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3 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
8 Points

Ronald Reagan was a better President than FDR

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/22/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,077 times Debate No: 36704
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (25)
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The Debate

I am arguing that President Ronald Reagan was a better president in terms policies than President Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR). My opponent must argue that FDR was a better president than Ronald Reagan.


Round 1 for acceptance. No trolling or semantics. Shared burden of proof.

Ronald Reagan FTW!


For clarity, the resolution is intended to be as follows:

Resolved: In terms of public policy, Ronald Reagan was on balance a better president than FDR

Pro can confirm that this captures the full intent of his challenge. I only offer this clarification since Pro mentions "policy" in his R1 but the debate title does not include it.

I ask that voters refrain from voting on criteria other than "argument" unless there is a flagrant in round violation of the other criteria.

Formalities out of the way, I accept this debate with one of my favorite FDR quotes:

"These Republican leaders have not been content with attacks on me, or my wife, or on my sons...Well, of course, I don't resent attacks, and my family don't resent attacks, but Fala does resent them... I am accustomed to hearing malicious falsehoods about myself ... But I think I have a right to resent, to object, to libelous statements about my dog!"

Debate Round No. 1


My Case

President: Ronald Wilson Reagan
Party: Republican
In Office: 1981 to 1989

I. Economic Policy

The first place we should look at in the presidency of Ronald Reagan would be his economic policy. President Reagan was a strong supporter of supply-side economics, the idea that the economic growth could be stimulated through lower taxes, less government regulations, less government intervention, and less government spending.

From January 1981 to January 1989, the unemployment rate peaked at 10.8% and then went down to 5.4%. This is a very strong record for an economic recovery. [1]

However that is not just it, federal revenue had been declining at 2.8% per year and after President Reagan's tax cuts it grew at 2.7% per year. In addition, real GDP growth was averaging at 0.9% before the tax cuts and 4.8% after. [2]

Finally, Mr. Cain and Mr. Lowrie write that:

"During this period, promising technology companies such as Apple Computer and Microsoft launched initial public offerings of stock, while others such as Cisco Systems and Compaq (later acquired by Hewlett-Packard) received expansion capital and later went public." [2]

This is because of a capital gains tax cut signed by President Reagan. It allowed the creation of companies like Apples. Think about it, you might have an apple in your house. How would it feel if Ronald Reagan had never become president. His policies that brought the creation of Apple and other companies would have never happened and thus these companies would have trouble growing.

Reagan's succesful policies were eventually nicknamed Reaganomics. When the Heritage Foundation looks are Reagan's record, it finds that:

"No matter how advocates of big government try to rewrite history, Ronald Reagan's record of fiscal responsibility continues to stand as the most successful economic policy of the 20th century. His tax reforms triggered an economic expansion that continues to this day. His investments in national security ended the Cold War and made possible the subsequent defense spending reductions that are largely responsible for the current federal surpluses. His efforts to restrain the expansion of federal government helped to limit the growth of domestic spending." [3]

Mr. Sperry notes that Preisdent Reagan's economic boom lasted for 92 months without a recession. This period was from November 1982 to July 1990, the longest period of sustained growth during peacetime. The growth from the President Reagan's boom lasted more than twice as long as the average period of expansions since World War 2. [3]

II. Cold War

Now let's move on to one of the president's greatest achievements: defeating the USSR, the greatest threat to our country ever. Far more threatening than an idiotic German fuhrer who lost did more to lose the war he started than the Allies ever did. There were three factors that brought down the Evil Empire:

1. Military Strategy - When President Reagan entered office, military morale was low and so was the pay. President Carter had cut a lot of programs in the military. Under the Reagan Administration, military spending skyrocketed in the crusade against communism. This included the famous SDI (Strategic Defense Initiative) programs and several over and covert missions to aid anti-communists guerrilla forces in Central America, South America, Africa, and Afghanistan.

2. Economic Strategy - Yes, Reaganomics helped win the Cold War. The recovering economy helped President Reagan's military buildup. The free market capitalist United States was too much for the USSR which had an its inefficient command-directed communist economic system.

3. Political Strategy - Politics played a role to in defeating the reds. With a strong ally in British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, President Reagan launched a global political form of blitzkrieg on the USSR and other communist political leaders. The reds had seriously underestimated the American president and saw him as a "warmonger".

Together, these strategies defeated the USSR and by January 1989 when President Reagan left office the USSR was in great trouble. In 1991, the USSR would collapse. Soviet Head of State Mikhail Gorbachev's policies of perestroika (re-structuring) and glasnost (openness) proved too little, too late. Gorbachev told the History Channel in 2002, "I don't know what would have happened had [Reagan] not been there." [4,5]

President: Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Party: Democrat
In Office: 1933 to 1945

I. The Failure of the New Deal

President Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected in 1933 in hope of ending the Great Depression. His policies would not just fail, but actually prolonged the Depression. FDR put in place the New Deal (it really is the Fail Deal and we will find out later). Unlike Reagan's supply-side strategy, Roosevelt took a demand-side strategy. This meant maintaining or raising the tax rates (usually on the wealthy) to pay for programs that would help the poor and increase demand which would mean more people would buy stuff to help businesses and the economy would recover. That might be true in a magical liberal fairy tale, but this is real life.

Mr. Higgs argues:

"There's no doubt that Roosevelt changed the character of the American government--for the worse. Many of the reforms of the 1930s remain embedded in policy today: acreage allotments, price supports and marketing controls in agriculture, extensive regulation of private securities, federal intrusion into union-management relations, government lending and insurance activities, the minimum wage, national unemployment insurance, Social Security and welfare payments, production and sale of electrical power by the federal government, fiat money--the list goes on."

So FDR, made it worse in the country for the future as well. [6]

Look at the awful unemployment rate here, among non-farm jobless workers:

The New Deal took a long time to bring unemployment down. As we can see here, unemployment finally went under 20% during the Great Depression.

Many people argue that World War 2 ended the Great Depression and saved free market capitalism, but this is not true either. World War 2 did not support private companies, only big government increased its investing. The private companies were stuck with little investment. As said here:

"Investment took off from 1941 onwards to reach, as a share of GDP, way more than double the level that investment stood at in 1940. Why was that? Well, it was not the result of a pick-up in private sector investment. What happened was a massive rise in government investment and spending. In 1940, private sector investment was still below the level of 1929 and actually fell further during the war. The state sector took over nearly all investment, as resources (value) were diverted to the production of arms and other security measures in a war economy." [7]

II. Packing the Court and Locking Up the Japanese

One of the most infamous things FDR did during his presidency was attempting to "pack" Supreme Court. Basically he wanted to add more judges to the court because he was frustrated that they ruled some of his New Deal legislation illegal. This was terrible and the American people were strongly against it. This move was very unethical and wrong because FDR wanted to add new liberal court judges in order to defeat the judges at the time that had been appointed by Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover.

