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Topic

America is a messed up place.

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All stages have been completed. The voting points distribution and the result are presented below.

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After not so many votes...

It's a tie!
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Politics
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America is not a messed up place.

Rules:
1. Forfeit=autoloss
2. No new arguments from either side in the final round
3. This debate is comparative. No arguments about humanity being messed up generally should be considered.
4. If anyone other than DynamicSquid accepts this debate, they forfeit automatically.

The private challenge option seems to be broken at the moment.

Round 1
Con
Thanks to DynamicSquid for accepting this debate. It was sort of a bumpy road to get this debate going to thanks for your patience.


Definitions: 
1. Negative rights. Rights that are not derived from government, but rather predate government and exist in a state of nature.
2. Positive rights. Rights that are granted by Government.


My argument as to why America is NOT a messed up place will have two parts. The first will cover the rights and liberties that are secured here more so than in any other country, and the second part will have to do with the prosperity that life in America provides.



Negative rights in the Constitution

The Constitution of the United States of America and in particular the Bill of Rights is unique amongst all other constitutions in this critical way: It recognizes that the rights and liberties that everyone is entitled to are not derived from Government but rather from our Creator (or nature, or what have you.) And therefore predate the Governments of man and are unalienable BY the Government. 

Consider the wording of the First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or of the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and petition the government for a redress of grievances." (1)

Congress shall make no law. Note that this first part of the bill of rights does not attempt to grant all of these rights to the people, but rather restricts the government from infringing upon rights that already exist. By contrast, the constitutions of other countries focus primarily on positive rights granted by the Government and exist at the pleasure of the Government. Consider this excerpt from the British constitution: 

That's right, Britain doesn't have a constitution. But rather rights are secured only by acts of Parliament which can be overturned BY parliament.(2) This allows the British government massive freedom to infringe upon things like the right to free speech. This is why you see people in Britain being investigated by the police for expressing opinions that the state disagrees with. Like the idea that women aren't men. Watch this. transgender women are actually men. You say that in Britain and you could face fines or even jail time. Not in America. In America, the Government won't, and can't, stop you from saying basically anything you want.


Or how about this excerpt from the French constitution (which actually does exist.) "The free communication of ideas and of opinions is one of the most precious rights of man. Any citizen may, therefore, speak, write and publish freely, except what is tantamount to the abuse of this liberty in the cases determined by Law." (3)

Essentially, "we hold freedom of speech in the highest regard. So you can say and publish things freely. Unless we say you can't say something. Then we'll arrest you." The vaguery surrounding what constitutes an abuse of liberty has allowed the French government to do the same sort of thing that the British have done in going after people who express unapproved opinions.

Here in America limitations on speech extend only as far as laws against defamation or incitement of violence.

The same is true of our Second Amendment right to bear arms. Because the constitution doesn't GIVE us the right to bear arms but instead stops the government from infringing upon it, Americans can never be subdued and disarmed by the state like the British have been. No matter how much some in the government may like to.

In short, the American constitution's framing of rights as unalienable natural rights rather than privileges existing at the pleasure of the state make the American people the freest in the world.


Prosperity in the United States.

America's poor are the richest poor people in the world.
38 percent of the persons whom the Census Bureau identifies as "poor" own their own homes with a median value of $39,200.
* 62 percent of "poor" households own a car; 14 percent own two or more cars.
* Nearly half of all "poor" households have air-conditioning; 31 percent have microwave ovens.
* Nationwide, some 22,000 "poor" households have heated swimming pools or Jacuzzis.
The average "poor" American lives in a larger house or apartment than does the average West European (This is the average West European, not poor West Europeans). Poor Americans are more likely to own cars and dishwashers and are more likely to have basic modern amenities such as indoor toilets than is the general West European population. 

