The Instigator
mill08
Pro (for)
Losing
2 Points
The Contender
mondayrocks
Con (against)
Winning
47 Points

obama promotes socialism

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/28/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,853 times Debate No: 5833
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (9)
Votes (8)

 

mill08

Pro

with the election in the coming days....i would like to debate Obama's policies and argue that they do resemble a socialized society

i was looking for something to do and i love debating in person, so i found debate.org. this is my first debate and i would just like to see how good i am.....i hope to learn something about debating and whoever takes this debate thank you
mondayrocks

Con

My opponent only made the claim that Senator Obama promotes socialism. Generally it is my understanding that people making a claim would lay out a set of premises for an opposer to, well, oppose. Without a firm set of premises to refute, I guess I will preempt one of your presumed premises and attempt to refute that.

You may be talking about the progressive income tax. For some reason, some on the far right believe that when people making more money pay a higher income tax percentage than people who make less money. There are two refutations to this policy being socialist. The first, and weaker one, is that the United States has had a progressive tax for over four decades. That would mean that the Congressional majorities that authorized it over the years (including several Republican Senates and over a decade of Republican Houses) are also socialist. The stronger argument is the philosophical argument that a progressive tax was outlined by Adam Smith himself. As we can see here;

"The necessaries of life occasion the great expense of the poor. They find it difficult to get food, and the greater part of their little revenue is spent in getting it. The luxuries and vanities of life occasion the principal expense of the rich, and a magnificent house embellishes and sets off to the best advantage all the other luxuries and vanities which they possess. A tax upon house-rents, therefore, would in general fall heaviest upon the rich; and in this sort of inequality there would not, perhaps, be anything very unreasonable. It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion."

Secondly, the inverse of a progressive tax, a flat tax, would be regressive. Let's use an example here. We have a family of four who has an adjusted gross income of $30,000 a year and another family that makes $250,000 a year. If we assign a 14% flat income tax on both of them, the $4,200 that the lower income family would lose has a larger effect on the economic stability than the $35,000 the wealthier family would lose. Both families would have less money, but the wealthy would already have more money to spend than the poorer family, and thus, the flat tax would have a regressive effect on the poorer family.

I'm not sure if I did a good enough job understanding what my opponent's argument will be, but at the very least I attempted to show that a progressive tax is hardly a socialist policy.
Debate Round No. 1
mill08

Pro

First i would like to say that I have never done this before, sorry if I'm not up to par.
The main topic to be focused on is the taxation of the rich ($250,00 and higher) that Senator Obama has proposed. The "spreading of the wealth" idea he proposed to Joe the plumber is not only unjust but wrong, to tax the ones that have worked hard to achieve their place in society and give the "poor" which has not received a definition yet. Now even more disturbing Joe Biden, on a local news channel, state that any one making over $150,00 will receive a tax increase. That 14% tax would go to the lower income families thus decreasing the size of the middle class. If this is not socialism (ownership over the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole), the redistribution of capital, then one would wonder what is.
mondayrocks

Con

No, you're doing fine. It's just that generally when someone makes a claim, they express the way they got to that conclusion.

In any case, you make a reasonable point bringing up Senator Obama's spread the wealth comment and I can't refute that on it's face but we can fall back on my earlier comments on progressive taxes and I will be able to extend the argument to include the Earned Income Tax Credit.

The manner in which Senator Obama would intend to carry out his devious socialistic plan isn't any radical than any previous President or Congress. Like I said before, the progressive income tax is stiffly institutionalized and supported by most federal policy makers. It has always been that those with more pay a higher rate to subsidize programs that benefit those with less. Are food stamps socialist? Unemployment Insurance? SCHIP? I don't think so, but let's concede that they are. The implication is that everyone who voted for those programs would also be socialists.

Indeed those with more have more and those with less have less. In the October 20, 2008 Wall Street Journal, Greg Ip writes,

"The wealthiest 1% of Americans earned 21.2% of all income in 2005, according to new data from the Internal Revenue Service. That is up sharply from 19% in 2004, and surpasses the previous high of 20.8% set in 2000, at the peak of the previous bull market in stocks. The bottom 50% earned 12.8% of all income, down from 13.4% in 2004 and a bit less than their 13% share in 2000."

Without going into the statistical world of the tax implications of this, we can pose the normative question that, if someone makes so much more, why shouldn't they pay more? There is no need to delve into the philosophical underpinnings of progressive taxation, but throughout the 20th century, that was the general rule of thumb. We spent that money on creating the most educated work force in the world, massive public works projects, creating a social safety net, and had the benefit of society in mind.

There is also the Earned Income Tax Credit, passed by a Democratic Congress and signed by a Republican President. Literally, the government pays you for working. If you make under a certain amount, the government will subsidize your income for working. Run a google search for that program and you will see page after page of glowing endorsements of the program, some even calling it the "most effective anti poverty program in the country." Are the Republicans who favor this program socialist for supporting an obviously redistributive program?

My growing argument, it seems, is that many people in today's America have a very ideological view of how things ought to work. They aren't policy people, and they just think of what they've been taught to believe and then rigorously apply their ideology to programs and other ideas. It is a dichotomous way of looking at things that does not create effective policy for America. When we are addressing policy, the best way to do it is with numbers and pragmatism. Ideology and emotion will not provide a good public policy base that benefits anyone.

