The Instigator
Raznokk
Pro (for)
Winning
24 Points
The Contender
clsmooth
Con (against)
Losing
16 Points

We Should Create a New Tax Code

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/12/2007 Category: Politics
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,611 times Debate No: 318
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (3)
Votes (14)

 

Raznokk

Pro

Every day we hear about the idea of tax cuts for the rich whenever the Republicans are in Congress, and more taxes on the rich whenever the Democrats are in Congress. Yet it never seems to make it into the public psyche that in both cases, the rich pay almost nothing. Hell, most people pay very little, and those that do get so worked over by the IRS that they go bankrupt.

The biggest problem is that nobody really understands the entire Tax Code. It is just to long, drawn out, and so full of legal, economic and mathematical wording that nobody can really understand the entirety of it. So, obviously, we need to create a Tax Code that is simple enough for most people to understand it entirely.

But that is not the only problem. Another big problem is that it does not work. We currently have a graduated income tax system, in which, the more money you make, the higher your taxes are. This is a terrible idea. And no, I am not rich. I am a broke college student going to Community College because it is cheap. This is a terrible idea because our current code has so many loopholes that they never end up paying as much as they theoretically should.

Currently, if a person made enough money that they would be charged 25% on their income, they use half a law firm to read through this mountainous tax code and find those loopholes that they either qualify for, or might qualify for, so that in the end, they end up paying only about 3-4% on their income taxes, while the rest of us poor guys still end up paying 8-9% because we can't understand the stupid Code.

What is the solution? Well, I say that we have a flat income tax regardless of how much you make, say 7%. Without all of the loopholes, the super rich will end up paying their 7%, and we poor people will also pay that, which, for the most part, is less than what we already pay.
clsmooth

Con

We don't need a new tax code. We need to abolish the federal income tax.

Point #1: Our most prosperous years as a nation were when we had a gold- and silver-backed monetary system, and no income tax. The first income tax was instituted to pay for the Civil War. The second income tax was essentially put in place for World War I. Any income taxation leads almost inevitably to war.

Point #2: There's nothing, short of a constitutional amendment, that would ensure that a flat tax remained truly flat and remained low. Exemptions would make their way into the code. They always do. Even proposals I've seen for the flat tax would exempt various forms of income. What is "income" anyway? The very question of the definition leads to exemptions and loopholes that would constantly be lobbied for and fought over. In the end, the idle rich would still pay very little tax by shifting their "income" to non-taxable or tax-advantaged forms of income, while the hard-working productive class would face higher and higher taxes. Oh, and by the way: If we are going to have a constitutional amendment, it should be to repeal the 16th!

Point #3: Any income taxation is immoral and establishes the notion that the government owns our labor, and "generously" allows us to keep a portion of it. It is, thus, akin to slavery. Why was our Constitution written in a manner in which income taxation was not permitted at the federal level? It took the 16th amendment to make income taxation legal. The founders knew that the income tax gave the government too much authority. For one, it empowers the federal government to manage a fiat-money currency, since our dollars have value (despite not being backed by gold or silver) because they are accepted as payment for taxes.

Point #4: Why does there have to be just one taxation solution? If we accept that the federal government needs a source of income to fund its limited but necessary functions, then why can't it assess a population-based tax to the states (as the Constitution suggests), and then allow the states to determine their own methods of taxation? Some states may try a flat tax. Others, a progressive tax. Others, a sales tax or property tax, or combination of any or all. Even user fees and tolls could be tried out. The point is that if each state were allowed to raise its revenue its own way, this would increase the happiness of U.S. citizens, since they would be free to move to the state that had the most favorable tax system for their needs -- if their home-state's system was bad enough to justify the move. Furthermore, the "best" tax systems would win out, as businesses and productive citizens would move to the "best" states -- thereby encouraging other states to adopt the same tax program. A flat tax MIGHT be the best system -- I'm inclined to agree that it probably is -- but we should NOT have a national flat tax because we cannot know. This is the folly of central planning.

For these reasons, I am against the flat tax.
Debate Round No. 1
Raznokk

Pro

Thanks for accepting this debate. I would like to thank the citizens of Florida for their support, and to thank you, Mr. Brokaw, for monitoring this debate...

Anyway,

#1. I believe that your logic here is flawed. If I am reading this correctly, you insinuate that the institution of the income tax is why the wars were started, when in reality the tax was initially created to build and maintain the armed forces that we put into the field during those wars, as well as to help fund the immense number of government institutions that were created to help deal with the incredible workload that these taxes brought on. Without the income tax, the Red Cross, for example, would be nowhere near as large as it is today. There would be no VFW, there would be no Department to take care of Veteran's Affairs, all of which were, and still are, funded by the income tax.

#2. You do have a point, and it indicates a bigger problem in this country than the tax code, which is the power of lobbyists and special interest groups here in America. Before we are able to rewrite the tax code, we will first need to decrease drastically, the power of these groups through campaign finance reform. Until then, the entire system of government under which we work might as well have a "For Sale" sign. But I digress.

