The Instigator
dairygirl4u2c
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Pfalcon1318
Con (against)
Winning
6 Points

flat fees, not flat taxes, r the truly conservative approach

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Pfalcon1318
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/17/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 712 times Debate No: 61878
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (6)
Votes (2)

 

dairygirl4u2c

Pro

flat fees, not flat taxes, are the truly conservative approach

conservatives often push for flat taxes. a set percentage of one's income. but, why not just say that eveyone has to pay the same amount? why tax the richer more just because they make more income? and if this casues more tax to be paid overall on the poor, so be it?
these are all the arguments made when it comes down to progressive taxes v flat taxes. we could just extend the arguments to flat fees v flat taxes
Pfalcon1318

Con

The resolution states "Flat fees, not flat taxes, [are] the truly conservative approach".

I shall offer some definitions of key terms, so as to explicitly state what it is we are debating here.

As I noted in the comments sections, the terms "flat fees" and "flat taxes" have a charitable interpretation. While each of these are, in fact, taxes (that is, "A compulsory contribution to state revenue, levied by the government on workers' income and business profits, or added to the cost of some goods, services, and transactions" [1]), the terms do refer to different things, or, at least, I hope they are meant to.

Flat Fee: A set dollar amount, independent of income. This amount is exactly the same for everyone, regardless of income.

Flat Tax: A percentage, dependent on income. The percentage can, feasibly, be the same for everyone, but the amount paid will differ.

We are assuming here that this portion of income, whether derived via Flat Tax or Flat Fee, would be paid to the State, thus falling under the traditional definition of "tax". We have simply given names to possible methods of deriving such.

Conservative: This term has a variety of meanings and connotations. There is the political meaning, the financial meaning, the strategic meaning, and each of these will have an effect of what PRO has already argued. I will go with the political meaning, since we are discussing government. On one of my previous debates, I gave an explication of Conservatism as described by encyclopedia britannica.
  • "Conservatism is a preference for the historically inherited, rather than the abstract and ideal. This preference has traditionally rested on an organic conception of society- that is, on the belief that society is not merely a loose collection of individuals, but a living organism comprising closely connected, interdependent members. Conservatives thus favor institutions and practices that have evolved gradually and are manifestations of continuity and stability. Government’s responsibility is to be the servant…of the existing ways of life, and politicians must therefore resist the urge to transform society and politics." [2]


So, to say that "the truly conservative approach" is to change longstanding tradition without justification is to contradict conservatism. Perhaps PRO can offer a reason to reject the explication above, in which case a new one must be erected, however, constantly changing the definition of the most important term in this debate will prevent PRO from affirming the resolution, thus giving me a win.

Some key things which can be pulled from this explication which are vital to this debate:

(1) " Conservatives thus favor institutions and practices that have evolved gradually and are manifestations of continuity and stability"

(2) "Government’s responsibility is to be the servant"

While there are some debatable practices by conservative politicians, many of them can be seen as eventual results of the above. That is to say, if the above explication reasonably accurately defines the term "conservative" in the political sense, much of the practices seen by conservatives would be a matter of course. While there is a positive, plausibly euphemistic, spin in the explication, I think there is enough here to explain why conservatives do act as they do. Given that, I find this explication to be reasonable for the purposes of this debate.

Argument from (1)

The collection of taxes is a traditional practice of the ruling class of a nation for many, many years. At the very least, the US has been practicing such for decades. The traditional method of taxation is percentage-based. Given the explication, a conservative will not make changes without sufficient reason to do so, as the attitude of the conservative can be summed up in the statement "Stick to what you know". To say that the "truly conservative approach" is to take the exact same amount from all people when taxes are collected is to suggest that not only has this been tried before, but also that it was successful. At bare minimum, this would have to have been tested elsewhere for the conservative to choose to do it. The practice which has gradually evolved is percentage-based taxation.

