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RFD for minimum wage debate

tejretics
Posts: 6,083
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5/6/2016 9:13:38 AM
Posted: 7 months ago
Debate: http://www.debate.org...

I. Procedural matters

The resolution says that "the U.S. should abolish the minimum wage." The meaning of the resolution is obvious; it is with regards to the policy of mandatory minimum wages, and whether the law that makes them mandatory should be removed.

The topic is normative, so the burdens of persuasion are equal, since (1) the status quo is not inherently self-justifying and (2) the purpose of debate is persuasion, which means both sides are required to have even ground (e.g. formal debate). Pro's burden is to show that, on balance, it would be desirable for the United States to abolish the minimum wage requirements; Con's burden is to show that keeping minimum wage requirements is beneficial to the United States.

II. Arguments

(1) Offense

Con's arguments are: (1) mandatory minimum wages help in poverty reduction (businesses have incentives to pay employees low salaries, thus resulting in less accessibility to basic goods), (2) minimum wages increase worker efficiency and productivity and (3) minimum wages counterbalance income inequality (no explanation on why income inequality is a harm by the utilitarian standard adopted).

Pro's sole argument is that the minimum wage causes unemployment. His justifications for this are (1) demand reduces, meaning there is not much need for supply and businesses don't hire employees much to save costs, (2) higher wages make firms prioritize capital over labor, and businesses don't hire employees they consider worth less than the minimum wage rate, (3) empirical evidence and statistics corroborate these theoretical justifications, showing that minimum wages cause unemployment, and (4) low-wage workers flee places with high minimum wages on account of not finding employment. Pro then elucidates the harms faced by unemployment, harming workers in both the short-term and long-term.

(2) Clash/Analysis

Con's rebuttals: (1) economists can accept certain rejected models views on "odd issues," and argument is purely theoretical; he says, "this argument is purely theoretical. It makes the assumption that companies are not at all willing to accept reduced profits, especially when it still benefits them more to keep all their employees instead of saving by laying them off." (Argument refuted by Pro in that Con drops Pro's warrant for the rejection of the monopsony model in the context of the U.S., that monopsony is extremely rare and not applicable to U.S. markets.); (2) there are multiple studies that contradict the "Brown consensus" on unemployment, e.g. Card and Krueger, and research doesn't show significant difference in employment rates between states that have a higher minimum wage and states with a lower minimum wage (thoroughly refuted because Card and Krueger are highly unreliable; in Pro's words, "[t]he study will only obtain data from the survivors," and showed that phone-based information is unreliable; also, Pro did not base his argument on the Brown consensus alone, citing multiple other studies that were dropped), and (3) not possible to verify Pro's study regarding low-wage workers fleeing places due to lack of citation (citation is not the only means of verification, and there's no hit to Pro's credibility).

Pro's rebuttals: (1) wages are determined by supply and demand, so average wages are sufficient to sustain individuals, so abolishing the minimum wage won't have much of an effect on poverty; use welfare reform instead (Con essentially drops the response that average wages are sufficient to sustain individuals, instead focusing on the other irrelevant points, e.g. that Pro's rebuttal to the "market fairness" argument was missing the point; a lot of time is spent attacking the counterplan idea without addressing the key part of the response; thus, the poverty impact is mitigated significantly), (2) only if one firm pays more than all other firms do wages increase productivity, since workers consider their alternatives while seeking to gauge benefit (once more, Con focuses on the irrelevant bits --which Pro should have left out-- e.g. the purpose of the efficiency wage hypothesis, while not addressing the argument on different payment from firms) and (3) wealth is dispersed on death, thus alleviating effects on income inequality; rich get poorer by generations (this piece of clash is irrelevant, since Con fails to explain the link between inequality and the minimum wage outside of a study -- it's Con's job to articulate/explain how and why the minimum wage helps rectify inequality, and Con's explanation to that end fails).

III. Conclusion

Pro easily wins the link that minimum wages cause unemployment significantly. Con drops Pro's warrant as to why monopsony models are rejected so loses theoretically, and Pro has much more credible research with regards to the statistical link. Con's offense, in contrast, is all but destroyed; their argument from poverty is refuted (prevailing market wages and those less are sufficient for sustenance, and the minimum wage fails to reduce poverty), and Con misses the point in defending their argument from productivity. Con also fails to properly articulate the link between minimum wages and income inequality. Pro wins.

The debate often descended into irrelevant arguments and sources, and poor explanations. Con's explanation of the link between income inequality and the minimum wage built on a source without an explanatory warrant and some jargon. Pro went on irrelevant arguments regarding efficiency (e.g. the purpose of the efficiency wage hypothesis), which weren't necessary. Cut out irrelevant arguments, don't use jargon and explain arguments as clearly as possible.
"Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe." - Frederick Douglass
dsjpk5
Posts: 3,007
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5/6/2016 11:32:37 AM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 5/6/2016 9:13:38 AM, tejretics wrote:
Debate: http://www.debate.org...

