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Fat tax and CCTV

Norphin
Posts: 13
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5/15/2010 8:57:45 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
Hello all,
I am part of a team that has been selected to compete in a Debate tournament thing, and it would help us out if some people could help give us some stuff to help us out in our debates. We have two motions:

Proposing:
"This House would put a fat tax on fast food."

and Opposing:
"This house believes that Closed-circuit Television (CCTV) is a threat to our freedom."

Thoughts?

Thanks in advance!
innomen
Posts: 10,052
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5/15/2010 10:21:54 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 5/15/2010 8:57:45 AM, Norphin wrote:
Hello all,
I am part of a team that has been selected to compete in a Debate tournament thing, and it would help us out if some people could help give us some stuff to help us out in our debates. We have two motions:

Proposing:
"This House would put a fat tax on fast food."

As a libertarian i do not believe it is the function of government to penalize or reward individuals for their legal choices in life. Nor is it the role of government to engineer a society in the shape of what someone deems "good". I'm not helping your proposal, but preparing you for some opposition.

and Opposing:
"This house believes that Closed-circuit Television (CCTV) is a threat to our freedom."

I would be on the other side of this as well. The net benefit from CCTV does not outweigh the cost in the infringement of freedom within our society. "Hell isn't merely paved with good intentions, it is walled and roofed with them" - Aldous Huxley.

Prepare yourself against those arguments and those that stem from them.
Thoughts?

Thanks in advance!
Norphin
Posts: 13
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5/16/2010 3:34:04 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 5/15/2010 10:21:54 AM, innomen wrote:
As a libertarian i do not believe it is the function of government to penalize or reward individuals for their legal choices in life. Nor is it the role of government to engineer a society in the shape of what someone deems "good".

Hmm...interesting....I think what we'd look at to rebut this point is to bring up statistics pertaining to obesity, and deaths relating to heart complications etc. as a result of obesity. i.e. death is most certainly not good in society

I would be on the other side of this as well. The net benefit from CCTV does not outweigh the cost in the infringement of freedom within our society. "Hell isn't merely paved with good intentions, it is walled and roofed with them" - Aldous Huxley.

I think for this motion, the definitions of specific terms would be very important. We'd probably look at examples of effective use of CCTV and our main argument would revolve around the usage of CCTV for security purposes and question how they actually infringe on freedom.

Prepare yourself against those arguments and those that stem from them.

Thanks a lot for the help :)
I-am-a-panda
Posts: 15,380
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5/16/2010 5:39:23 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
I guess you could argue since Alcohol and Tobacco are taxed on the grounds the government doesn't want people using hem, you could propose the Fat Tax on those grounds.

As for CCTV, it shouldn't be too hard. Just argue it gives great security.
Pizza. I have enormous respect for Pizza.
Puck
Posts: 6,457
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5/16/2010 5:49:32 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 5/15/2010 8:57:45 AM, Norphin wrote:
Hello all,
I am part of a team that has been selected to compete in a Debate tournament thing, and it would help us out if some people could help give us some stuff to help us out in our debates. We have two motions:

Proposing:
"This House would put a fat tax on fast food."

and Opposing:
"This house believes that Closed-circuit Television (CCTV) is a threat to our freedom."

Thoughts?

Thanks in advance!

Just wail violin about the healthcare costs of a population that has an increasing health crisis over obese related health issues.

For CCTV, if it's public space then argue exactly that, it's public space - to argue against it is the same as arguing that people on the street shouldn't be able to look at you. Private property CCTV - well it's private property, you as a visitor on that property have little valid say as to dictaiting why someone can't run surveillance on their own property. :)
strawandheart
Posts: 1
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10/26/2013 6:44:25 PM
Posted: 3 years ago

Do you really believe the government wants us to give up cigarettes????
Cigarettes make the uk government. 2 billion " per year in tax..........
Cigarette illnesses make big pharma billions " s. Per year.

Do you really think governments care if people smoke....if so why don't the government ban smoking if its bad for us.

t 5/16/2010 5:39:23 AM, I-am-a-panda wrote:
I guess you could argue since Alcohol and Tobacco are taxed on the grounds the government doesn't want people using hem, you could propose the Fat Tax on those grounds.

As for CCTV, it shouldn't be too hard. Just argue it gives great security.
Khaos_Mage
Posts: 23,214
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10/27/2013 4:17:51 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/15/2010 8:57:45 AM, Norphin wrote:
Hello all,
I am part of a team that has been selected to compete in a Debate tournament thing, and it would help us out if some people could help give us some stuff to help us out in our debates. We have two motions:

Proposing:
"This House would put a fat tax on fast food."
My argument would depend on the state of healthcare (universal or not).

and Opposing:
"This house believes that Closed-circuit Television (CCTV) is a threat to our freedom."

Depends on government use or not.
You have no freedom in public, so a shopkeeper having CCTV is a threat to nothing.
Thoughts?

Thanks in advance!
My work here is, finally, done.
CarefulNow
Posts: 780
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11/5/2013 12:54:59 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/27/2013 4:17:51 AM, Khaos_Mage wrote:
My argument would depend on the state of healthcare (universal or not).

But universal healthcare is just the tip of the externality iceberg. Even without universal healthcare, the poor man who shows up to the hospital with an obesity-related emergency will be treated at someone's expense other than himself or the junk food-monger. To complain, as Scalia did in the trial of Obamacare, that even such minimal kindness as that should be discontinued, is of course, whether you agree with it or not, a childish distraction from a policy question whose answer is actually variable: who's to pay for that inevitable treatment?

