A Citizen's Dividend
The debate is finished. The distribution of the voting points and the winner are presented below.
After not so many votes...
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- Three days
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Short description again, in case someone clicks on this without having read it:
"We will be arguing over whether it is beneficial to society and moral to have a citizen's dividend, a type of universal basic income, funded by a land value tax. "
For this debate, "beneficial to society" will mean any number of things ranging from whether it promotes more freedom, improves lives, improves the economy, etc. It will be left to voters to decide which of those types of arguments are most convincing in terms of whether it indicates a citizen's dividend is beneficial.
"Moral" will be the standard definition, or "the right thing to do" so to speak.
"Citizen's dividend" is a universal basic income that is funded by a land value tax. A universal basic income is money given to every person in a country, no questions asked, no qualifications, usually on a monthly basis.
A land value tax is a tax on the unimproved value of the land. While similar to a property tax, it differs in that it doesn't tax buildings or other human improvements to the land. It only taxes the value of the resources of the land and the market value of the land itself.
For this debate, round 1 will be used for acceptance, defining terms, and stating one's position clearly. My opponent may define any term they feel would come up in the debate that may raise arguments over semantics. I'm not generally interested in semantics debates, so I will cater to my opponent's definitions of such terms should they define them, just as my opponent is expected to accept the definitions I've provided above.
A citizen's dividend is the morally correct thing and the economically-sound way of addressing poverty, because the land value tax is the most efficient form of taxation, a UBI is the most efficient form of welfare in terms of running cost, it does not discourage people to work as other welfare systems do, and it gives all of humanity their right to the value of all land. (will explain later why that is a right)
To my opponent, my claims above are purposely left unsubstantiated for now, as should your claims in this round be, since the upcoming rounds will be when we present evidence and supporting arguments for our contentions we present here. This is to give both of us an idea where the other is going, so I turn this to you since I believe I've given you the proper heads up of where I'm taking this debate with what I've stated.
- UBI assumes everyone is entitled to some money for being born of the human species even if a non-human was suffering more or did more for the society. This irrational assumption has always been a confusing flaw of both pro-lifers and socialists that I never understood so believe me I'll have a lot to say on it in R2.
- UBI focuses solely on income. Splitting between many bank accounts, having money in property as opposed to direct cash and a couple of others means of loopholes will lead to complete exploitation of the system that enables the middle class to appear like the working class under it and drain away from the rich, that would severely amplify my point 3.
- The rich are very blatantly rich enough to leave the nation. They'd leave...
As an award-winning economist, Milton Friedman pointed out in an interview,
"Land is an ideal basis of taxation because you cannot take it away”
Rent, under this system, would promote equality, instead of causing inequality as it does now. To fully understand this effect, let’s review some principles... .Wages and interest are set by the margin of production—what can be made on land with no rent. Labor and capital keep only what is left after rent and taxes. Collecting rent through taxes would virtually abolish private ownership in land, because it would destroy speculative monopolization and reduce the price of land. ... A new equilibrium would be established, with wages and interest much higher
As I began considering these two points, I’ve found them related enough to be combined.
As more people have become eligible for increasingly larger benefits, the “penalty” for working—lost benefits due to increased income—has steepened and been described by analysts as the “welfare cliff.” This has been especially true for workers near the poverty line who are eligible for multiple programs (e.g., food stamps, Medicaid, the EITC, TANF, and subsidized public housing), as workers reach a point where every additional dollar earned can result in a more than 50 percent reduction in benefits.”
4: Humanity has a right as a species to the value of all land
But the Finnish government's enthusiasm for a pilot scheme, a European first which garnered worldwide attention, is petering out. Calls for extra funding for it were rejected and the two year trial will not be extended after next year.The scheme saw 2,000 unemployed Finns, picked at random, receive a flat monthly payment of €560 (£490). The government will now look at other ideas to reform its social security system.Supporters argue that a universal basic income would provide a safety net and boost innovation, creativity and personal well-being, as well as helping the unemployed find temporary work.It would counteract the insecurity of increasing number of short term contracts offered employees and boost labour mobility by encouraging workers to take the risk of moving jobs.“The eagerness of the government is evaporating,” Olli Kangas, one of the experiment's designers told the BBC.Professor Kangas said the government had turned down a request to expand the scheme to pay up to £61 million to fund the basic income for employed Finns rather than the group of 2,000 unemployed people.
