The Instigator
alkhoppus
Pro (for)
The Contender
101010
Con (against)

The income tax rate should be closer to 0% than it should be to 100%

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/16/2018 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 439 times Debate No: 110830
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (1)
Votes (0)

 

alkhoppus

Pro

First debate on here, just hoping it's cordial and full of open and honest ideas and discussions! It's hard to find!

I'm putting forward the question of taxation - should it be closer to 0% or to 100%? This is a capitalism versus socialism argument, or an authoritarian versus libertarian argument. I guess it comes down to where you stand.

In my view, closer to 100% gives less and less choice to the wage earners in society. The less you get to decide what you spend your money on, the worse you can expect things to be. You don't get to choose your healthcare, your food, your car, your house... nothing. The state chooses everything for you.

Surely it's better to be closer to having a full and complete say in where every cent of your income is going? I'm not entirely sure 0% is perfect, but I think if you had a gun to your head and had to choose one, it would be 0% over 100% - so I therefore put the question out there, if it's better to be closer to 0% then why shouldn't it be 0%? Why shouldn't we have a say in where every penny of our income goes to? Do we have such little faith in charity?

Do people who can't fully afford to do so not already give to charity? I'd say yes, they do. So are we too quick to think the government knows best when they know very little about what's best for anybody?

I put it out there - the closer we get to 0% taxation, the better.
101010

Con

I would like to start off by defining terms:
https://www.gov.uk...: Income Tax is a tax you pay on your income. You don"t have to pay tax on all types of income.
Dictionary.com definition: the tax levied by a government directly on income, especially an annual tax on personal income.

Contention 1You pay tax on many things like benefits you get from your job, medical services, public services, schools, etc. The main point is that tax would improve the welfare of society.

Contention 2 and 3 Taking away income tax could potentially violate one's right to life. I define one's right to life as the pursuit of happiness. Income tax goes to various programs that provide money for those in need. The closer to 0% would potentially make these services cheaper. It would take away retirement benefits, benefits for veterans, and food and nutritional assistance. Earned income tax credit assist low and moderate-income working families. The programs provide payments and household benefits.
Sources: https://www.cbpp.org...
Debate Round No. 1
alkhoppus

Pro

First of all, my apologies - as I say, first debate on here and didn't really define terms etc still kinda getting into the swing of the site. You are most definitely correct, I was considering income tax. But you raise an interesting point which I'll get to shortly.

So before I go on, I think it's important to nail down the premise of the question. I think of it more as considering the logical conclusions to the extremities of both sides of the argument. If you are arguing in favour of it being closer to 100% than to 0%, then you should logically be able to argue that a 100% tax rate would be better than a 0% tax rate. And, conversely, if I am arguing in favour of it being closer to 0% than to 100%, then I should logically be able to argue that a 0% tax rate would be better than a 100% tax rate. It's not necessarily an argument that either of these extremes are the right answer, but that one is demonstrably better than the other, thus leading to your belief as to where the rate should lie on the scale.

With regard to your first contention, that's obviously true. However, I'd distinguish income tax as an enforced tax which is higher for those who do better, work harder, work longer and earn more - for the most part. The difference with the other taxes is, for the most part, they are a tax on things you choose to spend money on. In that respect, income tax is the government forcing you to contribute based on what you've earned, but other taxes are the government forcing you to contribute based on what you've chosen to spend. In that respect, I'd consider the question of taxation other than income tax a whole other issue with many complications of its own... so let's focus on income tax for now.

"Taking away income tax could potentially violate one's right to life. I define one's right to life as the pursuit of happiness." I wholeheartedly disagree. In fact, I think it's quite the opposite. I would argue that forcing people to pay income tax forces them to compromise on their pursuit of happiness so that other people can pursue happiness without necessarily having to do the same level of work or commit as much to a career, or take the same risks in their life. As a society, we've generally been in silent agreement that this is a good way to do things. But I think it's founded on the expectation that people need to be forced by authority to be altruistic. I don't believe they do.

In fact, I would argue - as I eluded to previously - that there are already people who contribute generously to charity, even though they potentially can't afford to do everything they would otherwise want to because of this contribution. There are people who struggle to get by who still contribute to charity. There are vast swathes of wealthy people who contribute large sums of money on a regular basis to many different charitable organizations. None of these contributions are enforced by the government and yet, despite their necessity to pay those contributions which are enforced, people still pay them. I would argue that it's logical to assume they would pay more if the tax burden were lesser. This also means that if the tax burden were 0%, people would still contribute to the needy. People would also contribute to their retirement funds, for benefits for veterans and for food and nutritional assistance.

