The Instigator
MoonDragon613
Pro (for)
Winning
50 Points
The Contender
HandsOff
Con (against)
Losing
47 Points

Welfare plays a positive role in America

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/11/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,510 times Debate No: 2548
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (29)
Votes (25)

 

MoonDragon613

Pro

First Argument in favor of Welfare: Government's Duty towards All Citizens
The principle duty of government is to provide for and secure the well being of ALL its citizens. The military at the national level and the police at local level are prime examples of money being withdrawn disproportionately from the wealthy towards societal good. And since there are more middle and lower class Americans (economically), the same argument you made in your previous debate about welfare could be cross applied and of course rendered apart here. The government has a duty to provide for its citizens, and Welfare is one way for the government to ensure at the very least an adequate (if albeit not altogether comfortable) standard o fliving.

Second Argument in favor of Welfare: Redistribution of Wealth
The redistribution of wealth is in and of itself a healthy part of any Democratic, Capitalist society. Without forms of wealth redistribution, such as welfare, wealth collects in the hands of a few individuals which eventually transforms America from a democratic country into an oligarchy of a few wealthy families. By continuously redistributing wealth, the wealth and power gap between the upper and lower classes remains manageable. And as a subset, redistribution of wealth is also healthy for the American economy. Among poor people, there is a higher marginal propensity to consume, and especially a marginal propensity to consume so that the money is spent in America. The upper class is both less likely to consume and more likely to spend money purchasing goods and services outside the country. Welfare, which puts money in the hands of the poor, betters the economy.

Third Argument in favor of Welfare: Cheap method of societal preservation
There are two ways to prevent an armed class conflict. A police state or granting all individuals at the least a modest standard of living. A police state is truly expensive, and I am not speaking of the expense of surveillance equipment or of maintaining a tremendous body of police officers. I am speaking of the cost to our culture and ideals. Fortunately, so long as the impoverished are a step above desperate, they would be too busy to rebel. The taking of arms is the last recourse, and so long as the government ensures them some form of housing, medical services, clothing, and food, we can cheaply maintain our present day society. Take that away and....
HandsOff

Con

Government's only duty (beyond infustructure, national defense, and protection of property) is to make sure able-bodied people have the equal opportunity to succeed in this country. That's it. Should we make allowances and help those to CANNOT help themselve? Absolutely. But these people are a very small percentage of the poeple welfare enslaves. I'm all for welfare done properly, via private charity. I might even advocate government contributions to private charities as needed. But the public welfare system is a joke, and needs to dismantled.
Debate Round No. 1
MoonDragon613

Pro

Mmm, you were much more interesting/forceful the last time you stood against welfare. This time your arguments are at best anemic ... and at worst non existent.

Let me begin by rebutting your only point:
"Government's only duty (beyond infrastructure, national defense, and protection of property) is to make sure able-bodied people have the equal opportunity to succeed in this country."

This fails to rebut my arguments for three very good reasons. First of all, in accordance to the third ground of my argument, welfare is part of national defense. Thus welfare falls under the duty of government. Secondly, if we accept your opinion on the duty of government, then we should still have welfare because then the redistribution of wealth becomes even more critical. In order to give all able-bodied people an equal opportunity, we need to give all able-bodied people enough money to buy an expensive private university education, enough money to sustain themselves while attending said university. Or do you think an able-bodied female from a low income family has the equal opportunity of an able-bodied male born children to prominent and wealthy politicians? And lastly, of course your view of government is narrow minded and probably incorrect. Our state, as you can tell from our charter (The Declaration of Independence), exists "on principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness". While it may not be a binding document, if you wish to divine the purpose of our government, there is no greater document.

Your second point about our current welfare system being a joke is irrelevant, unsubstantiated, and undeveloped. I did not say our current system is perfect, I just argued in favor of mandatory welfare as an abstract concept. And even if relevant, which it is not, you did not explain why it is a joke and what did you mean by joke.

Now back to my points.
1. My first point goes almost completely unchallenged. The Government exists to secure the happiness of all citizens. Your comment of the Government does not is not an argument. It's your opinion. Having a minimal standard of living makes people happier than living below the minimal standard of living.

