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Citizens United v. The Federal Election Commission should be overturned

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/6/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,295 times Debate No: 43507
Debate Rounds (5)
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I will be arguing that Citizens United v. The FEC should be overturned, while my opponent will argue that it should not be.


Round 1: Acceptance
Round 2: Opening Arguments
Round 3: Opening Arguments
Round 4: Rebuttals
Round 5: Rebuttals and Closing Remarks -- without new arguments, though clarifications are permissible.

With that said, I await a fascinating debate.


I'll accept this debate. I look forward to an interesting and challenging debate, and good luck to both of us!
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you Con for accepting this debate, and I wish you the best of luck. For clarification--as we discussed via private messaging--we will be allowing rebuttals in Round 3.

First, let's define our terms: Citizens United v. The FEC (CUVF) is the 2010 Supreme Court ruling allowing corporations and unions to spend money on electioneering communications--advertisements mentioning the name of a political candidate within 60 days of a general election (or within 30 days of a primary). Money was effectively deemed speech, and corporations people with constitution rights. This case was used as a precedent in v. FEC, which removed limits on expenditures, provided that they were indirect, giving rise to infamous Super PACs and leading to an influx of corporate money into the system. I will be arguing that CUVF should be overturned.

I. Money is not speech.

Speech is a fundamental, intrinsic human right. By virtue of our humanity we have a right to freedom of speech, but to the extent that we have a right to material things--and some would argue that we don't--the right to money is not fundamental. To live in a democracy that preserves freedom, we must be able not only to voice our opinions, but to do so to the same extent as our fellow citizens. If money is speech, people with more money have more speech. Moreover, they have more leverage to exercise their right to freedom of speech, and to "buy" more speech. Therefore, there is no equality of opportunity. That inequity begets more inequity, as monied interests donate to Super Pacs supporting candidates promising to promote policies that directly benefit them--e.g., tax cuts for the rich and financial deregulation--and perpetuate an inherently flawed system. CUVF doesn't protect free speech; rather, it hinders it for people without the means, influence, or resources to bribe politicians. A good example is that now CEOs are earning about 380 times what the average worker is earning, relative to 42 times in 1980. Does a CEO have 380 times the amount of speech that a worker has?

II. Corporations are not people

If corporations are people, they should be tried like individuals and held accountable for their actions to the same degree.
However, they are not. Legally, the "corporate veil" exists, protecting shareholders and directors from accepting personal liability for the actions of the company. This sets up a dichotomy, providing a preference to the already affluent. Moreover, corporations and large financial institutions are given substantial preferences in the justice system today. Why weren't the Wall Street executives who committed huge fraud that led to a global meltdown prosecuted? They were "too big to fail," and their influence is far too large. In fact, some (e.g., Ken Langone) went after Eliot Spitzer because, as Attorney General, he went after financial speculators. Why weren't further actions taken against HSBC, accused of allowing laundering of over $670 billion to Latin American drug cartels? Let's use Eric Holder's words: "too big to jail."

III. CUVF obscures democracy.

Money talks. The data is clear: 93% of the time, candidates for the House of Representatives with the most money end up winning. The figure is 94% for the U.S. Senate. Let me ask you this: if you're running for Congress, are you going to stand on principle, in spite of what large donors say, or are you going to pander to them? Logically, it makes sense to follow the money, as it provides a clear path to success. Consider the 4 Republicans in New York who flip-flopped on gay marriage after hedge fund managers promised to fundraise for them, and ended up raising $1.25 million (mind you, for a state election). Now, I support gay marriage, but the end hardly justifies the means. I want to win the debate on these issues; I know that, if the money came from the other direction, the outcome would have been quite different. That is not democracy, nor is it government "of the people, by the people, for the people." This is a government largely predicated on corporate money, where 30-second advertisements--many of which are deceptive (e.g., Mitt Romney's misleading ad on Chrysler moving to China, which the Washington Post debunked)--take precedence over principle, intellectual debate, and progress.

Moreover, big money in politics causes politicians to promote policies that perpetuate income inequality, at the expense of middle- and lower- income Americans. Consider big oil tax breaks: As of October 2012, the big five oil companies spent about $105 million in the course of a year, and as a result were awarded billions in tax breaks. About 90% of total contributions by the oil and gas industry went to Republicans, which makes sense, since Paul Ryan (R.-Wis) included $45 billion in oil subsidies in his budget (which, might I add, his family benefitted from). The data is clear: big five oil, in conjunction with people like the Koch Brothers, support candidates who will uphold the system, and produce blatantly deceptive ads to deceive people into voting against their own interests. This suppresses the voice of the public, and deters people with alternate views, who actually want to change the system, from running or from adhering to their principles.

IV. Americans do not trust their politicians.

Perhaps what you won't often hear in the mainstream (corporate) media is that Americans, by and large, distrust their government. 87% described reducing corruption in the federal government as either "very" or "extremely" important. 86% believe that the decisions of politicians are heavily influenced by corporate donors. 78% believe that the amount of money corporations can spend should be limited, while 70% believe that corporations already have too much control over elections. If we live in a democracy, and "We the People" are the ones in power--with elected representatives working for, not above, us--what ought to happen is clear.

V. CUVF obscures other issues.

This is the "mother of all issues" because, without mollifying the influence of money in politics, we cannot achieve progress in other areas. Take climate change, for instance, which 97% of scientists will testify is man-made. But obviously addressing this issue would hurt Big Oil, and thus there have been significant attempts to curtail any action whatsoever. $150 million in misinformation advertisements promoting fossil fuels. Americans for Prosperity, funded by the Koch Brothers, released an advertisement falsely claiming that stimulus dollars devoted to clean energy resources went overseas, which was factually incorrect. Another example is the American Petroleum Institute (note: its CEO, Jack Gerard, was rumored to be on Gov. Romney's--the GOP nominee at the time--radar for a WH appointment) also contributed to this misinformation campaign; Gerard claimed--in line with the Romney narrative--that oil production on federal lands was down. In fact, it was up by 240 million barrels under Obama. These initiatives, along with others (e.g., American Energy Alliance, also with Koch ties) have targeted clean energy initiatives and sought to maintain the current power structure: big oil.

The narrative extends beyond climate change, though. With Wall Street donating millions--even to President Obama, who called them "fat cats"--do you truly think genuine financial reform will be seen through? When organizations attack Senator Elizabeth Warren for wanting to expand Social Security or reign in the excesses of Wall Street, do you think we'll ever achieve that reform? When Americans are seeing disingenuous advertisements that serve corporate interests, rather than their own, how can they make informed decisions at the ballot box?