I. Procedural matters

The resolution says that "the U.S. should abolish the minimum wage." The meaning of the resolution is obvious; it is with regards to the policy of mandatory minimum wages, and whether the law that makes them mandatory should be removed.

The topic is normative, so the burdens of persuasion are equal, since (1) the status quo is not inherently self-justifying and (2) the purpose of debate is persuasion, which means both sides are required to have even ground (e.g. formal debate). Pro's burden is to show that, on balance, it would be desirable for the United States to abolish the minimum wage requirements; Con's burden is to show that keeping minimum wage requirements is beneficial to the United States.

II. Arguments

(1) Offense

Con's arguments are: (1) mandatory minimum wages help in poverty reduction (businesses have incentives to pay employees low salaries, thus resulting in less accessibility to basic goods), (2) minimum wages increase worker efficiency and productivity and (3) minimum wages counterbalance income inequality (no explanation on why income inequality is a harm by the utilitarian standard adopted).

Pro's sole argument is that the minimum wage causes unemployment. His justifications for this are (1) demand reduces, meaning there is not much need for supply and businesses don't hire employees much to save costs, (2) higher wages make firms prioritize capital over labor, and businesses don't hire employees they consider worth less than the minimum wage rate, (3) empirical evidence and statistics corroborate these theoretical justifications, showing that minimum wages cause unemployment, and (4) low-wage workers flee places with high minimum wages on account of not finding employment. Pro then elucidates the harms faced by unemployment, harming workers in both the short-term and long-term.

(2) Clash/Analysis

Con's rebuttals: (1) economists can accept certain rejected models views on "odd issues," and argument is purely theoretical; he says, "this argument is purely theoretical. It makes the assumption that companies are not at all willing to accept reduced profits, especially when it still benefits them more to keep all their employees instead of saving by laying them off." (Argument refuted by Pro in that Con drops Pro's warrant for the rejection of the monopsony model in the context of the U.S., that monopsony is extremely rare and not applicable to U.S. markets.); (2) there are multiple studies that contradict the "Brown consensus" on unemployment, e.g. Card and Krueger, and research doesn't show significant difference in employment rates between states that have a higher minimum wage and states with a lower minimum wage (thoroughly refuted because Card and Krueger are highly unreliable; in Pro's words, "[t]he study will only obtain data from the survivors," and showed that phone-based information is unreliable; also, Pro did not base his argument on the Brown consensus alone, citing multiple other studies that were dropped), and (3) not possible to verify Pro's study regarding low-wage workers fleeing places due to lack of citation (citation is not the only means of verification, and there's no hit to Pro's credibility).

Pro's rebuttals: (1) wages are determined by supply and demand, so average wages are sufficient to sustain individuals, so abolishing the minimum wage won't have much of an effect on poverty; use welfare reform instead (Con essentially drops the response that average wages are sufficient to sustain individuals, instead focusing on the other irrelevant points, e.g. that Pro's rebuttal to the "market fairness" argument was missing the point; a lot of time is spent attacking the counterplan idea without addressing the key part of the response; thus, the poverty impact is mitigated significantly), (2) only if one firm pays more than all other firms do wages increase productivity, since workers consider their alternatives while seeking to gauge benefit (once more, Con focuses on the irrelevant bits --which Pro should have left out-- e.g. the purpose of the efficiency wage hypothesis, while not addressing the argument on different payment from firms) and (3) wealth is dispersed on death, thus alleviating effects on income inequality; rich get poorer by generations (this piece of clash is irrelevant, since Con fails to explain the link between inequality and the minimum wage outside of a study -- it's Con's job to articulate/explain how and why the minimum wage helps rectify inequality, and Con's explanation to that end fails).

III. Conclusion

Pro easily wins the link that minimum wages cause unemployment significantly. Con drops Pro's warrant as to why monopsony models are rejected so loses theoretically, and Pro has much more credible research with regards to the statistical link. Con's offense, in contrast, is all but destroyed; their argument from poverty is refuted (prevailing market wages and those less are sufficient for sustenance, and the minimum wage fails to reduce poverty), and Con misses the point in defending their argument from productivity. Con also fails to properly articulate the link between minimum wages and income inequality. Pro wins.

The debate often descended into irrelevant arguments and sources, and poor explanations. Con's explanation of the link between income inequality and the minimum wage built on a source without an explanatory warrant and some jargon. Pro went on irrelevant arguments regarding efficiency (e.g. the purpose of the efficiency wage hypothesis), which weren't necessary. Cut out irrelevant arguments, don't use jargon and explain arguments as clearly as possible.

Excellent job as always,Tej.
If that was the only issue, then vote moderation could be avoided more often, since a vote in which the voter does explain sufficiently how at least one point a debater made swung their vote, would be considered sufficient. -Airmax
YYW
Posts: 36,263
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5/6/2016 4:34:44 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
This RFD is an improvement, but it's still got a long way to go.