Poor Americans are 40 percent more likely to own a car than the average Japanese Citizen. And the average Japanese person is 22 times more likely to live without an indoor flush toilet than is a poor American. (4)

The bottom 10% in the United States are better off than the top 10% in Russia, Portugal, and Mexico (5)


The New York Times has a slightly different version of the chart about which They say: Notice how the entire line for the United States resides in the top portion of the graph? That’s because the entire country is relatively rich. In fact, America’s bottom ventile is still richer than most of the world: That is, the typical person in the bottom 5 percent of the American income distribution is still richer than 68 percent of the world’s inhabitants. (5,6)

Also, note that India's line doesn't even reach the bottom of America's. Meaning that the poorest of our poor are richer than India's richest. (5, 6)

you can see the graph in question here

In summary, America's poor are very wealthy. They are better off than the average Western European, the average Japanese person, and have a standard of living equal to the poor in places like Sweden and Finland who are supposed to care and do so much more than America does.



To conclude this first round, America is the richest and freest country the world has ever seen and remains so to this day. I wouldn't call that "messed up."

References






Pro
Hey Patmos! We've both been waiting for this debate for quite some time now. Let's get into it.

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A) OUTLINE

Round One - Clash & First Argument
Round Two - Clash & Second Argument
Round Three - Clash & Third Argument
Round Four - Clash & Summary

1st Argument - Social Sector
Does America's society have a negative appearance?

2nd Argument - Economic Sector
Does America's economy show a negative result?

3rd Argument - Political Sector
Does America's politics have a negative effect?
Does America as a country have a negative effect?

To properly evaluate a country, I do believe that three criteria should be looked at. A country's society, economy, and politics. Of course, we must take into account that the term "messed up" does not mean it's literal form (perhaps to describe a slum), but rather we each must provide adequate evidence in favour or not of the "bad" in America. For me, I will be looking at the three factors listed above, and if at least two of them are considered to have a negative showing, and my opponent cannot refute it, then I have won the debate.

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B) CLASH

My opponent said...

The American Constitution is unique amongst all other constitutions in this critical way: it recognizes that the rights and liberties that everyone is entitled to are not derived from the government, but rather from our Creator
What my opponent is saying here is that the Constitution guarantees human rights, not created by the government, but are created by ethical standards we humans have. This means that the Constitution is not enforcing laws per say, but rather human freedom in a way. My opponent further goes on to provide a example concerning free speech. He compares free speech laws in America, Britain, and France, and concludes that America's free speech laws are the best.

But is this necessarily a good thing? Too much freedom in speech could be a bad thing [1]. It could lead to major disagreements, protests, and violence. In fact, some say that America needs more regulations on free speech. And according to the Washington Post, free speech "diminishes tolerance [and] enables discrimination" [2].

Remember, free speech doesn't just free the good side, but also the bad side.

The Constitution doesn't give us the right to bear arms but instead stops the government from infringing upon it
Like I said earlier, this doesn't just free up the good side, but also the bad side. I will avoid clashing with this point now as it isn't a full argument, however I will be elaborating on this point in the third round.

America's poor are the richest poor people in the world [..] (4)
What my opponent is implying here is that America's lowest class, is the world's best lowest class. However, a further look at his sources revels otherwise. I want to focus on the 10 lines that come after my opponent's heading, "Prosperity in the United States", as those lines all came from this website.

First, the website listed some facts about poverty, and how America's poor are better off than the world's poor. But, if you keep reading, that very same website, claims that those facts, are very misleading. Let me explain. The site arrived at those facts based on what the government defines as "poor." However, the site literally spends over half it's space explaining why the government's definition of "poor" is wrong. In fact, the site claims that "government data on the possessions of officially poor households starkly contradict the general public understanding of what it means to be poor."

Secondly, the site provides evidence that this "does not mean that the War on Poverty has been a success." The site continues to state negative facts about America's poverty, including how the black illegitimate birth rate has raised 36% in 50 years, and how "the current welfare system has created entire communities where work is rare, intact families virtually unknown, and dependence on government a way of life passed on from generation to generation."

I will be elaborating on this shortly.

America's poor are very wealthy
This statement is backup using two links, and claims that America's poor are financially better off that a lot of other people across the world. And yes, that is actually true. But notice the word "financially" in there. Does "financially" always correspond to a good thing? In fact, the UN classifies America near the bottom of the developed countries in terms of safety net support and economic mobility. Even being one of the richest countries in the world, America's population still comes out as one of the poorest in the world. Money does not always mean happiness.

This will be further expanded in the next section.

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C) ARGUMENTS

Time for my arguments! Or argument I should say. Starting off with how the society doing very poorly.