I therefore challenge your assertion that a tax rate closer to 0% would take away the things you suggested it would. It would merely take away the force behind which people are required to contribute. In fact, I would argue that in the presence of a 0% tax burden, more people would have far more income freed up in order to contribute to what they considered to be worthy causes. I think when people already contribute when they can't necessarily comfortably afford to do so, it can logically be assumed that those people would continue to do so, but an additional cohort of contributors would be added in the presence of a 0% tax burden.

I would argue that a true pursuit of happiness involves the freedom to take home every cent of what you earn and decide where every cent you spend is going. This would also have a knock-on effect to those vying for your money - competition has always been known to improve the quality of goods and services, and if nobody is receiving anybody's income due to the authority of government, then this effect of competition would be more widespread.

On the contrary, with a 100% tax rate, nobody has any control over their own lives or their own happiness. If every cent you earn goes to the government for them to decide what it's spent on, then what would be the point in working any harder when you can't save up for the specific holiday, car, boat, house or lifestyle you want to enjoy? Moreover, what would be the point in working any harder than you have to when your money is being used to fund those who cannot or will not work? The vast unfairness of a 100% tax rate are easy to see, but I'd like to see if you can make an argument in favour of it before I go into that any deeper.

I do accept that there are services which require the enforcement of taxation. Infrastructure, emergency services and armed forces are most definitely in there. In real terms, these are all things which the majority of us receive an equal amount of protection and use from. However, if we are dealing with the hypothetical of a 0% tax rate, then I fail to see how these service would cease to exist. We already have healthcare systems around the world which require payment, and return an improvement on quality if more money is spent. We already have better roads and bridges to use if we're prepared to spend the money to use them.

However, if we did have a 0% tax rate, it doesn't actually mean any of these things would require private ownership. Like I say, people give generously to charity as it is. With no tax burden, plenty more people could choose to give generously to the armed forces, to volunteer and professional emergency services and so on. Conversely, if we had 100% income tax, then nobody gets to contribute anything extra and nobody gets to have any say in where they get their teeth fixed or where their child goes to school. The 100% tax rate takes away all choice while the 0% tax rate gives the ultimate freedom of choice.

So I put it to you again, and hopefully in a better and more direct premise - the closer the tax rate gets to 0%, the more freedom and choice people have in where they spend their money, how much they can give to charitable organizations and the more impetus there is to do better and make better life choices. The more personal responsibility and freedom you hand people, the better they can pursue and actually catch that happiness you mentioned. The more trust you put in humanity to be altruistic, the more it will be. A 100% tax rate does the complete opposite of all those things and so I believe the closer we are to a 0% tax rate, the better.

I look forward to your rebuttal.
101010

Con

Before I get into my rebuttal, I would like to start off with a quote.
"Taxes are the price we pay for civilization- Olive V Wendell Holmes Jr.

"With a 100% tax rate, nobody has any control over their own lives or their own happiness." I disagree with this point you made. The income taxes being paid are still contributing to oneself and one's environment. I would like to point out that the amount for all taxpayers are different depending on income. Income tax still varies on the ability to pay.

"100% tax rate takes away all choice." I disagree with that. The 0% tax rate doesn't give ultimate freedom of choice. It allows people to just rely on charity and regressive tax. Regressive taxes don't change. Examples include sales taxes, property fees, and user fees. Everyone depending on the amount of income they have may vary. Regressive tax causes lower income< people to pay a larger share than people above their level of ability to pay.

Not being able to use income tax takes away an easier opportunity. That easier opportunity would be income taxes as it is. It does the redistribution throughout all levels of wealth. Just relying on regressive taxes and charity wouldn't make the economy better. Just relying on organizations that contribute to regressive tax and charity would be too relied upon. How would we know if the money going to charities are spread? How would the state pay its bills without income tax? The other percentage intended for charity could be taken by the organization that contributes to that.

States without income tax have a high tax disadvantage on the poor. Income tax does not put strain on the poor. It's redistributing wealth. That ties in to the term "progressive". I believe it's better than relying on regressive tax.

