The Instigator
dairygirl4u2c
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
socialpinko
Con (against)
Winning
9 Points

a progressive tax system should be used

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
socialpinko
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/8/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,498 times Debate No: 24180
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (3)

 

dairygirl4u2c

Pro

I believe a progressive tax system should be used. the richer you are the more you are taxed. i'm not wed to a certain number, just that it should be progressive.

the richer should be taxed more because they use more resources, and are primarily responsible for those who "don't have" for not having.

the rich should may a certain amout more because: first becaus tehy take more resources from society... it's like society says "you take this apple this tree etc you pay X percent". also, the rich use more police, courts, transportation systems, national parks and resources, IRS workers, space flight use, represent more needing protected with the military, etc. poorer people participate in all that but not to the same degree... they just exist.

a flat tax does in fact cause the richer to pay more, as the same percentage as someone else but on a higher income is a higher tax. but, this is only the beginning of what should be done.

we should add a surtax onto the flat tax for the richer because the government often must redistribute to the poor just for the basics. food stamps, health, whatever. i'm sure we could squibble about what the poor should have access to, but by far most people agree they should have access to at least the basics, if it's through no fault of their own... like food stamps etc. hypotheitcal. an average family have five pigs five cows five apple trees. a poor person collects the rubble they find on the ground. a rich man has thousands of pigs cows and apple trees. the average family is just existing really.... the rich man has the excess that causes the poor man to not have anything. the only thing preventing the poor man from getting the apples etc, is man made law and technology claiming it. natural law would allow the poor man to get what he needs, and if we deprive him, we owe him something for depriving him of his rights. it comes most naturally from the rich man who "has too much".

we could be principled about the excess that the rich pay as a percentage... perhaps to the extent it's for poor programs etc. the bottomline though, is that we shouldn't just have a flat tax and leave it at that.
socialpinko

Con

===Definitions and BoP===



A progressive tax is simply put, a "A tax that takes a larger percentage from the income of high-income earners than it does from low-income individuals."[1] For a progressive tax to be used will mean that it will have been put into effect over some territory or country.



The word should in the resolution implies that there is some compelling reason to put a progressive tax system in place. (I can only assume my opponent is referring to the U.S. as that is where my opponent's profile says she resides. However, if she had some other place in mind I would ask that she bring it up in R2). As instigator and Pro, the onus is on my opponent to provide sufficient reasoning for this. As the contender, my own burden will be to deconstruct my opponent's arguments.



===Pro's arguments===



Contention I. The "rich" use more resources.



My opponent's first contention in support of the resolution revolves around the idea that the "rich" (never defined, except in relation to the "poor" who were also never defined) use more resources than the poor. There are two flaws in this argument however. The first, being that my opponent has not provided sufficient evidence that every member of the rich uses more government resources then the poor. The second reason is that this contention by my opponent does not necessarily support the resolution, but could also be used to support a direct service tax system. I will elaborate more on both of these points below.



Sub-C1. The reasoning put forth by my opponent in support of C1 is that " tehy [sic] take more resources from society [...] the rich use more police, courts, transportation systems, national parks and resources, IRS workers, space flight use, represent more needing protected with the military, etc." Not only does my opponent completely fail to provide any external sources in support of these many sub-contentions, but it would not even be possible since my opponent never so much as defined what it was that constitutes the rich and the poor. I assume the criterion is to be measured in monetary terms but we're still left guessing as to what specifically that would be. These assertions put forth by my opponent have so far not been upheld and are incapable of being upheld even in principle.



Sub-C2. The second (and more fundamental) problem with my opponent's case is that it fails to support a progressive tax system specifically. My opponent's base value criterion in making the argument from higher use of resources is that one should pay for what they use. This certainly sounds reasonable and is actually the premise behind the Fair Tax[2]. Instead of grouping entire segments of society like rich and poor and making them pay a generalized amount based on income, the Fair Tax would tax only transactions. Not only does this fit into my opponent's OWN argument about the rich needing to pay more based on higher consumption, but it certainly seems a much more common sense and "fair" method of taxation.



Contention II. The responsibility of redistribution.



The second argument in support of progressive taxation which my opponent asserts is that it is the responsibility of the government to "redistribute to the poor just for the basics". My opponent points out that "most people agree that they should have access to at least the basics, if it's through no fault of their own". Not only is this inherently an argumentum ad populum[3], but my opponent fails to differentiate being poor through one's fault as opposed to not as having any moral relevance here. It is simply presupposed also without warrant. Besides this though, my opponent attempts to present a causal relationship between the accumulation of wealth for one person and the loss of wealth by another.