Social Sector - Does America's society have a negative appearance?

Instead of talking about poverty, and poor, and all these words with dynamic meanings, let's just talk about actual numbers. Let's start off with some more information on the working class.

  • 78% of workers live paycheck to paycheck
  • 26% of workers don't set aside money to their savings each month
  • 71% of workers are in debt, and half of them think they will always be
  • 20% of workers miss minor payments each year
  • 68% of workers don't have a clear budget
And these facts are just specific to the working class [3]! What about American families as a whole [4]?

  • 40% of families are below the ALICE threshold
  • 43% of families can't afford a basic household budget
As you can see by now, many people across American struggle with day to day life. And these numbers are pure, without fluid definitions that are disagreed upon. And before you say that the government are trying to help these people, especially the poorest half, the government actually provides more safety net government transfers to the middle and upper class, rather than the poor.

With all of this being said, America certainly isn't looking too bright on it's society. So my opponent can either explain why none of this matters, or he can drop this argument and focus on wining the two others.

So that's why you need to vote for Andrew Yang-- I'm kidding.

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D) CLOSING

In this round, I have talked about how America's society is not as good as it seems.

My opponent tried to say how America's poor are rich, however I countered with how "financially rich" does not mean "good"

In the next round, I will follow up with America's economy.

Thank you.

Links:

[~] World Economic Forum - Freedom of speech: which country has the most?


[1] Impakter - More than Hurt Feelings: The Real Danger of Hate Speech

[2] Washington Post - Why America needs a hate speech law

[3] Career Builder - Living Paycheck to Paycheck is a Way of Life

[4] United for Alice - National Comparison
Round 2
Con
Thanks to DynamicSquid for this response.

Free speech increases hate, decreases tolerance

The baseline assumption of my opponent's argument seems to be that state-issued gag orders on, say, racists will decrease hate and increase tolerance. However, nothing could be further from the truth. The only way to get rid of a bad smell is to air it out. The same is true with bad ideas. The only way to allow good ideas to win out over bad ideas is for an open debate to occur. violating free speech doesn't get rid of the racists. It just turns them into secret racists that are angry about being silenced. Allowing bad ideas to be challenged by good ideas is the only way to ensure that bad ideas go away.

What's more, America understands that the government is a ravenous leviathan. It doesn't stop at just a little bit of power. The more you feed the beast, the hungrier it gets. It won't stop at just banning speech you don't like. A government that is powerful enough to shut up people you disagree with is powerful enough to shut you up too.


Government data

DynamicSquid then argues that my source contradicts my argument. Not so.

My source argues that the government data is flawed. Even going so far as to say "the Census measurement of the income of poor persons no longer has any bearing on economic reality." The article then goes on to spend the rest of its length explaining exactly why that is. Whether my opponent's argument was an intentional distortion or a result of inattentive reading I don't know. But my source says conclusively that America's "poor" are in fact very wealthy. In fact, massively more wealthy than the majority of the world's population and even more wealthy than the average Western European and their precious social democracies.

Just because the war on poverty has been a disaster doesn't mean America's poor are worse off than other poor people. All it means is that Democrat policies are failures and are causing problems for the poor. They would be better off in the absence of these policies but they are still very well off.



Economic mobility

My opponent still needs to identify a social or institutional barrier to economic mobility. But thus far he has not. If no such barrier exists then an apparent lack of mobility is the result of personal freedom. In a free society, you can choose to stagnate or choose to work hard and advance.

But even if a social/institutional barrier does exist there is still the point that they are stagnant at the top. I would rather live in a country where I can be stuck at the bottom of that countries economic ladder than live in a country like India where I can start at the bottom rise all the way to the top and still be worse off than the guy at the bottom of America's ladder.

My opponent still needs to explain how one can be richer than most of the world but also among the poorest people in the world.


opponent's arguments.

Social sector

1. 78% of workers live paycheck to paycheck.

They don't have to. They can choose to cut back on expenses. My opponent completely ignores that most American's have discretionary expenses. You don't have to have a cable bill or any number of other things. We know that it isn't struggling to afford necessities that keeps most workers living paycheck to paycheck because even the poorest Americans have access to food at a level even higher than the Western European middle class. It doesn't make sense that even Americans who aren't considered poor would struggle for food.