Another terrible policy he enacted, without Congressional approval. Japanese civilians lost many personal items and other goods that they owned. They were then put in camps for the rest of the war. A terrible move if ever there was one. There were only 127,000 Japanese-Americans at the time, so if they were a threat there was little chance they could succeed based on simple numbers. Who just happened to compensate the Japanese for this? None other than Ronald Reagan in 1988! He signed an act giving the Japanese-Americans $1.6 billion in reparations. [8]


Clearly, Ronald Reagan was a far better president than Franklin Roosevelt ever was based on economic policy and foreign policy. While Reagan ended his recession quickly, the Great Depression did not end until 1948. While Reagan was for civil rights and helped Japanese-Americans, FDR locked them up. The United States was needed to fight the Cold War far more than it was in World War 2.


2. Cain, Herman and Rich Lowrie. 9-9-9 An Army of Davids. 2012.
3. Sperry, Peter B. "The Real Reagan Economic Record: Responsible and Successful Fiscal Policy." The Heritage Foundation. N.p., 1 June 2004. Web.
4. Gaffney, Dennis and Peter Gaffney. The Seven Day-Scholar: The Presidents. 2012.
5. Morelock, Jerry D. "Ronald Reagan's Cold War." Armchair General IX.5 (2012): 18-19.
6. Higgs, Robert. "How FDR Made the Depression Worse." The Free Market XIII.2 (1995)
7. Casey, Doug. "Escaping the Great Depression - and Extending the Greater Depression." The Casey Report, n.d. Web.



Introduction: FOUR, or the number of times Reagan voted for FDR

FDR is one of the most influential and respected of U.S. presidents, garnering admiration across the political spectrum. Even amidst criticisms of specific aspects of FDR’s policy, the broad and long lasting impact of FDR on American society has earned the gratitude of conservatives like Newt Gingrich. Reagan himself voted for FDR in 4 presidential elections and stated that he was not against the New Deal.

A) FDR beat Hitler

The incredible victory of the US in WWII and the subsequent positioning of the US as global hegemon are directly attributed to FDR. I assume Pro is joking that the Cold War was a more serious threat than WWII, considering WWII is the deadliest conflict in history with over 60 million killed.

1. Management pre-war involvement

FDR’s management and navigation of public opinion pre-WWII were essential to the final victory. The U.S. was heavily isolationist in the post-WWI era; not only public sentiment but legal barriers such as the Neutrality Laws prevented material support of belligerents.

Without the military and financial aid to the Allied belligerents, WWII would have been lost long before Pearl Harbor forced direct U.S. involvement. FDR deftly worked to repeal aspects of the Neutrality Laws to permit the “cash and carry” policy that allowed for limited aid to Britain and Russia. As Britain’s situation worsened, FDR personally came up with the concept of Lend-Lease as a means of providing weaponry and war machines to the belligerents. Stalin said after the war at the Tehran conference: “Without the use of those machines, through Lend-Lease, we would lose this war.”

Roosevelt also fought isolationist sentiment to pre-emptively massively build up U.S. military.

2. Management of war involvement

A number of FDR policies were crucial to the war effort: joint command and collaboration on atomic bomb research with Britain; The Atlantic Charter, i.e. affirmation of the right to self-determination; “Hitler first” policy setting clear strategy early in the war; a call for “unconditional surrender” and the absolute destruction of fascism.

FDR also pushed Churchill on opening a second European front- a crucial move repeatedly requested by Stalin. Churchill wished to continue with a Mediterranean campaign, but FDR and Stalin forced definite plans for D-Day and the eventual liberation of France.

B) The Bomb

FDR began research on the atomic bomb, making the US the first nuclear power and preventing a prolonged conflict in the Pacific. The atomic bomb has supported the U.S. as global hegemon. US dominance of the most important feature of post-WWII global security is due to FDR.

C) The G.I. Bill

The G.I. Bill transformed the face of American post-WWII, sending over 2 million veterans to college, 6 million to job training, and offering low-rate home mortgages that fueled the post-war housing boom. The G.I. bill had a long lasting economic impact on the U.S. economy and society by creating a strong middle and professional class and boosting home-ownership, propelling the post-war boom.

The G.I. Bill prevented a post-war recession or a repeat of the post-WWI Bonus Army as millions of veterans flooded the U.S. job force.

D) FDR Saved Capitalism and Democracy

1. Solving the Crisis

At minimum FDR is responsible for the preservation of the capitalist market system. The Hoover administration left the country on the brink of revolution. 20,000 impoverished veterans sat outside D.C. and were violently expelled by the Army, food riots across the country, states took radical action like forcibly preventing farm foreclosure via the National Guard. Radical political leaders like Coughlin and Huey Long advocated for fascism or outright redistribution and gained considerable political traction.

If nothing else, FDR’s 100 days captured public trust in the government. Even if the New Deal policies weren’t optimal, they still saved the country from collapse. This is on face a greater achievement than anything Reagan did.

2. Consensus Supports New Deal

There simply isn’t enough space to hash out economic impacts of the New Deal, but the overwhelming consensus is that the New Deal did NOT lengthen the Great Depression [1]. Even looking at Pro’s unemployment chart, it is clear that unemployment rapidly fell following the New Deal. The bottom line is FDR entered office at the worst point of the Great Depression and was followed by the largest economic expansion in US history and a prolonged period of economic stability [7].

3. Banking Security

Following his election FDR restored confidence in the banking industry with the Banking Holiday, FDIC, SEC. These are independent of the Keynesian aspects of the New Deal most people critique. Continuation of bank runs in 1933 would have been disastrous, but instead FDR’s policies resulted in a reversal of the hemorrhaging bank cash flow with deposits exceeding withdrawals by a factor of 2 and 15% single day rise in Wall Street stock prices.

Unlike controversial New Deal policies, the FDIC undoubtedly provides banking stability, which is why every bank in America today has an FDIC insured sticker in their window and no one talks about repealing the FDIC. Even Milton Friedman agrees, calling the FDIC the “most important structural change in our monetary institutions since at least 1914.” [2]

E) FDR Feeds Grandma

Possibly the most important U.S. social program, FDR launched the Social Security program to fight elderly poverty and assure everyone in the U.S. a financially secure retirement. Economic studies have confirmed that SSI does have a large impact on poverty for the elderly [3]

F) He Just Did So Freaking Much

-Executive Order 8802, first federal order to prohibit government racial employment discrimination.

-Founded March of Dimes, eliminating polio from the U.S.

-War refugee Board- saved up to 200,000 Jews

-Repealed prohibition with 21st Amendment

G) Rebuttal

Court Packing is a non-issue, FDR lost that battle and so it had no negative impact on public policy. Pre-FDR presidents had succeeded in court packing schemes; Court Packing was beneficial insofar as the political backlash ensured no president would try the maneuver again.

Japanese internment was a terrible policy. I can only point out that this was a case of FDR deferring to military advisors, though ultimately FDR signed the orders. War is hell, and every war president has made the wrong call on a tough decision.