Dsjpk5 should never speak about voting matters, ever.
Tsar of DDO
OreosAreCool
Posts: 23
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5/6/2016 8:57:28 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
Not to imply that the result of this debate would be changed because of this, but I have some disagreements that I would like to point out:

(1) If I read this part of his argument correctly, the theoretical points were not so much an argument from his point of view. It seemed more like he was pointing out the views of popular economic models and contrasting them with the views of rejected economic models, to imply that the resolution is invalid because it is part of the rejected model. The point about capital substitution (replacing labour with capital), for example, was just being pointed out as a view of the popular economic model. If this was his argument, it was contradicted by my opponent's rebuttal in R3 where he says that the MW causes a reduction in capital returns and causes people to invest less. (second last paragraph of the 'Access to Basic Goods rebuttal')

(2) I will say here that my rebuttal to the theory argument, especially the one concerning the monopsony model could have been much better. I didn't accept the economic model in my argument/rebuttal. All I said was that if this model is rejected it doesn't necessarily mean that its views solely on the MW are rejected. I don't believe that I needed to defend the economic model as a whole, as I never said I accepted it.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think he made the point that wages set by supply & demand are sufficient to sustain individuals. He just applied the logic of supply & demand to the labour market, and claimed that this is "fair". However, I responded to this saying that the natural cycle of supply & demand cannot be assumed as inherently right or "fair", as doing so would be fallacious. If you're referring to his point about Switzerland though, I addressed that when I mentioned the high cost of living and the incompatibility of the analogy between the U.S and Switzerland.

I also did eventually explain the issue of inequality, that unskilled labour jobs are lost when capital returns get reinvested into more capital, only to result in said capital taking a larger and larger share of the GDP over time. I'm not sure if I explained this too late, though.

Thanks for the RFD btw! I really do appreciate the feedback xD
tejretics
Posts: 6,083
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5/7/2016 3:07:46 AM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 5/6/2016 8:57:28 PM, OreosAreCool wrote:
Not to imply that the result of this debate would be changed because of this, but I have some disagreements that I would like to point out:

(1) If I read this part of his argument correctly, the theoretical points were not so much an argument from his point of view. It seemed more like he was pointing out the views of popular economic models and contrasting them with the views of rejected economic models, to imply that the resolution is invalid because it is part of the rejected model. The point about capital substitution (replacing labour with capital), for example, was just being pointed out as a view of the popular economic model. If this was his argument, it was contradicted by my opponent's rebuttal in R3 where he says that the MW causes a reduction in capital returns and causes people to invest less. (second last paragraph of the 'Access to Basic Goods rebuttal')

I didn't weigh them as significant offense, but 16k's burden in showing that the minimum wage causes unemployment was to show (a) that it is true theoretically, and (b) that this is further verified by empirical evidence. All of these were "links," not "arguments." 16k had only *one* argument: "the minimum wage causes unemployment."

(2) I will say here that my rebuttal to the theory argument, especially the one concerning the monopsony model could have been much better. I didn't accept the economic model in my argument/rebuttal. All I said was that if this model is rejected it doesn't necessarily mean that its views solely on the MW are rejected. I don't believe that I needed to defend the economic model as a whole, as I never said I accepted it.

Your argument that "the model's views on MW doesn't need to be rejected" was absurd, because a "model" runs by a certain set of predictions, and we infer things like "the MW causes unemployment" from those predictions. 16k rejected the "model," which means he rejected the entire method used by the model to infer anything.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think he made the point that wages set by supply & demand are sufficient to sustain individuals. He just applied the logic of supply & demand to the labour market, and claimed that this is "fair". However, I responded to this saying that the natural cycle of supply & demand cannot be assumed as inherently right or "fair", as doing so would be fallacious. If you're referring to his point about Switzerland though, I addressed that when I mentioned the high cost of living and the incompatibility of the analogy between the U.S and Switzerland.

"Fairness" was mostly a very vague point, but it's contextually clear that 16k meant "sufficient to sustain" when he said "fair." 16k also mitigated the argument that minimum wages help gain access to basic goods by showing that the prevailing market wage is sufficient.

I also did eventually explain the issue of inequality, that unskilled labour jobs are lost when capital returns get reinvested into more capital, only to result in said capital taking a larger and larger share of the GDP over time. I'm not sure if I explained this too late, though.

You didn't explain the link between that and the minimum wage when you presented the argument. I'll also add that there was no impact under the utilitarian calculus you presented, so there was nothing to weigh in an impact analysis.

Thanks for the RFD btw! I really do appreciate the feedback xD

No problem!
"Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe." - Frederick Douglass
tejretics
Posts: 6,083
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5/7/2016 3:08:23 AM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 5/6/2016 4:34:44 PM, YYW wrote:
This RFD is an improvement, but it's still got a long way to go.

I'd like to know where I could improve, if you can. Thanks.
"Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe." - Frederick Douglass