2. 26% don't set aside savings.

They can. This argument is the same as the one that I made for #1. It seems that many of my opponent's arguments are not arguments merely against America, but rather arguments against freedom itself. Freedom to save your money, or to spend it all. 

71% of workers are in debt. Just don't swipe the credit card to buy things you don't need with money you don't have and you won't be in debt. Don't take out student loans for a useless major. Work hard, get scholarships, join the military for free college, opportunities abound. But again, freedom allows you to go into debt for things you want. Freedom allows you to make bad decisions as well as good. As well it should. If the government forces you to only make good decisions then you aren't free. As for them never getting out of debt, it simply isn't true. Through hard work, you can get out of debt.

3. 20% of workers miss minor payments.

That's actually a pretty good number. that means 80% have no problem making all of their payments. 20% took out more loans than they could afford. No one made them do that.

4. 68% don't have a clear budget. 


They could. No one can/should force you to make a budget. Having a budget is good, but not mandatory. There is no institutional or social force that prevents them from sitting down and making a budget.


The Alice Threshold

I honestly have no idea how the ALICE threshold is calculated. But I know that is isn't calculated by actual necessities. Because a USDA study found that 96% of low-income households reported having never gone hungry from an inability to afford food. The USDA also reports that there is no difference in diet quality between high and low-income children as measured by its healthy eating index. Also, note my opponents own statement that 80% of working families make all of their payments. And my argument that "poor" Americans are better off than middle-class Europeans. So according to my opponent, 80% have the money to pay for everything they need and much of what they want, but 40% don't hit a threshold for economic survival. That math doesn't check out.


As a side note, there is a rather famous statistic from the Brookings Institute (a left-leaning think tank) that there are only 3 things you need to do to not stay in poverty in the U.S.

1. Finish High School.
2. Get a job.
3. Don't have babies until you're married.

You do those three things and you will not be permanently poor in the U.S. In fact, only 2% of people who follow these rules stay in poverty, and 75% join the middle class. This further reinforces my argument that income mobility in the U.S. is determined by personal behavior and that there is no barrier to rising. Only people choosing not to take the necessary steps to climb the ladder. Which they do, and should, have the freedom to do in the U.S.

Conclusions

Most of my opponent's arguments seem to suggest that he thinks the fact that Americans have the freedom to succeed or fail by their own merit is what makes our country "messed up" despite the fact that we have the best results in terms of prosperity of any nation in the world by far. Even for the poorest among us do better than the middle class in Europe with all of the policies of a socialist "paradise." With the best results for the greatest number of people and the freedom to shape your life into whatever your work ethic will allow, America is by far the best country to live in anywhere in the world.


References

Pro
Hello and thanks for your reply. Let's get into this.

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A) CLASH

My opponent said...

The only way to allow good ideas to win out over bad ideas is for an open debate to occur
According to University Observer, "supporting limits to free speech in no way means you are anti-debate. [1]" Limiting free speech to an extent is actually good, as I have shown with multiple sources. You claim that "nothing could be further from the truth," however you provide no evidence or sources to back up your claim.

But my source says conclusively that America's "poor" are in fact very wealthy
Again, you overlooked the website. The reason they put quotation marks around the word "poor" is because they are defining "poor" as set by the government. However, like I have stated before, the article is literally about why the government definition of "poor" is misleading. They even say that "the Census Bureau's poverty reports should be replaced by a new survey that counts income and assets accurately." And what's more, is that the article goes on to spend another 5,000 words talking about how America's poverty is failing.

My opponent still needs to identify a social or institutional barrier to economic mobility
Actually I don't. If the people are doing not so great, then that relates to the overall society being bad.

Oh, and just for the sake of it, there are indeed barriers to economic mobility in America [2]. That site defines three factors, familymarkets, and social institutions. They claim that there are "many barriers to mobility, especially for black men and their children, those who grow up in unmarried-parent households, and the less educated." They also tie that negative social aspect back to the community, and say that there isn't enough support, economically and politically, for these people.

