The Instigator
SweetBags
Pro (for)
Losing
7 Points
The Contender
debaterstud18
Con (against)
Winning
9 Points

the US should change its tax system

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/15/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,599 times Debate No: 3656
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (10)
Votes (4)

 

SweetBags

Pro

I am here today to stand in affirmation of the topic: the US should change its tax system. I do so because not only is the current tax system nigh impossible for the average American to decipher on his/her own, but it is also designed for a economic situation that the United States is no longer in.
To enhance the debate I offer the following definitions:
tax system: the system of taxes through which the government collects money. Including but not limited to the sales tax, income tax, property tax, estate tax, excise tax and tariffs.
change: alter some part of the system to better meet today's economic situation.
to support my position i offer the following points, which for the sake of submitting this on time will be fully explained in the second round. Point 1: the US's income tax is too complicated. point 2: the US economy's recent turn towards a recession will increase the already gigantic national debt. and point 3: tariffs increase the prices of goods, thereby making it harder for consumers to purchase products.
My first point is that the US income tax is too complicated. the majority of people filing tax returns today do so by using an accountant. they do so because they have neither the time, nor the knowledge to navigate the large tax code we have in place today. even accountants, who are undeniably tax professionals, have a 96% error rate when preparing tax returns. If someone who's job it is to prepare tax returns gets it wrong 96% of the time, then what hope does the average Joe have. the solution to this problem, change the tax code (the rules by which income taxes are calculated) so that it is simpler and easier for the average Joe to understand.
My second point is that the US economy's turn towards recession will increase the already gigantic national debt. You might be wondering what this has to do with the tax system. You see, taxes are the primary way the government raises money, which is then spent on things of national import, such as health care, education, social services, among other things. during a recession, the costs of these programs, especially social security and welfare, increase dramatically. at the same time, the governments income decreases, as people lose jobs that the economy can no longer support. these two factors combine to increase the national budget deficit (the difference between government spending and income), which is valued at $162 billion dollars for the fiscal year 2007 http://www.cbo.gov... . this deficit in turn increases the national debt, which is almost 9.5 trillion dollars ( http://www.brillig.com... ) (so each citizen owes over 30 grand). which (according to FED chairman Ben Bernake*) comes out to roughly 30% of GDP (the best way to judge the size of the deficit), and is a fiscally irresponsible amount. So what does this have to do with tax reform? One way to decrease the deficit is to change the current tax system (by eliminating bush's tax cuts for example). the government should change the system by which its collects money to better suit the economic situation of the country. its the responsible thing to do.
my third point is that tariffs increase the prices of goods, thereby making it harder for consumers to purchase product. As I've mentioned (somewhat briefly) in my previous' point, people today have less money to spend. there salaries are not keeping up with the cost of living, and the recent economic downturn has cost millions their jobs. these combined has put increased pressure on families who may have already been strapped for cash. tariffs, by their very nature, exacerbate this problem. tariffs are a tax the government sets on products imported from other nations, and thereby increase the price of whatever product it tariffed. products ranging from Chinese wire hangers to Canadian lumber, and foreign grown produce, all have tariffs on them. the lumber tariff increase the cost to build things using wood, or to make paper. the former hurts an already defunct housing market, and the latter puts even more pressure on paper company's to make layoffs or close plants. I'm from a small mill town in Maine (Millonocket). A few years back the paper mill there closed down. Sufficing to say that basically ruined the towns economy, and its future. part of the reason the mill closed was the high price of the lumber needed to make paper. Millonocket lumber was formerly a town of 1,300, mostly employed in the mill or supporting services (such as restaurants, cafe, stores, etc.). today the population is around 600-700, mostly consisting of old people to stuck in there ways to move. the Canadian tariff was part of the reason the mill closed, and it, and other tariffs like it, should be changed.
i await my opponents response, and wish him good luck and look forward to debating this with him.
debaterstud18