Senator Obama is no more of a socialist than anyone preceding him. He has worked with the disadvantaged and has learned that the most effective way to help them is through the tax code. There won't be any large bureaucracies created, no more civil servants. He will, quite literally, help the people help themselves. If he were talking about creating massive new government programs, I dare say we wouldn't see these claims of socialism even though they would probably be more socialistic.

You also haven't addressed the question of Adam Smith being socialist either.
Debate Round No. 2
mill08

Pro

All I can tell you is how i feel at this point, I have no factual evidence to back it up

You clearly address that point about people using their ideological view on how things should work when trying to make policies, and I guess that's the way I think. Ill claim ignorance, I'm a stubborn German and proud of it, I stick to what I believe/emotions lol.

Having that said I do not agree with Adam Smith, if I understand him right, the rich should pay more for simply being successful, because the way one acquires a lavish home (luxury) is by working hard day in and day out. That should not be punished with hire taxes, one could be better off cutting profit, by any means possible, to avoid this increase in tax if he/she owns a small business or one should not purchase luxury items.

I truly fear that people will take advantage of this, much as welfare is taken advantage of. I must also add that I'm not opposed to welfare, it is an ingenious safety net for people who do not abuse it, unlike I see in the city I live in.

Before this debate is over I would like to know what your take is on Joe Biden's comment he made on local television, that is $150,000 and up will be taxed. If you don't know what I am referring to go to http://news.aol.com..., I don't know what to make of it, because $150,000 is not an above average salary in places like California or Pennsylvania, like it is here in Texas.

If this tax were to be enacted, then the states should be able to set the salary or profit bar on what profit minimum is going to be taxed.

Well thank you for this debate, I'm going to my girlfriends now, maybe she can console me on my defeat..lol I'm just kidding, thank you though for the and effort you obviously put into this debate.
P.S. go in to politics if your not already lol
mondayrocks

Con

Well. I hadn't heard that Senator Biden said that, but it seems like, in the best case scenaro a gaffe, or in the worst case scenario, the Obama people have lowered the ceiling from $250,000 to $150,000. I guess the only claim I can make is that we haven't seen anything saying he would actually raise taxes for those people in the $150,000 dollar to $250,000 dollar range. This could be his way of adapting to the decline of the economy. Instead of not giving them a tax cut, he's just not giving them anything (but no tax increase either).

Also, I understand your disagreement with Adam Smith but you realize he wrote The Wealth of Nations? He is the philosophical godfather of capitalism and is certifiably not a socialist.

Your comment on welfare is heard a lot, indeed we could have a whole debate about the alleged abuses of welfare. Without diving into it, I think that it isn't abused enough to warrant hardcore cuts, at least for that reason.

I suppose my conclusion and overall philosophy is one of anti ideology. Obviously no one is ideology-less, but we have to examine ideas in the context of the overall discussion, the economics of them, statistics, histories, and how it will affect people. Everyone has driving principals. I imagine you think we should make the American society better. Using these principals as a guiding force and not converting them to an ideology, I think is the best way to go about policy. By merely calling Senator Obama a socialist, we haven't really accomplished anything in the way of discourse or policy advancement.
Debate Round No. 3
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by wjmelements 8 years ago
wjmelements
THis wasn't a debate; it was a discussion.
Posted by Leftymorgan 8 years ago
Leftymorgan
The argument I don't like coming from the left is that the rich need to pay their fair share. Who says they don't already? Your view and my view on what is fair, apparently are way different. Based on percentages, the rich will always pay more, but then to penalize one for being more successful or working harder or having a better brake they should pay the government more of their income? And why is it the governments job to tell us who we should help in the time of need? If Hollywood and the like want to help the less fortunate then let them set up some kind of fund and take a part of their movie money and fund it. I feel that the more success I have the more I am being penalized? How is that fair? I work hard and strive to do well enough to do a little better than just get by and the Government doesn't do a thing other than say I a make too much and need to give to those that refuse to get off their butts.
Posted by Mangani 8 years ago
Mangani
Pros argument- "I'm just goin wit my gut"... sounds like the funny guy to the left of this comment box!
Posted by my.matryoshka 8 years ago
my.matryoshka
This should be a landslide for Con. I didn't even know who Adam Smith was until checking this debate out. Thanks.
Posted by mill08 8 years ago
mill08
Sorry this is my first debate. I apologize for being so vague.
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 8 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
"
You may be talking about the progressive income tax. For some reason, some on the far right believe that when people making more money pay a higher income tax percentage than people who make less money. There are two refutations to this policy being socialist. The first, and weaker one, is that the United States has had a progressive tax for over four decades. That would mean that the Congressional majorities that authorized it over the years (including several Republican Senates and over a decade of Republican Houses) are also socialist. The stronger argument is the philosophical argument that a progressive tax was outlined by Adam Smith himself."

Adam Smith, and most Republicans, were and are socialist :D.
Posted by mondayrocks 8 years ago
mondayrocks
Or not.
Posted by knick-knack 8 years ago
knick-knack
Obama promotes socialism...

ummm, yes.
Posted by PoeJoe 8 years ago
PoeJoe
Someone's not getting the English vote.
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