They don't have to, they can choose to cut back on expenses
What my opponent is implying here (and not only here, but numerous times after) is that it's not the country's fault that the people are doing poorly, but rather the people's fault. However, like I stated before, the people are part of the country, and therefor are relevant when evaluating the country's overall society. If a country has bad people, then the country is bad.

That's actually a pretty good number. that means 80% have no problem making all of their payments
20% is a good number!? One in five people around you struggle to pay minor bills. That's not including mortgage, taxes, insurance, or more. How is that good at all?

I honestly have no idea how the ALICE threshold is calculated, but I know that is isn't calculated by actual necessities
Well, according to the ALICE threshold, they claim that, "despite the FPL’s benefit of providing a nationally recognized income threshold for determining who is poor, its shortcomings are well documented. The measure is not based on the current cost of basic household necessities [..] The ALICE research fills that void."

Note my opponents own statement that 80% of working families make all of their payments. 
Show me in my text where I said that.

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B) ARGUMENT

Economic SectorDoes America's economy show a negative result?

Yes.

You see, America's economy is getting bigger, but not necessarily better [3]. The only group hat seems to profit are the top percent, while the lower classes seem to get outpaced by the economic growth of the country. For example, since 1979, the economy has rising 60%, however the bottom half only saw a 22% increase in income. This also leads to a huge wealth gap, where the top 1% have 40% of all the money. To put this into perspective, the top 160,000 families hold more money than the bottom 90%!

Oh, and a wealth gap is no a good thing [4]. Many research papers found that a wealth gap, can actually correlate to health and social problems. Other's have attributed a wealth gap with other social effects, mainly the previously stated health problems [5].

In addition, here are some general economic downsides [6]:

  • The middle class is failing
  • Union payments are getting more accessible
  • The cost of college is getting very high
  • And more...
And just a note, I'm just going to stick to the present in this debate, and leave out anything to do with upcoming events. I believe that this is more relatable and easier to define than just talking about future scenarios.

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C) CONCLUSION

I started this debate off with a clash, pointing out how my opponent couldn't counter my arguments, and instead worked around them.

I also stated how America's economy is not a great as it seems.

In the next round, I will be talking about how America's political sector is bad (hint: I'll be talking about Trump).

Thank you.

Links:

[1] University Observer - Should there be limits on freedom of speech?

[2] US National Library of Medicine - Multiple barriers to economic opportunity

[3] The Guardian - The economy isn't getting better for most Americans

[4] Fair Economy - Why is income inequality bad?

[5] NBC News - Why the wealth gap is a bad thing

[6] The Guardian - 10 reasons why the US economy sucks
Round 3
Con
Sorry, this one's going to be a bit rushed what with the SSL error eating the original post that I spent 3 days on.

1. My opponent said that I offered no supports to my argument that infringing on free speech doesn't decrease hate and then proceeds to ignore the rest of the paragraph where I extend the argument. My opponent also ignores the part of my arguments where I point out that the U.S. does have some reasonable restrictions on free speech. But these restrictions have to be clearly defined and minimal. Moreover, my opponent did not respond to my argument that banning certain opinions as has been done in England and elsewhere doesn't actually get rid of that opinion. It only drives it underground and prolongs its existence.

2. What my opponent doesn't seem to follow about my argument about poverty in America is that the government data drastically inflates the number of "poor" people in America. My source then takes an objective standard by percentile of income and determines that the bottom 20% of Americans are still better off than the average European. That is 50% of Europeans. My opponent needs to explain how America can be a comparatively messed up place economically when our people are so much richer than everyone else. Moreover, Just because the war on poverty has been a disaster doesn't mean America's poor are worse off than other poor people. All it means is that Democrat policies are failures and are causing problems for the poor. They would be better off in the absence of these policies but they are still very well off. I said that in my last post and you provided no response.

3. My opponent now claims that he does not need to prove his argument that there are barriers to economic mobility. But he does. If he wants to prove that America is "a messed up place" then he needs to prove that something inherent to the American system is causing its people to struggle. 