Con

So we look to the current tax system now and see that it is sucessful in raising revenue. We all may not like it but it is sucessful in doing its job. Lets first give a few overviews for the round, first of in order to affirm he needs to show you how changing it would remedy the "problems" not just say that its "complex" but actually show why its complex and how a change could remedy that. Also he needs to show a large systematic change not just say lets let a tax break expire or show a small change in a tax bracket percentage, he needs to show an overall systematic change. So lets move to my advocation.
First of all lets look to all the benefits this tax system provides, it allows for the government to pay for things such as social security, roads, an army and so forth. I agree with my opponent in saying that this is the primary way that we raise revenue, so its a benefit that we do actually raise revenue.
Second off this system is set up with proper incentives for starting businesses. This current system is set up with tax breaks for people to start businesses and even for having kids so there are alot of logical benefits to having this system.
3rd it is a benefit that we have a graduated tax system so that the wealthy pay a higher percentage, if we had a flat tax it would either be too high for the lower income families and drive them in to economic despair or to low for the government to make ends meet and not get much accomplished.
So we see that the current system is for the most part working, and the old adage comes to mind if it aint broke dont fix it.
Now to his case:

He first tells you that its too complicated so we need accountants and that they often mess up. How ever to the first part of his statement there is no impact, it is not a problem to have a professional to help you. Your not mandated to have a professional help you, but you can choose to. Thats like saying we should change the health care system in our country just because you need a doctor to do it, and they make some mistakes. How ever that leads to my to the arguement that they often make mistakes. First off he provides you no source for this ridiculously high number, also the fact is if they make mistakes companies like H&R Block volunteer to pay the fees and if they made a mistake 96% of the time then these companies wouldnt be able to make money so they would be out of business. Also to turn the entire arguement, it is better that we use accountants because it provides jobs to people which will helps our economy. If we changes the tax codes into one which we didnt use accountants then the lose in jobs and the loss in tax revenue will cripple the economy and will negate any benefits my opponent can claim.

He then tells you that we are in a recession so that this is the wrong time to use this tax system. How ever that makes no sense because we have been in recessions with this exact tax system and have survived them just fine. If we change the system there is no gaurantee we would be ok in a recession so that arguement turns on him. Also the fact that a change in the system would lead to the lose in jobs as i discuss above would further exacerbate the issue and therefore lead us deeper in to the recession.

Then he tells you that tarrifs are bad, how ever thats not true because if we erase the tarrifs then yes prices may be cheaper but alot of people will be out of work. It would cheaper to buy stuff from over seas and that would drive american businesses out of business causing an influx in the unemployement rate leading to an economic collapse. This is why noi other country in the world has absolutely no tariffs on there imports. Its not practical and would leave us worse of by leading to the depreciation of our economy and dollar leading to us being worse off.

Therefore because this system is by far the best one we must negate.
Debate Round No. 1
SweetBags