My central thesis is this: Corporate money precludes democracy, stifles the voice of the public, perpetuates inherent income and wealth inequities, and inhibits progress. I submit that political campaigns should be 100% publicly funded; in this way, we will remove the incentive for politicians to base their decisions on the desires of their wealthy donors, and instead promote policies that benefit the vast majority of Americans. Without this change, I do not believe that the US can rightfully be called a democracy.

Videos (1) Presentation by Cenk Uygur of WolfPac and The Young Turks at Columbia University (statistics about NY Republicans who changed their positions on gay marriage, the impact of money in Congressional elections, etc) (2) John McCain Opposes CUVF

Sources -- Mitt Romney's misleading ad -- Big Oil, Koch Brothers, Americans for Prosperity, etc -- "Corporate Veil" --HSBC scandal -- background, and includes figures about American's distrusts of corporations -- background -- background -- CEO pay -- Paul Ryan and oil subsidies - Eric Holder


Thanks to Pro for starting a debate on this topic! Good luck to you too!

I'll start my discussion with a brief overview of Citizen's United v. FEC, and v. FEC's decisions. I'll limit my discussions to what Citizen's United and did NOT do.

Citizens United
1.Citizens United DID NOT allow unlimited contributions on the part of Corporate entities or Unions. The contributions of individuals to Candidates are still limited. Furthermore, Super-PAC's are not permitted to directly contribute to a Campaign or Candidate, and must restrict their spending to political ads that advance their own agenda. In fact, neither Corporations nor Non-profits are allowed to directly contribute to any campaign or candidate, and must spend their money on what are called "independent expenditures." [1]

2.Citizens United DID NOT open the door for Foreign Corporations to influence American Elections. US Code 2 441E: (a) Prohibition
It shall be unlawful for—

(1) a foreign national, directly or indirectly, to make—
(A) a contribution or donation of money or other thing of value, or to make an express or implied promise to make a contribution or donation, in connection with a Federal, State, or local election;

(B) a contribution or donation to a committee of a political party; or

(C) an expenditure, independent expenditure, or disbursement for an electioneering communication (within the meaning of section 434 (f)(3) of this title); or

(2) a person to solicit, accept, or receive a contribution or donation described in subparagraph (A) or (B) of paragraph (1) from a foreign national.

(b) “Foreign national” defined
As used in this section, the term “foreign national” means—

(1) a foreign principal, as such term is defined by section 611 (b) of title 22, except that the term “foreign national” shall not include any individual who is a citizen of the United States; or

(2) an individual who is not a citizen of the United States or a national of the United States (as defined in section 1101 (a)(22) of title 8) and who is not lawfully admitted for permanent residence, as defined by section 1101 (a)(20) of title 8. [2]

2 441E was not addressed in the Citizens United ruling, and any corporation that may be foreign owned is required to utilize only profits earned in the US if it wishes to engage in independent expenditures. v. FEC DID NOT allow unlimited contributions to Corporations or Candidates. It did, however, allow unlimited contributions to non-profit organizations.

Now that I have cleared up what the two cases did not do, I will lay out why they should remain the precedent.

1.If corporations are not alike to people, why do we tax them like people? The United States was founded upon the principal of no taxation without representation. Corporations exist, thrive, grow, wither and die, and labor for their survival much like people themselves do. And furthermore, elected officials make decisions that impact them just as much as they make decisions that impact people. Because Corporations do not have the ability to vote, limiting their ability to spend money to support or come out in support of a candidate who may pass the laws they desire is tantamount to discrimination against an entity that is affected by the policies of the government. Considering no corporation may directly contribute to any campaign, while individuals themselves may do so, it hardly amounts to giving corporations the same rights as individuals if you allow them to spend money on independent expenditures.

2. The United States political system is meant to exist upon a foundation of informed voters. If people cannot inform themselves by independently researching and examining the candidates at hand, and instead are content to take the word of non-profits from both sides of the aisle, then the problem is not so much the money that allows the non-profits to spread their point of view, but rather the laziness and failure of the citizens to fulfill their duties as citizens. The US has one of the lowest voter participation rates in the developed world. Why blame the non-profits for helping shape your view when you yourself are content to let them? The blame lies not on their shoulders, but yours.

3. The two decisions discussed by my opponent permit unlimited independent expenditures only, and in the case of, permit unlimited contributions to non-profits only. This leads me to the reasoning behind the ruling of Citizens United:

"By definition, independent expenditures are “not made in concert or cooperation with or at the request or suggestion of such candidate, the candidate’s authorized political committee, or their agents, or a political party committee or its agents.” 2 U.S.C. § 431(17)" [3] As such, "'[t]he absence of prearrangement and coordination of an expenditure with the candidate or his agent . . . alleviates the danger that expenditures will be given as a quid pro quo for improper commitments from the candidate.” Citizens United, 130 S. Ct. at 908 (quoting Buckley, 424 U.S. at 47)" This leads us to the vital conclusion reached by Citizens United, which is: “[W]e now conclude that independent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption.” Citizens United, 130 S. Ct. at 909." [3]

The logic here is undeniable. Non-profits do not and by law cannot make any expenditures while conspiring with the candidates or campaigns themselves. Their expenditures represent their own opinions, and no one elses. Are we now to institute bans on advertising then? Are companies no longer going to be allowed to advertise their products, since advertising shapes people's perceptions of the world, arguably moreso than political ads? Should we not then ban campaigns from advertising themselves as well, for the campaign with the most contributions, by my opponent's logic, will win 93 times out 100 for the House, and 94 times out 100 for the Senate? The simple fact remains that in the absence of an actual right to vote, entities that are affected by government policies must be permitted some voice come election year. To deny entities affected by government policies any voice would be discrimination in it's most basic form.

4. My opponent misunderstands the "corporate veil." What he speaks of is limited liability, that is, protection for shareholders, who make no decisions in the operation of a company, from legal liability in the event of fraud or illegal activities taking place in the company. How can we expect people who receive only the balance sheets and profit margins to know what is happening inside management? And how can we hold liable people who had no control over the activities being conducted, nor foreknowledge of them? There is no dichotomy here, no preferential treatment for shareholders, given the fact that they had no way of knowing anything about the actions the company they were supporting was taking. Do you blame the citizens of Germany for Hitler's Final Solution? Is it right to do so? I would argue no, it is wrong to blame those who had no way of knowing what was happening.

I address this because my opponent is trying to establish corporations as non-material entities, Legal contracts only. But the contracts are between individuals, and indeed are not shareholders individuals? Are they not doubly affected by government policies, first on the individual front, and second on the corporate front? I would argue then, that allowing them some form of voice on both fronts is not preferential, but rather, in the interest of freedom and equality of opportunity, required.