A) Reagan Dines-and-Dashes

Reagan failed abysmally if his goal was to run a low-spending government. Reagan massively increased US debt as % GDP and spent on average 22.4% GDP compared with average spending of 20.6% between 1971-2009. Reagan took the U.S. from being the world’s largest creditor nation to the largest debtor nation.

The Reagan economic policies were not bad ones, but they were largely in line with trends of the time and most of the Reagan expansion was due to a natural upturn in the economy following stagflation. Deregulation actually started under Carter, and even Milton Friedman thinks the Reagan expansion was due to Carter-appointee Volcker’s monetary policy. [6]

B) Reagan did not win the Cold War- the USSR lost it

USSR was facing massive imperial overstretch, e.g. 10% of the Polish population belonged to the anti-USSR Solidarity party by Reagan’s first year in office. The USSR Era of Stagnation began in the early 70’s. The Soviet system was a failure- it flourished while economic success meant production of raw resources like coal and oil but faltered as Western countries pulled ahead in innovation-driven markets. Alcoholism in the USSR was rampant and life expectancy began to FALL between 1970-85.

These causes all pre-date any impact from the Reagan administration, collapse of the USSR was only a matter of time.

Pro touts SDI as a Reagan success but it was a failure! Most of the SDI programs were cancelled as infeasible; we still don’t have a comprehensive missile defense system

Much of Reagan’s policy was a continuation of Carter. The Carter administration began the ramp up in military spending that Reagan continued [4]. The “Carter Doctrine” declaring U.S. strategic interest in the Persian Gulf setting a hard-line military tone, followed by actual military engagement in Afghanistan, had much more of an impact than Reagan’s needless comments about an “evil empire.”

C) Reagan’s Failures

1) Reagan Supports the Terrorists

The Reagan administration oversaw the violation of an arms embargo on Iran and illegally sold weapons to the country and used the funds to again, illegally fund the Nicaraguan Contras. To be clear, U.S. law prohibited these activities because Iran was designated a State sponsor of Terrorism and the Contras were known to employ rape, torture, and kidnapping of civilians. To this day the incident vastly undermines U.S. credibility in advocating for Human Rights and Iran-Contra is a byword for US hypocrisy.

2) Savings and Loan

Reagan’s revision of the tax code in 1986, combined with deregulation, led to the failure of Savings & Loan institutions that were essentially acting as bank. Fortunately the FDR’s FDIC was there to make sure there wasn’t a total collapse of the banking industry, but the scandal cost the U.S. government roughly $150 billion.

The S&L crisis combined with Reagan tax disincentives for home buying caused new home construction to drop by nearly 50% and led to the 90’s recession [5].


[2] The Essence of Friedman, p. 424






General Info:

Jean Edward Smith, “FDR”

James Stokesburry, “Short History of WWII”

Daniel Sargent, UC Berkeley Hist 186 Spring 2012 via iTunes

Debate Round No. 2


I would like to thank my opponent for not forfeiting and continuing this highly important and interesting debate. It is important to remember than Reagan was first a liberal, but became a strong conservative. As for Gingrich and other conservatives, many respective him for his leadership in World War 2 and not his New Deal, but this is unimportant to the debate.

Typically, I debate first with my case and then make my refutations in rounds 3 and 4. However, in this debate I will divide it between Reagan (in a sense my case) and Roosevelt (my opponent's case).

Ronald Reagan

I. Economic Policy

My opponent stated that Reagan's economic policies were not bad ones, this means that basically my opponent has conceded the economic argument of the debate and was responsible for ending the recession.

On debt, most of that was caused by Reagan's military spending needed to defeat the Soviet Union. Domestic spending growth under Carter was 3.5% and it went down to 1% under Ronald Reagan, so he did attempt to reduce domestic spending while increasing military spending. His tax cuts also raised revenue. [1,2]

II. The Cold War

My opponent argues that the Soviet Union kill itself through economic stagnation, but that has never been fully prove to have be the major and final blow to the Soviet Union. The USSR did not fall until 1991, but my opponent is discussing actions between 1970 and 1985, missing later crucial years. As Mr. D'Souza explains:

"This analysis is impressive only for its audacity. The revisionists are certainly right that the Soviet Union during the 1980s suffered from debiliating economic problems on account of its inefficent socialist system. But why would this factor by itself bring about the end of the political regime? Historically, poor economic performance is commonplace, bujt the peacetime implosion of a great political regime is rare. Never have food shortages or techonological backwardness been sufficient causes for the destruction of a large empire. The Roman Empire survived internal corrosion for centuries before it was destroyed by the barbarian hordes. Despite serious domestic strains the Ottoman Empire persisted as the "sick man of Europe" for generations ended only by the catastrophic defeat of World War 1. So the economic argument cannot explain why the empire collapsed at the particular time that it did, when the Soviet Union was previously able to sustain itself in the of comparable - and in some cases worse - economic conditions." [3]

This "Carter Doctrine" my opponent talks about has to be seen as considerably weak. From 1974 to 1980, ten countries fell to communism: South Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, South Yemen, Angola, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Grenada, Nicaragua, and Afghanistan. The Soviet Union had also by now built the strongest nuclear arsenal in the world. Where is this weakening Sovet Union?

Also, on SDI:

"Even if SDI was complete scientific nonsense, Moscow apparently was sufficiently impressed by U.S. technological capability - as previously demonstrated in programs such as the Manhattan Project and the moon landing - that it didn't want to take the risk of having its entire missile program rendered useless. Anatoly Dobrynin, Soviet ambassador to the United States from 1962 to 1986, recalls in his memoirs that the Soviet leadership treated SDI as a "real threat" because "our leadership was convinced that the great technical potential of the U.S. had scored again." [3]

III. Iran-Contra

My opponent seems to have forgotten than Reagan was found of no wrong-doing in Iran-Contra. Notice that he uses "Reagan administration", not Reagan. As for the Contras, my opponent seems to have forgotten that the war between the Contras and the Sandinistas was a guerrilla war. These wars are always commonly very gruesome. Look at Vietnam as an example. Why should the war in Nacaragua be no different. Overall, the members of Reagan's administration that conducted these actions did succeed in giving the Contras victory and leading to another victory against the Soviets. While the Contras committed terrible acts, so did the Sandinistas by confiscation of property, collectivizing farms, and instituting censorship. They also intended to spread socialism with the largest military in Central America. [3]

It has to be remembered that the Reagan administration had honored to support the Contras, but Congress stopped it. That damaged US credibility heavily, but some men wanted to honor their agreements with the Contras and tried to help them the best they could, they just got overextended.

IV. Savings and Loan

It is important to remember that President George H.W. Bush changed taxes by raising it during his presidency. At the same time, it is important to understand that the stock market and the economy still did well under Bush even when he changed some of Reagan's policies. Dow Jones growth under him grew 45.41% and under Reagan grew 130.60%. At the same time, the Federal Reserve restricted the money supply leading to higher unemployment. [4]

Franklin D. Roosevelt

I. New Deal

My opponent made no serious attempt at refuting my arguments on the Great Depression. Instead he cites a simple poll, but with little data and crucial economic information. By the way, only 51% of the economists polled believed that Franklin Roosevelt's did not extend the Great Depression. It only takes the Depression as a whole and does not include a fourth answer of it having no effect. There were instead three. The other two were that it prolonged and that it mostly prolonged it amounting to 49%. This is hardly a strong majority. Like I said, the wealth from World War 2 was fake government wealth, not real wealth. Wars destroy wealth rather than creating it.

