You Choose the Resolution
If you're willing to accept the debate, you must present a minimum of three resolutions from which I'll pick the one that is most appealing to me. I'll also choose the position I'll be arguing on; despite the fact that I'm listed as con. The opposition cannot use any definitions, frameworks, introductory statements, sources, etc. when presenting his / or her resolutions. After I've chosen the topic, the debate will begin.
1. I reserve the right to change any resolution that is abusive, unfair or nonsensical. For example, a good example would be as follows: "America's economy would surge if we return to the gold standard" or "Progressive tax is unlawful by the constitution". You get the idea.
2. The BoP is shared, meaning that if you think it's a tie, don't vote.
3. Citations are mandatory when listing information / evidence and quotes. There is no specific format for listing your sources. If you wish, you may shorten your URLs by using Bitly or Tinyurl.
4. Please keep it civil
5. Please vote based on how well the arguments were presented, not on your opinions or beliefs.
6. Forfeiture = automatic loss
7. First round = resolutions
8. Second round will be opening arguments
9. Round three will be rebuttals
10 Round four is the defense of your arguments and closing statements
If you want to accept the debate, but you're dissatisfied with some of the rules, please notify me and I'll change them. I'm trying to make this debate as free as possible, please feel free to use any format to present your arguments.
I accept this debate and the terms that are provided. As per the rules, I will provide a 11 resolutions for my opponent to choose from.
1. Resolved: That Barack Obama's presidency has been, on balance, good for America
2. Resolved: That those on the no-fly list should be banned from purchasing firearms
3. Resolved: That vaccines should be mandatory.
4. Resolved: That A society has an obligation to ensure adequate health care for its citizens
5. Resolved: That the United States should regret the PATRIOT Act.
6. Resolved: That foods made with genetically modified ingredients ought to be labeled
7. Resolved: That the United States should establish a single-payer healthcare system.
8. Resolved: That scientific consensus is not a worthwhile metric
9. Resolved: That the United States should switch to the metric system of measurement.
10. Resolved: This house would impose term limits on Supreme Court Justices.
11. Resolved: This house would impose term limits on Congress.
As per the rules, I will not provide any definitions, frameworks, introductory statements or sources in this round. I eagerly await to see which resolution my opponent chooses and which side he takes.
I’ll be choosing the following resolution: “That Barack Obama's presidency has been, on balance, good for America”. Seeing that my opponent has already debated on this topic--and as pro--I’ve decided to take the stance as the instigator.
I would like to thank my opponent for accepting this debate and giving me the opportunity to debate with someone with significant experience.
Let the debate begin!
“$787 billion of tax cuts and spending, with the total split roughly one-third tax cuts, one-third government investments, and one-third aid to the people most directly harmed by the recession and to troubled state and local governments (1).”
Other steps taken to ensure financial responsibility was the establishment of the Dodd-Frank Act. A package that also aimed at protecting taxpayers by ending bailouts of failing institutions and preventing financial crimes as part of the consumer protection policy (2). Ex-senator Christopher Dodd and sponsor of the act told in an interview with the WSJ, “Ithink the [Financial Stability Oversight Council] is important, I think the too-big-to-fail [wind-down authority] is important. A major officer at a bank called a few weeks ago and said, ‘I never thought I’d make this call to you… but I want to tell you: We’re a better bank today because of your law.’ And of course I don’t get those calls every day, but also if you look at how banks are doing, they’re doing tremendously well and I think that’s important” (3).
Stabilization of housing market:
“FHA is reducing annual FHA mortgage insurance premiums by 0.5 percentage point from 1.35 percent to 0.85 percent, an average savings of $900 annually for new borrowers.
These steps will help support home sales, lower housing expenses for affected households, and help bring more balance to the housing market” (1).
In addition, the FHA emphasizes on consumer rights and protection. Meaning, proper documentation and underwriting procedures from insurance companies. According to the FHA, to this day, they will keep the insurance premiums at 0.85% (1).
Decrease in unemployment:
I want to thank my opponent for a fun debate. As I greatly admire President Obama and am arguing against my personal position, it will be an interesting challenge for me to play devil's advocate. I also would like to take a moment and give you a warm welcome to debate.org!
REMINDER TO THE READERS AND VOTERS, although I am listed as pro and my opponent is listed as con, I am arguing AGAINST the resolution that Obama has been a beneficial President.