Regressive tax: (of a tax) taking a proportionally greater amount from those on lower incomes. definition from Oxford dictionary

As I stated before, taxing people with income doesn't leave them empty-handed. The government would use the money for exactly what has room for improvement. Letting the people choose where the money goes would be unfair. There is a possibility the money would be spread unevenly and not through all levels of wealth.

There are vital services for taxpayers.The government imposes tax for a reason. Income tax raises money for government spending, redistributing income, social development, correcting market failure, and management. Having a lower income tax could lower the quality of benefit. This is something that shouldn't be dependent on charity. We know that not all people would give to charity. Relying on that small amount that donates is unrealistic. We should face a contribution from a whole.

"With no tax burden, plenty more people could choose to give generously to the armed forces, to volunteer and professional emergency services and so on." That point is just an assumption."This also means that if the tax burden were 0%, people would still contribute to the needy." This is also an assumption. It's even rare in some cases to find someone willingly donate to the poor. It is clear that the negative side of the resolution is the greater good for the greater majority. It follows with the definition of utilitarianism which is the greater good for the greater majority. With this reasoning, how could one determine if the majority of people would contribute to society in that way?

"We already have healthcare systems around the world which require payment, and return an improvement on quality if more money is spent." Those payments would have to increase in order to have stability within the community. That way would be unfair in this case. You are still relying on the people who have healthcare to do the rest. Relying on other sources besides income tax leaves behind the poor.

There are moral reasons why we don't keep every cent earned. If each person kept every cent earned, the money in society wouldn't go through all levels of wealth. The wealthy would be limited and given more. This would lead to a higher percentage of the lower class.

Tax has happened to affect people's behavior. Tax can be used to discourage the purchase of products that pose a risk to health. This includes tobacco, alcohol, and other items mainly useless when it comes to living. This applies to all types.
Sources: https://apps.irs.gov...

Because of this, I agree with the negative side of the resolution.
Thank you and I look forward to your response.
Debate Round No. 2
alkhoppus

Pro

I'm potentially going to waste an entire use of a debate round here, but I'd just like you to actually argue a case for 100% tax as opposed to disagree with my case for 0%. I agree with a lot that you've said - as I say, I'm arguing the hypothetical that 0% is the lesser of two evils and if you had to choose between only those two extremes, I would say 0% is the better choice. I'm not necessarily suggesting society should implement a 0% income tax, but I'm arguing that if it logically fits that 0% is better than 100%, then the tax rate should be closer to 0% and not closer to 100%.

If you feel it should be closer to 100%, and you feel I'm wrong, can you make a case for why 100% income tax is a better option than 0%, or why it's the lesser of the two evils?
101010

Con

I have to agree that 100% tax rate is better than both of the two evils.
I believe the government and all levels of wealth wouldn't function properly if an income tax rate was closer to 0%. As said in my first part, redistribution of wealth is still heavily reliant on income tax. As opposed to a 100% tax rate, I believe all money throughout all levels of wealth would lead to a limited wealthy class and the majority to be stuck in poverty with a 0% tax rate. When it comes to a 100% tax rate, there is still an equal opportunity.

Even though giving all income to the government, at least all levels of wealth would have their share. I understand that each worker in society has a different contribution of effort and perseverance but a funded environment would outweigh it all. It's better than having different levels outweigh. Even though different amounts of effort may vary in the workplace, government workers wouldn't be in debt. In this case, their workplace wouldn't be funded.

An example of a situation that would work better with a 100% tax rate:
If parts of the world were to go in a "war economy", it is understood that it is better for an accurate contribution. During times of war and economic drops were the closest tax was to a 100%.
Examples like the Civil War was funded by income tax. When the thought of income tax came to be, it showed how difficult and heavy financial burdens would be.

I understand that the people wouldn't have control over what they want specifically to pursue happiness but what is needed would most likely outweigh want. I value the quality over the freedom of choice. Room for opportunity wouldn't be relied upon by people who want different things. The government would know what's best. As I said, anything would be filled in. An extra contribution wouldn't. Their pursuit of happiness happens to vary on both sides of the argument.

I apologize for the inconvenience regarding my previous debate.
Thank you
Debate Round No. 3
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Debate Round No. 4
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Debate Round No. 5
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Smooosh 3 years ago
Smooosh
Yes, I love it!!!!!
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