The Instigator
gujjudebator
Pro (for)
Losing
1 Points
The Contender
vmpire321
Con (against)
Winning
14 Points

resolved: In the United States, current income disparities threaten democratic ideals

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
vmpire321
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/27/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 6,509 times Debate No: 19506
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (19)
Votes (3)

 

gujjudebator

Pro

thank you
vmpire321

Con

Well... I'm gonna assume that first round is acceptance :D!!!!
Debate Round No. 1
gujjudebator

Pro

My partner and I are here in affirmation on resolved: In the United States, current income disparities threaten democratic ideals. Before continuing it is important to define some key terms pertaining to the resolution. The definition of income as defines by National oceanic and atmospheric administration is the total payments received by individuals for employment. The definition of disparities as defined by Merriam-Webster dictionary is the markedly distinct quality or character between persons or objects. Lastly, the definition of threaten as defined by Princeton University is to "pose a threat to; present a danger to".
To support our ballot we will use the following contentions. Our first contention states that with a lack of socioeconomic diversity in congress, most Americans will be unequally represented which goes against the democratic ideal of diversity
Sub point A – Because of a widened income gap the representative elite often ignorantly represent the people.
Our second contention states that with a disparity in income, minority voices are overshadowed.
Sub point A- Economic status ultimately decides representation in the government which opposes the fundamental democratic idea of equality.
Finally our third contention states that with the disparities in income, candidates who have more material wealth gain a superior advantage over those who generate less income. This infiltrates on democratic ideals such as equality and fairness.
Our first contention states that with a lack of socioeconomic diversity in congress, most Americans will be unequally represented which goes against the democratic ideal of equal and fair representation. Congressmen make up the top 0.1% of income in America; it is inefficient for those who represent us to not have of a clear comprehension of our needs because of lack of experience. In fact according to New York Times columnist and economist Paul Kruggman "it is bad for democracy… the people who have the most influence are not interested in having good public services, because they do not use them."
Sub point A- Because of a widened income gap the representative elite often ignorantly represent the people. The fact that politicians do not live in the same "material universe as the rest of the population" as put by New York Times columnist and economist Paul Kruggman, makes it incongruous for those who represent us to execute decisive and needed action without keeping their own personal interest out of the ball game, for example, protecting their own wealth. In fact according to an economist article and quote "the wealthy bend the results of democracy…because wealth tends to breed a kind of cosmopolitan tolerance unrepresentative of the broader population".
Our second contention states that with a disparity in income, minority voices are overshadowed. Due to the fact that most wealthy Americans get word to the government through some sort of lobbying, contribution or media, most minorities are put to a disadvantage because their low income does not allow them to keep up with the type political bombardment that can be easily afforded by the elite whom happen to make the lesser part of the American population. According to a New York Times article "We have a society in which money is increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few people, and in which that concentration of income and wealth threatens to make us a democracy in name only." And according to an article released by the department of politics and Woodrow Wilson School of Public and international affairs at Princeton University "senators appear to be considerably more responsive to the opinions of affluent constituents than to the opinions of middle-class constituents, while the opinions of constituents in the bottom third of the income distribution have no apparent statistical effect on their senators' roll call votes." This Uneven attention degrades on the very democratic ideal of equality.
Sub point A - Economic status ultimately decides representation in the government which opposes the fundamental democratic idea of equality. The government is unfortunately run by 1% wealthy American population. Therefore congressmen focus a lot of resources towards protecting the trade of many in their own class rather than subsidizing programs to benefit the middle class. With this inequality is illustrated that wealth/income determines ones representation in the government. A Vanity Fair article articulately states that "Virtually all U.S. senators, and most of the representatives in the House, are members of the top 1 percent when they arrive, are kept in office by money from the top 1 percent, and know that if they serve the top 1 percent well they will be rewarded by the top 1 percent when they leave office."
Finally our third contention states that with the disparities in income, candidates who have more material wealth gain a superior advantage over those who generate less income. This infiltrates on democratic ideals such as equality and fairness. It is no surprise that in order to execute a successful campaign when running for a government office requires a substantial amount of capital. Due to the income disparity, certain important groups of people do not make it to Capitol Hill because of a lack of funds. According to University of Chicago`s Journal of Law and Economics: "It is conventional wisdom that wealthy candidates have an 'unfair' advantage in elections... wealthy candidates have a leg up in political contests." The article then goes on to discuss how these "leg ups" demoralize other candidates from competing. This unfair advantage and demoralization which causes les diversity threatens the democratic ideals of equality and pluralism.
It is for these reasons that my partner and I urge a pro ballot. Thank you.
vmpire321

Con

Well.... I thank my opponent for his quick response! (lol, did you pre-write/pre-type that?)