One of the first major economic proposals by President Obama was the Car Allowance Rebate System, better known as "Cash for Clunkers." The program was a $3 billion that provided incentives to trade in old cars that were less fuel efficient (i.e. "Clunkers) and would receive a $4500 rebate should they trade it in for a newer model.  The program, however, proved to be ineffective in achieving the desires of the program. According to a paper in the National Bureau of Economic Research, the program significantly reduced new vehicle spending over the 10 month period, failed to produce more fuel efficient vehicles, and failed to stimulate the economy. 
Even worse for the economy was the environment. According to the law, the cars had to be destroyed and could not be recycled . Consequently, the amount of greenhouse gases that are emitted by the destruction process was more harmful for the environment than had the program not have been in place .
Although unemployment appears to be lower, long-term unemployment is now longer than at the start of the Great Recession and is far above precedented levels .
The number of people who are on SNAP (food stamps) is more than 35 percent higher than it was when President Obama took office in 2009 .
As noted by Bruce Thorton: "the administration of Barack Obama and his promise to “embrace a new era of engagement” and a “new way forward” with America’s enemies. In practice this has meant his solicitous “outreach” to thug regimes like Iran and Syria, the appeasing and unreciprocated “reset” of relations with Russia, the Carter-like pledges that America would be a “partner mindful of his own imperfections,” the undercutting and hounding of stalwart allies like Israel, the craven apologies to the Muslim world for a “colonialism that denied rights and opportunities to many Muslims,” and the abandonment of unsavory allies like Hosni Mubarak, who nonetheless better served America’s interests than the Muslim Brothers." 
Indeed, President Obama's foreign policy has been reckless and dangerous. As Dr. Azeen Ibrahim puts it, "Obama does not seem to have considered what happens if America stops being the power and authority behind a global system of international law which we have been building since WW2." 
In Syria, Obama has failed to uphold the red-line and hold Assad accountable for his use of chemical weapons. His failure to hold Assad accountable sends a message to foreign leaders that they can ignore America and do as they please. Former defense secretary Robert Gates stated, "Backing away from reacting once the red line was crossed impacted American credibility not just in the Middle East, but I think it was being watching in Moscow and Tehran and Beijing and Pyongyang and elsewhere. So not acting in response to crossing the red line was a serious mistake." 
The most serious foreign policy blunder by President Obama was his continuation of the use of drones against Pakistan. A 2015 report showed that over 90 percent of those who were killed in the recent drone strikes were not the intended target. . These killings could potentially violate international law as Amnesty International noted, "[T]heir deliberate killings by drones … very likely violate the prohibition of arbitrary deprivation of life and may constitute extrajudicial executions." 
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, will forever be the legacy that President Obama carries with him throughout history. When Obama was campaigning for it, he repeatedly stated "If you like your healthcare plan, or your doctor, you can keep it. Period." The promise proved impossible to keep and was rated as the PolitiFact's 2013 lie of the year. 
To make matters worse, the goal of the Affordable Care Act was to make health care more affordable. The evidence thus far has shown that it has been anything but. Richard Foster, the former chief actuary admitted that the law won't keep costs down and that some patients will have to change their health care plan and/or doctor .
Obamacare has been a boondoggle and far too complicated. It is arguable that it would have been better to establish a single payer healthcare system (which I support), though that is outside the scope of this debate and so I will not elaborate on that further in this round.
Once again, thank you for this debate. I eagerly waait your reply.
Thank your for your warm welcome and opening arguments. This truly is a game of devil's advocate, taking into consideration that I'm not much of an admirer of President Obama.
However, there's a problem with one of my opponent's arguments. My opponent brings up "Foreign Policy", which is a topic that is completely irrelevant to this debate. The objective of this debate is the contender must prove that Obama's presidency has not been effective / or has been harmful to **America**. Meaning, that anything discussed outside of this boundary is irrelevant. Con doesn't bring up anything about the U.S. it's just him discussing the damage the foreign policy caused to the foreign world. Because of this, I refuse to bring this topic up for discussion unless con can substantiate that Obama's foreign policies have caused harm to America.
My opponent argues that the Car Allowance Rebate System (better known as "Cash for Clunkers") was proved ineffective because it failed to "stimulate the economy" and "produce more fuel-efficient vehicles". Also, it caused harm towards the environment. Firstly, I would like to acknowledge that this bill has certainly been one of Obama's least successive governmental programs because it caused significant harm to the environment (this is undeniable). However, many car sales representatives and economists may argue otherwise regarding the economic and the fiscal improvement of the automotive industry. According to the data, 677,081 trades were made. Plus, $7.3 billion in car sales were made across the nation. A study conducted by the University of Michigan proved that the program helped conserve fuel. For example, in July 2009 the average mpg (miles per gallon) was 0.6, but in the same year in August it increased to 0.7 mpg (2). However, until the program's termination; the mpg has by a total of 21%(6). Car dealers have also expressed that the program brought them more customers, the National Auto Dealers Association has expressed, "Obviously[,] the program has been an immense success in stimulating automotive sales" (3). Even though it is true that most people used the money to purchase trucks (4); the statistics clearly show that it improved the automotive sales industry by selling a significant amount of cars, which generated an exceptional amount of revenue.