Argument from (2)

While there are those who dislike government and it's actions (myself included), government does provide much needed services. Whether government is the only means by which this can occur is another debate entirely. There are several issues with Flat Fee taxation, however, the most important one is this.

Decreased Revenue for the State.

The most obvious issue, to me, in Flat Fee taxation is the loss of income that it would cause, necessarily. Say we maintain taxes at 15% of one's income. For those who earn $10,000 per year, $1500 must be paid in taxes, all else equal. While tax deductions, refunds and such are available, these things will only serve to make the math calculations difficult for myself and confusing for the audience and my opponent. For those who earn $50,000 per year, $7500 must be paid in taxes. For those making $100,000, $15,000. For those making 1 million, $150,000. The increase continues so to the highest earning individuals and businesses. With just these four tax collections, the State has made $174,000. That is without deductions, refunds, or expenditures, though. However, let us suppose that Flat Fee taxation is our method. As before, let's assign an arbitrary number, say $3000. As before, there are four tax collections; we can use the same incomes. At most, the State will earn $12,000. That is a difference of $162000. However, State revenue generally far exceeds that, as there are generally more than four people in any given territory at any given time. So, immediately there is a loss of revenue, which means that services must be cut, which means that people dependent on government services will some some of that. This then means that governments role as "servant to the people" will be difficult to undertake. Even if one doesn't believe conservatives hold this to be true, it is still the case that this is an unsuccessful way of proceeding even theoretically. As such, a conservative (assuming she is rational) will not take this course of action.


Conclusion
I think I have presented a strong enough case to reject the resolution.

1. Conservatives generally support those practices which have evolved gradually and are manifestations of continuity and stability.
2. From Argument from (1), a Flat Fee system (FFS) is none of these.
C. Probably, Conservatives do not support a FFS.

While the above is not necessarily true, I am not arguing this. I am arguing that, given the explication (which is still up for debate), conservatives have certain preferences. FFS does not have the traits which conservatives have preferences for. Hence, there is reason to suspect conservatives do not support FFS.

1. Conservatives hold that the State is to be the servant of the people.
2. FFS prevents the State from serving the people properly (Argument from 2).
3. FFS leads to financial problems for citizens (Argument from 2)
C. Probably, Conservatives do not support FFS.

Like my first argument, this is not meant to prove a necessary conclusion. Both of my arguments are inductive, meaning I am offering the premises as reason to think the conclusion true. Considering that FFS decreases State revenue, and government revenue is necessary to serve the people, and conservatives generally wish to serve the people, it is unlikely that conservatives will support FFS.

I look forward to rebuttals from PRO, and feedback from the audience.

Good luck!


[1] http://www.oxforddictionaries.com...;
[2] http://www.britannica.com...;

Debate Round No. 1
dairygirl4u2c

Pro

con merely argues definitions of 'conservative' in his first argument. i'm not trying to argue an objective defnition.. i'm arguing for what i view as conservative, and con should argue what he views as conservative

con then goes on to argue teh revenue problem that it may not provide sufficient revenue or have other problems. the thing is, with less revenue, should from a conservative perspective, come less spending. it is truly more libertarian. to get back into the definitional game, the more libertarian the tax structure, the more conservative it is. and, my approach is more libertarian.
Pfalcon1318

Con

There is, quite literally, no argument here for me to rebut. Questions are not an argument. I could simply redirect the questions, however, I'll simply address PRO's rebuttals, as there is nothing else for me to address.

Definition

Despite PRO's disagreements with it, my definition is the only one that has been presented. No objection has been offered. As such, it stands as the definition for this debate. I would like to note that PRO is now instituting rules in this debate. Rules are to be established before a debate begins, as a matter of conduct. I hope voters will take this into consideration.