Nevertheless, he attempts to do so. He claims that there are Market, Family, and social barriers to economic mobility but fails to identify a single specific instance of two of those. the only one he identifies is a family barrier relating to single-parent households. Again, no one is forcing people to become pregnant out of wedlock then not get married. It isn't that hard to avoid pregnancy. Just don't have unprotected sex or better yet, wait for marriage to have sex at all, then you don't have to worry about it. But once more, Americans have the freedom to mostly do what they want sexually. It's not hard to tear down that "barrier" and if that is the sole identifiable barrier to economic mobility then we're doing a very good job at making sure that Americans are able to move up. 

My opponent also completely ignored my evidence from the Brookings Institute which proved that you only have to do three simple things to join the middle class in America if you start in poverty.
1. Finish High School
2. Get a job.
3. Don't have babies until you're married.

All three of those are extremely easy and 98% of people who follow those rules rise out of poverty in the U.S. which indicates high levels of economic mobility. My opponent had no response to this. 

As for the other two barriers he identifies, he has not so far been able to 


4. Next, my opponent claims that Americans living paycheck to paycheck is evidence that those people are "bad people" and that they, in turn, make their country bad. However, I don't think that this is indicative of the moral degeneracy of low-income Americans, but rather is another example of American freedom. As Americans, we are entitled to the British Inheritance. To work as we will, to spend what we earn, and to have the state as a servant, not as a master. In America, we have the right to spend our hard-earned money as we please. Whether than means that we spend it all on things we want, or that we save for the future is up to us. what would the alternative be? a country wherein a tyrannical government dictates how and when I spend my money essentially making the government master over my time and labor? This country would be far more "messed up" than the American system of freedom and self-determination.



5. My opponent now claims that 80% of Americans having no problem paying their minor bills is a bad number. However, this ignores that most minor payments are discretionary and could be cut out of a budget. He has provided no evidence that Americans are having a hard time making major payments. He has also not presented any evidence relating to major payments at all. As such, we can make no assumptions about them. Major payments should also be clearly defined by my opponent.


6. As for my opponents ALICE threshold argument, he has not refuted any of the evidence and statistics that I used to prove that the ALICE threshold can't be calculated based on actual necessities. For example, my source from the USDA which found that 96% of low-income households reported never going hungry from not being able to afford food. Also the evidence my opponent graciously provided which proves that 80% of working families have no problem making all of their payments. including discretionary payments for wants rather than needs. Yet, the ALICE threshold claims that 40% of Americans don't meet a threshold for economic survival. He will need to explain just how that math works.

7. Next, my opponent inquires about where he claimed that 80% of working families can make all of their payments. You said that when you said that 20% couldn't. if 20% can't then that leaves 80% that can. simple math.


New Argument.

My opponent claims primarily that the U.S. economy is leaving the poor behind. This is not true. employers raise wages in order to keep good talent and attract new workers to fill job openings. And that’s happening, too. Until recently, wage growth had lagged behind expectations. Not anymore.
Following the 2017 tax cuts, the growth rate for average hourly earnings began to tick up, and over the past year, average hourly earnings rose by 3.2%. That’s a raise of roughly $1,400 in a year’s take-home pay. Before 2018, wage growth hadn’t reached 3% since 2009. 
The recent wage gains have been largest for those who need it most. For the last six months, wage growth for production and non-supervisory workers outpaced the average for the entire economy. (1)

So my opponents argument may have at one point been true, but after the Trump tax cuts, things are going well again.

My opponent also argues that a wealth gap exists in America, therefore the American economy is bad. I for one would rather live in a country like America where a wealth gap exists but everyone is rich, rather than live in a country where the government tries to bust a wealth gap and it backfires making everyone poorer which my opponents NBC source recognizes is common. Also, he claims that a wealth gap causes social and (somehow) health problems. He posted a 122-page report from the OECD but doesn't break down exactly what it says. his NBC report does not mention health problems at all and also says that the low savings rate amongst Americans is the result of misleading data. 

So basically, I need specific arguments about HOW and WHY a wealth gap makes people sick and breaks down society. He will also have to explain why even though his own source says that attempts to close a wealth gap usually backfire he wants to go through with that attempt anyway. He will also have to contend with the fact that despite a wealth gap, everyone is getting richer. I don't care that Bill Gates is richer than me so long as I'm not getting poorer while he's getting richer. Which isn't happening. Everyone is getting richer.