In regards to the unemployment rate, my opponent purports the following: "Although unemployment appears to be lower, long-term unemployment is now longer than at the start of the Great Recession and is far above precedented levels". In December of 2014, the long-term unemployment rate reduced from 2.5 to 1.9%. To put this into perspective, the long-term unemployed have been reduced by 900,000 individuals (5). To mitigate the unemployment rate in general, Obama's administration has increased business start-ups by 20%, and over the course of 5 years, about 7.8 million jobs were created. In 2015, 2 million more jobs were added and long-term unemployment decreased by 614,000 in that year (6-7). Now, saying that the long-term unemployment rate is now "longer" is simply ludicrous. Undoubtedly, long-term unemployment is still an issue in the United States. But, saying that the long-term unemployment rate under Obama has risen higher than the unemployment during the Great Recession is asinine.
Lastly, my opponent brings up the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act "Obamacare". My opponent argues that "the law won't keep costs down and that some patients will have to change their health care plan and/or doctor". To address this, many Americans are greatly supporting this act. Some even claim that Obamacare saved their lives. For instance, a man by the name of Dean Angstadt, a lumberman who was in need of an immediate heart surgery, and thanks to this program he had enough finances to undergo such a complex surgical procedure. Another example would 27-year-old Joshua Haymore who suffered from colitis, which he nearly died from. His medicine had cost around $800, but when he signed up for Obamacare his medication was reduced to $3 per prescription. Surely, I could keep going on and on talking about the act's satisfactory patients. However, most importantly, I must point out that Obamacare was beneficial for the economy as well. The administration reports that each year over 24,000 lives are being saved because of this bill (8). However, aside from saving lives, many economists assert that Obamacare is actually very beneficial. According to economist explains that “household spending on healthcare averaged 3.9% between 2010 and 2013” and “It began to accelerate in the first half of 2014 and has averaged at about 5.2% since then.” Basically, the spending on healthcare has increased over the years. Plus, the labor has increased along with Obamacare, “Employment data also corroborates this: as shown in chart 3, the healthcare sector produced about 240,000 jobs per year between 2010 and mid-2014” (9).
Note: Italicised texts are direct quotations of my opponent.
I want to thank my opponent for his reply. As stated in the structure, I will only be rebutting pro's opening arguments.Pro's arguments focuses on the economic aspects of President Obama's policies, namely the stimulus package, Dodd-Frank and the effects on the housing market and employment.
Although the unemployment rate is certainly lower today than it was when Obama became President, the stimulus package that was passed in response to the Great Recession prolonged the recession and unemployment. Brian M. Riedl notes: "All recessions eventually end. The U.S. economy has proved resilient enough to eventually overcome even the most misguided economic policies of the past. Yet it would be fallacious to credit the stimulus bill for any economic recovery that inevitably occurs in the future."
The employment rate that was projected by Obama with and without the stimulus can be seen in this chart .
Peter Ferrara further argues: "In the 10 previous recessions since the Great Depression, prior to this last recession, the economy recovered all jobs lost during the recession after an average of 25 months after the prior jobs peak (when the recession began), according to the records kept by the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. So the job effects of prior post Depression recessions have lasted an average of about 2 years. But under President Obama, by April, 2013, 64 months after the prior jobs peak, almost 5½ years, we still have not recovered all of the recession’s job losses." 
The recession should have been over much earlier than what actually occured. In conclusion, Obama's economic policies harmed America by prolonging a major recession and keeping Americans out of work longer than they needed to be.
"Other steps taken to ensure financial responsibility was the establishment of the Dodd-Frank Act. A package that also aimed at protecting taxpayers by ending bailouts of failing institutions and preventing financial crimes as part of the consumer protection policy"
The Dodd-Frank act that was cited by pro has been a failure and has also greatly harmed America. For one, it has "crushed smaller banks, restricted access to credit, and planted the seeds of financial instability."  Jeb Hensarliny argues: "Dodd-Frank was supposedly aimed at Wall Street, but it hit Main Street hard. Community financial institutions, which make the bulk of small business loans, are overwhelmed by the law’s complexity. Government figures indicate that the country is losing on average one community bank or credit union a day." 