II. Banking Security

While banking security was a key part of FDR's New Deal, it did not seem to have any major effect in curing the Great Depression faster. In fact, had most of the New Deal been left out it has been included the Great Depression would have ended much faster. Banking security was only one party of what to fix.

In a study recently conducted:

"Our results suggest that New Deal policies are an important contributing factor tothe persistence of the Great Depression. The key depressing element behind these policies firms to collude with paying high wages. Our model indicates that these policies reduced consumption, and investment about 14 percent relative to their competitive balanced growth path levels. Thus, the model accounts for about half of the continuation of the Great Depression between 1934 and 1939." [5]

III. Social Security

Its pretty much a fact that today Social Security has created major fiscal problems in the United States that cannot be ignored. Private retirement accounts have proven to be better than Social Security.

IV. He did so much!

My opponent simply points out several pieces of legislation conducted by FDR, but I can do the same with Reagan. In fact, Calvin Coolidge had a very succesful presidency be doing nothing. Grover Cleveland did little in his first term and won a second non-consecutive term later. You can succeed by doing nothing too, so just showing all these pieces of legislation and touting that Roosevelt did things is not strong in my opinion.

V. Court Packing

Losing this fight led to big losses in the 1938 midterm elections and hampered FDR's policy chances entirely. The New Deal seemed dead by the time World War 2 got around. Republicans and conservative Democrats attacked FDR's legislation as Dick Morris explained in the previous video. It was a disaster. [6,7]

VI. Japanese Internment

My opponent concedes here.


My opponent never countered Reagan's economy, which recovered faster than FDR. The Soviet Union was still standing strong and was very worried with Ronald Reagan's doctrine ultimaterly leading to their defeat. He had no part in Iran-Contra and the 1990s recession was caused by the Federal Reserve and raised taxes. He never countered my Great Depression arguments and Social Security has turned out to be a disaster. The Supreme Court planned destroyed his chances at domestic legislation. Japanese interment was conceded. The Gipper defeats the New Dealer.


Niskanen, William A., and Stephen Moore. "Cato Institute Policy Analysis No. 261: Supply-Side Tax Cuts and the Truth about the Reagan Economic Record." Cato Institute, 22 Oct. 1996. Web.
Cain, Herman, and Rich Lowrie. 9-9-9: An Army of Davids. Herndon, VA: Velocity ; Mascot, 2012. Print.
D'Souza, Dinesh. Ronald Reagan: How an Ordinary Man Became an Extraordinary Leader. New York: Free, 1997. Print.
Blaine, Charley. "Stocks Have Had a Great Run in Obama's Term." MSN Money, 5 Nov. 2012. Web.
5. Cole, Harold L., and Lee E. Ohanian. "New Deal Policies and the Persistence of the Great Depression: A General Equilibrium Analysis." Econ.Yale.Edu. Yale Department of Economics, May 2001. Web.


I will rebut Pro’s case using his argument structure.

At the top I would also like to make a point about reliability of sources. Pro is relying heavily on conservative sources while I am making use of respected historians, economic papers, and neo-liberal economists.

Ronald Reagan

I. Economic Policy

I have not conceded this point. My argument is that Reagan’s economic policies were simply in line with the economic trends of his time and an extension of existing policy. Ford initiated the era of deregulation with rail reform in ’76 and Carter continued to push for deregulation of the transportation and energy sectors. Put simply, deregulation wasn’t a Reagan policy, it was a long-term trend in U.S. domestic policy.

Pro also doesn’t refute that most of the credit belongs to Carter-appointee Paul Volcker, which stabilized price inflation [1]. Additionally, the economy was coming out of a recession just as Reagan took office, demonstrating that the Reagan expansion was part of a natural business cycle boom [2].

Finally, Pro glosses over the fact that Reagan tripled the national debt and took the U.S. from being a creditor to debtor nation by noting that it was mostly military spending. [3] This hardly changes the fact that Reagan birthed the chronic national debt problem and FAILED to meet his own goal of decreased government spending.

II. The Cold War

First, Pro’s whole argument is that Reagan outspent the USSR, forcing economic collapse; his argument wholly contradicts the D’Souza quote.

Pro’s D’Souza quote is an excellent example of why D’Souza is not a respected historian. There are many, many examples of economic collapse ending regimes- one example would be the Bolshevik revolution that freaking put Stalin in power

Third, I list multiple reasons why the USSR was crumbling, including imperial overstretch on top of social unrest and instability. Sort of like the causes of the revolutions in US or India.

Finally, my argument isn’t that Reagan had zero impact on the fall of the USSR- it is that Reagan’s escalation was unnecessary and drove the country into debt. Even if Reagan pushed up USSR collapse by a few years, this is a negligible gain compared to the 20% GDP debt run up and destruction of US credit.

The Carter Doctrine was a declaration of US interests in the Persian Gulf followed by deployment of naval forces to the region. This combined with the ramping of military forces and the boycott of the 1980 Olympics mark the end of Cold War détente and the start of hard line US policy. Again, Reagan’s policies were really Carter’s!

Citing conflicts that took place pre-Carter doesn’t refute my point. Afghanistan actually demonstrates that escalation took place pre-Reagan, as it was Carter that provided military aid to the Afghanistan muhjadeen, forcing the Soviet spending Pro claims won the cold War.

Pro concedes SDI failed at its expressed purpose of creating a missile defense shield and basically just collapses it into an example of Reagan’s unnecessary military spending. Reagan could have at least spent the money on something useful for defense like FDR did when he created the A-bomb.

III. Iran-Contra

Pro just tries to dodge responsibility for Reagan- but the bottom line is the buck stops with the president. The Tower Commission may have found no evidence of Reagan’s knowledge, but it heavily criticized him for his failure in leadership.

Pro ignores the illegal sale of arms to a State Sponsor of terrorism and the lasting damage the incident did to U.S. credibility.

If you buy Pro’s responsibility dodge then you ought to let FDR off the hook for Japanese internment as a case of deferring to military command.

IV. Savings and Loan

Pro doesn’t address my argument that Reagan’s poorly constructed tax changes caused a banking crisis and a recession. The salient point here is that while Reagan wasn’t responsible for most of the economic growth, it was undoubtedly his policy that caused this crisis.

Additionally, the banking crisis was resolved by the FDIC, an organization put in place by FDR. Reagan should thank FDR for preventing a small crisis from turning into a serious one.


I. New Deal

First, Pro misses the heart of my argument- arguing about whether or not the New Deal was an optimal economic policy is arguing around at the fringes of the issue. The New Deal prevented the collapse of capitalism in the U.S., occurred during the largest period of economic growth in U.S. history, and was followed by the rise of U.S. economic supremacy.