5. My opponent indicts Corporations as promoting inequity in the economy. And yet, during the 2012 election for president, the number one concern was the Economy, jobs. [4] Jobs come from the Private Sector and Public sector, but most people don't like taxes, and raising taxes is what would be required if the jobs were generated in the public sector. Why, then, indict Corporations on one hand for their supposed control over elections, and on the other beg for their help in the generation of prosperity? Is this not hypocritical? If you want those jobs to remain in existence, you should be desiring corporations and companies to thrive, and therefore, you should be wanting politicians who would promote job growth. Politicians alone cannot promote job growth or economic growth, they must also heed the advice of those in the industries themselves. It is hypocritical, therefore, to indict corporations for supposed inequity and vote in politicians who would do those corporations damage, and then cry foul when jobs are lost.

In conclusion, Citizens United must remain precedent. It protects the freedom of speech of entities that are directly and indirectly affected by government policies, corporations and non-profits. It upholds the longstanding ban on direct contributions to candidates from non-profits and corporations, thus preventing corruption. It represents no real danger to the American Citizen.


Debate Round No. 2


Thank you for your astute argument, Con.

First, I'd like to point out that my opponent and I do agree on the facts of both cases--that we are talking about unlimited, indirect donations to organizations unaffiliated directly with politicians--though there are several important caveats to note.

My opponent mentioned "non-profits," but this ignores an important distinction. In tandem with Super PACs are "social-welfare groups"--e.g., Karl Rove's Crossroads G.P.S. and Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity, who are now allowed to engage in "express advocacy," advocating for one candidate over another, provided that their organizations are not strictly purposed on political advocacy. Of course, the fact that these organizations need not disclose their donors is a loophole, where candidates need not be working directly with these organizations. Rove, for instance, has been a Fox contributor for years, after serving in the Bush White House; it's assumed, in light of his past, that he is going to raise funds for Republican candidates. So the question to you is this: why should social-welfare groups which aren't truly dedicated to social welfare causes be allowed to operate tax-free without disclosing their donors?

Finally, you mentioned that foreign influence of elections is illegal under current law. That's true, but there is an important caveat. There have been concerns in the wake of CUFC that foreign companies with U.S. subsidiaries would be able to spend unlimited sums in U.S. elections. The law you cited does not mention foreign-owned companies headquartered and incorporated in the US. The decision punted on this aspect, though, which opens the floodgates to CUFC being used as precedent in a later decision for allowing these companies to make unlimited donations to Super PACs or social-welfare groups.

Onto your arguments:

1. Your case about "taxation without representation" misses the mark, because corporations are not an entity enshrined in the Constitution. You act as though, without the ability to directly influence elections, corporations have no say. That is patently false. Individuals who serve on the boards of these corporations are able to vote, to speak their voices, and to volunteer for the candidate of their choice, and still would under the system that I advocate. The distinction between the current system and my system is that they wouldn't have the excessive leverage that they do now because money wouldn't be deemed speech. They have the same power and the same voice as I--a non-business owner--do. Why should owning a corporation afford them a new right? You didn't challenge my claim that money isn't--that, if we accept that it is, people with more money have more speech. To me, that is the ultimate injustice. You are viewing this debate strictly through the prism of corporations, but are failing to account for the ramifications of allowing this freedom, have not cited the basis for it--as the Constitution does not afford such a broad definition of speech--and are ignoring that, if even if we accept that corporations are people, and that money is speech (and I don't, but I will entertain the possibility for a moment, for the sake of argument), there are reasonable restrictions on freedoms. The Constitution not only included vague language--general welfare, "unreasonable search and seizure", et al--but the framers left open a process for the people to amend it, largely to protect themselves against a government run amok. The polling I provided to you in my last argument is clear: the American public is wary of corporate influence in elections and in politics. Therefore, continuing to defend CUFC is taking an absolutist stance that displays apathy toward the effective legalization of bribery. I showed you the data on that, too.

2. I reject the premise of this argument, as it places the blame entirely on voters---many of whom are the victims of this decision. Essentially what you are doing is asking them to filter through the lies they have been inundated with for years--much of it through 30-second advertisements, many which I pointed out earlier are inherently wrong and deceptive (which you didn't challenge)--and seek a different route than has been offered. But how can they do that when there you will hardly find a viable candidate who isn't taking Wall Street money? The President has condemned CUFC, but he himself took $14 million in donations from Wall Street in 2012, and $28.2 million in 2008. Think about this: a lot of these donations came from large financial institutions that crashed the economy, were bailed out on our dollar, and then paid themselves several million dollar bonuses. The assumption that being informed would thwart this problem is flawed. To be informed is to know about the President's ties to Wall Street, as well as Romney's, whose biggest donors were Goldman, JP Morgan, Bank of America, etc. As an informed voter, what can I do? Should I choose the "worst of the evils?" Should I vote for Green Party nominee Jill Stein, who stood hardly a chance at winning because she wasn't even in the national debates?

I'm not suggesting that there isn't a responsibility for Americans to become more active and informed; but there isn't much they can do when there simply is not a viable option--because candidates are driven toward monied interests, in light of the statistics. Moreover, I would argue that being informed is not only exceptionally difficult in the world where 30-second ads trump all, where the economy is failing and many Americans need to take on second or third jobs to make ends meet, and where the media is, simply put, not doing its job at pointing out the truth--what economist Paul Krugman called a "cult of centrism." Even amid the recent debt ceiling debates, for instance, the media portrayed this not as extortion--where one side was literally threatening to blow up the global economy if they couldn't get their way on a law that has been passed by both Houses, signed by the President, upheld by the Supreme Court, and that survived an election--but as a debate between two sides. Furthermore, a majority of the viewpoints are even presented from the right-wing perspective, largely to placate corporate donors. Consider a media study that a majority of guests on Sunday morning talk shows--40% to be exact--were conservative, relative to 29% who were liberal. Further data indicated that most discussions took a right-wing tilt, with Fox News being the worst, with 47% of their Sunday journalists expressing ideologically conservative views. Would you expect much more from a network, though, that recently allowed John Stossel to argue that "government handouts" led women to have more babies? That's not only factually wrong and deeply ideological, but highly sexist and offensive .

The overarching point is that, in the absence of a true gatekeeper--and without viable options--those with the most money have the most power and the most influence.