While regulations are important, they should be used to prevent bad behaviour, not place unneeded restrictions on other activities.
I will concede to the point of the housing market, but that one point is certainly overshadowed by the points above.
I would like to thank my opponent once again for the wonderful, constructive debate. The purpose of this round is to finalize the debate and defend your arguments. Again, thank you for giving me the opportunity for arguing with someone with significant experience in this community.
==Refutations / Defense of my Arguments==
Knowing that my arguments are based on President Obama's economic reforms, my opponent particularly rebuts my point on Obama's effects on the labor force. Con presents a graph depicting the unemployment rate before and after Obama's initialization of stimulus package aka recovery act. Undeniably, there is a beneficial effect because of the stimulus packages, the result is seen projected by my opponent's own graph. As you can see, the unemployment reduced (dark blue line) after Obama's recovery act, as compared to the yellow and red dotted lines (before the recovery act).
Clearly, my opponent's information has contradicted him. My opponent argues that the recovery acts initiated by Obama have prolonged the recession. Although, his data shows otherwise.
**I find it a little bit unusual that my opponent posts a graph that clearly projects the result that the unemployment has fallen to a reasonable level after the recovery act.**
My opponent argues, "the stimulus package that was passed in response to the Great Recession prolonged the recession and unemployment". In response to that, I've presented a graph (please see the link since I don't know how to paste graph on the forum), which proves my opponent's assertion otherwise. According to the graph, in 2008-2009 (meaning, that during the first year of Obama's presidency, the unemployment prolonged, but not until long) the unemployment rate was unstable beyond grief; however, that was mainly during George W. Bush's presidency and the 2008 recession (1). Succinctly, the graph's information shows the colossal amount of jobs lost during Bush's presidency and his incompetency to handle this recession.
Nevertheless, as of May 2010, a whopping result is seen. Obama was able to add more than 400k jobs to the U.S.'s economy. Then, as we proceed on to the following year, a considerable amount of jobs is still being added to the economy; plus, the unemployment falls dramatically, in January 2011, it has fallen below 7 percent (1).
According to National Employment Monthly, "Approximately 255,000 jobs were created in July 2016, and the national unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.9 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics" (2), a significant amount of them lasted much longer than 2 years.
Next, my opponent brings up the Dodd-Frank act, arguing that it was harmful to the U.S.'s economy because of the following reasons: "crushed smaller banks restricted access to credit, and planted the seeds of financial instability". Now, I'll concede that the act did limit opportunities and privileges for community banks because of the act's overwhelming regulations, but there's a good reason for it, and in general, the act has done more good than harm.
Firstly, to address the issue with community banks, the CEA (Council of Economic Advisors) assured that the issue has been stabilized, according to today's data, "Economic evidence finds that community banks remain strong across a range of measures, from lending growth to geographic reach, including in their performance since financial reform passed in 2010" (3). In fact, many governmental representatives claim that the Dodd-Frank law has helped many community banks thrive. Sen. Elizabeth Warren asserts that community banks have started making more money after this legislation was passed: "their profitability seems to suggest they're doing better than ever after the regulations went into effect" (4). She claims that the reason many of those banks are / were suffering is because larger banks were "using smaller banks to weaken regulations".
Knowing that smaller banks have $10 billion in assets, the Dodd-Frank law exempts them from some clauses / "regulations". Warren asserts that it's all one big political scandal, "Bank lobbyists love to come into our offices and talk about how community banks are being crushed and they need our help", she then argues,"but a lot of the time the changes that they're talking about aren't really about helping community banks" (4).
Seeing that my opponent concurs with my point about the stabilization of the housing market, this point will not be up for discussion.
I believe that it's important to reiterate 2 rules that were stated in the introductory round, these rules are voting guidelines: The BoP is shared, meaning that is you think it's a tie, don't vote. Most importantly, vote not based on your personal beliefs but on how well the arguments were presented.
To restate my thesis: Obama has taken significant steps towards economic reforms, which have stabilized the labor force, housing market and ending the 2008 Recession.
I will concede that after the significant research that I've contributed to this debate, Obama's presidency was far more beneficial for the U.S.'s economy than George W. Bush's presidency and some aspects of Ronald Reagan's presidency. Although, Reagan has contributed greatly to the U.S., Obama beats him because of the numerous contributions that have bettered the labor force of the U.S.
The choice is up to the voters,
May the best one win.
Thank you for the debate!