Also, the Middle class is not failing. It is shrinking in numbers, but that's because many of them are joining the Upper Class. Not falling into the lower class. Moreover, data that indicates a decline in the middle class is misleading because of shifting household sizes. Households are generally decreasing in size which leads to the appearance that wealth is decreasing when in fact that statistic is the cause of fewer people in the household that are working. (2)

Yes, College is expensive. But my opponent has ignored all of the ways that I provided where one could pay for college. For example, you can do what I'm doing. Join the Army reserves and get free college and much more in return. You can work hard and get scholarships, etc. Opportunities abound. Anyone can get cheap or even free college. You just have to work for it.

References

Pro
Hey and sorry for this rush response. School's killing me with midterms right now, and yeah. However I don't want to forfeit, but I have to make this rushed. Let's do a speed run!

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A) CLASH

My opponent said...


My opponent also ignores the part of my arguments where I point out that the U.S. does have some reasonable restrictions on free speech [..] Moreover, my opponent did not respond to my argument that banning certain opinions as has been done
I "ignored" it because there was no evidence present.

My opponent needs to explain how America can be a comparatively messed up place economically when our people are so much richer than everyone else
But we're not richer than the rest! Yes, we are richer if we use our own standards, but like I've stated before, our own standards are very biased and unfair!

 All it means is that Democrat policies are failures
So... you think America's politics are messed up? Cool.

3. My opponent [..] been able to
This entire argument is about "if." If the people do this, America will be great. If the people do that, America will be great. But the people aren't doing that! That's the problem. The people are part of the country, under the social sector. Bad people = bad country. 

My opponent also completely ignored my evidence from the Brookings Institute which proved that you only have to do three simple things to join the middle class in America if you start in poverty.
Like I said before, this is an "if" argument. And besides, of course every single person in poverty can go back and finish high school. Of course it's easy for poor people to get a job. And of course people will have babies after they're married. So no, it's not that easy.

 another example of American freedom
Don't all countries have this? And that didn't answer my argument. My statement claimed that many America's are poor. But you skipped that question by talking about freedom.

My opponent now claims that 80% of Americans having no problem paying their minor bills is a bad number [..] He has provided no evidence that Americans are having a hard time making major payment
"Now claims"? I have always said that. And if 20% can't pay minor bills, then of course at least 20% can't pay major bills. In fact, 40% of America's can't pay a surprise $400 bill (most likely medical) [1]. And that is good because?

USDA which found that 96% of low-income households reported never going hungry from not being able to afford food
Sure. But what about medical? Insurance? Food is the most important thing, so of course people are going to pay for food first. However, when it comes to other expenses...

Also, the Middle class is not failing. It is shrinking in numbers, but that's because many of them are joining the Upper Class
No. America's middle class is gaining wealth naturally. It's expected for the middle class of a country to gain wealth, as that shows economic development. Also, the middle class is actually not that rich compared to the super rich. The wealth gap is huge! And like I've stated before, a big wealth gap is a big problem.

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B) ARGUMENT

Politics. Yes.

This is going to be very rushed, so please bear with me.

1. Trump

No comment.

2. Constitution [2] [3] [4]

America's Constitution is messed up. It's outdated. It doesn't take into account new advancements such as AI or foreign affairs. And amendments, are really hard to pass, which makes it very difficult to get anything changed. Example. Guns. At the time of the creation, guns could fire a bullet per minute. And if you are standing 3 meters away from me, maybe I would hit you, maybe I wouldn't? Now days a gun can empty 30 rounds in a couple of seconds. See the problem here?

Oh and it also fails the people. Here's a piece taken from a previous debate:

"Doesn't guarantee US citizens food, housing, education, or even healthcare! The piece of paper also allows filibustering in the government! Also the rights to privacy and body integrity are left out, not to mention that its misses some vital right for sexual orientation related topics. The list goes on and on."

Oh, and the piece of paper was written by "a narrow group of exclusively white patrician men, many of them slave holders." Never good to have no inclusion when making laws.

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C) CONCLUSION

That's it!

Sorry if this is rushed, like I said, school happened.

Also sorry if I sound a little bit rude. It's not anything intentional, it's just that I'm writing fast with no thought. Please don't be offended.