==DEFINITION==

As my opponent only defined 'disparities' and 'threaten'.... I'll take it into my own hands to define democratic ideals....

I define democratic ideals as the beliefs that support a democracy and are vital for a successful one. The most common ones are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Others include all people are equal, political rights, the right to food, to right to work, and the right to practice culture

==ARGUMENTS==

-Contention 1-

Well... I think I'll first take a look at the above mentioned ideals and examine how income disparities affect these ideals.


Life

Now, 'life' is a very broad topic, but I think it is acceptable to think of this as "the right to live."

1) Food and social programs exist for a reason, and that reason is to help out the needful.

2) Those who don't need extra help...Well, it's pretty obvious that they are 'living'.

3) Government cannot deprive you of life without due process.

4) Public Hospitals, nuff said.


Liberty

1) All people are granted the same exact rights, when they gain citizenship.

2) Government cannot deprive you of freedom without due process.

3) Public schools give you the education needed.


Pursuit of Happiness

1)Happiness is the state of being glad, pleased, etc.

2) You have the right to try to make a great life for yourself, although this doesn’t necessarily mean you will get it.

3) With both health and education, you have the opportunity to succeed in life (not guaranteed).


Equal

1) All citizens possess the same exact rights. No one, due to their income differences, is inferior to some one else.


Political Rights

1) Once again, all classes possess the same rights.


Other Ideals

1) The other ideals that I stated above were the right to food, the right to work, and the right to practice culture.

2) Practicing culture has nothing to do with income disparities.

3) My opponent gave the definition “The definition of income as defines by National oceanic and atmospheric administration is the total payments received by individuals for employment.” The word ‘employment’ implies that the people we are talking about already have a job, so “the right to work” is fulfilled.

4) Finally, “the right to food” As I stated before, food programs that assist the needy are already implemented and functioning.


-Contention 2-


The American Dream must be achieved by the people themselves. Our belief is that any person deserves the chance to achieve the American Dream, but this doesn’t guarantee them a successful life.

1)On the Oregon Trail, travelers took everything they had, risked everything, and went West. An estimated 10% of them died through the hardships. http://www.blm.gov...

2) Take another example - The Pilgrims. Nearly half of them died in the first winter, yet all of them risked everything, hopeful for a chance to improve their lives. http://www.holidays.net...

3) Bill Clinton’s biological father died before he was born, and his stepfather was an alcoholic. Family life was frequently disrupted by domestic violence. Despite the state of his childhood, Clinton eventually rose to become president. This obviously proves that there exists a "chance". http://www.notablebiographies.com...


-Contention 3-
The existance of wealth among the citizens of America simply proves that our free markets are working. Many of America’s wealthiest citizens are also among the most ambitious, clever and hard-working. This is a sign of the freedom to successfully direct one’s economic self-destiny.


==Rebuttals==


Well thankfully, PRO put his arguments into a 'easy-to-comprehend' organization. Hence, I will go in order of his contentions.

-Contention 1-
He states that because of the lack of socioeconomic diversity in congress, Americans will be unequally represented, since the representive elite will ignore the people.
1) Congress doesn't hold all of the power - the Judicial and Executive branches help balance power between them. Some presidents come from poor families, such as Lincoln.
2) These representives are voted into their positions. The 'elite' are a minority - if the majority middle and poor feel like they are not being represented fully, they don't need to vote for these 'elites' or they can step up on their own. Voting is in the power of the people.