3. There are a number of logical fallacies in this argument. First, as I pointed out, many people who operate these organizations--e.g., Karl Rove--do so through loopholes that benefit their own interests. The notion that I would advocate banning advertisements is reductio ad absurdum, since most inherently lack the quid-pro-quo nature that CUFC allows for--that is my main concern with this decision. Advertisements are protected under free speech, while money is not (or should not be). The assertion that corporations can't vote misses the point since, as I pointed out, the individuals operating them would have as much say under my system as they would a regular system. Also, you have casually approached my figures as if they're assertions, when they are factual. The data I provided--which you haven't challenged--indicates that most of the time, candidates with the most money win--which is spurred by a quid pro quo. Would you defend those outcomes under the banner of free speech, when that absolutist definition shuts out the voice of so many?

4. My opponent has not only misunderstood my argument, but his allusion to Hitler is not well-taken. First, note that he only mentions shareholders. The bulk of my claim is that, by law, boards are exempted from the same degree of liability as an operator of, say, a sole proprietorship. Therefore, they are preemptively treated differently than would individuals, so why should we brand as people? This preference for corporations manifests itself in to scandals such as the one with HSBC. Is it spurious that an individual has never been deemed "too big to fail," yet many corporations are? Why hasn't the federal government ever bailed out an individual? Would the Federal Reserve purchase my bad assets?

5. My argument was not the least bit hypocritical: first, I'm not indicting corporations, but rather the legality of quid pro quo. Second, I want corporations to prosper, but they, ipso facto, are not the key to job growth: consumers are. In no way are the policies they're promoting synonymous with their ability to create jobs--oil tax breaks don't create jobs. Corporate profits are at all-time highs, as are stock portfolios. Corporations are not suffering, but average Americans are.


Your case about "taxation without representation" misses the mark, because corporations are not an entity enshrined in the Constitution.

Corporations do not need to be enshrined in the Constitution to meet the qualification of being taxed without being represented. Before the Constitution was written, when the phrase "taxation without representation" was first used to apply to the US, no one was enshrined in the Constitution, not individuals, not businesses, not religious institutions, no one, and yet, we still fought against unreasonable taxation, not just for individuals, but for businesses as well! In addition, we could say that immigrants possessing a Green Card, yet working in the US are taxed without representation, and I would say so. Immigrants are not enshrined in the Constitution either. Foreign companies operating plants in the United States are subject to our laws and taxes, and yet, you would deny them the capability to speak in the political process that affects them? Individuals on the board, as I said, are doubly affected by the laws passed in Congress. Denying the corporate entity, which in and of itself is affected independently of the individuals who make up it's board, employees, management, and shareholders, the right to back a candidate that will positively affect their survival does amount to taxing an entity without providing it with the chance to have a say in the process. Enshrinement in the Constitution is irrelevant to the matter at hand.

You didn't challenge my claim that money isn't--that, if we accept that it is, people with more money have more speech.

I didn't challenge it because in one part of your argument, you say that Money isn't speech. Then, halfway through, you say "Money talks." Which is it? Is it speech? Or is it not speech? If it is capable of talking, should we not consider it speech in some form or another? As to the assertion that people with more money have more speech, that would be completely valid IF those non-profits, Super-pacs, etc. were able to directly contribute to the candidate of their choosing. But they can't. As such, when it comes to the ability to affect a campaign or contribute to corruption, they lack the power to do so, even with all the money in the world. So your argument here is irrelevant as well, because without direct and unlimited contribution power, there is no difference in the speech levels afforded to individuals and the speech levels afforded to corporations.

if even if we accept that corporations are people, and that money is speech (and I don't, but I will entertain the possibility for a moment, for the sake of argument), there are reasonable restrictions on freedoms.

I completely agree. And I argue the reasonable restriction on the freedom of individuals already exists, in the form of limits on direct contributions to campaigns,and the ban on direct contributions from corporate entities and non-profits, etc. Anything more infringes up the rights of all.

Therefore, continuing to defend CUFC is taking an absolutist stance that displays apathy toward the effective legalization of bribery. I showed you the data on that, too.

You showed me nothing of the sort. Rather, you showed a correlation between candidates that win elections and candidates that receive the most donations. You did not show causation. That is, you did not, and cannot, prove that the reason the candidate won is because of his donations. The very fact that the numbers are not 100% for both the House and the Senate prove the weak foundation your argument sits upon. And finally, the final decision on who wins rests in the hands of the voters, not the money itself. To argue that the money is doing the voting, when money cannot vote, is preposterous. And that's essentially what you are doing.

I reject the premise of this argument, as it places the blame entirely on voters---many of whom are the victims of this decision.

Reject it all you want. The fact remains that the blame IS entirely on the voters. It's the voters job to sort through the arguments, lies or no lies, and make their decisions on who to vote for. If the voters are not doing so, not exercising their ability to think critically, and are instead taking these non-profits at their word, you have no ability to blame the non-profits, considering they had no voting power. Blame the people, for the blame justly lies with them.

The assumption that being informed would thwart this problem is flawed. To be informed is to know about the President's ties to Wall Street, as well as Romney's, whose biggest donors were Goldman, JP Morgan, Bank of America, etc. As an informed voter, what can I do? Should I choose the "worst of the evils?" Should I vote for Green Party nominee Jill Stein, who stood hardly a chance at winning because she wasn't even in the national debates?

Yes. Vote for Jill Stein. The vote is the final power, the final say. By casting a vote for Romney or Obama, knowing their ties, you endorsed their acceptance of the donations. You may be opposed to the donations, but you implicitly endorsed them when you voted for one or the other, as do all who take the position you do. If you truly believe Wall Street to be an evil, conniving, hateful organization, then vote against them, and against the candidates they endorse.

I would argue that being informed is not only exceptionally difficult in the world where 30-second ads trump all, where the economy is failing and many Americans need to take on second or third jobs to make ends meet

This is preposterous. In the age of free information, the internet age, it's exceedingly easy to find whatever you want to. Public Libraries have free access to the Internet, so you can't even say it's impossible for some to access the internet. At the end of the day, people make the conscious choice to believe the 30-second ads. You can't blame corporations and non-profits for the conscious decisions of individuals.

Advertisements are protected under free speech

And yet, money is spent on advertising. Thus, money is protected under free speech. Essentially, by spending money on independent expenditures, the companies, non-profits, etc. are advertising their beliefs. We even call them advertisements.

The bulk of my claim is that, by law, boards are exempted from the same degree of liability as an operator of, say, a sole proprietorship.

My opponent has a limited understanding of Limited Liability. While Corporate officers as whole are not liable for the actions of the corporation, individual corporate officers may be held liable for their specific actions which contribute to the actions of the corporation that are in question. This is the current law of the land in the US. As such, his assertion that they are treated differently falls apart once again. As to the discussion of the individual, an individual does not employ thousands of workers single-handedly, nor operate several hundred plants single-handedly. I am not defending too-big-to-fail, for I believe that those companies who utilized bad business practices and led to the recession should have gone down in flames, as a lesson to others. Rather, I am pointing out the absurdity of my opponent's remarks.