Revenue Problem

PRO fails to see the conclusion my discussion of revenue reached. Obviously, spending will decrease, as there is decreased revenue. However, I doubt that such a thing can truly be considered "conservative", by any definition. When conservatives speak of decreasing spending, it is meant in the voluntary sense. That is that some portion of what is currently being spent should be taken and placed elsewhere, or saved. "Decreased spending" is a conservative value insofar as that spending is voluntary. It is s not the decision of the conservative to spend less. It is a necessary consequence of decreased revenue. So, to argue that decreased spending due to decreased revenue is conservative in nature is misguided. Not only that, no definition of conservative has been offered by PRO, so I see no reason to consider decreased spending a conservative value.

However, my argument was from the statement ""Government’s responsibility is to be the servant", hence me calling this Argument from (2). The argument is that if conservatives believe government to be the servant of the existing ways of life, then they should strive to maintain the existing ways of life that are not in contradiction with their other guiding principles. The existing ways of life are such that government spending is of utmost importance. From public school and welfare to military and prison funding, currently, government spending provides us with some necessary services. A system that diminishes the conservatives ability to act in the servant capacity is a system that will likely be opposed by conservatives. It is not necessarily true, but is more plausibly true than not.


Conclusion R2

My Argument from (1) remains entirely untouched, and my Argument from (2) was, apparently, misunderstood, or at least I hope so. The rebuttal offered does not affect my conclusion at all. I offered a rebuttal, though I do not think that my argument has been challenged.

PRO has not yet offered any positive arguments for the resolution " flat fees, not flat taxes, [are] the truly conservative approach". The only argument that has been offered was after I presented my Argument from (2), where PRO attempts to argue that decreased spending due to decreased revenue is conservative in nature.

I look forward to R3 and the end of this debate.
Debate Round No. 2
dairygirl4u2c

Pro

all i can do is reiterate that i see my approach as most conservative.
Pfalcon1318

Con

My arguments remain largely untouched.

PRO did not address my Argument from (1) and inadequately addressed my Argument from (2).

PRO has provided no positive arguments, and has made unwarranted assertions. She also attempted to change the rules of debate in R2 by stating "i'm not trying to argue an objective defnition.. i'm arguing for what i view as conservative, and con should argue what he views as conservative".

I think I have provided sufficient warrant to believe the resolution false. Vote CON.
Debate Round No. 3
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by Pfalcon1318 2 years ago
Pfalcon1318
cheyennebodie, I'm pretty sure what is mean by "fee" is "specific dollar amount" and what is meant by tax is "percentage of income". Both would be paid to the government, obviously, but the most charitable interpretation of the terms offered is that a "tax" is "a percentage of one's income paid to the government" whereas a "fee" is " a specific dollar amount one pays to the government".

Both are taxes, but the system by which the value of the tax is decided is different.
Posted by cheyennebodie 2 years ago
cheyennebodie
Any movement of money from the private sector to the government is a tax. You can call it a fee, but it is still a tax. A flat tax would be the most equitable. Just a percentage for everyone. But even that won't work unless we rein in government.There was a country song that said. " if 10% is good enough for Jesus , it should be good enough for government".Unless we rein in our freeloader society there is no way we will rein in government.
Posted by Fly 2 years ago
Fly
This debate would be a slam dunk for anyone to challenge, which is the whole point, I believe. Is there such a thing as a "troll debate"-- where the whole point is to make the premise (in this case, an alleged "more conservative approach") look bad?

And the Fair Tax proposal below? Talk about an oxymoron...
Posted by Pfalcon1318 2 years ago
Pfalcon1318
define "conservative approach".
Posted by Wylted 2 years ago
Wylted
The flat tax is still a progressive tax system. It's really just a simplified version of the current tax system.
Posted by Mike_10-4 2 years ago
Mike_10-4
The Fair Tax is better than the Flat Tax.
https://www.govtrack.us...
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by 9spaceking 2 years ago
9spaceking
dairygirl4u2cPfalcon1318Tied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: pro failed to rebut con
Vote Placed by UchihaMadara 2 years ago
UchihaMadara
dairygirl4u2cPfalcon1318Tied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro essentially conceded in the final round... saying "I still think I'm right" is not an argument.