The little bit of reasoning actually brought to support the "rich's" (still not defined mind you) supposed responsibility to care for the poor is that there is some causal relationship between someone gaining wealth and another not being able to do so. In my opponent's conception of how society works, someone can only become rich if someone else (or a number of others) become poor. This reasoning is extremely reminiscent of mercantile economics wherein capitalism is supposed to be a zero-sum game. However, as far back as Adam Smith, we have seen that it is a characteristic of free trade that it creates new wealth. The amount of wealth available in the world is not some fixed amount that everyone scratches to attain, but is an ever expanding amount. Therefore my opponent's causal case of the rich's responsibility to the poor is unsupported.



===Sources===



[1] http://www.investopedia.com...
[2] http://www.fairtax.org...
[3] http://philosophy.lander.edu...
Debate Round No. 1
dairygirl4u2c

Pro

i concede that another tax system could be better to more fairly tax those who use more, among the rich. but, we do know that all who are rich take a certain amount of resources, ie money, and if they are rich, they must have participated themself or through another to utilize society's resources, natural, government etc.
there are many flaws in the "fair tax" system which i'd be willing to debate elsewhere, but sure, we could do another system too to minimize the problems with a broad progressive tax system.
doing it through income taxes, we're just continuing it as society has been doing it, cause it's easier, and it's better than systems such as flat taxes. (i probably shold have made the debate progressive v flat tax) it just taking the good with the bad... not being completely fair to all but generally balancing the good policies much more than the bad. that is, the rich do use resources more generally, both natural resources and governemnt resources. and they are the main target in redistributing to the poor.

"The reasoning put forth by my opponent in support of C1 is that " tehy [sic] take more resources from society [...] the rich use more police, courts, transportation systems, national parks and resources, IRS workers, space flight use, represent more needing protected with the military, etc." Not only does my opponent completely fail to provide any external sources in support of these many sub-contentions, but it would not even be possible since my opponent never so much as defined what it was that constitutes the rich and the poor. I assume the criterion is to be measured in monetary terms but we're still left guessing as to what specifically that would be. These assertions put forth by my opponent have so far not been upheld and are incapable of being upheld even in principle."

con has failed to say why my points cannot be upheld. i assuemd it was common sense that they use more resources etc... con must not. at least he could elaborate given he sees there's an issue here, but he merely makes unsubstantiated assertions. some examples. rich people usually buy more stuff... that means anything related to that is being affected, more business are affected, more lawsuits, the doctors needed to attend to these people being affected, more police, more environmental regulations for the businesses affected etc. it's common sense that the rich are usually regulated more, enviro, health financial etc regulations. if someone just has or gets a lot of money handed to them, and don't affect things much directly in how they get the money eg business etc... they must have got the money somewhere somehow, and it's surely via economic activity that affects all these natural and gov resources.
talking in generalities is sufficient for broad policy weighing the good and the bad etc..... maybe a hermit who inhereited a lot of money and gets a lot of money everywhere handed to him isn't as deserving to be taxed as an active business magnate, but as said earlier, we're not talking about fair taxes or other systems and the policies are balanced sufficieintly with a progressive tax system.

"my opponent fails to differentiate being poor through one's fault as opposed to not as having any moral relevance here. It is simply presupposed also without warrant. Besides this though, my opponent attempts to present a causal relationship between the accumulation of wealth for one person and the loss of wealth by another.

The little bit of reasoning actually brought to support the "rich's" (still not defined mind you) supposed responsibility to care for the poor is that there is some causal relationship between someone gaining wealth and another not being able to do so. In my opponent's conception of how society works, someone can only become rich if someone else (or a number of others) become poor. This reasoning is extremely reminiscent of mercantile economics wherein capitalism is supposed to be a zero-sum game. However, as far back as Adam Smith, we have seen that it is a characteristic of free trade that it creates new wealth. The amount of wealth available in the world is not some fixed amount that everyone scratches to attain, but is an ever expanding amount. Therefore my opponent's causal case of the rich's responsibility to the poor is unsupported."

i never said accumulation of wealth always makes another person lose it. but as my example clearly explains... when soemone has a thousand trees and someone else does not, the poor person is by definition deprived of those resources. (being deprived of it isn't enough to justify getting some of those resoures.. they have to be all around from everyone deprived, and they have to be trying to get ahead themself. this is a commonly thought of way of being fair per those who get hand outs etc) we can extend this to money too by analogy. my "causal case" of responsiblity is supported if that hypothetical man cannot find anything to eat when everyone else around him has excess, and society is depriving him of simply eating some apples on a tree. con thinks that because wealth is often created by those with wealth that the rich then have no responsiblity to the poor? that's what he said. he's talking in abstractions, argument from abstraction to be technical, to justify soemthing that doesn't always fit. sometimes creating more wealth is good for others.. sometimes it's not. if the rich man get a thousand more trees, that doesn't mean the poor man got anything in the process. he could still be out in the cold, still grying to get more trees.
these philosophical thoughts of mine are elaborted more in concepts such as "geolibertarianism" and "left libertarianism", per why at the very least the government is responsible to ensure a basic minimum to those who are at least trying.