Pro ignores my points about the crisis of capitalism- food riots and violent civil unrest organizing behind revolutionary politicians- and the clear immediate effect the New Deal had in saving the market-economy system. The true New Deal victory is resolution of the immediate crisis facing the country.

Pro misrepresents my evidence- 51% disagree that the New Deal hurt the Great Depression, 27% agreed, and 22% agreed only if they could add modifying statements. The clear consensus is in favor of the New Deal, with a group taking issue with certain aspects of it. My source also shows a consensus that the economy showed less volatility following the New Deal, suggesting economic reform helped create long term stability.

Neither side is going to provide a convincing argument on such an involved topic. Economists still debate the issue and this debate does not afford enough space to flesh out solid arguments. My tactic here is to point out the clear New Deal successes- the points that even neoliberal economists can get behind- rather than argue at the margins about what policies might have worked a little better.

Compare the U.S. post-New Deal economy to any other country in the world and come back and tell me what a failure the policy was.

II. Banking Security

Pro ignores my argument that banking reform a) had the immediate effect of restoring confidence in the financial system and b) was crucial to long term economic stability.

Economists can’t predict events like bank runs that dependent on market confidence. FDR headed off a possible crisis- his policies resulted in the largest Wall Street gain on record.

Even neoliberals like Friedman agree that the banking reform was sound monetary policy that was desperately needed. Alan Greenspan testified “it is clear that deposit insurance has played a key--at times even critical--role in achieving the stability in banking and financial markets that has characterized the past almost seventy years.” [5] Cross-apply my R2 [1] that consensus is post-New Deal economy is more stable.

Banking reform is a greater success than Reagan’s economic policy because it represents a fundamental change to how the global economy operates that resulted in economic stability.

III. Social Security

Pro offers no evidence about the harms of Social Security. I have evidence that it helps reduce elderly poverty.

Additionally, Social Security provides an increased quality life through the financial security is guarantees individuals in our society. People value the program, which is why Americans overwhelmingly oppose cutting benefits [4]. The American people support Social Security, which is probably why the American people hold FDR in such high regard.

IV. He did so much!

Pro says he “could” list pieces of historic legislation by Reagan but doesn’t.

My point is over 13 years, FDR amassed a huge legacy of important legislation that pushes him over the top in this debate.

V. Court Packing

Pro gives no explanation of how the Court Packing had adverse effects. Extend my argument that the failed scheme was actually good since it killed the tactic for future generations.

VI. GI Bill

Pro drops this point. This bill changed college from an institution for the wealthy to a widely accessible program to develop a highly trained and skilled workforce. The program sent 8 million veterans to further education, created a housing boom, and drove the movement of low wage farmers to better paying jobs in towns and cities that fueled the post-war boom.

The G.I. bill also set the U.S. economy up to win the Cold War by prompting a switch to innovation-driven professional markets, exactly the economic sector the USSR couldn’t compete in. As the global economy shifted toward a focus on technology, the momentum towards a highly educated populace provided by the G.I. Bill proved invaluable.

VII. Atomic Bomb

The atomic bomb cemented the U.S. as post-war superpower and eventually global hegemon. FDR gave us the greatest military superiority in the history of mankind.

Russia had committed to attacks on the Japanese homeland, but Truman was able to win the war before mobilization could take place using the atomic bomb. Considering how the iron curtain fell across USSR occupied post-war Europe, USSR troops in Japan likely would have given control of Asia to the USSR drastically altering the course of the Cold War.


FDR not only ended the worst war in history and preventing a genocidal empire from achieving global hegemony, but did so while positioning the U.S. to come out as the victor among victors.

Pro doesn’t contest any of my analysis, so go ahead and credit FDR with everything that happened thanks to Hitler not winning.

This is the biggest impact in this debate. Even if I concede every point about Reagan, Reagan’s achievements will never match winning WWII. Had the Nazi’s won, we would have seen mass genocide across Europe and Africa. The U.S. would have been encircled by Nazi Europe and a Japanese Pacific, leaving global markets in the hands of the Axis powers. The U.S. would have wound up a minor and broken country, bending knee to the Fuhrer in the West and the Emperor in the East.






Debate Round No. 3


On the sources, I have used several respect indepedent sources in addition to what my opponent considered right-wing biased sources. The Cole-Ohanian study on the Great Depression for example is a respect source. In addition, I even used an Obama favored sources from MSN. Me and my opponent have both used Wikipedia sources as well. If anything, I declare that my sources have been more diverse and that I have used more than my opponent has easily handing a sources victory towards myself.

Ronald Reagan

I. Economic Policy

The country was not coming out of recession when Reagan took office in 1981. The unemployment rate started at 7.5% and the recession hit just as he entered office. It increased to nearly 11% by the end of 1982. Reagan had proposed tax and spending cuts in 1981, but they did not go into complete effect until the unemployment rate had already peaked. When they did come into effect the unemployment rate fell to a low of 5.4% ( It fell by half, but that is not the other point. Real GDP and government revenue did increase after Reagan's 1981 cuts because of simple economic laws like the Laffer curve. In addition, his policies did help the people and increased consumer spending. Finally, if you look at Ford and Carter you can easily see their policies were not working because of taxing and spending.

Under Nixon/Ford, domestic spending was at 8.5% and under Carter it was 3.5%. Under Reagan spending growth reached a low of 1%. The two previous administrations before Reagan did little with taxation. Reagan's tax cuts were severely needed to save the American economy and it worked too. If deregulation was occuring as fast as it should have under Carter then we would have seen a recovery, but instead we get lower economic growth going from 3% under Nixon/Ford to 2.5% under Carter. It exceeded at 3.2% under Reagan. Keep in mind that by the time Reagan's presidency was over, the deficit was declining and the CBO projected it would contine too decline. [1]

Today, Reagan's economic policy has had strong lasting effects. Tax rates, for example, have never been raised over 50% since him because he proved it creates a negative effect.

II. Cold War

The Cold War was no different than fighting World War 2 and the American Civil War. Was it wrong for Lincoln to increase the deficit and borrow more money in order to win the Civil War? Was it wrong for FDR to do the same in World War 2? Was it wrong for Woodrow Wilson to do so in World War 1?

It is widely agreed that what finally ended the Russian monarchy and brought and the Soviets eventually to power was World War 1. Notice that the first Russian Revolution by the people was after Tsar Nicholas II's failed attempt to take more territory in Asia against Japan. It is clear here that military defeats and war are the main causes for empires too fall, not economic and social backwardness. My opponent has neither refuted the example of the Romans or the Ottoman Empire. [2]

My point that no matter what Carter's doctrine was, that it still failed, still holds. My opponent has only noted Afghanistan and the Persian Gulf, which is not when looking at the whole picture of the Cold War.