2. My second point does go unchallenged about the positive aspects of redistribution of wealth.

3. My third point goes unchallenged, and in fact goes supported by my opposition. (As mentioned in the beginning)
HandsOff

Con

You're trying to sound way more intellectual than you need to. All I'm saying is that welfare is wrong because it is involuntary confiscation and redistribution of wealth. There's no doubt in my mind that, in the short term, theft can play a positive role in America. But it is nonetheless wrong, and bad for America in the long run. It eventually creates a society of dependents and breeds even more dependency with each generation. All you have to do is look at how goverment and the welfare state has grown over the last two centuries to see that. There are lots of socialist countries out there. Does the world really need another one?
Debate Round No. 2
MoonDragon613

Pro

1. "welfare is wrong because it is ... redistribution of wealth"
I cannot believe you just said that. I've spent two rounds producing reasons and arguments for the importance and necessity of the redistribution of wealth. And your response is welfare is wrong because it is redistribution of wealth. You failed to explain why you believe redistribution of wealth is bad and failed to address any of my arguments about the necessity of redistribution of wealth.

2. You stated there are lots of socialist countries out there and does the "world really need another one"
Have you ever wondered why there are so many socialist states out there? Want an example? Try Sweden. Or the other Scandinavian Countries. These states have high levels of taxation and many social services such as Welfare. The consequence of all this horrible socialism? The highest standards of living world wide, GDP per capita, and general overall prosperity.

3. Creating a society of dependency
I love how conservatives assume people like being on welfare. Might I remind you, welfare provides a tolerable standard of living, which is a far cry from a desirable standard of living. No one in America grows up wishing to be on Welfare. We have a culture that emphasis consumption, greed, and making money. There is tremendous stigma attached to the notion of welfare. And most importantly, those who depend on welfare have no access to the luxuries that make life delightful. Your statements about the dependence on welfare is unsubstantiated except by your remarks on look how big welfare has grown.

Now back to my arguments, well, once again my arguments go unchallenged. Nothing about the benefits of wealth redistribution, nothing on the duty of government to secure happiness for all citizens, and nothing on the efficacy of welfare on societal preservation.
HandsOff

Con

I hope you like my newly organized format-- just for you. I'm more of a fluid writer than a technical debater. I try to keep things simple and concise. I think I covered all of these points with comments in my previous arguments, but my apologies if I did not. I hope I don't bore the reader by countering your innacuarcies in list form...

1.Your words: "welfare is wrong because it is ... redistribution of wealth.... I can't believe you just said that." No. I did not say JUST that. Those three dots you substituted for my words were pretty important. I said (and let me cut and paste): "welfare is wrong because it is involuntary confiscation AND redistribution of wealth." But you did not refute the fact that it is morally wrong, and only argued that it is "necessary" (feel free to insert a whine when saying "necessary").

2. You say many socialist countries are doing fine. That may make socialism positive in your eyes, but I see it as a negative in comparison to the alternative. Capitalism is positive because it is right. It just happens to produce a result that is more positive in the long run than socialism. Socialism is wrong in principle, regardless of wheter it creates some good in the short-term. I will not argue that theft does not produce some temporary good for the recipeints of its spoils. But its long-term effect is counterintuitive and creates a state of dependency on the government. That brings me to the last point you failed to handle properly-- dependency.

3. Your words: "I love how conservative assume people like to be on welfare." I deal with many people on welfare on a daily basis. Not a single one that I know is disabled, physically or mentally. Most are able-bodied and very intellegent. But I've had frank conversations with them, and not a single one of them wants to lose their "benefits." I'm sure they would all love to be rich and off welfare, if that's what you mean. But not many will even risk getting a job that might disqualify them from the government dole. So they are barred from even getting started with an entry-level pursuit of the American dream. Your suspect claim that people don't want to be dependent on the government is no argument against the fact that they already are, and that they are becoming increasingly dependent with each handout. Thank you for the debate.
Debate Round No. 3
29 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by HandsOff 9 years ago
HandsOff
Impresssive contacts. What do you do for a living, if you don't mind me asking?
Posted by Patrick_Henry 9 years ago
Patrick_Henry
I have a degree in history. My pursuit of historiography is why I can't go to graduate school for history. I can give you a lot of reasons why the history of the last three hundred years has been terrible. You should see the look on the faces of a graduate student when you review an article for them, and your first question is "Why did you write this?"

