This can be seen in the French Constitution, in the "Declaration of the Rights of Man" which stated the equality between votes. This can also be seen in the American constitution. As a result, this voting system contradicts the values coming from the earliest modern constitutional democracies.

Counter Arg 2

True. The system I'm proposing does not align with our current definition of what constitutes a pure democracy. However, the United States is not a pure democracy; it is a Democratic Republic where there are already systems in place that ensure that not all votes are weighted equally. Just like the electoral college, and the creation of districts, the system I'm proposing will simply join the list of already existing systems in the United States that prevent what we call "the tyranny of the majority".



Arg 3


As mentioned in the first argument, the proposed voting system would increase social disparities between the upper and lower classes. That being said, with the United States (assuming this debate is in regards to the US voting system), lobbyists representing different groups, often major parties or trans-national companies have an influence in the voting of proposed bills and laws. Take for example "Super PACs" seen in the United States election. Another group, the Koch Brothers managed to spend up to 1 billion dollars in donations to Republican ad campaigns. That is almost the equivalent to the GDP of Los Angeles. Meaning that if the proposed voting system was applied, two brothers would have more voting influence than the population of an entire city. This puts a large and unfair disparity between the upper class and those that cannot afford to pay more in taxes.

Counter Arg 3

This argument builds on the first argument, which I already stated and showed is based on a fundamental misunderstanding by my opponent of what it is I'm proposing. I would like to take my opponent's "Koch Brothers" example to demonstrate one more time, with real numbers how much their $1 Billion would actually translate into votes. In 2013, Koch Industries had a total revenue of $115 Billion. The $1 Billion my opponent is pointing at, translates into 0.8% of their income. Therefore, a single individual with an annual $50,000 income would only have to pay a minimum of $400 in taxes to match the weight of the vote the Koch Brothers bought with their $1 Billion.

Sources:

1. https://en.wikipedia.org...
UtherPenguin

Con

I’ll do rebuttals of my opponent’s main arguments this round and rebut the rebuttals in the next. Apologies if my rebuttals are unusually short.

R1: What if someone's vote weighted more or less in relation to the net total percentage of their income paid out in taxes? That is, if you paid 10% of your income in taxes, your vote weights half the vote of someone who paid 20%.

As stated in my original argument, the inherent problem of this system is that it is far easier to exploit by the wealthier members of the population. For example, the low income population is only capable of paying minimal amount in taxes. This is at little fault to the individual themselves and more as a result of their financial situation. Hence, the wealthy population would be able to vote in their interests and have their voice count more than the rest of the population. Despite the minority that the wealthy class makes, they would be capable of holding a larger influence than other voters.

R2:No. Remember that taxpayers can always send the IRS whatever amount they want in excess of their actual taxes owed. People who paid 10% extra in taxes in excess of the 0% they actually owed, for example, would have as strong of a vote as the rich who paid their 10% owed. People choosing to pay taxes because they care? Sounds like a dream come true!

Under this system, the people who pay the price of the decisions being made would be the ones with the largest say in such decisions. It would also promote voter's investment in public policy and a proportional share of the responsibility.”

The problem with this system is that much of the population incapable of paying larger taxes would have a vote worth less than their wealthier counterparts. This argument is very applicable to my previous rebuttal. The wealthier population would be able to vote in their interests and have a much larger influence in votes even if they make a minority in the population. Allowing a political minority in the population to rule with the power as a political majority is by nature undemocratic. Being incapable of paying more taxes should not mean their votes should not be equal to the rest of the population.

Debate Round No. 3
DonJuan4565

Pro

R1: "As stated in my original argument, the inherent problem of this system is that it is far easier to exploit by the wealthier members of the population. For example, the low income population is only capable of paying minimal amount in taxes. This is at little fault to the individual themselves and more as a result of their financial situation. Hence, the wealthy population would be able to vote in their interests and have their voice count more than the rest of the population. Despite the minority that the wealthy class makes, they would be capable of holding a larger influence than other voters."

My opponent's claim that "Despite the minority that the wealthy class makes, they would be capable of holding a larger influence than other voters" does not hold true when tested against the numbers. To prove that my opponent's claim is false, I would like to run the numbers on the most extreme case: the case in which the wealthy pay 100% of their income in taxes, which would provide them with the maximum weight they can possibly buy. In this example, let's define "wealthy" as the top 1% for simplicity:

For every "top 1 percenter" that pays 100% of their income in taxes, we would only need 100 of the remaining "bottom 99 perecenters" to pay an insignificant 1% of their income in taxes to match the vote weight of the "top 1 percenter". As this example illustrates, there's no practical amount the top class can possibly pay to outweight the vote of the middle and lower classes.