Second, I want corporations to prosper, but they, ipso facto, are not the key to job growth: consumers are.

This is a far from settled aspect of Economic thought. Economists to this day fight over whether or not consumption is the key driver of economic growth, or savings and investment are, and some even continue to adhere to Say's Law. Both sides have compelling arguments. But you are operating under an assumption that is niether widely accepted, nor proven, and therefore, your argument fails because your foundation is failed.

oil tax breaks don't create jobs.

A subjective statement with no backing in fact whatsoever. Tax breaks increase disposable income, which is then used by companies to pay for new capital investments, new research and development, and new employees. My opponent's assertion here is completely subjective, and runs counter to all established theory and fact.

Corporate profits are at all-time highs, as are stock portfolios. Corporations are not suffering, but average Americans are.

Again, you are operating under assumptions that are not warranted. Inherent in this argument is the assumption that corporate profits and stock-portfolios = corporate prosperity. This is simply not so. A Corporation is much more than it's profits or stock prices. Investment in capital is only just now being to rise again, while investment in labor is as spasmatic as it has been since the recession. The health of a corporation goes far beyond the stockmarket, and it is a sad fact that most Americans equate the stock market with the growth of the economy, when it is not so at all.

Debate Round No. 3


1. You are misrepresenting the history of "taxation without representation." There was no fight against "unreasonable taxation." The taxes, actually, were quite small. The battle was over virtual representation vs direct representation. Colonies could not elect their own representatives, but were governed "virtually" by a Royal Governor from London. There is absolutely no parallel here.

Next, you are wrong again when you say that "no one" was enshrined in the Constitution. The press, in fact, was--the only institution the founders mentioned, might I add (which is why it's a travesty that politicians like Diane Feinstein and Peter King are trying to effectively decimate journalism)--was mentioned, as were "the people." You claim that we fought against unreasonable taxation on businesses, but don't you realize that the British crown's taxes did not target businesses? The Tea Act was not a tax on business, but on consumption.

Furthermore, your constitutional argument is irrelevant, because if the founding fathers were alive today, they would agree with me. They were highly skeptical of corporate power, and not only devised a rigorous process for incorporation, but prohibited them from influencing elections or policy. Laws of this kind remained in place until roughly 100 years after the Revolutionary War. The founders today would never agree with the notion that corporations are people.

Finally, you said that corporate entities are affected "independently of the individuals who make up its board...[...]", and this, I presume, is your argument as to why incorporating ought to afford the additional legal right to influence elections as a "person," under the label of a powerful corporate entity. The counter, of course, is not only that the notion that policy would threaten a corporation's existence is paranoid and nearly laughable--I'd throw it in the same category as people who believe in an absolutist view of the 2nd Amendment in order to thwart "government tyranny"--but nearly irrelevant. First, many executives, shareholders, etc, pay significantly lower tax rates than do average middle-income Americans. Mitt Romney paid 14% on millions in income; GE paid 0%. Payroll taxes alone will tally up a larger tax bill for middle-income people. Second, executives ought to have as much say as average people do, but alas, they have even more because--and I stand by this contention, and will stress it more heavily later--they have more money. This is my fundamental point: corporate money is effectively shredding democracy, and suppressing the demands of the masses. Put aside elections for a moment and answer this: why is CEO compensation deductible? Why is investment income taxed at a lower rate than earned income, allowing the Romney's of the world to pay less than people earning $50,000? Why weren't Wall Street executives prosecuted? Why, during the Fiscal Cliff negotiations, were politicians intent on "reforming (read: cutting) entitlements," but not only didn't consider Big Oil subsidies "entitlements" (but apparently Medicare and Social Security are), but cut taxes, again? Largely, it was because of a "Taxpayer Protection Pledge" that Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform had these politicians sign, where they agreed never to raise taxes under any circumstances. Of course, Norquist has ties to Fannie Mae, internet gambling, and lobbyists. The point that you don't seem to accept is that CUFC solidifies a two-tiered system of justice--with HSBC and friends on one side, and the rest of us on the other. There is overwhelming evidence that the system is bought on a quid-pro-quo basis, yet you defend CUFC on the grounds of "free speech" and "representation." That is why I called your stance absolutist. When a majority of Americans fear the power of corporations--when even conservative states like Texas are considering resolutions calling for a Constitutional Convention to abolish corporate personhood--you're unwilling to entertain the idea. Organizations like WolfPac, spurring civic activism across the country and bringing together people of all political persuasions, is the type of activism that you claim is absent from the discourse. Why, though, is your position that "We the People" should not be able to interpret the Constitution--or better yet, amend it to counteract corporate influence?

2. "Money talks" was not a flip-flop on whether money is speech, but personification attesting to the point that money, ipso facto, is a toxic influence and can--and has--swayed elections. Your argument here--and in your next remark--is inconsistent. Why would you accept restrictions on speech for direct contributions but not indirect contributions? If corporations should be treated as people, why can people donate to campaigns directly, while corporations cannot? You say that any more restrictions would impede the "rights of all" (and I think "all" goes too far). Why would you draw that seemingly arbitrary line? Please clarify your position on the extent to which these rights can be restricted, and why you have drawn the line where you have.

3. Showing you causation is impossible unless I were able to find an e-mail, or even a signed contract, demonstrating allegiance between these aligned forces. Now that I've said that, and pointed out the hilarity in this argument, let me point further to what is not simply a correlation, but a thorough demonstrating of quid pro quo, which sets up a self-reinforcing effect. Answer this: if you're a politician, and you saw that most of your colleagues win by virtue of having raised the most money, why would that not be your goal? Consider this, along with the fact that, as I pointed out in several cases, the policies these politicians promote are directly in line with the interests of corporate America, i.e. thirty years of trickle-down economics, income inequality, and deregulation. It's a simple deduction. Prove to me that this is not the case. Seeing as most Americans--and the founding fathers--agree with me, the burden of proof is on you.

Also, when you point out that the figures demonstrate that money doesn't win out 100% of the time, and are therefore irrelevant, I hope you realize that your basis for that ranges from 6-7%, while mine is 93%-94%. Yes, there were cases--say, Karl Rove's investments in 2012 (though he profited immensely nevertheless)--where money didn't win every election. But that's clearly the exception, rather than the rule. I shouldn't need to point out that 93 is greater than 7.