Pro

My opponent is correct in that the tax system does in fact bring the government revenue, which it then goes and spends on various programs. the point he is trying to bring in is "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". or It does what its supposed to, so we shouldn't mess with it. this line of thinking is somewhat flawed. Yes the tax system does what its supposed to, but it doesn't meet the needs of today's economy. think of the tax system as an incandescent lightbulb, its been around for a while, and does its job. but times change, electricity costs go up, and the incandescent is just too inefficient for modern needs. so the fluorescent bulb is then brought in to common usage. and guess what, its far more energy efficient then the incandescent bulb, so it last longer and costs less money in the long term. my opponent would have us stay with the outdated incandescent, but i would have us change to the florescent, which is more suitable to modern needs.
my opponents third point is that a flat tax wouldn't work. this point is untopical, i am not advocating a flat tax, i am mearly advocating a simpler income tax process. the instructions for filing a personal income tax is 155 pages long ( http://www.irs.gov... ). most people have neither the time nor the specialized knowledge needed to file their own tax returns, so they turn to accountants. and even those professionals make mistakes 96% of the time, what hope would the average Joe have. my opponent (in attack of my first point) says that there is no impact to this, no accountant is "mandated" to prepare your returns for you. he compares this situation to that of the healthcare system, but that analogy is flawed. most people will never have the understanding of medicine needed to be their own doctor. however, the income tax code should be simple enough to be done by each person. filing your taxes should be as simple as balancing your checkbook.
my opponent claims that without a complicated tax system which requires accounts the economy would collapse. (as per my opponents request for my 96% error stat, i got it out of a news magazine, i think Time but I'm not sure. unfortunately im not at home, and wont be until thursday, so i cant give a specific cite right now) it is important to clarify here that i am only advocating the simplification of personal income taxes, business' transactions are both more complex and numerous then personal ones and therefore would naturally require a professional to handle the books and prepare tax returns for the company. it seems like a vast exaggeration to say that having people do their personal tax returns themselves would collapse the economy, even if the entire accounting sector (public accounting companies) fell it still seems a bit of a stretch.
my opponents attack of my second point is centered around "we have been in recessions with this exact tax system and have survived them". i reference you back to my lightbulb analogy, sure an incandescent will get you through the storm, but a fluorescent will do it better. as i said in my first post, in a recession government income goes down and expenditures go up. i also showed how the resulting deficit has a negative effect on the economy. a more sensible tax system can help to ease this burden. by eliminating some deductions on those who make more then 150000 a year, and raising taxes on those who make over 500000 a year, the government can help close the budget deficit, and thereby lessen the blow on the economy. my opponent also says that changing the system would result in lost jobs (in the accounting sector), which would worsen the recession. this argument, which i rebutted above, is ridiculous, and i ask that the judges discount it.
my opponent also said "It would cheaper to buy stuff from over seas" it already is, most of the products sold in the US are made somewhere else (the electronics in Japan, clothing in Taiwan or South Korea, toys in China). its been a long time since we made the things we buy here. our economy is no longer centered on manufacturing, it is now based on service. the biggest company in the world is Wallmart, its based in the US, but most of its products are made overseas. our economy is no longer based on producers like standard oil, but on sellers like Wallmart. the tariff system should reflect that. by lessening the tariffs we can avoid more towns succumbing to the fate of Millonocket.
the current tax system;s implementation is outdated, it must be changed to reflect the new economic tide, which is why i urge you to affirm the resolution: the US should change its tax system.

P.S. I'm on spring break with my family right now (were going to Boston) and i doubt ill be able to get online until late Wednesday, so i ask my opponent to wait as long as possible to post his next round, so i can have a chance to respond.
thanks
debaterstud18

Con

His whole arguement about it being too complex is false, people can do it if they chose, because every page isnt needed to file a personal tax return. Also even if it is to complex you can chose to hire an accountant, this stimulates the economy by providing jobs. He says that is should be as easy as managing a check book, but the fact is people use accountants and financial planners to make sure they keep them balanced, so that arguement is flawed.That 96% stat still doesnt make sense because these companies have claimed to pay all errors, and if they made errors 96% of the time they wouldnt be in business. Until he shows you that stat in its original context, we need to disregard it and then look at the point as nonimpactful. Also he doesnt explain how it could be remedied because the tax system needs to be complex so that all situations are covered. If he wanted to make it noncomplex it would have to be a flat tax which wouldnt work. So therefore he doesnt provide solvencyy because he has already claimed he doesnt want the flat tax.

He then claims that by changing the system we could create jobs to provide a relief for all the jobs lost in the accounting firms. However he doesnt show you how this would be created, and he doesnt have any evidence for this. However if we were to change it to make it "simpler" then we would be sure to lose the jobs i discussed, and when it comes down to crucial issues like jobs we need to be sure not just say its possible. Therefore looking to the negative we see that we are better off with jobs.

He then goes into how its better that stuff would be cheaper, how ever I agree with that. My arguement against that is that if we erase the tarrifs then yes prices may be cheaper but alot of people will be out of work. It would cheaper to buy stuff from over seas and that would drive american businesses out of business causing an influx in the unemployement rate leading to an economic collapse. This is why noi other country in the world has absolutely no tariffs on there imports. Its not practical and would leave us worse of by leading to the depreciation of our economy and dollar leading to us being worse off.

Also he doesnt respond to my overview on the round which says that we have to make major changes in the tax code to justify an affirmative ballot,. What this means for the round is that if my opponent proves the current implementation of the system is wrong, not the system in general then we can negate. This is because under the negative side, minor alterations to the current tax system can occur so long as we dont change the whole system. This is a burdon he has not yet met because he never shows you how systematic changes are necessary just he thinks it should be rennovated.