It's awfully hard to condense anything worthwhile into a few paragraphs of a text book. The Teapot Dome scandal took up less than three paragraphs of my high school American history text book, and basically eliminated any chance of being educated about the significance of it.

Adam Smith was opposed to capitalism. The problem is that most people don't pick up his book, and read it from cover to cover. Or bother reading any of his other writings. They do the same thing with Machiavelli, they read The Prince, and ignore his other works like the Discourses on Livy.

Culturally we do the same thing with the Bible, so I'm not too surprised that if we're willing to take God out of context, we'd take Adams Smith out of context.

Confessions of an Economic Hit Man is at least entertaining. It describes his direct involvement as a tool of capitalistic theory applied at the most brutal interpretation. I suffer from the personal tutelage of a few high level economists over the dinner table. I had dinner with John Perkins four months ago, Francis Fukuyama last April, and several others over the past couple of years.
Posted by HandsOff 9 years ago
HandsOff
Just checked out Perkins. Pretty wild stuff. He argues that Adam Smith was opposed to just about EVERYTHING history and text books claim he stood for. I feel like I just read an article claiming that Martin Luther King was in favor of slavery.
Posted by HandsOff 9 years ago
HandsOff
Thanks. Will do. I don't recall that interpretation of his views, and I wouldn't agree with him if that were the case. But I am curious.
Posted by Patrick_Henry 9 years ago
Patrick_Henry
As far as a correlation goes, you still think I'm a socialist, and advise me to "own it." So, I'm not sure you really have the ability to correctly determine whether or not Mr. Smith and I have anything in common.

I suggest revisiting Adam Smith, there's a good commentary out on his works as well written by someone who finally realized that Adam Smith was actually afraid of the effects of capitalism because of the consequences of wealth being constantly pooled to the top. Smith was against capitalism, but saw that attempts to regulate it would not work so the only hope should be that everyone attempts to be brutal and self-serving, which ironically is against our evolutionary instincts.

He was a pragmatist too, unfortunately his work has gone from a tale of caution to a justification for all sorts of things. See John Perkins, confessions of an economic hit man.
Posted by HandsOff 9 years ago
HandsOff
Patrick Henry,
Wow, you're way off on this one. I read a lot of Adam Smith when I was in college. I was an journalism major with a minor in economics, but econ was by far my favorite subject. That was more than 20 year ago, but I'm still familiar with the gist of his opinions. I did agree with his arguments in favor of laissez-faire government and unrestricted capitalism. He was also big on individual self-reliance. Why the question? Based on my debates with you, I don't see any correlation between your viewpoints and his.
Posted by Patrick_Henry 9 years ago
Patrick_Henry
Have you ever read Adam Smith?

I'll open it up for you, have you ever read any book on economics?

Before you think of a response, realize that if the answer is "No", you're just attempting to justify your own ignorance.
Posted by HandsOff 9 years ago
HandsOff
Patrick,
Whoa! What a rude intereruption. You sound like you're having a nervous breakdown. Hold it together. We need you and your socialist ideas on this site. I don't want to chase you off. What good is the stick of capitalism without the pinata of socialism.
Posted by Patrick_Henry 9 years ago
Patrick_Henry
Handsoff,

You're ignorant.

Please stop. I know voicing your political views is a right, but you're hurting the country. So, just please stop. I honestly don't care about this forum, I'm asking you to stop doing it in the real world. Don't answer any of your kids' questions about politics or policy, and vote for the person you think is most attractive, or has the most attractive wife, rather than anything policy based.
Posted by HandsOff 9 years ago
HandsOff
Moondrag,
You got me. I hardly fit into the catagory of republiican. It's just the best realistic avenue for libertarian ideas to actually become policy. We've had to band together with the religious right and the neo-cons just to get some stage time. It's because we are so outnumbered by the masses who vote to take the easy way out.

The ideas you back are very popular, as they should be. It is tempting for society to live off the work of others and to freely spend the money of others. Popularity is the key to politics in a democracy. You guys are doing a great job. You will soon be in complete control. I've always said that.
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