4. Your argument about "free information," again blames the victims. It essentially says to people who have deceived for years, bullied into voting against their own economic interests, "Why are you hitting yourself?" I pointed out earlier that the media is not reporting honestly on these issues. Here's another example: former MSNBC Cenk Uygur (who is referenced several times in my arguments) reported that he left MSNBC--which is widely considered "liberal media"--because he dared to challenge the establishment, and was told to "tone it down." Do you consider that to be evidence of a gatekeeper? Is your argument from this point that people should simply go to the library--or vote for candidates polling at less than 1% nationally (who, by the way, are hardly covered by media outlets--or they simply must suffer? I want more civic activism. I want people to be excited about elections, which is why I'm so proud of the grassroots efforts to overturn CUVC. But I'm unwilling to blame the victims, and to assert that they are simply on their own in determining fact from fiction. There are structural problems that need to be addressed so that we can help these people to make informed decisions--the largest of which is the role of money in elections.

5. Your argument on money is a non sequitur. Though advertisements, funded by money, display the views of a group or even a company promoting a product, there are legal restrictions. For instance, they can't promote illegal activities, engage in slander, etc. It would simply be one more item tacked on to the list. But again, answer this: if money is speech, why not legalize contributions directly to candidates?

6. Again, you have misunderstood my argument and have chosen instead to attack me. I am familiar with "piercing the corporate veil." The argument on liability was that, in order to prosecute a director of a corporation, there is a process of "piercing the veil," while the same is not so for a sole proprietorship or individual, which is an inherent distinction. The main argument on this was "too big to fail," which manifests itself in Wall Street donations to candidates.

7. I never equated the growth of the stock market with the health of the economy. I simply said that corporations are doing fine with record profits, and I challenge you to prove otherwise (and that billions in subsidies to big five oil, the most profitable companies in the world, create jobs), or point to a policy that would disrupt their position. As for the economic arguments, again, you are wrong. It is settled. In fact, Ben Bernanke, Bruce Bartlett, business surveys, the WSJ, and academic research bear out my case that lack of aggregate demand is halting the economy now. In fact, income inequality wasn't as bad as it is now since 1929, and we both know what followed that. Corporations are sitting today on literally trillions in capital that they aren't investing. The policies they are advocating benefit them, not the average American.


As for the economic arguments, again, you are wrong. It is settled. In fact, Ben Bernanke, Bruce Bartlett, business surveys, the WSJ, and academic research bear out my case that lack of aggregate demand is halting the economy now.

Here, my opponent commits the appeal to authority fallacy. Ben Bernanke is notoriously Keynesian and is only one man in a field of thousands in the US alone, business surveys do not make science, and the WSJ runs both ways, depending on the author of the article in question. The academic research does not, contrary to your assertion, reveal a consensus. In fact, it reveals the exact opposite. As someone presenting an economic paper at a Research Conference this April, I can tell you from personal experience that Keynesian Demand economics is NOT a settled topic at all. Papers contesting the assertion that demand is the source of growth are consistently being published. The fact is, there are more schools of economic thought being taught in the world than Keynesianism. The Harvard/MIT schools of economics would not and do not treat Demand as the chief and sole source of economic growth. The Chicago School, even less so. The New Institutionalists do not treat Demand as the chief source of growth either. I am only naming a few of the schools who would contest your assertions.

You are misrepresenting the history of "taxation without representation." There was no fight against "unreasonable taxation." The taxes, actually, were quite small. The battle was over virtual representation vs direct representation. Colonies could not elect their own representatives, but were governed "virtually" by a Royal Governor from London. There is absolutely no parallel here.

Here are only a few of the acts imposing implicit or explicit taxes on the Colonies:

Stamp Act
Navigation Act
Molasses Act

and many others. Of those, nearly all of them had direct consequences for Businesses. For example, the Navigation Act required businesses to channel all trade through Britain FIRST, where the goods would be inspected, and then duties on the goods would be paid. Who do you think paid the duties? The company who was shipping the goods, that's who. Next, as to your assertion that there was "no fight against 'unreasonable taxation,'" I now quote the Declaration of Independence, with the relevant passage in bold:

"He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:"

My discussion, it would seem, actually hits the mark, and not just grazing it, but with a bullseye.

Next, you are wrong again when you say that "no one" was enshrined in the Constitution. The press, in fact, was--the only institution the founders mentioned, might I add (which is why it's a travesty that politicians like Diane Feinstein and Peter King are trying to effectively decimate journalism)--was mentioned, as were "the people." You claim that we fought against unreasonable taxation on businesses, but don't you realize that the British crown's taxes did not target businesses? The Tea Act was not a tax on business, but on consumption.

Read my assertion again please. I said that when the phrase "no taxation without representation" was first used to apply to the American Revolution, no one was enshrined in the Constitution, and thus we could not claim that the phrase referred only to individuals. How can an entity be enshrined in a document, when that document didn't exist at the time in question? Next, you use one act among many to illustrate your point, and thus fail in your overall position. Allow me to break down the acts and their implications for businesses:

1651: Navigation Acts. Already discussed above
1733: Molasses Act: Imposed duties on imports of Sugar and Molasses from foreign countries. Who paid these duties? Not the citizens of the colonies, but the colonial businesses importing the goods.
1764: Sugar Act: Amended the Molasses Act and provided for greater enforcement of the Navigation Acts. Raised duties on Sugar and Molasses.
1765: Stamp Act: Required all Royally endorsed stamps to be placed on all public and legal documents. Do you think, in your naivety, that individuals were the only ones with legal and public documents? Businesses had to purchase the stamps too, and arguably more often because they dealt with the State on a more frequent basis. Thus, the costs associated with the stamp act would be borne primarily by the businesses who interacted with the Public Sector, not the individuals.
1767: Townshend Acts: More customs duties placed on over 70 different items. Indirect Taxation by nature, the costs are borne, again, by the companies doing the importing.
1773: Tea Act: "The Tea Act of 1773 granted the East India Company exclusive license to import and distribute tea to the American colonies. Tea was sold in America at 10s per pound, half its previous price and less than the cost of smuggled tea. Despite the economic benefit to end consumers of tea, the law damaged the position of independent shippers, smugglers and local shopkeepers."[1]
1774: Boston Port Act: prohibited all commerce going to and from Boston Harbor. Again, if you think the individuals were the ones chiefly affected by this, you would be naive.

As I have just shown, your arguments regarding taxation are not only flawed, but downright incorrect, and you have even failed to accurately characterize the Tea Acts, to which you pointed for your main support!!

Furthermore, your constitutional argument is irrelevant, because if the founding fathers were alive today, they would agree with me.

