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RFD for US adopt NIT (Bob vs. TNO5)

Hayd
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10/17/2016 11:06:07 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
The debate
http://www.debate.org...

Resolution: The United States should adopt a negative income tax.

A negative income tax is a system where citizens making under X income level receive X amount of supplemental pay from the government. The X value is undefined, which leads to a variety of problems. Firstly, leaving it undefined may be helpful in that it lets the debate be about the concept of a government giving supplemental pay, which makes the discussion more substantial as it discusses pure ideology rather than random realist facets of the ideology. It makes sure that the discussion is on the whole concept of supplemental pay, enclosing everything rather than the specifics of it (how much would be payed as supplement.) Comparison can be made to discussing the ideology of communism and capitalism, the theory of them rather than the specifics when realism is applied (such as in communism where would the collective goods be kept.) Instead of superficial arguments such as that, the discussion is kept to substantial subjects such as the concept of each to their best ability and each to their own need. It allows better and higher quality discussion.

It also allows the possibility of kritiks though. For Pro would be allowed to argue that anyone making under $5 per year should be given a supplement of one cent. This *plan* would affirm the resolution, and he would be allowed to do that. So, mutual agreement through a PM or something to establish that the debate should be broad ought to be done, or make sure your opponent is a good friend or something.

I judge debates while I'm reading them. I will read the first argument, summarize/analyze it, then go on to the next and summarize and analyze it, and so on. By the time I am done reading the debate I have the RFD finished. So my commentary is on chronological order of how I read the debate.

Arguments
Con starts arguments by bringing up experiments done on negative income taxes and the studies found that productivity was decreased by 9-18% and hurt family stability. Con should have elaborated on how the study was done since the argument didn"t have much bulk and had character space to use. Just say X amount of people were given supplemental taxes from X time period and then recorded without supplemental tax from X time period and the productivity measured by bla bla bla was 9% lower with the supplemental tax. The impact of the argument, the decreased productivity also ought to be stressed. Why should I as a judge value productivity? Tell me why productivity is important in a society. This would thus show me that a negative income tax would be terrible and should never happen because I am told why productivity is valued so much.

Con then argues that this would be expensive to implement, giving an estimation of how much it would cost the government and arguing it would increase over time reaching trillion of dollars. The first problem with this is that the source for the estimation is never cited, although I assume it's the second source. Secondly, again, Con needs to explain to me why losing $38 billion dollars is so terrible. Expand the impact. Explain to me that the US is currently trillions of dollars in debt, the thirty eight billion would add significantly to that. Then explain once the debt reaches a limit (at 110% of GDP) the probability of paying back the debt is declared as unlikely and loaners stop loaning money and the economy collapses. Explained here [https://www.youtube.com...].

Pro starts argument by arguing that by the nature of the resolution the negative income tax would replace the current tax system with the NIT tax system. Pro argues that the current tax system is extremely bureaucratic because of all the different welfare programs, thus replacing it with one program, the NIT, bureaucracy would be significantly reduced. This is a good argument except for missing one essential point, the same one that I already explained on all of Con's argument. Tell me why bureaucracy is bad, why it is a terrible thing and thus why I ought to want to replace it with NIT. I"m not told why bureaucracy is bad, so why should I want to reduce it? Or even if I assume that bureaucracy I don"t know to what extent I should believe it is bad. The more you show me that bureaucracy is bad, the stronger the reason is to replace it and thus the stronger you persuade me to adopt the NIT. You guys *need* to stress impacts to be good debaters.

Pro also argues that it gives people money instead of goods. Replacing all of the other welfare programs with the NIT would be good because individuals choose what to spend money on not the government, since individuals will inherently spend money to suit their needs. Thus, the NIT is a better system of welfare, it's more effective.

Pro argues that the safety net of welfare allows employees to ask for better wages because it reduces the harms of getting fired, there is less risk. Thus, it follows that the NIT would create higher wages for citizens. Again, explain the impact of citizens having higher wages.

Pro argues that the status quo creates disincentive for increased work because they lose more money the more income they make, due to losing benefits. The NIT abolishes this and eliminates the loss of money through more work and instead loss of benefits.

Contention five is more of a conclusion than an argue, it just synthesizes what has already been said.

Rebuttals
Con"s rebuttal to Pro"s first argument is perfect. It points out the flaw in the argument: that Pro never explained why bureaucracy is bad. Con explains that a complex system isn"t necessarily bad and is actually good since it fits a wide variety of needs. This negates Pro"s argument.

Con"s second rebuttal successfully negates Pro"s second argument by explaining that supplements in the form of goods rather than money eliminates the ability of people to squander money. For example food stamps eliminates the ability of spending money on alcohol or TVs, or movies or something. Con also *turns* the impact because he shows that NIT would make people more likely to squander money rather than spend it effectively, turning the impact in his favor.

Con"s third rebuttal effectively negates Pro"s argument because it shows that the status quo does the same thing (thus it is not a reason to adopt the NIT) and that being able to have a safety net to live on creates the ability of people to live comfortably without working. This second point doesn"t really work since the same would be applied to the current system as well. If Con is going to argue that the current system does the same as the NIT and thus isn"t a reason to adopt the NIT, the same impact of the NIT disincentivizing work still applies to the status quo, the one that Con is arguing for. This doesn"t hurt Con though, its neutral since the same impact would be applied to NIT. Regardless, the first point works so Pro"s argument here is negated.