RE: The "humans are entitled" assumption
You're irrationally entitled to some rights just because you're species is human.
RE: UBI's Blindspot
The poor in UBI are not the only recipients of it at all. No matter what you set the UBI to be, it's either so low it's toxic for the poor or so high that the middle class begin to abuse it as well as working-middle class inbetweeners who can otherwise cope. It literally goes by income alone, I don't even think I need to use a source to prove this. It doesn't calculate how much you have in property, estate etc. It just says 'if you lack this directly in your bank at this time, we'll top it up'. Actually everyone is topped up but the richer are paying more than they're gaining back so the surplus is how it's funded tax-wise.
RE: The rich are very blatantly rich enough to leave the nation. They'd leave...
That doesn't occur currently with the hefty taxes that are already on the rich. Additionally, I would say this is irrelevant since this can be addressed by getting rid of all other taxes(which I personally hold the view we should get rid of all taxes except the Land Value Tax and perhaps some sort of environmental tax for the same reason it's harming the common property of humanity: the earth/land) Overall, given all of the other 100 or so taxes I'd want to get rid of, such as the sales tax, gas tax, income tax, etc, It's easily the case this would be an overall tax decrease. Regardless, this is irrelevant since this is something easily solved as I just pointed it out.
Re: There's no realistic motive to work under a UBI
My opponent seems to be ignoring a lot of important facts here. First, we are not arguing over simply UBI, which it seems my opponent so far is doing. We are debating over a Citizen’s Dividend specifically, which was defined above as being a type of UBI funded by a land value tax, which my opponent has not addressed the latter. This is important, because first-of-all, Finland didn’t fund their UBI experiment with a land value tax. Second, Finland also had other welfare programs going on simultaneously with the UBI, as this source talks about. Third, as this source titled The basic income experiment 2017-2018 in Finland points out on page 8, only “Two thousand persons aged 25-58 who received an unemployment benefit from Kela in November 2016 were selected for the actual experiment.” That’s not universal whatsoever, as it didn’t include everyone. These facts are important to consider when deciding the effects a UBI, specifically a Citizen’s Dividend, would have. These are very important variables to consider as they may be confounding variables and thus weaken the “experiment”s results. That said, the UBI, according to those sources I listed above, didn’t have any effect on unemployment and how much people worked. So it’s misleading for my opponent to list this experiment in contention where they are arguing “there’s no realistic motive to work under a UBI”. That line implies it would decrease employment levels, and the experiment my opponent referred to, did nothing of the sort. Additionally, according to those aforementioned sources, it had a positive impact on the mental health and well-being of those receiving UBI. Of course there are issues with this experiment, as I pointed out, but if we assumed this experiment is as good of evidence as my opponent insinuates, then this should be seen as a point for me, as the experiment they pointed to neither proves their point, nor indicates it’s immoral(quite the opposite if it improved those people’s well-being).
Furthermore, given my opponent cites the telegraph for this info, a media source is not as convincing as the peer-reviewed studies I've provided, It should be known that media doesn't often report facts in a way that is representative of the situation.
Lastly, since UBI doesn't have welfare cliffs as I previously pointed out, it obviously won't have as much incentive to encourage people not to work. My opponent seems to be ignoring that current welfare systems are likely much worse in this regard. (see C2/3)
Now, I suppose perhaps my opponent means that it wouldn't make sense for the average homeowner to owe a greater sum of tax dollars than another simply because their house sits on diamonds, oil, and other more valuable resources than another person. I agree. This is something that can be accommodated though by having a land value tax that is further progressive. It can be used to affect those who are not making good use of land, such as banks doing land speculation, and have a smaller amount of people who are making good use of lands, such as farmers and homeowners. We can have a tier where the first X amount of dollars of land is tax-free for homeowners and farmers or something. This is not exactly a critique of a Citizen's dividend my opponent offers here, as it would be a Citizen's dividend wherein a land value tax is completely flat. We can solve the issue my opponent brings up here with such tiers or "brackets" for land value. So, while I concede these points would be applicable to specifically a flat land value tax, it doesn't change my overall argument that a land value tax is better since it can be executed in a way that accounts for these problems my opponent brings up, through it being progressive with brackets much like income tax has brackets.
Out of fairness, i'll keep this round short for myself, since my opponent did so last round. I turn the final round over to them.