A subjective statement, and one my opponent cannot prove at all. Regarding the rest of that paragraph, Alexander Hamilton was in favor of Industry, and he was a founding father. In fact, we can thank the Founding Fathers for Industrial Patents! (see cited source) [2]

The counter, of course, is not only that the notion that policy would threaten a corporation's existence is paranoid and nearly laughable--I'd throw it in the same category as people who believe in an absolutist view of the 2nd Amendment in order to thwart "government tyranny"--but nearly irrelevant.

It's my turn to laugh. If policy could not threaten a corporation's existence, explain Communism. Explain the Government's ability to nationalize an industry. Explain to me how taxation doesn't cut into profits, profits which are used to invest in new capital, profits which are used to invest in new labor. Policy does have the ability to threaten a Corporation's existence, and to assert otherwise is to be wholly ignorant of reality. And it is completely relevant to the discussion at hand. If policy has the potential to threaten the livelihood of businesses, it is reasonable for businesses to at least be able to express their opinion of policy. The tax rates paid by executives is irrelevant to our discussion. Mitt Romney sponsors and runs charitable organizations. And you cry foul when he marks them down on his taxes? Here I thought we were supposed to be in favor of charitable organizations and those who create them. But no, you are not content with someone willing giving away a portion of their income to help others, you would take it from them by force, because by YOUR reasoning, they aren't doing enough. How arrogant, to think that you can determine what constitutes enough of another person's income! How prideful and selfish must you be, to think that your opinion of charitable donations and organizations is the only valid one!

In the end, how many votes does a CEO get? 1. How many votes does a homeless man have? 1. Your whole position is crumbling beneath your feet, yet you can only scream your sound-bytes as you fall into the abyss. It is truly saddening to see someone so incapable of facing reality.

CUFC does not solidify any system of justice. The instances you refer to had absolutely nothing to do with elections!! There is absolutely NO causal evidence showing that the system is "bought on a quid-pro-quo basis."

My assertion that "We the People" should not be able to interpret the Constitution, is driven by the fact that it is not in our power to do so. The Judicial Branch retains that power. As to our ability to amend the Constitution, we have that ability. But should we exercise it for the purposes you adhere to? Not at all, not unless we wish to completely destroy all prosperity in the US.

In the end, corporations do not vote. That is why I say they should be allowed to indirectly contribute only.

You admit causation is impossible. Then relinquish your position. You have just admitted defeat. What happens when those emails or signed contracts are found? Are not the parties involved brought to justice? The answer is YES.

93 is greater than 7, but it is not 100. That's all I need.

You assert that people are bullied into voting against their own economic interest, and this is so laughable I almost fell out of my chair. Do you know who bullied people? Union Thugs. Not Corporations. People make a conscious decision to vote one way or the other, and there is no coercive action against them at all. You are making a fool of yourself. The greatest lie is the one you tell yourself, that you are victims, that you have no role in the quagmire you find yourself in.

I am not done. but I run low on characters.


Debate Round No. 4


I frankly wouldn't like to take this debate any further (which is why it is helpful that is Round 5, I suppose), but there are a few things I would like to point out.

First, I was planning to begin my comment with a correction on the Tea Act--I meant to say the Townsend Acts--but I see that you have addressed that, as you rightfully should have, because it was a horrible error on my part.

Second, the animosity and sheer frequency of ad hominem attacks in your post(s) is absolutely stunning. I provided fact, after fact, after fact, after fact, and you're providing me with anecdotes: "Poor corporations, everyone wants to take away their voices!." If I were to speak with even a modicum of uncouth, vitriolic tone that you did, I would be inclined to call your arguments silly, naive, unattributed (by the way, Forbes is hardly a credible source. Steve Forbes ran for President twice on the GOP ticket--though it was no surprise to me to find out which side you're on after reading "union thugs"), and you a corporate apologist. Did I? No. Because unlike you, I don't attack people, I attack ideas. And I make arguments, and I back up my sources.

Third, you're pushing factual inaccuracy after factual inaccuracy, and even ignoring my points. The crux of my argument was on too-big-to-fail (contrary to what your Chicago friends may tell you, not bailing out the banks would have led to a global depression) and the historical distinction--the fact that the Revolution was triggered by VIRTUAL representation, not overtaxation, but I see that you have ignored that point. Notice that the number of sources I have provided is larger than yours, and my sources are more credible.

By the way, the Wall Street Journal, by and large, does NOT run both ways. The reporting indeed is excellent--in spite of the fact that several reporters endorsed Larry Summers for Fed Chair, which I think demonstrates a bias, but I'll look beyond that. The op-ed page is teeming with right-wing, pro-corporatist opinions, and arguing this point is laughable. As for the Keynesian vs. Others: this isn't a debate on economics. If It were, I would point out that the Keynesians were right on virtually everything leading up to the crash, while your guys continued to push tax cuts, deregulation, and austerity--how'd that work out for you? There are even conservative economists who have agreed not only that aggregate demand IS the determinant force at least of this recession, but Art Laffer (Reagan's economic advisor) retracted his statements on the relationship between the monetary base and inflation (then made heinous, untrue comments about the minimum wage, but again, beside the point). And I'm sure you heard about how Harvard's Rogoff and Reinhart were embarrassed by a Umass-Amherst graduate student who found errors in their Excel spreadsheets, and disproved their thesis that justified austerity throughout the world. You left that out of your analysis, though.

Fourth, I'm delighted to hear that you're an academic; I am as well. But the way that you have behaved in this debate, even with respect to the (lack of) intellectual honesty that you have demonstrated, causes me to question your positioning in the world of academia. Academics don't say to someone with whom they disagree, "you're making a fool of yourself." They don't blindly support some cause or some group, as you're doing. They make arguments, they cite sources, and they don't distort reality to suit their own agenda. I can't say the same for you.

With that said, allow voting to commence as it will.


As this is the final round, I will stick to summing up my arguments, and why my opponent has not undermined them. However, I will address some of his observations.

First, the "ad hominem attacks." In my arguments, I can point to one specific moment when I made a direct comment on you, yourself, and not your position. That was the "you're making a fool of yourself" comment. Now, this was out of line, and I apologize. However, the rest of my arguments were hardly uncouth, let alone vitriolic. Next, the animosity. I have no animosity towards you. If you are, perhaps, referring to my comments on the belief that someone else has the right to determine what constitutes enough taxation on another person, I can't help you there. I believe that system of tenents to be arrogant, selfish, and prideful, and called them such.