Con"s last rebuttal works as well. Pro"s argument that finding work results in losing benefits. Since their new job will likely not make them the same amount of money as having benefits does, they end up losing money by getting a job, thus deterring getting a job. Con"s rebuttal shows that the same problem is present in the NIT, for even if the person makes the same exact amount as they get in benefits, the work aspect of it deters them since they have to do work. And making more money than benefits obviously defeats the point since now they want the job to make more money.
Hayd
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10/17/2016 11:06:24 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
Pro starts rebuttals by showing that the research that Con brings up that NIT reduced productivity doesn"t actually work because NIT was supplemented to the current welfare rather than replace it. This makes the study irrelevant since the effects of the current welfare system are mixed with that of the NIT, making the results not actually reflect NIT. Thus this argument doesn"t work for a reason against NIT.

Pro responds to Con"s argument that the NIT would cost $38 billion by arguing that it would replace all other welfare, which costs $1 trillion dollars, and thus end up saving money. Pro also argues that since the costs of increasing NIT are easier to see rather than the status quo being spread over hundreds of organizations that it would not be risen as easily. I"m not sure what to think about this point. Pro"s rebuttal to the cost increasing doesn"t really work since the cost increased because of other reasons rather than people not noticing it was increasing because there were so many different organizations. But, Con"s argument in the first place doesn"t really justify the statement because its merely a quote from a person of authority, an appeal to authority. It doesn"t give any reasoning to why it would increase besides that it happened in the past with other welfare programs. But is this a justifiable reason? The source does not give the causes of the increase of price of welfare in the past. The only reasoning I have to fall back on for this is that it is just welfare, since that is the only thing that NIT and the past things have in common (or that is explained to me in common) is that they are all welfare programs. Thus, is the reasoning that NIT will increase in price because in the past welfare has increased in price? The justification then becomes that NIT welfare will increase in price because it is welfare (its property of welfare being the only link to the past examples.) This is circular reasoning. So do I believe that the NIT would increase in price in the future based on unjustified claims? If I do, then do I accept Pro"s rebuttal even though it assumes that the problems in the past were caused by not noticing the increase in price? I mean, even then Con never established the causes of the errors in the past, and given I am supposed to be tabula rasa ("blank slate") is it justified of me to throw out this rebuttal because of my own prior knowledge that the errors of the past were actually not created by this? I think not, and it is furthered by the fact that the opposition drops it (by failing to provide the "real" justification), and even furthermore by the fact that the claim was unjustified in the first place. I side with Pro then. This argument is negated. Con"s argument that the price would increase is negated and Pro"s point that replacing the current system with NIT would save money ($1 trillion dollars to $38 billion dollars.) Pro"s point about the tax reform connections made no sense.

Before I conclude, I want to note on Con"s comment in round three at the end of contention four. Con argues that they do not have to argue for the current welfare system. This is kind of true. Con merely has to argue that the US should not adopt the NIT. If the US does not adopt the NIT, Con argue for an alternative welfare system, or argue for abolishing all forms of welfare, or keeping the status quo welfare system. All of these are acceptable for under each of them the BoP is fulfilled. But, Con does have to *argue* for them. Otherwise, by default, they are arguing for the current welfare system. This is because the resolution states that the US should *adopt* the NIT system. This implies that the US at present state ought to adopt it. At present state the US has the present welfare state. Thus, just arguing that the US should not adopt the NIT ("just arguing" being not arguing for alternative or no other welfare) means that the US at current state should not adopt the NIT. This makes the Con world by default the US without adoption of NIT, and thus the current welfare state. Con can alter this but they have to argue for it in addition to everything else. They cannot just state it as Con does in R3. Con does not argue for an alternative or no system thus I refer to the default position, the current welfare state.

In the end all of Pro"s arguments were negated by Con except for saving a lot of money by replacing the current system costing $1 trillion dollars with a system costing $38 billion. All of Con"s arguments were negated by Pro except for the argument that Con turned to their side about people squandering less money. How do I weigh these impacts? Well, the exact impact of people spending money better is not given. How much money will be saved? How many people will be spending money better? I am not told this, all I know is that in general people will be less likely to squander their money. On the other hand I have a definite amount of money that is saved. I think that it is common sense to believe that saving that much money by replacing the system is a larger impact than some people being less likely to squander money, the thought furthered by the fact that the variable is undefined. Thus, I side with Pro. I think that Con debated better, Shab"s rebuttals in R3 were amazing. Con was the better debater; but since Pro proved that the current system costs $1 trillion dollars and the NIT would cost a fraction of that, saving billions of dollars. And Con"s only defense against it was that the cost would increase didn"t work since it was an appeal to authority that lacked justification and instead using circular reasoning. Sucks how one mistake can lose the debate for you. If the debate was set up better and defense was allowed rather than conclusions the debate would have gone the other way, but no.

Regardless, I"m open to discussion given how close my decision was.