-Contention 2-

He states in this contention that because of a disparity in income levels, minority voices are overshadowed.
1) Who is the 'minority'? 44% of America live are in the middle class and 31% have low incomes...
2) In his first contention, he states that the 'elite' are representing the people, and this suggests that he means the elite are overshadowing the minority. However, the elite are the minority, hence this argument is invalid.

-Contention 3-
Finally, PRO says that cantidates with more wealth have an advantage over those with less income.
1) Individuals without resources are still entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of their happiness, as I have explained in my original contentions. They are still entitled to every freedom outlined in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and can still vote and lobby.
Debate Round No. 2
gujjudebator

Pro

I would first like to rebut my opponents contentions:

My opponents first contention deals with addressing individual ideals of democracy and showing how each ideal is no being threatened. I will do the same in negation.

My partner first addresses life and he/she is saying that there are public institutions and public hospitals and even the fact that the government cannot take all these away from the people. Lets look at some government institutions/orders/rules. For example, affirmative action gives priority to certain races over others when applying to colleges. Sure this is promoting the democratic ideal of diversity, but now we are taking away democracy. Other institutions require some type of qualification. If everyone was entitled to money from the government then there would not be so many people on the streets as we see today. Even then government support does barely nothing to ensure equality among the citizens. My opponents states that the government cannot takes rights away from people, he is right, however, the fact is, in reality, the effect or leeway of these rights are more noticeable and correlate with the amount of money one has. Even hospitals, they are only legally obligated to treat you if emergency, after that if you don't have good.any insurance then they can send you home. You could be dying of a cancer that they can sure, but if you don`t have proper insurance than they just send you home with "what to do with the rest of your life" pamphlet. And thus that point would reside with me, because of income disparity different people are given different healthcare and then possibly have unequal chances of living.

Moving on to liberty, they say that the government cant deprive you of freedom and everyone is given the exact same rights. This is true, however, again, because of this income disparity, certain people have a harder time executing these rights in a from to their pleasing. For example the article released form Princeton University specifically states how the rich are given more of a say. This shows how the rich can properly voice their opinion in the government as opposed to those with lower income.

My opponent then talks about the pursuit of happiness. Sure no everyone is guaranteeing it, but because of income disparity most people cannot. This pursuit of happiness should be encouraged by the government but is hindered but the lack of income. They then say we have an education system and a health system that help people succeed. Well that may be the case, but then again not all schools are equal and a lot of schools have are in bad neighborhoods and are not properly funded. In terms of health care, government paid health care does not cover most things, just items such as immediate care and medication. that's it. As i said before.

They then talk about political rights and equality. Well, yes everyone is given the same rights, but again the ability to perform these rights is hindered by income. Th effectiveness of these rights in government is hindered as said before. New York time columnist and economist stated that people are given unequal shares in the government, and these "shares" are based on income.

in section of other ideals:
1) The other ideals that I stated above were the right to food, the right to work, and the right to practice culture.
Right to food, yeah people have the right to food. My opponent never specified how much or what. People may receive food, but is it enough to feed their entire family, if everyone had food, why are the beggars on the streets? It is because people that do not have money are have very little of cannot afford to properly feed their families.

2) Practicing culture has nothing to do with income disparities.
Culture involves, temples, most cases a place to perform rituals/ceremonies, there are cases where this cannot be executed because of a lack of money

3) My opponent gave the definition "The definition of income as defines by National oceanic and atmospheric administration is the total payments received by individuals for employment." The word ‘employment' implies that the people we are talking about already have a job, so "the right to work" is fulfilled.

People may have jobs, but that does not mean people make enough money to fulfill the aforementioned ideals. People have jobs but may not have enough money to get there voice into the government.

4) Finally, "the right to food" As I stated before, food programs that assist the needy are already implemented and functioning.

Again as I said, these programs exist, but my opponent cannot prove that these programs are helpful to the full extent.

My opponent then for his second contention states that The American Dream must be achieved by the people themselves. Our belief is that any person deserves the chance to achieve the American Dream, but this doesn't guarantee them a successful life. He gives some examples to. The examples he gives show people, who one in a million. Bill Clinton may have had a drunk father, but he lived in a good neighborhood and worked hard, where as we can see that there are a lot of people that live in bad neighborhoods, don't have schooling, drop out, and then make bad decisions. To event further extend my own point, lets looks at President Bush, he was a drunk and failed out of most schools. But because of his wealthy father he was able to get back on his feet and become president. People may have to work for their dreams, but they cannot properly do so if their ability to carry out work is hindered.