Therefore because he never shows you why systematic changes are needed or how they will solve the problem I urge a con ballot.
Debate Round No. 2
SweetBags

Pro

SweetBags forfeited this round.
debaterstud18

Con

Ok as far as the screen shot I do kind of want to see it because I know what debaters will do to win lol. Also I am worried I will miss some of his points because they arent able to be seen under previous arguements so I cant respond as well.

However he does first argue that the system is to complex and he says that accountants make mistakes. However he could never warrant that, stat so there really is no impact to it being "to complex".Also he doesnt respond to the fact that this system allows for jobs because we have accountants and if he made it tooo simple there may not be a need for them. Also he never shows you what kind of change could be made to even solve this problem. The affirmatives plan provides no solvency so you should vote negative right there. I also would like to mention that just because its alot of pages doesnt mean its that complex, he never provides this link. Also he has no response to the benefits of this system, as in its sucessful as proven over time and in this period of economic instability we shouldnt change it.

I also would like to emphasize accountants and financial planners are different so he really provides no respons to the arguement of job loss.

Again its important to remember that he doesnt show you what he would change in the system and how it would solve the problems, therefore you can stop reading and negate RIGHT THERE.

How ever if you want more reason, look to the fact that he doesnt answer my observation, he never asks for systematic change. He wants us not to say change our tarrif system, but to review them and get rid of a few with in the current system. He doesnt ask for a new system but just that the government work in our current framework to expedite it. I draw an analogy from the progressive period in America, they wanted to achieve changes but they worked with in the system to do that. This is the same thing my opponent is doing, he is never making any systematic changes he is workign with in our current system. So therefore it turns his arguement because the fact that we can work with in our current system to potentially achieve what my opponent wanst shows the strength of the syst4em and therefore I urge you to negate this resolution.
Debate Round No. 3
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Darkstar425 9 years ago
Darkstar425
It would have been a good idea for the aff to state that a leading executive of a big business can pay less taxes than their desk receptionist. Obviously, there are some problems and loop holes that need to be fixed in order to justify the tax system.
Posted by SweetBags 9 years ago
SweetBags
just to remind people, there was a site bug. so my 3rd round didnt post. its in the comment section farther down. i think it might be on the second page now.
Posted by Yraelz 9 years ago
Yraelz
Judging round 2 Sweetbags vs Debaterstud 18

This decision was rather difficult. I'm going to be going over each point.

1. Pro argues that the system is far to complex. I have to totally agree with this point, however Con states that it has no impact except the possibility of job loss if it is changed. Thus I am giving this contention to Con as it really has no impact.

2. Next Pro argues the national debt and says that our system should be changed to better suit todays needs. However this entire contention goes dropped in the final round by both debaters and as Con pointed out Pro does not offer a definite way of changing it.

3. Finally Pro argues that Tarrifs should be changed. On this point I strongly agreed with the Pro especially when he rebutted con's original points by stating that we get most of our goods from other countries anyways and that we are no longer a producer orientated economy. However Con argues that we need a systematic system overhaul in someway and not just a couple pieces of the system changed. Pro agrees that a systematic overhaul is needed and argues that he of course does this. Thus I agreed with Pro all the way until he said,

"i am merely advocating a review of the current tariffs, and lessening the ones that need to be"

at which point I must agree with Con when he states that it is not a systematic overhaul and is therefor untopical.

Thus my vote goes Con on the fact that I have no reason to vote Pro and the possibility of accountant job loss. =)
Posted by Johnicle 9 years ago
Johnicle
I'll allow it... if CON wants to see the screen shot then PRO must show him in order for it to count... but for now (as far as the tournament goes), the PRO round 3 is in the comment section...
Posted by SweetBags 9 years ago
SweetBags
there was a site error i guess, it happend to another debator in the tournys first round. heres my third round
Posted by SweetBags 9 years ago
SweetBags
first i would like to thank my opponent for waiting as long as possible before posting his argument (as i was on a trip and lacking computer access). the trip went a little longer then expected, and i just got home about 20 minutes ago (and have >40 minutes left to post), so i really eprichiate your waiting. thanks!
Posted by SweetBags 9 years ago
SweetBags
my argument about the current income tax system being to complex true, the instructions for the income tax is (as i said in my last round)155 pages long http://www.irs.gov... ,and while not everything in it applys to everyone. everyone has to read it to find out if any given section is applicable to them. and as i stated before, 96% of accountants make an error of some kind in filing tax returns, showing not only the systems complexity, but that it would be quite difficult (if not nearly impossible) for an average person to file tax returns on his/her own. (as per my opponents request for my source for that, i really don't have enough time to look for it right now, as i have less then half an hour before i forfeit this round. i assure you it is a real source, and is credible. but as i cannot provide a cite i understand if the judge/s don't count that particular stat in their judging of the round). the tax system should not be that way. it should be a simple, easy to do process with little, if any, specialized knowledge necessary. that is one reason the US should change its tax system.