SDI was part of this military spending that was needed to win the Cold War. Economics and social life had nothing to do with the USSR's demise. It was all Ronald Reagan. SDI worked because the Soviets thought it would work. I never argued that SDI was possible or not and my opponent's simply does not understand Reagan's genius when he came up with the plan. The sole purpose was to scare the Soviet Union and put them into submission. I proved through quotes by Soviet leaders that they did take the bait and thought the threat was real.

The Soviet leaders are not the only people who thought that SDI was the key too their defeat. Let's look at someone in the middle who saw both sides. British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was an important figure in the Cold War who worked with both Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev. She said:

"There was one vital factor that ended the Cold War. It was Ronald Reagan's decision to go ahead with the Strategic Defense Initiative." [3]

The key to ending the Cold War was SDI wether my opponent agrees or not. Almost every world leader agrees from the times. In a conferece at Princeton University in 1993, Soviet Foreign Minister Alexander Bessmertnykh agreed that SDI was the main factor in the defeat of the Soviet Union. He was among several Soviet leaders at the conference who agreed. [4]

As we can see, D'Souza has strong backing from indepedent and Soviet sources. As he later states:

"Finally Gorbachev realized he had no choice: continue a no-win arms race, which would utterly cripple the Soviet economy, or give up the struggle with global hegemony and establish peaceful relations with the West." [5]

Gorbachev made the right choice to embrace the West and give up the Cold War. Reagan was the victor.

III. Iran-Contra

Reagan never signed an executive order to take such action, FDR did. Those who sold the weapons it illegally did it in secret, meaning they tried to hide it from Reagan. Obviously he would not know because they were intent on making sure Reagan never found out, so he is not to blame.

IV. Savings and Loan

I address your argument by saying that President George H.W. Bush changed the tax rates during his presidency and Reagan's effect were thus eliminated. All you have to do is read Bush's 1990 budget. [6]

Franklin Roosevelt

I. New Deal

Protests over food and civil unrest does not mean in anyway the US economy was in danger. Revolutions, like I stated before, are only caused by war. Many nations can have their economies and governments last under harsh economic times and keep in mind that FDR expanded the government, regulations, and taxes severely which dramatically changed the free market economy and hurt private investment. According to the Cole-Ohanian study, had the government done little the Great Depression would have ended far earlier. Lee Ohanian states this further in the video.

I don't think my opponent understood what I did with the poll. I added the 27% and the 22% together because they either agreed that the New Deal prolonged the Depression or agreed but with some differences. Adding them makes it 49% opposed to the idea that the New Deal did work. A 51-49 lead is not a clear consensus and like I said is just a simple poll. I provided as of now a video, unemployment chart, and a study proving that the New Deal had a negative effect.

Keep in mind that the Great Depression did not end until 1948, because both the New Deal and World War 2 failed to end it. The country plunged back into recession when the war ended.

II. Banking Security

Banking security was not the largest Wall Street gain in history. By president, FDR had 163.74% in Dow Jones growth. Most of this growth was from the fake wealth World War 2 created. Both Bill Clinton and Calvin Coolidge easily beat FDR. Uncertaintity caused personal savings to skyrocket during World War 2 because of an unsure American public. Less money was out there. It only declined after the war and remained stagnant during the Great Depression. This is hardly confidence in the FDIC. [8]

III. Social Security

Social Security has no harms? It forces people to pay into a system that is going bankrupt quickly. Instead, they could be putting savings into things like stocks and bonds that give them even more money. The American people are most not satisfied with Social Security and don't think it will be a benefit, as proven by a Gallup poll. Most thik it is a problem or will be a problem in the future. [9]

IV. He did so much!

In another recent Gallup poll, Reagan was ranked the best president, better than FDR. Important historic legislation by Reagan includes example like compensation for the Japanese-Americans of internment and the MLK commemoration holiday.

V. Court Packing

The court packing had huge effects in preventing future legislation because the American people responded strongly in the 1938 midterms. Conservative Democrats and Republicans blocked future New Deal legislation, ending furture public policy.

VI. World War 2

Anyone with a simple understanding of Hitler know how bad a commander he was. In the second round my opponent claimed that World War 2 was so important by disgustingly parading around the death numbers in what should be a conduct point in my favor. As read here:

"Hitler's truly critical decisions concerned strategy, that is, the war's timing, targets and goals. His was the only voice that counted at that level, and it was his strategy that led inevitably to Germany's eventual defeat." [11]

Now the Cold War was a real conflict that actually needed American muscle. Hitler would have lost to the USSR and the UK inevitably.

The anti-semite FDR did little for Jews. Only some 200,000 were really saved, but much more could have. FDR did little to confront Hitler on the subject and left many Jews without the ability to escape. As said here:

"With rare exceptions, Washington did not formally challenge Hitler’s Jewish policies during the 1930s, even though many Americans were stunned to witness his regime’s brutality of speech and action. As Nazism first took hold, the president remained silent." [12]

He actually did very little to help the Jews even while he knew early on what was happening. [13]


I have proven that Reagan was to one to change history and end the major recession that took place. The Cold War was all won by him and that there were no other factors. My opponent has provided no critical evidence in proving any of his points on the New Deal. Germany would have lost World War 2 no matter what. Ronald Reagan was clearly a better and more important president than Franklin Roosevelt was.

Sources will be found in the comment due to lack of characters.




Even if I concede pro-Reagan points, FDR was still more successful. Defeat of Hitler and positioning of the U.S. as the #1 superpower vastly outweighs the importance of winning the Cold War. Permanent structural reforms in banking created 70 years of economic stability that the Reagan tax cuts don’t even come close to matching. The G.I. bill set the innovation-driven trajectory of the U.S. economy and had a far greater impact than any of Reagan’s deregulation. Reagan is beaten before we even consider Social Security, the resolution of the Great Depression crisis, or creation of the atomic bomb.

Voting Junk:

I actually don’t think either side should get the sources vote. My point is only that Pro’s views are supported by a very narrow perspective, e.g. Pro’s R2 sources: a GOP politician, the Heritage Foundation, and three neoliberal economists.

I also don’t think either side should get conduct- but since Pro mentioned it:

It is unfair to post sources in the comments. I had to edit down my arguments to make room for including my sources, Pro should too.

Pro engages in gutter tactics by calling FDR an anti-Semite. 1930’s America was heavily anti-Semitic with stringent/racist immigration laws, little FDR could do little under political circumstances. He used executive authority to alter immigration quotas to allow 50,000 Jews to immigrate, allow residents to support relatives on visas, and allowed 15,000 Jewish tourists to overstay expired visas – all before WW2. FDR had Jews on his cabinet and actual anti-Semites called him “Rosenfeld” while deriding the “Jew Deal.”

Sorry for “parading around the numbers”- I only do so to refute Pro’s ridiculous claim that the Cold War was more serious than the deadliest conflict in history.

Since Pro posted new arguments in the final round, I will too.

Ronald Reagan

I. Economic Policy

Pro’s description of the 80’s recession is in line with mine (note his unemployment chart doesn’t show how unemployment had been falling as Reagan took office). My source describes the recession as a W-shaped recession caused by stagflation. Volcker’s monetary policy, combined with a natural uptick in the economic cycle, reduced inflation and caused the expansion. Again, most of the credit is due to Carter appointee Volcker’s monetary policy reducing the inflation that had been hindering the 70’s economy. Pro has never addressed this point.