Finally my opponents third contention state that the existance of wealth among the citizens of America simply proves that our free markets are working. Many of America's wealthiest citizens are also among the most ambitious, clever and hard-working. This is a sign of the freedom to successfully direct one's economic self-destiny. Okay, every country has an existence of wealth, does that correlate to success as a whole. The fact is, is that these wealthy people have more rights, the fact that our markets are working has not relation to the threatening to democratic ideals, and not everyone has access to the markets, and even of those who do, only a handful have a noticeable profit.

I have negated my opponents contentions and therefore would like to urge a pro ballot. Thank you.

As I have no more space, I will reserve my partners rebuttals and a wrap up in the next round. Thank you.
vmpire321

Con

Well, I thank my opponent for his response, and I'm sorry this took so long. Some unexpected business came up.

==Rebuttals==
PRO says "My partner first addresses life and he/she is saying that there are public institutions and public hospitals and even the fact that the government cannot take all these away from the people. Lets look at some government institutions/orders/rules. For example, affirmative action gives priority to certain races over others when applying to colleges. Sure this is promoting the democratic ideal of diversity, but now we are taking away democracy. Other institutions require some type of qualification."

1) Student loans... Without the government, there would be no such thing as student loans, since students often have no collateral or credit history. This poses too much of a risk for banks, but our government has somewhat "co-signed" with the students to get the loans. This process happens by the government guaranteeing that the student will pay off the debt, as he/she cannot file bankruptcy.

2)Affirmative actions doesn't neccessarly mean prioritizing one group, but rather policies that take factors including race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation or national origin. I don't see how we are taking away democracy, as everyone promotes diversity and against discrimination.

3) "Some type of qualification." Every student belongs at a certain school...Elite schools would be too hard and useless for those in need of more basic education, and genius students will have nothing to do at normal schools. Qualifications are used to make sure that the student is right for that school.

Pro says, "If everyone was entitled to money from the government then there would not be so many people on the streets as we see today. Even then government support does barely nothing to ensure equality among the citizens."

1) There are local organizations that provide a range of services, including shelter, food, counseling, and jobs skills programs.

2) Food banks exist to feed those in need.

3) Since the 1950s, the US government has passed many laws to ensure equality between whites and blacks. http://www.scholastic.com...

4) Our government and we as a society ensure that criminals do not go unpunished.

5) The 13th Amendment, passed in 1865, banned slavery. The 14th Amendment, passed in 1868, guaranteed equal rights of citizenship to all Americans, including women and former slaves. The 15th Amendment (1870) provided that voting rights of citizens “shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude".

Pro says, "My opponents states that the government cannot takes rights away from people, he is right, however, the fact is, in reality, the effect or leeway of these rights are more noticeable and correlate with the amount of money one has. Even hospitals, they are only legally obligated to treat you if emergency, after that if you don't have good any insurance then they can send you home. You could be dying of a cancer that they can sure, but if you don`t have proper insurance than they just send you home with "what to do with the rest of your life" pamphlet. And thus that point would reside with me, because of income disparity different people are given different healthcare and then possibly have unequal chances of living."

1) Several rights have nothing to do with the amount of money you make, such as the right to vote or the right to a trial.

2) A public/government hospital is a hospital which is owned by a government and receives government funding. This type of hospital provides medical care free of charge, and this is covered by the funding the hospital receives. Poor uninsured patients receive their care for free.

3) Life-sustaining treatment and organizations that specifically research cures for cancer exist to help those with cancer. Whether or not they are rich, those with terminal diseases cannot be saved with current technology. I fail to see how money can cure diseases that have no cures.

PRO says, "Moving on to liberty, they say that the government cant deprive you of freedom and everyone is given the exact same rights. This is true, however, again, because of this income disparity, certain people have a harder time executing these rights in a from to their pleasing. For example the article released form Princeton University specifically states how the rich are given more of a say. This shows how the rich can properly voice their opinion in the government as opposed to those with lower income."