R2: "The problem with this system is that much of the population incapable of paying larger taxes would have a vote worth less than their wealthier counterparts. This argument is very applicable to my previous rebuttal. The wealthier population would be able to vote in their interests and have a much larger influence in votes even if they make a minority in the population. Allowing a political minority in the population to rule with the power as a political majority is by nature undemocratic. Being incapable of paying more taxes should not mean their votes should not be equal to the rest of the population."

I would like to reference once again the numbers I ran above, which demostrate that in practice, there's no amount of taxes the wealthy minority can possibly pay to silence the vote of the middle and lower class majority. In practice, the portion of the population that benefits the most from this new system, is the tax-paying, working middle class folks. Since this working middle class is the one that feels the cost of taxes the most, I believe that they are entitled to a stronger influence in government.
UtherPenguin

Con

Rebuttals #2

R1: “There appears to be a fundamental misunderstanding by my opponent of the system I'm proposing. My opponent shows this misunderstanding by stating "having one's votes being measured in accordance to their paid income would be largely unfair to lower income individuals". The system I'm proposing does not measure the vote on the individual's income or the dollar amount the individual pays out in taxes. The system I'm proposing measures the vote on the amount the individual pays in taxes as a percentage of income.”

The correlation between wealth and income payed in taxes would most likely be more direct under Con’s proposed system. Ifthe lower classes are less capable of paying higher taxes, then naturally, their would be a larger gap between them and those wou are capable of paying higher taxes. Hence, they would be able to vote in their interests and have larger political influence. Because the lower clases are not capable of paying higher taxes, then they would likely not pay said taxes.

R2:

“True. The system I'm proposing does not align with our current definition of what constitutes a pure democracy. However, the United States is not a pure democracy; it is a Democratic Republic where there are already systems in place that ensure that not all votes are weighted equally. Just like the electoral college, and the creation of districts, the system I'm proposing will simply join the list of already existing systems in the United States that prevent what we call "the tyranny of the majority"


However, as a democratic republic, the US follows the “first past the post” voting. In order for a FPF system to properly function it would require each vote to be estientally equal. Secondly, with such a system would it not be possible to end up with a tyranny by the minority? Imagine if multi billion dollar individuals like the Koch Brothers payed more taxes to vote in their intrest? Two people would have the policitcal influence of an entire city or town. Hence breeding a “tyranny by minority” when a minority group has larger power than the majority group.

R3:

“This argument builds on the first argument, which I already stated and showed is based on a fundamental misunderstanding by my opponent of what it is I'm proposing. I would like to take my opponent's "Koch Brothers" example to demonstrate one more time, with real numbers how much their $1 Billion would actually translate into votes. In 2013, Koch Industries had a total revenue of $115 Billion. The $1 Billion my opponent is pointing at, translates into 0.8% of their income. Therefore, a single individual with an annual $50,000 income would only have to pay a minimum of $400 in taxes to match the weight of the vote the Koch Brothers bought with their $1 Billion.”


While true I’ve made the mistake of confusing the Net worth of the Koch Brothers with the income paid in taxes. The argument still stands as it is based upon the idea that large multi billon or million dollar groups would pay taxes in order to vote in their interests, and due to the wealth paid in taxes. A minority group would (as mentioned previously) have influence on par with the majority, not only breeding the “tyranny of the minority” but also allowing said people to have an inherently undemocratic influence over the government.
Debate Round No. 4
DonJuan4565

Pro

R1: "The correlation between wealth and income payed in taxes would most likely be more direct under Con’s proposed system. If the lower classes are less capable of paying higher taxes, then naturally, there would be a larger gap between them and those who are capable of paying higher taxes. Hence, they would be able to vote in their interests and have larger political influence. Because the lower clases are not capable of paying higher taxes, then they would likely not pay said taxes."

Once again, there's no evidence that the wealthy could possibly buy themselves more votes through higher taxes. I would like to reference one more time the numerical evidence that suggests the opposite:

In the most extreme case, for every "top 1 percenter" that pays 100% of their income in taxes, we would only need 100 of the remaining "bottom 99 perecenters" to pay an insignificant 1% of their income in taxes to match the vote weight of the "top 1 percenter".

As this example illustrates, there's no practical amount the top class can possibly pay to outweight the vote of the middle and lower classes. If my opponent has any evidence that suggests the opposite of what the numbers above indicate, I would like for them to present it.

R2: "However, as a democratic republic, the US follows the “first past the post” voting. In order for a FPP system to properly function it would require each vote to be essentially equal. Secondly, with such a system would it not be possible to end up with a tyranny by the minority? Imagine if multi billion dollar individuals like the Koch Brothers payed more taxes to vote in their intrest? Two people would have the policitcal influence of an entire city or town. Hence breeding a “tyranny by minority” when a minority group has larger power than the majority group."