I don’t know what to make of Pro’s argument that Carter didn’t deregulate. It is a simple historical fact that deregulation started under Ford with the Railroad Reform Act and Carter continued it by deregulating airlines, trucking, and removing oil price controls. That the economy of the 70’s underperformed the 80’s does not change these historical facts. Moreover, it makes sense that the benefits of deregulation would not be seen immediately but would only appear as industry adjusted to new policies.

II. Cold War

All I need to do to prove revolutions are caused by conditions other than war is provide historical examples. Pro never refuted my examples of American and Indian independence, two revolutions that happened in the absence of existing war. Modern revolutions in Egypt and Syria also prove the case.

On top of this, the final collapse of the Soviet Union wasn’t caused by War! There was no violent confrontation that brought on the collapse of the USSR!

Even CIA 1970’s-80’s intelligence at the time described USSR economic collapse as “inevitable,” predicted deeps structural reforms, and foresaw that Soviet decline was “potentially more significant for the 1980s than ‘anything the regime has had to cope with in the past three decades’”[2].

Pro’s account is incoherent: according to him the USSR was just fine until Reagan launched SDI, at which point the USSR got scared and decided to pre-emptively dissolve their empire. Pro isn’t even making the argument that most pro-Reagan advocates make!

The fact is the USSR was crumbling under its own weight. The USSR could never have survived because their command-economy couldn’t compete with Western market economies. In this respect the economic course set by FDR’s G.I. Bill did more to win the war than Reagan. On top of this, the USSR was plagued with social ills like rampant alcoholism and a declining life expectancy. On top of THAT the country was struggling to keep control of its vast array of discontented satellite states- again, 10% of Poland was part of a formal anti-USSR party.

Reagan’s policy was a failure because he needlessly turned the U.S. from largest creditor to the largest debtor nation in the world.

III. Iran-Contra

Pro doesn’t dispute the Tower Committee’s conclusion that Reagan ought to have known about Iran-Contra. At best the incident shows that Reagan ran his administration so poorly an international crime that would hurt U.S. credibility for decades could occur without his knowledge.

IV. Savings and Loan

Bush tax cuts have nothing to do with S&L. The Reagan tax cuts were written so that they eliminated a tax break that S&L institutions relied on. S&L institutions failed, creating a crisis that cost taxpayers $150 billion and a recession in the early 90’s. Fortunately the banking reform FDR put in place contained the crisis and prevented it from causing economic meltdown.


I. New Deal

Pro may not think the U.S. was on the brink of Revolution in 1932, but the Hoover administration sure did. A 20,000 man army sat outside D.C. When MacArthur violently displaced them using the Army, he said the mob was animated by “the essence of revolution.” Nebraska farmers threatened the governor “
200,000 of us are coming to

Lincoln and we’ll tear that new State Capitol Building to pieces” States were maintaining order using the National Guard. The U.S. was on the brink of collapse and FDR regained public trust and confidence.

Pro tries to pick one random economic study to prove his point. I am aware some economists hold his view, but I have already shown that the consensus does not.

Pro wrongly adds the poll numbers. “Agree with proviso” means respondents had enough reservations not to back the statement- their provisos could totally counter the conclusions Pro is trying to draw. Even if it was appropriate to add the numbers, it would only show there is no consensus and the issue becomes neutral with respect to this debate.

Finally, claims that the Great Depression would have resolved itself assume that no further bank runs occurred and civil unrest did not prevail. In the absence of New Deal programs like the Bank Holiday, which spurred a massive return of capital to banks, other crises could have happened. Again, the New Deal success is the stabilization of a crisis situation and prevention of further economic free-fall.

Pro’s unemployment chart shows unemployment increasing up to the New Deal and then immediately declining, this seems to suggest the New Deal was effective.

II. Banking Security

Pro doesn’t address the bulk of my points, that Banking reform created 70 years of economic stability. For the record the largest single day gain on Wall Street was March 15, 1933- the day after the bank holiday ended.

III. Social Security

Extend my unrefuted study showing S.S. reduces elderly poverty. [9] Pro is correct that the Gallup poll shows people think the program needs reform, but it also shows that 60% of people with benefits rely on it as a major source of income, and that people want to see balanced reform of benefit cuts combined with tax increase. People want and enjoy Social Security; they just recognize it needs reform. For a 70-year old social program this can be considered a fantastic success.

IV. He did so much!

Pro’s claim people rank Reagan as the greatest president but offers no citation. Aggregation of a wide range of polls shows FDR consistently in the top 3, among both conservatives and liberals. Reagan occasionally makes top 10. [1]

Extend that FDR cured polio, repealed prohibition, and can walk on water.

V. Court Packing

Pro says Court Packing was bad because it prevented New Deal legislation, but Pro also says New Deal was bad- Pro’s argument is incoherent.

At any rate, extend my argument that Court Packing was good because it killed the tactic for future presidents.

VI. World War 2

Pro’s only argument here is that Hitler would have lost the war because he was a bad commander. Yet Hitler conquered continental Europe. No matter how bad a commander Hitler was, he would have won the war if Britain and/or Russia had run out of ammunitions, ships, money, or food. U.S. supplied Britain with 25% of their munitions. German U-boats were sinking British ships 3 times faster than Britain could replace them, nearly cutting off Britain from the Allies. Only U.S. B-24 bombers were able to reverse the direction of the battle for control of the sea. Britain was broke before the U.S. even entered the war- only FDR’s Lend Lease and Destroyers for Bases plan enabled Britain to maintain the war effort.

Assume the war would have been won without the U.S. This would have happened by Russia reconquering Nazi occupied Europe – recall that the only reason there were U.S./British troops in the West was because FDR pushed for a second front. The war would have ended with a Soviet controlled Europe- the Cold War would be over before it began with Russia as global hegemon.

WWII has two sides- FDR not only defeated Hitler but positioned the U.S. to emerge from the war as the premier superpower.

G.I. Bill and Atom Bomb

Pro doesn’t even try to refute these points, he just concedes that FDR set the economy on an innovation-driven path that would eventually outpace the Soviet economy and that FDR created the greatest weapon for maintaining U.S. security and military supremacy, the atomic bomb.



Debate Round No. 4
25 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Subutai 5 years ago
Ideas for you both:

1Historygenius: Explain why Reagan's polices were good. You can't say that X economy was caused by Y president because of Z. You have to explain why Z policy was good, or you're not drawing a correlation between X, Y, and Z.

Raisor: Use polls one the right people. If X/Y Z people think that A was good, Z people better be knowledgeable about A from its true standpoint (i.e. economics).

Also, there were two typos in my previous comment. Change the pro in my second paragraph to con and change the con in my second paragraph to pro. Sorry about that.

Finally, I reported leojm's and PatriotPerson's (his a second time) votes.
Posted by Subutai 5 years ago
While a very good debate by both sides, both debaters showed logical inconsistencies throughout their arguments.