1) First off, I'd like to mention that "voicing your opinion" has nothing to do with "freedom". Everyone has the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.

2) Now, there are some possibilities on how the rich can have a bigger voice.
a) The Rich have better capabilities and more political power.
b) The government benefits and prefers the rich over the poor/middle classes.

Addressing point "A"...
1) Cantidates have "spending limits" on states. Here a the list of the spending limits for each state: http://www.fec.gov...
2) Public funding of Presidential elections means that qualified Presidential candidates receive federal government funds to pay for the valid expenses of their political campaigns in both the primary and general elections.

Addressing point "B"....
1) The top contributors for each presidential cantidate is made public and for everyone to see. If there is corruption going on, then it would already be pointed out.
2) Everyone has limits on how much they can donate. This prevents people from trying to gain favors from cantidates. http://www.fec.gov...;
3) Secret ballots currently help prevent cantidates from bribing people to vote for them, as the cantidate cannot know for sure whether or not they are voting for him/her.

PRO says "My opponent then talks about the pursuit of happiness. Sure no everyone is guaranteeing it, but because of income disparity most people cannot. This pursuit of happiness should be encouraged by the government but is hindered but the lack of income. They then say we have an education system and a health system that help people succeed. Well that may be the case, but then again not all schools are equal and a lot of schools have are in bad neighborhoods and are not properly funded. In terms of health care, government paid health care does not cover most things, just items such as immediate care and medication. that's it. As i said before."
1) I only need to provide an example of people reaching "happiness", even though they are poor. One example is Bill Clinton and Lincoln. Happiness is defined as the state of being delighted, pleased, or glad. Just because you are poor, it doesn't mean that you cannot express human emotions, or that you cannot make friends.

Pro says "They then talk about political rights and equality. Well, yes everyone is given the same rights, but again the ability to perform these rights is hindered by income. Th effectiveness of these rights in government is hindered as said before. New York time columnist and economist stated that people are given unequal shares in the government, and these "shares" are based on income."
1) How, in any way, can exercising rights be stopped because of income levels? You can choose whether or not to exercise them, but they are not being prevented from you.
2. PRO talks about "Unequal shares", but I've already stated before about how you cannot gain the benefit of the government.
3) Representives are elected through majority vote. The rich are not the majority of America, but rather the poor and the middle classes.

Pro says that people don't necessarly receive enough food. However he is conceding that they are receiving food from food banks...

PRO also talks about how temples require money. These cultures are often supported by NPOs.


And I've run out of space! D:
Debate Round No. 3
gujjudebator

Pro

gujjudebator forfeited this round.
vmpire321

Con

:O PRO has forfeited....

==REBUTTALS==
I didn't finish refuting PRO's arguments in the last round so I shall finish here.

PRO says "My opponent then for his second contention states that The American Dream must be achieved by the people themselves. Our belief is that any person deserves the chance to achieve the American Dream, but this doesn't guarantee them a successful life. He gives some examples to. The examples he gives show people, who one in a million. Bill Clinton may have had a drunk father, but he lived in a good neighborhood and worked hard, where as we can see that there are a lot of people that live in bad neighborhoods, don't have schooling, drop out, and then make bad decisions. To event further extend my own point, lets looks at President Bush, he was a drunk and failed out of most schools. But because of his wealthy father he was able to get back on his feet and become president. People may have to work for their dreams, but they cannot properly do so if their ability to carry out work is hindered."
1)Even if he lived in a 'good' neighborhood, it doesn't change the fact that domestic violence occurred. Domestic violence can cause traumatic stress and increase mental problems, yet Clinton worked around this.
2) PRO talks about how candidates have an advantage with money, but money doesn't force people to vote for those candidates. The people can choose whether or not if they wanted to vote for, in this case, Bush. Democracy is still evident.
3) In the case of presidential campaigns, candidates receive public funding from the government.