Now, I will move to summing up my arguments. As I have clearly shown, the sentiment "no taxation without representation" applied to businesses just as much as individuals. If we fail to stay true to that sentiment in our own laws, what good are they? Corporations are affected just as much as individuals by policy, something my opponent has failed to discount, and cannot discount, as it is an accepted and time-tested aspect of both Economic and Political Theory and fact. However companies cannot vote. Therefore, independent expenditures are permissible because it provides the company to advertise it's views, while still leaving the decision in the hands of the voters. This is another aspect my opponent cannot disprove. In the end, the conscious decisions of the voters determine the winner. My opponent brings the fact that the campaign with the most contributions tends win the election into the debate. However, as we have already established that Corporations and Non-profits may not directly contribute or indirectly contribute to the campaign, and may only advertise their beliefs, this point is irrelevant. None of the money in those campaigns came from corporations or non-profits.

As to the taxes paid by corporation heads, this too is irrelevant. If we are going to demonize people who set up charity foundations because we arrogantly claim that we have the right to more of their income than they already voluntarily distribute through their charity, and involuntarily contribute in taxes, then what use is there in setting up those charities? All my opponent has to point to are conspiracy theories as to the greed of the rich. He can neither prove that those charities are set up for the personal gain of the corporation head who created it, nor prove that the corporation head himself is greedy. All my opponent and those who share his position can do is greedily cry for the government to take more money from the corporation head and give it to them. It would appear, then, that Mitt Romney and the rest, who contribute to charities regularly, and set up their own charities and run them for the benefit of others, are far less greedy than those who scramble to take their income from them by force.

The number of sources you provided are irrelevant. I can logically show that your positions had no bearing on the topic at hand. I have just done so with the argument regarding the number of direct contributions to campaigns. Considering the one thing all the acts have in common is taxation or duties on imports, and I quoted the Declaration of Independence as well, my opponent's assertion that the American Revolution was triggered by "VIRTUAL representation, not overtaxation" would appear to be incorrect. And notice that never once did I use the word "overtaxation," but rather, I pointed to the implementation taxation and duties without consent or representation in parliament. The US government does this today to Corporations. It imposes taxes without their consent, and it regulates exports and imports. Since Corporations cannot vote, I do not believe they should be able to directly influence elections. That being said, Citizens United does not allow them to directly influence elections, and instead allows them to voice their concerns separately. Stamping that voice out would be un-American, in my view.

The crux of your argument, too big to fail, misses the mark as well. Ben Bernanke and the Federal Reserve, those who allowed businesses to fail and propped others up, are not elected. Rather, they are appointed. The too-big-to-fail position reflects the problem of the revolving door, not campaign contributions. You can have all the credible sources in the world, but when they have no bearing on the topic at hand, they are useless.

You did not specify the op-ed pages in particular. You simply referred to WSJ. And considering that WSJ does on occasion publish opinions that are in line with yours, from academics and businessmen alike, your argument is flawed. And even if it wasn't, WSJ is not the only publication out there. If this were an Economic debate, then you committed more errors. Firstly, the people who are now referred to by the public as "Keynesians" are really "Neo-Keynesians," who took some, not all, of Keynes' ideas and merged them with Econometrics and other new advances in Economics. Second, the Keynesians did not accurately predict the crash, nor were they completely accurate on the events. Lest we forget that sub-prime loans are a Keynesian idea, geared towards improving the market by targeting the poor, those who have the highest MPC.

Most people think Capitalism failed in the recent recession. It didn't. It worked perfectly. Those corporations who used bad business practices suffered. They were in danger of default, and should have been allowed to default. That would have been Capitalist. Instead, the Government stepped in. That's Keynesianism. Tax cuts do promote growth, this is a fact of Economics and Market theory. De-regulation would bring about the Night-Watchman state, and we were close. However, no one allowed it to run its course. If we had, the "too-big-to-fail" corporations would have gone down, and new ones would have sprung up in their place. And through that experience, businesses would have learned their lesson. People want there to be prosperity only, growth only, ignoring the fact that nature experiences oscillations as a byproduct of it's very constitution. You cannot have only growth, you cannot have only prosperity. Inevitably, the oscillation will arrive. We can minimize the oscillation, but only if we allow the natural system to do its work. That is the belief of the Night-Watchman State, true Smithian Capitalism.

As to my "Chicago friends," I made no claim to adhere to them, or any other school. You have constructed a straw man. Aggregate Demand may have been the source of the Depression, but that does not mean it is the sole and driving source of Economic growth. Most crashes in the past have come from, believe it or not, lack of Investment and Savings! This crash was unique because of the circumstances, and making sweeping policies based on the exceptions to the rule is not good practice. And I never referenced austerity at all. You continue to attack that position, yet it was never in my argument. Another straw man.

My opponent's position rests upon unproven, irrelevant facts. The crash had nothing to do with Citizens United. It dealt with the problem of the Revolving Door. Bernanke showed favoritism to his alma mater, Goldman Sachs, and let their rivals go down. This is not the work of election contributions, this is the work of the Revolving Door. As such, your whole discussion on this point is moot. Next, your arguments against the history of the phrase "No taxation without representation" and the nature of the American Revolution have been rebutted. You have not shown anything to indicate that the American Revolution had no roots in the effects the British acts had on businesses, and I have shown precisely the opposite. My opponent's discussion of Campaign contributions again misses the mark, because he admits in the very beginning that Citizens United did not allow Corporations or Non-profits to directly or indirectly contribute to the elections. This renders all his discussion on this topic, and all his sources, moot.

Lastly, my opponent again brings up an irrelevant discussion, the discussion regarding the tax rates paid by executives. Firstly, not all executives pay the low rates that Mitt Romney does, and Romney does so because of his charitable organizations. His capital gains are taxed in accordance with the IRS tax code, and as such, he is not immune to the reach of taxation. Secondly, this has no bearing on the debate over Citizens United, which deals with campaign contributions.

That is the summation of my opponent's argument.

My argument is as follows:
1) Corporations are affected by policy, and should be allowed to voice their beliefs, and advertise them.
2) The voter makes the final decision. He/she can choose to believe the advertisements, or research everything for themselves. Considering the final decision is in their hands, they cannot be considered victims of coercion, but rather victims of their own decisions, and should accept responsibility.
3) The sentiments of the American Revolution, the very founding principles of the US, reflect a recognition of the effects the British Acts had on American Businesses. As a result, "No taxation without representation" can be used to describe the situation at hand. Entities affected by Policy should have some voice in the matter.

I thank my opponent for the opportunity to debate this topic, and hope going forward we can debate more interesting topics. If you believe that Pro has effectively defended his position, vote pro. But if you believe that Con has showed that Citizens United should stand, and does not adversely affect the lot of the American political system, please vote Con. Good luck to my opponent, and thanks to all who read through this debate.

Debate Round No. 5
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