con has not shown why it's relevant that i define rich and poor. (and he's definiing a whole bunch of obviously assumed things at the beginning... and relatively speaking, somewhat arbitrary points cause there's plenty more we couldve defined too) these are relative terms, and we seem to be discussing the issues just fine without the definitions. con often points out the lack of definition without any sign of relevance... (other than trying to get points for pointing it out or something, or pointing out that i'm not adhereing to some overly formal, overly and artificially verbose, convoluted debate system that is more his style, not mine)
socialpinko

Con

Contention I. The "rich" use more resources.



Sub-C1.



First, my opponent attempts to shift the burden on to myself to bring a positive case against his unsubstantiated assertion that the rich use more resources than the poor. In the last round, I pointed out that my opponent takes the rich use resources more as a presupposition to his argument, completely lacking any empirical grounding. My opponent responded to this point with more of nothing, trying to shift the BoP on to myself while continuing not to actually provide evidence of his own. On his attempted logical grounding, my opponent argues that the rich "usually buy more stuff". Remember again that no empirical evidence is provided by my opponent. If the point was "common sense" as he argues then this should be easy though.



Even if we take it as a given that the rich usually buy more, this still doesn't exactly hold relevance to the debate. In debates on progressive taxation, the reason some say the rich should be taxed more is because they use more government resources, not private ones. My opponent is guilty of mixing these two concepts up completely though, putting together police protection and environmental regulation (government services) with medical services (a private service). On private services, the rich pay for them, if not, they would not be rendered in the first place.



On government services though, I will point out that my opponent makes another fatal category mistake. He conflates services provided for the rich by the government with penalties and restrictions levied against the rich by the government. This is relevant to the points of financial, environmental regulations, etc. The rich are not utilizing government resource for their own benefit in the way that someone does when buying an apple. Governmental restrictions and regulations are a negative utility generally on businesses by incurring higher production or start-up costs. How does it make sense to charge the rich to pay for charging the rich?



On police services, my opponent again provides no empirical evidence in support of his assertion, I will provide some in my refutation though. A study by Ohio State University examining crime rates between 1979 and 1997 found that "much of the increase in crime during that period can be explained by falling wages and rising unemployment"[1]. This is not to say that the rich as a class do not use police services, but that when evaluating the evidence posited by my opponent and I respectively the poor as a class certainly do not "simply exist" as my opponent states. If you couple this with the fact that the poor generally use socials services more than the rich and the idea that the rich dominate governmental services while the poor remain still appears as it truly is, unfounded and ungrounded in reality.



Of course, all of this is really beside the point. My opponent has still refused to actually define who specifically he is referring to by the terms "rich" and "poor". Thus he cannot provide empirical (or logical for that matter) reasoning in support of the thesis that they generally use more resources and thus cannot uphold the resolution.



Sub-C2.



On my point that a user-based tax on actual transactions made would be a more fair and common sense tax policy then simple income-based taxation, my opponent concedes. This means that we may take it as a given that a service based tax would be more preferable in taxing those who use more government resources than a policy which makes mere unsupported generalizations. Under a service based tax, taxation would be administered based SOLELY on use of government services. Under my opponent's argument, taxation would be administered based SOLELY on level of income which might positively correlate with use of government services (which my opponent has of course not empirically backed up).



Contention II. The responsibility of redistribution.



My opponent attempts to defend his causal argument with a rather unorganized stream of thoughts. I apologize if I miss anything. The main way to defend his argument is by arguing that "when someone has a thousand trees and someone else does not, the poor person is by definition deprived of those resources." How does this follow exactly? All my opponent showed was that no two people can occupy the same property at the same time. This is an inherent condition of private ownership and my opponent again fails to provide any moral relevancy in the scenario or show moral responsibility on the part of someone who possesses more than someone else.



My opponent next argues that my own refutation posits that since the wealthy create wealth, they have no obligation to the poor. This was not what I argued however. I argued that someone being wealthy does not provide a sufficient is-condition for a jump to an ought regarding responsibility or morality. I did not argue that wealth creation gets the rich off the hook. Moreover, my point about wealth creation was in regards to my opponent's argument that economics is some sort of zero-sum game where gain by someone necessarily means loss by another. I showed this point to be completely baseless.