as far as people using accountants to balance their checkbooks, while I'm sure this may be true for businesses and possibly for people of vast wealth. the average joe (individual, not businesses, who i am not talking about in my income tax simplification point) does it himself. once a week i see my parents balance their books, and it doesn't take that long. all it takes to balance a checkbook is the knowledge of how much you had in your checking account, how much you wrote in checks, and the ability to subtract. all it takes is 1-2-3, no special knowledge or ability required, thats how the income tax system should be.
Posted by SweetBags 9 years ago
SweetBags
again my opponent mistakenly says that by not advocating a flat tax, i lose. this is not true. the US currently uses a progressive (more income pays more tax with the income tax, more shipping pays more with the tariffs) tax, which is one type of a tax system. another type is the flat (all pay the same) tax. my opponent would have you believe that to change the system you would have to change types, but this is not true. the US system comes from its implementation (various rules, procedures) of the progressive type of tax. to change the system, you just need to change its implementation. i am saying why we should change the current implementation of the income tax; change it to a more simplified and easy to use system.

my opponent says that i somewhere said that changing the system would create jobs, but i looked at my previous rounds and this is not true, i never said that. he also says that a large amount of jobs would be lost in the accounting sector (which he didn't provide any sources for the size, or how much of that is devoted to personal income tax, as i asked him to do). however this too is untrue, the accounting sector, for individuals, is primarily focused on financial advice (which stocks to buy, 401K, etc.) not income taxes. and most of the sector works for businesses, not individuals. so very few, if any, jobs would be lost.
Posted by SweetBags 9 years ago
SweetBags
my opponent says that i am advocating the erasing of all tariffs, but again i never said that. i am merely advocating a review of the current tariffs, and lessening the ones that need to be, such as the one on Canadian lumber (see my point first round about the closing of paper mills), or eliminating ones that don't make sense, like the one on Chinese wire hangers. he then says that this would cause us to buy stuff from overseas because its cheaper, but we are already doing that, a review of the tariff system didn't cause that. the rest of his argument against tariffs is based on my advocating the removal of all tariffs, but as i don't advocate that i ask they be discounted for untopicality.

my opponent then says that the changes i advocate do not constitute a systematic change, so i have not fulfilled my burden. this is not true, i have shown why the system should be changed. ive made the argument on why these changes constitute a systematic change above (this round).

judges, you should vote pro because the current system of taxes in the US should be changed. i have shown why in my case, and my opponents rebuttals of my case have been based off of his misconceptions and misunderstandings about my case. i have shown why his rebuttal hold less water then a screen door in the rain, and therefore i urge you to vote PRO.

thank you
Posted by SweetBags 9 years ago
SweetBags
this is bad, i had a minute left to post my argument (i had the timer open in a new tab), but it wouldn't let me post it, saying my time was up. i took a screen shot of it at 36 seconds left to show i didn't write it after time was up. i guess ill comment post it and message Luke to see if it counts.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by SweetBags 9 years ago
SweetBags
SweetBagsdebaterstud18Tied
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Vote Placed by debaterstud18 9 years ago
debaterstud18
SweetBagsdebaterstud18Tied
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Vote Placed by brian_eggleston 9 years ago
brian_eggleston
SweetBagsdebaterstud18Tied
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Vote Placed by tigersandgreenweather 9 years ago
tigersandgreenweather
SweetBagsdebaterstud18Tied
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