Like when pro claimed that 2/3rds of historians think the New Deal was good - that's not a good statistics because they asked the wrong people. That's like asking artists what they think of string theory. Pro would have better off using economists, or better yet, nothing at all. This is an Ad Populum fallacy, no matter who's polled. A better argument would be successfully arguing that the New Deal worked, which con did not do satisfactory.

Con also committed fallacies. For example, when he claimed that "Revolutions, like I stated before, are only caused by war." This is horribly wrong. The American Revolution, the French Revolution, the American Civil War (which was really just a failed revolution) were not caused by war, just to name a few. It's not just a fallacy, it's just simply wrong.

The rest of the debate was full of questionable arguments. Pro correlating the economy in the 1980's to Reagan without explaining why. Or when con claimed that the USSR was ripe for collapsing around Reagan's time; that's not a valid argument against Reagan, and he didn't really explain why that was so.

Overall, though, I have to give a slight edge to con for these reasons: The repeal of the 21st Amendment and the banking security argument on the positive FDR side, and the terrorist fundings and the national defense buildup on the negative Reagan side. However, pro did win the Japanese internment and court packing arguments. Also, con had a double standard at times.

To conclude, this debate rested too much on logical fallacies and underexplaining. Pro could have done a much better job in not only explaining why Reagan's policies were good, but in refuting con's arguments as well. Con had some errors and double standards too, it's just he had fewer of them. Overall, I'm only going to award conduct to con for pro's sources in comments.
Posted by TheEnergyHippo 5 years ago
Great debate...
Posted by leojm 5 years ago
OMG Wikipedia is not a source. lol It needs to be outlawed forever.
Posted by thett3 5 years ago
Lol at the biased votes
Posted by Raisor 5 years ago
Conservative American says "pro could have beat con" implying pro did not beat con, yet votes for pro...
Posted by ConservativeAmerican 5 years ago
Pro could have beat Con if he would have refuted his main point, which was that FDR beat Hitler, when really the fvcking Soviets beat Hitler, even the UK did more than us to beat Hitler in terms of sacrifice in manpower. If Pro would have refuted this point by using the USSR card instead of talking about how the soviets were a more threatening enemy, the debate would have been his. I don't see why he would let pro get away with using the old textbook 'murica did everything while everyone else just waved flags and watched our planes fly over while we clapped' game.
Posted by thett3 5 years ago

I really liked Cons use of the savings and loans argument, showing how FDR"s good policies kept the system functional when Reagan screwed up. I know space is an issue, but Con shouldn"t have just laundry listed things that FDR did as much as argued the impact. While some are obvious, like the march of dimes, others such as executive order 8802 and 21st amendment aren"t at all and I don"t know what to make of them. Social security was a wash.


I vote Con on conduct because a) Pro tried to misconstrue Cons poll on the economic impact of the new deal and b) Pro bizarrely tried to get the conduct point by accusing Con of flouting WWII deaths when really he was countering his ridiculous claim of the cold war being a bigger threat. I just felt it was a really cheap tactic.
Posted by thett3 5 years ago

=Foreign policy=

On the Cold war, I'm somewhat in between. Con shows that the fall of the USSR was partially about to happen, and that Reagan's foreign policy was mostly a continuation of Carter, but this isn't really an argument against Reagan but it does mitigate Pro's impact pretty well. Overall I have the impression that Reagans military policies hastened the end of a rapidly declining power, which was essentially Cons argument at the end anyway.

On the national security front FDR (as he should) clearly comes out on top. I think Con could've done a better job at explaining why an Axis/USSR victory would be bad, but he did a really good job of showing how the way it turned out was good (hegemony) and showing for without FDRs commitment to aid Europe the US would not have entered the war. I have no negatives from entering WWII and a whole lot of positives, so it"s clear who comes out on top here.


Japanese internment is won by Pro, but one bad policy doesn"t even come close to outweighing everything else. I don"t buy Cons argument that we should let FDR off the hook for deferring to the military if we let Reagan off the hook for Iran-Contra when he DIDN"T KNOW about it. Pro also wins the court packing argument, I don"t buy Cons turn (FDR doing something bad and causing other presidents not to try the same thing doesn"t make it a good action) but I don"t have much impact here. Maybe if Pro had explained to me why FDRs corruption makes him a bad president I would have to think harder about my ballot, but in terms of actual results this debate is hands down a Con win.
Posted by thett3 5 years ago

Pretty clear ballot. Since the debate was huge and covered a lot, I'll split my RFD into the main issues of the debate.


Pros most important argument (the economic impacts Reagan is famed for) is hard to weigh because he doesn't really tell me *why* Reagan's policies led to the outcomes they did. That is, while I'm told that Apple and lots of other companies rose during Reagan's time in office, and federal revenue increased, I'm not given an explanation why the capital gains tax or other policies caused this. I don't understand from the debate HOW Reagan's policies did this. Compare this to Cons arguments where mostly (except when he laundry lists things FDR did) where he shows FDR did X, which led to this event, for these reasons.

This is a prevailing theme in Pros arguments and one of the main reasons that at the end of the day it's a clear Con win.

I also buy the argument that a lot of Reagan"s successful policies were not brilliant innovations or a triumphant return to small government, but rather policies in line with most economic thought of the time, and that a lot of Reagan"s economic successes were because of Volcker. This doesn"t really speak ill of Reagan so much as it mitigates Pro"s impacts by showing that the same thing would"ve happened under Carter since Reagan just continued many of the status quo policies. I doubt this is actually the case, but in round I"m not given enough to refute it.

The economic impact of the New Deal isn"t really clear, but I think Con makes the argument that FDR saved the system pretty clearly and compellingly. Even if the New Deal was bad, the faith in the system it inspired saved capitalism. Con should"ve shown how other countries like Nazi Germany and the USSR got their horrible system of governance around this same era with pretty similar situations. Banking security is another good argument that is almost completely dropped by Pro.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by Subutai 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: This could have been a better debate. See comments 24-25.
Vote Placed by ConservativeAmerican 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: At the end of the day, most of Con's points were weak and refutable, Pro's points were never directly refuted for the most part, but pro still barely won. Pro could have easily refuted many of Con's main points, such as the old 'murica won WWII' card.
Vote Placed by thett3 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Comments 16-18
Vote Placed by Bullish 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: CON seemed to forgive PRO for conduct violation of putting sources in the comments, and using narrow sources. The 2 biggest arguments here seemed to be economic and war. CON provided evidence that the number of historians who support the New Deal is almost twice the amount who don't. It is also obvious that SS and the FDIC have worked for more than 70 years, while Reagan created massive debt that have patterned to today. CON also proved that the result of WWII placed the U.S. at the top, while showing that the USSR would have collapsed any way. PRO states: "Revolutions, like I stated before, are only caused by war." This, is blatantly wrong. PRO also used a series of logical fallacies and contradictions, and drops arguments like responsibly to know about the Contra and court packing.