#3. The income tax is the main source of income for the Federal Government. Without it, they cannot provide the services that we so very much require. If the Federal Government had no money, there would be no national airwaves. There would be no Interstate, no Military, no Coast Guard, no Stock Market, just to name a few. The notion of the income tax is not that the government "owns our labor, and "generously" allows us to keep a portion of it," but rather that we, the private citizen, with no training in radio, transportation, war, sailing, or economics, pay the government to keep the things that we don't understand running.

Also, the notion that economies are backed by gold and silver is fast becoming obsolete. Money is no longer a measurement of how much gold or silver a country has; rather it is a measurement of how much confidence the ordinary man has that said country will be able to protect their interests. It is a measurement of trust. The strength of the dollar is an indication of how much faith we have that the U.S. Government will continue to protect our shipping lanes so that oil can get here, that they will create favorable treaties that will make it easier to buy and ship goods into the country at favorable prices. This trust is indicated by the ratio of buying to selling that happens on the Stock Market, both international and domestic.

#4. We already have this. Every state can create taxes as they see fit, with the exception of things like tariffs, and other taxes that would adversely affect interstate and international commerce. Some work, others don't. But unless they were willing to give money to the Federal government, we would be back to living under the Articles of Confederation, and that died after less than ten years. Unless there is a strong governing body, which has the ability to finance itself, nothing, and I mean literally nothing, would ever happen.
clsmooth

Con

Okay, I just noticed this is a five-rounder, so I will keep my points as brief as possible.

Again, my argument is that we do NOT need a new tax code. We need to abolish the current tax code along with the IRS and income tax. This does not necessarily have to mean one penny less funding for the federal government, which you're indicating it does. Yes, I would prefer to massively scale back the federal government, but there are other, less coercive and centralized means to collect government revenues than a unitary national income tax.

The Constitution did not allow income taxation until the 16th amendment. Instead, you will notice that the Constitution talks about "direct" and "indirect" taxes, and "apportionment." If the 16th amendment were repealed, the federal government could continue getting the funding it needs by billing the states on the basis of population. Then, the states would tax their citizens through the means they saw fit.

Now to briefly address your points:

#1: I'm saying that the income tax (and fiat-money banking) make wars much more possible. It makes it possible to fight wars of convenience when people aren't really all that behind the war. In the absence of income taxation and fiat money, people would have to voluntarily support wars. The tax system should not make war "easy," and that's what national income taxation does.

#2: You admit that your flat tax would not stay flat in the absence of severe campaign-finance reform. I do not think campaign-finance reform can ever work, but that's another subject. The point here is that you admit your flat tax would not stay flat and would soon have most/all of the same problems the current tax code has.

#3: The personal income tax accounts for only 44.4% of government revenues, a large portion of which is used to pay interest on the national debt.

#4: See my Paragraph 3 argument. So long as the same amount of income could be secured by the states and handed over to the federal government, then it is preferable for everyone's happiness to let the citizens of each state determine how the taxes should be collected.

MY QUESTIONS TO YOU:

A. If the people of Alaska want one kind of tax, but the people of Hawaii want another kind, why can't they both have their way, so long as the bills get paid?

B. Don't you think the people would voluntarily support a legitimate war? Or is it only through involuntary taxation that people will defend their country?

C. Do you admit that lobbyists would make the flat tax "un-flat" in short time in the absence of another solution (you say "campaign finance reform" -- but that's not the subject or a condition of this debate)?

D. Why would there be no stock market if there was no income tax? That makes no sense at all. The New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ, etc., are not owned or funded by the government.
Debate Round No. 2
Raznokk

Pro

Raznokk forfeited this round.
clsmooth

Con

For the ease of readers' time, I will skip this round, too, and allow my opponent to hopefully rejoin the debate in Round 4 without taking an advantage for myself. Come on back, Raznokk!
Debate Round No. 3
Raznokk

Pro

Raznokk forfeited this round.
clsmooth

Con

For the ease of readers' time, I will skip this round (AGAIN!), and allow my opponent to hopefully rejoin the debate in Round 5 without taking an advantage for myself. Come on back, Raznokk!
Debate Round No. 4
Raznokk

Pro

Raznokk forfeited this round.
clsmooth

Con

Okay, my opponent didn't show again.

Listen up, voters: Please read my arguments. I think I make a sensible argument against the income tax that even liberals could agree to. Heck, even socialists.

Thanks.
Debate Round No. 5
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by jlholtzapple 9 years ago
jlholtzapple
raznokk,
"the rich pay almost nothing" are you insane?

The top earning 5% of americans paid over 80% of the country's taxes before the bush tax cuts. Even now they pay more than their fair share (percentage-wise).
Posted by clsmooth 9 years ago
clsmooth
Nope. I think the Fair Tax is probably even worse than the income tax. I'm for a return to constitutional taxation, apportioned among the States.
Posted by A-ThiestSocialist 9 years ago
A-ThiestSocialist
clsmooth, I love the abolish the income tax. Are you a fair taxer?
14 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by U.n 1 year ago
U.n
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Reasons for voting decision: Forfeiture.
Vote Placed by els21 9 years ago
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Vote Placed by thepinksquirrel 9 years ago
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