PRO says "Finally my opponents third contention state that the existence of wealth among the citizens of America simply proves that our free markets are working. Many of America's wealthiest citizens are also among the most ambitious, clever and hard-working. This is a sign of the freedom to successfully direct one's economic self-destiny. Okay, every country has an existence of wealth, does that correlate to success as a whole. The fact is, is that these wealthy people have more rights, the fact that our markets are working has not relation to the threatening to democratic ideals, and not everyone has access to the markets, and even of those who do, only a handful have a noticeable profit."
1) I've already stated this before, and I will again. The rich and the poor are entitled to the same exact rights. One cannot say that you can "buy" certain rights.
2) PRO says that my argument about our working markets isn't relevant to the topic. However, a commonly cherished democratic ideal is the idea of a free market. We invest in a free market system, and gaining profit from this is a sign that it is working.
3) PRO also states that not everyone can access our free market.. However, this isn't true. Anyone who wants and has money can access a free market. A free market is a competitive market where prices are determined by supply and demand. A free-market economy is one within which all markets are unregulated by any parties other than market participants. We've already established that we are talking about employed people, which implies that we are dealing with people that have the right resources. Now, anyone who meets these standards can participate in the exchange of goods. Needless to say, they are in a market where prices are determined by supply and demand.

By the way, I've decided to elaborate on my response to PRO's argument about how employment doesn't mean that people have enough money.
1) Within America, there exists something called the "minimum wage", which draws the line at which businesses can give the lowest pay for a person's work. This increases the standard of living of workers, reduces poverty, and forces businesses to be more efficient.

==RECAP==

1. I've stated how life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness can be accomplished by any employed person.

2. Everyone has the chance to fulfill the American Dream, but isn't guaranteed the success of it.

3. Income disparities show that our free market economy is working, and people can direct their economic destiny.

4. Student Loans, supported by the government, allow more people the access to higher level education.

5. Government and local organizations exist to provide a range of services for the needy. This allows them access to
the rights of life and liberty, however the pursuit of happiness is in their own hands.

6. The government has passed laws in order to ensure equality between different races.

7. Spending limits withhold the amount of money a candidate can spend on a certain state.

8. Public funding by the government is provided to presidential candidates for campaigns.

9. Limits on how much you can donate helps to prevent and hinder people who are trying to gain 'favors' from
candidates.

10. The top contributors are made public.

11. Secret ballots keeps who you vote from private, so that 'buying votes' is impossible, as you have no form of confirmation.

====
VOTE CON :D!

Debate Round No. 4
19 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by vmpire321 5 years ago
vmpire321
Hmm.. So should I make it like "Please vote for Con/Pro" ?
Posted by kyro90 5 years ago
kyro90
Cause your like telling them too so I guess only in my oppinion its a bit mean...
Posted by vmpire321 5 years ago
vmpire321
How's it mean? I'm simply reminding the voters which side I'm on... So they don't get confused. And it's a habit.. I don't see how this can be mean remotely lol..
Posted by kyro90 5 years ago
kyro90
But it kinda funny ^)^
Posted by kyro90 5 years ago
kyro90
Lol vmpire its so mean how you always say at your last argument Vote Con! or pro or whatever you are for lol
Posted by vmpire321 5 years ago
vmpire321
Well, the problem is that this debate is only 4 rounds, and you've just forfeited the last round. This means that as soon as I post my argument, this debate is over. >.<'
Posted by gujjudebator 5 years ago
gujjudebator
Yes I am,sorry my internet connection was a bit flaky over the last few days. I am still in the debate. Sorry.
Posted by vmpire321 5 years ago
vmpire321
???You still active?
Posted by gujjudebator 5 years ago
gujjudebator
Yeah, ran into the same problem. Don think theres anything we can do about it.
Posted by vmpire321 5 years ago
vmpire321
D:' Not nuff space lol
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by thett3 5 years ago
thett3
gujjudebatorvmpire321Tied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: I like vmpires reaction to the forfeit, lol
Vote Placed by JakeBoatman96 5 years ago
JakeBoatman96
gujjudebatorvmpire321Tied
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Cons arguing points were much stronger I feel.
Vote Placed by kyro90 5 years ago
kyro90
gujjudebatorvmpire321Tied
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Total points awarded:14 
Reasons for voting decision: Ive got to say the truth, even though vmpire got you, you still did good gujjudebator even though you forfited.