First, general elections in the United States uses the FPP-like voting system on electoral votes, not individual votes; the system I'm proposing applies only to individual votes. The voting system for individual votes is left to the states to decide; a state could use a FPP system this year, and an "Instant Run-Off" voting system the next, all without violing any constitutional laws. Furthermore, not only is FPP not a requirement under the law for any elections in the United States, but also I don't see any incompatibilities between FPP and the system I'm proposing. The system I'm proposing would fit just fine into FPP, where weights are counted and the candidate who gets the majority of the weight wins.

Secondly, my opponent is repeating the same "Koch Brothers" example presented in their previous round. I have already showed with numerical evidence how this example is entirely not applicable to the system I'm proposing. I would like to present the numerical evidence once again:

In 2013, Koch Industries had a total revenue of $115 Billion. The $1 Billion my opponent is pointing at, translates into 0.8% of their income. Therefore, a single individual with an annual $50,000 income would only have to pay a minimum of $400 in taxes to match the weight of the vote the Koch Brothers bought with their $1 Billion.

R3: "While true I’ve made the mistake of confusing the Net worth of the Koch Brothers with the income paid in taxes. The argument still stands as it is based upon the idea that large multi billon or million dollar groups would pay taxes in order to vote in their interests, and due to the wealth paid in taxes. A minority group would (as mentioned previously) have influence on par with the majority, not only breeding the “tyranny of the minority” but also allowing said people to have an inherently undemocratic influence over the government."

Once again, that's not what the numerical evidence I have already described actually shows. If my opponent has evidence to support his theory, I would like for them to present it like I presented mine.
UtherPenguin

Con

Rebuttals #3.

R1:Once again, there's no evidence that the wealthy could possibly buy themselves more votes through higher taxes. I would like to reference one more time the numerical evidence that suggests the opposite:

In the most extreme case, for every "top 1 percenter" that pays 100% of their income in taxes, we would only need 100 of the remaining "bottom 99 perecenters" to pay an insignificant 1% of their income in taxes to match the vote weight of the "top 1 percenter".

As this example illustrates, there's no practical amount the top class can possibly pay to outweight the vote of the middle and lower classes. If my opponent has any evidence that suggests the opposite of what the numbers above indicate, I would like for them to present it.”

Studies of the Financial wealth distribution in the US (as of 2010) shows the large wealth gap between the upper and lower classes. As seen in the graph below, if the “top 1%” did pay 100% of their income in taxes the net worth of said 1 percent would heavily out way the bottom 80% of the population. The top 5% of the population hold the majority of the wealth as seen in the graph below.





Sources:

  1. 1. http://d35brb9zkkbdsd.cloudfront.net...
  2. 2. http://www2.ucsc.edu...

R2:First, general elections in the United States uses the FPP-like voting system on electoral votes, not individual votes; the system I'm proposing applies only to individual votes. The voting system for individual votes is left to the states to decide; a state could use a FPP system this year, and an "Instant Run-Off" voting system the next, all without violing any constitutional laws. Furthermore, not only is FPP not a requirement under the law for any elections in the United States, but also I don't see any incompatibilities between FPP and the system I'm proposing. The system I'm proposing would fit just fine into FPP, where weights are counted and the candidate who gets the majority of the weight wins.

And Electoral votes are made up of individual votes, hence it is prone to using a similar system. Under said system, discriminating between votes would be inherently undemocratic.


R3:Secondly, my opponent is repeating the same "Koch Brothers" example presented in their previous round. I have already showed with numerical evidence how this example is entirely not applicable to the system I'm proposing. I would like to present the numerical evidence once again:


In 2013, Koch Industries had a total revenue of $115 Billion. The $1 Billion my opponent is pointing at, translates into 0.8% of their income. Therefore, a single individual with an annual $50,000 income would only have to pay a minimum of $400 in taxes to match the weight of the vote the Koch Brothers bought with their $1 Billion”

With the large network of the Koch Brothers than they are just as easily capable of paying much higher tan o,8% of their income. Since taxes on average range from 5% to 15% of one’s income. 5% of 115 billion is 5.75 billion, meaning that an individual with an annual income of 50k dollar/per year would have to pay far higher in order to accommodate for the gap. And that is only the minimum in taxes, the Koch Brothers have donated millions of their funds to the GOP and various “Super PACs”, meaning that they could easily transfer those funds to taxes, leading to a higher valued vote.

Thanks to Con for an interesting debate, apologies if my arguments seem lack-luster.

Debate Round No. 5
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by UtherPenguin 1 year ago
UtherPenguin
Should I just go on with my argument right now?
Posted by Lexus 1 year ago
Lexus
Sounds cool, not feasible at all and has no solvency for the problems because legislators can just make the rich pay more, but cool nonetheless
Posted by MagicAintReal 1 year ago
MagicAintReal
cool idea
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Death23 1 year ago
Death23
DonJuan4565UtherPenguinTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD: http://pastebin.com/raw.php?i=thKb1hB8