And don't forget that junk food's price is at the moment kept artificially low by protectionist (which would be condemnable even if it weren't a cover for plutocracy) subsidies to producers of their superlatively unhealthy ingredients. Beef in particular would instead be taxed by any government valuing fairness or efficiency, if for nothing else than that even people who care about their bodies and have access to grocery stores suffer its environmental effects (I don't mean to trivialize the more obvious and intense suffering of the cow, especially when ritually slaughtered with the blessing of even proudly secular states, but in my experience even nominally Darwinist libertarians aren't receptive to non-speciesist arguments).

And if I may commit sacrilege by dissecting utility in what would in an economically secular society be an obvious way: there is a world of difference between the phantom utility of that which satisfies the obsolete craving for fat and sugar (our unhappy inheritance from a food-scarce past), with the consequent waste of human capital and reinforcement of the craving (anyone who's ever quit anything knows that the craving is worst almost immediately after quitting, thereafter decreasing often to nothing), and utilities that retain at least their natural reality (sex, for example, is arguably more useful now that exploitation of the sex-pleasure comes at the cost of pregnancy if and only if we want it to).
Khaos_Mage
Posts: 23,214
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11/5/2013 1:04:22 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 11/5/2013 12:54:59 PM, CarefulNow wrote:
At 10/27/2013 4:17:51 AM, Khaos_Mage wrote:
My argument would depend on the state of healthcare (universal or not).

But universal healthcare is just the tip of the externality iceberg. Even without universal healthcare, the poor man who shows up to the hospital with an obesity-related emergency will be treated at someone's expense other than himself or the junk food-monger. To complain, as Scalia did in the trial of Obamacare, that even such minimal kindness as that should be discontinued, is of course, whether you agree with it or not, a childish distraction from a policy question whose answer is actually variable: who's to pay for that inevitable treatment?

The consumer. Always the consumer. Why is healthcare any different than anything else?
A tax on fast food, under universal healthcare, would make sense, since the consumer (government) needs to pay. Which I could get behind.
A tax under a more free market is meant to influence behavior, which I would be opposed to.

And don't forget that junk food's price is at the moment kept artificially low by protectionist (which would be condemnable even if it weren't a cover for plutocracy) subsidies to producers of their superlatively unhealthy ingredients. Beef in particular would instead be taxed by any government valuing fairness or efficiency, if for nothing else than that even people who care about their bodies and have access to grocery stores suffer its environmental effects (I don't mean to trivialize the more obvious and intense suffering of the cow, especially when ritually slaughtered with the blessing of even proudly secular states, but in my experience even nominally Darwinist libertarians aren't receptive to non-speciesist arguments).


And if I may commit sacrilege by dissecting utility in what would in an economically secular society be an obvious way: there is a world of difference between the phantom utility of that which satisfies the obsolete craving for fat and sugar (our unhappy inheritance from a food-scarce past), with the consequent waste of human capital and reinforcement of the craving (anyone who's ever quit anything knows that the craving is worst almost immediately after quitting, thereafter decreasing often to nothing), and utilities that retain at least their natural reality (sex, for example, is arguably more useful now that exploitation of the sex-pleasure comes at the cost of pregnancy if and only if we want it to).

You use a lot of fancy words, and I'm not wholly sure what you're saying, but I don't think it matters, since it seems you are only buttressing your point.

The fact that the consumer always pays for the losses caused by others trumps your case... I think ;)
My work here is, finally, done.
CarefulNow
Posts: 780
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11/5/2013 9:20:45 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 11/5/2013 1:04:22 PM, Khaos_Mage wrote:
You use a lot of fancy words, and I'm not wholly sure what you're saying, but I don't think it matters, since it seems you are only buttressing your point.

Actually, I'm identifying no less than five real and relevant externalities, one of which (taxpayer-funded healthcare) I clearly didn't have to bring to your attention, and the other four I evidently did a poor job of explaining:

1) Hospital-funded healthcare. What makes a (negative) externality is not that taxpayers in particular pay for it, but merely that someone external to the exchange pays for it. Charity care, whether government-funded or not, decreases the price of junk food via moral hazard. The theory of the second best shows that if one optimality condition cannot be met (in this case it's inconceivable that a hospital would be individually rational enough to refuse an open bed to a dying patient that couldn't afford it; the argument that it's individually rational because it relieves the hospital or its paying customers of distress only changes the nature of the externality, such that distress instead of medical costs is externalized), that which is usually harmful (in this case taxation), can be beneficial.

2) Junk food ingredient subsidies. In this case the optimality condition is a free price mechanism, prevented by subsidized junk food ingredients. Artificially low junk food ingredient prices result in artificially low junk food prices. A fat tax not exceeding that distortion would thus be corrective, not distortionary.

3) Farting cows. In this case, the optimality condition is internalized costs of the production of beef, which features prominently in junk food. The methane released into the atmosphere by farting cows constitutes a negative externality that artificially decreases the price of junk food, which a sufficiently low junk food tax would correct.

4) Human capital. There is a free rider effect of labor power in that the gains from its sale go in part to the capitalist (I don't mean to pick on the capitalist; there is also a free rider effect of a money-commodity, for example, in that part of its gains-from-trade goes to sellers, including sellers of labor) and indirectly society. Ideally, commodities productive of labor power would thus be subsidized; however, nearly every commodity is more productive of labor power than junk food (junk food is indeed destructive of labor power, most obviously in the typical event that it destroys the laborer) and would benefit indirectly, via the substitution effect, were junk food taxed.