Thank you for an excellent debate and for giving me the opportunity to do a devil's advocate debate. I have never done a devil's advocate debate and so this has been a learning experience.
Pro argues from a one-dimension viewpoint of Obama, namely the economy. There is far too many issues than just the economy to weigh Obama's presidency on.
To restate my central thesis: President Obama has greatly harmed America's image abroad, has had a reckless foreign policy that put America in harms way, his economic reforms has failed, and his central legacy (Obamacare) has done far more harm than good.
Pro drops this issue and instead opts to kritik this argument by arguing that foreign policy is irrelevant to this debate because it is about *America*. I reject this interpretation of the resolution. First and foremost, the President's first Constitutional duty is the commander of the U.S. military. The Constitution states:
"The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States." [Article II, Section 2].
It is easy to argue that the President has little control of the economy and shouldn't be blamed/credited for the economy. However, he is directly responsible for foreign policy. Any harm that he does abroad is harm done to the country. By putting troops in harms way, abandoning our allies, increasing terrorism, and failing to hold dictators accountable for their actions harms America's image and puts America at a greater harm's way.
This is my most important point. The debate is whether Obama has been an overall benefit to America, not whether or not Obama has done some decent things. The harms that he has done to our military and foreign policy vastly outweigh any benefits to the country.
My opponent brings up a few anecdotes about Obamacare saving people's lives. What pro fails to recognize is that Obamacare has also resulted in the deaths of patients. Cancer patients, for example, have seen far higher costs. Dr. Scott G. notes:
"[C]ancer patients often need the help of specialized doctors and cancer institutions that won’t make it into many of these cheapened networks. The latest cancer drugs, as well as new (off label) uses for existing medicines, will also be harder to get. Patients may not be able to see the expert doctors most likely to offer these options. New drugs are also slow to make it onto the “treatment pathways” that Obamacare plans are using as a way to narrow the menu of drugs they cover." 
Frank Alfisi was one such cancer patient that died as a result of Medicare regulations in the ACA. His daughter tells his story here :
"The doctor agreed that my father should not be discharged and did need dialysis but insurance wouldn’t pay for it so he ordered a CT Scan of the abdomen hoping to find something, anything, that would allow him to admit my father. He also said that my father’s blood pressure was high, but not high enough to admit him. I continued to call the ER and was told by a male nurse that they were still doing different tests to try to find something that would allow them to admit my father."
"When I told him about my father not being dialyzed because he couldn’t be admitted due to the new Medicare regulations, the doctor said to me, “You can thank Mr. Obama for this.”"
Thus Obamacare has been responsible for at least one death if not many more.
My opponent brings up the popularity of the law. An argumentum ad poplum is irrelevant to the debate because popularity does not mean that it is a good law. A February 2015 poll showed that only 15 per cent has seen any benefit from the ACA . Furthermore, it is not true that most Americans support the law. A November 2015 poll showed that Americans disproved of the ACA 52-44 .
Lastly, my opponent brings up drug costs. Drug costs are higher than ever and Obamacare is to blame. It is also estimated that Obamacare will bring healthcare spending to over 3 trillion dollars. 
I wish to first note that my opponent has neglected to respond to my argument about food stamps/SNAP.
My opponent agrees that the CARS (Cash for Clunkers) has brought forth significant harm to the environment. I will argue that any economic value of CARS is vastly outweighed by the environmental harms. It is undeniable that Global Warming is real and poses a severe threat to the United States. For example, a journal article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science found that climate change is responsible for longer droughts in the Middle East and in turn fueled ISIS and the Syrian revolution. 
Similarly, the World Institute argues that Climate Change is more serious of a threat than terrorism: "....Climate change will likely trigger severe disruptions with ever-widening consequences for local, regional, and global security. Droughts, famines, and weather-related disasters could claim thousands or even millions of lives and exacerbate existing tensions within and among nations, fomenting diplomatic and trade disputes. In the worst case, further warming will reduce the capacities of Earth's natural systems and elevate already-rising sea levels, which could threaten the very survival of low-lying island nations, destabilize the global economy and geopolitical balance, and incite violent conflict. " 
Thus because Obama's program had significant harm to the environment (a point that Pro agrees with) it has contributed to climate change and the issues that surround it.
Having defended my constructive case, it is clear that Obama has been a net harm to the United States. His foreign policy has increased terrorism, put Americans in harms way, and refuses to hold dictators accountable for crimes against humanity. Moreover, his economic policies have caused significant environmental harm and the ACA has also done more harm than good.
I now turn it over to the voters and wish my opponent the best. May the best arguments win!
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