---Defining rich and poor---



In defending the idea that the terms "rich" and "poor" need not be defined in this debate, my opponent is committing himself to an absurdity. The absurdity lies in the idea that we can have a meaningful discussion about how to tax certain groups of people without actually knowing who those people are or (more importantly) what the characteristics they possess might possibly be. So far the closest thing to a definition are the mere words rich and poor. It is not because of my supposed commitment to any debate system (I'm actually an amateur, having never debated formally. Structuring points just seems to make it easier to keep the debate clear), but because lack of relevant definitions makes meaningful debate impossible. This has left my opponent with no empirical way of justifying his points and thus no way of defending the resolution.



===Sources===



[1] http://researchnews.osu.edu...
Debate Round No. 2
dairygirl4u2c

Pro

dairygirl4u2c forfeited this round.
socialpinko

Con

As my opponent has forfeited the last round, I will extend my previous arguments and refutations and summarize the debate so far.


-My opponent never once provided any sort of source substantiating her claim that the "rich" use more 'government' (as opposed to private which my opponent made the mistake of arguing) 'services' (my opponent also confused these with government restrictions on the rich). Meanwhile, she attempted to unjustly shift the BoP on to myself to provide positive arguments refuting her unsupported claim (which I did), ignoring totally her burden as instigator and Pro. This means that her point may be discarded wholly as she did not properly defend it.


-The terms "rich" and "poor" were never defined in this debate by my opponent. Thus even if she tried to provide empirical evidence of their using more resources then the "poor", she would not be able to find any since she would have no parameters on which to find these statistics. There are no studies on the matter using solely the terms "rich" and "poor" with no secondary classifications according to net or gross income or general social class. Without these definitions there is absolutely no way to have meaningful discussion on whether one group ought to be taxed more as we don't know who we are referring to beyond a single word.


-Even if my opponent were to have been able to provide empirical justification for her claim of the rich using more resources, not only did I show that a service based tax policy would be more sensible and fair (taxing people only for services used, rather than based on income only), but my opponent conceded this! She outright conceded in R2 writing, "i [sic] concede that another tax system could be better to more fairly tax those who use more, among the rich." Therefore, my own service tax suggestion ought to be valued over my opponent's progressive tax suggestion.


-On my opponent's second contention that the government has a responsibility to redistribute wealth from the top down, she was never able to properly defend the moral responsibility of those with more to care for those with less (ignoring mere aesthetic and emotional opinions). My opponent was also not able to defend her causal argument that the rich are only able to get rich at the expense of someone getting poorer. This argument was refuted over 200 years ago when it was established that there was not some set amount of wealth in the world, but that the amount of wealth tends to expand.


My opponent has not upheld her burden of proof, has forfeited the last round, and has posted her rounds in a rather unorganized form with multiple spelling and punctuation errors. Vote Con.
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Man-is-good 5 years ago
Man-is-good
Arguments-Well....Pro committed the mistake of refusing (and even acknowledging the inability to understand) to provide definitions, thus failing to provide the gradient or defining line to distinguish the poor or to provide accurate characterization.

A number of basic fallacies were committed; Pro relied on the notion of a casual link between the gain and somehow loss of wealth and well-being of sectors of the society but, as Pro pointed out, failed to provide the chief linchpin of urgency--of a need (implied by the use of the word "should") to implement it (let alone show how such, as well as the notion that the rich use multiple resources and aid that would justify such a use.....which itself was shown "ungrounded in reality" by Con).

Pro commonly relied on analogies as well as "common sense"--despite being rebutted by Con several times, whether by noting the conflation of "services provided for the rich by the government with penalties and restrictions levied against the rich by the government" and the lack of empirical data to support this "common sense" (if it was common sense, then why is it so hard to justify?).

Obviously, Pro, with her slips and even breaches of conduct, refusal to provide definitions, etc. did not do well in the debate.

If Pro would like to contest then, let her argue in the comments then.
Posted by Man-is-good 5 years ago
Man-is-good
Conduct-Pro's decision to shift the burden of proof by implying a mandated need of Con to respond and to outline the falsities of her case, forfeit, and reference to Con's "some overly formal, overly and artificially verbose, convoluted debate system that is more his style" all deduct points of conduct from her side.

Selling and Grammar-Pro did not seem willing to use the basic functions of the English language.

Sources-Pro did not offer ANY sources--less reviews, dictionaries, or so forth to corroborate her arguments....in contrast to Pro's basing of empirical data (at least in one incidence).
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Man-is-good 5 years ago
Man-is-good
dairygirl4u2csocialpinkoTied
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: See vote in the comments.
Vote Placed by Lordknukle 5 years ago
Lordknukle
dairygirl4u2csocialpinkoTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Conduct points to Con. Will read arguments later.
Vote Placed by thett3 5 years ago
thett3
dairygirl4u2csocialpinkoTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Conduct for the FF. I'm hading off, but I'm very interested in spinkos opinion on the progressive tax, so I'll probably vote on arguments later.