Next round, I'll be summarizing my points.

Also, is new information allowed? Not new major arguments, just small pieces of facts.

Thank you!

Links:

Round 4
Con
All right. It's been a good debate and I'm excited to enter this final round.


First, he claims that there is no evidence that the U.S. has reasonable restrictions on free speech. So apparently my opponent doesn't think that the U.S. has laws against slander, libel, or incitement of violence. All of which is an obvious truism. Moreover, he has shifted the burden of proof. It's his job to prove that banning an opinion will make that opinion go away, which he hasn't done. It should be obvious that just making it illegal to express an opinion doesn't magically change someone's mind. Nor does it eliminate the external manifestations of that opinion. If he's going to claim that it does, then we need some solid proof. Something he hasn't shown us.


In his next point, my opponent ignored my argument. I pointed out that my source identified a problem with the census bureaus method of determining levels of poverty in the united states (which, by the way, led to an illusion of MORE poverty not less.) and my source then used an objective standard to determine actual poverty levels by percentile which proved that Americans are better off than in other countries. 

In short, empirics prove that "poor" Americans are richer than middle-class Europeans.


Next, he claims that I think that American politics are messed up because Democrats push bad policies. No, in a free democratic society the people have the right to vote for whatever politicians and policies that they want. That's called living in a Republic and having freedom. Freedom is not messed up.


This entire argument is about "if." If the people do this, America will be great. If the people do that, America will be great. But the people aren't doing that! That's the problem. The people are part of the country, under the social sector. Bad people = bad country. 

No, America IS a good country because ALL Americans have everything they need to prosper as well as the freedom not to take it and to do what they want with their lives. And again for the record, not being prosperous (relative to your own country considering empirics prove that almost all Americans are prosperous) is not evidence of moral degeneracy as my opponent again claims.

Like I said before, this is an "if" argument. And besides, of course every single person in poverty can go back and finish high school. Of course it's easy for poor people to get a job. And of course people will have babies after they're married. So no, it's not that easy.
Getting a high school diploma or GED is easy. If you can write your name you can finish high school. We have record low unemployment in America with more unfilled jobs than there are unemployed people to fill them. So yes, it is easy to get a job. The process through which babies are made is not shrouded in mystery. It's sex. Just don't have unprotected sex (or better yet, wait for marriage) and you won't make babies outside of marriage. So yes, it is easy and in America, EVERYONE has the ability to do those things succeed for it.



My argument relating to freedom goes like this. In a truly free society, people have the ability to make decisions that lead to less long-term prosperity. And this is the case in America. It is also the case that empirics have proven that the "poor" in America are doing very well and it has also been proven that all Americans have all of the opportunities they need to be successful even by American standards. The only way to eliminate people choosing lifestyles that don't lead to greater dollar and cent levels of prosperity would be to impose a tyrannical system of government wherein the state forces people to live their lives in accordance to what whoever runs the government thinks is best. That's pretty messed up if you ask me. People should have the freedom to choose the lifestyle they want to live.

And if 20% can't pay minor bills, then of course at least 20% can't pay major bills.
not if they are neglecting minor bills in order to pay major bills. You would need to prove that your argument is the case. Not merely assert that it is. As for the 40% figure, the source that you cite recognizes that there are various studies that came up with different numbers. The attempt that they made to solve for the discrepancies between studies involved subtracting debt from the amount of money they had. And now we're back to my argument that no one is forced to swipe the credit card whenever they want something they can't afford. 


Next, you have provided no evidence relating to insurance. As for medical, the reason why America's healthcare is so expensive is twofold. 

1. We have the best healthcare in the world. If you have a disease and would like to survive it, you seek treatment in America. Quality costs money.
2. Other countries aren't pulling their weight. Almost all medical R&D is done in the U.S. and R&D is very expensive. Essentially, Europe and elsewhere are mooching off of American research and as a result, Americans have to foot the bill. 

Moreover, the idea that Americans are paying the most for medical expenses is untrue. the OECD found that prices are 10% higher in Sweden, 20% higher in Norway, and 39% higher in Switzerland all while those countries show inferior results to the United States. Further, the OECD found that there is a "clear positive association" between higher per capita spending and increased cancer survival rates. 

Also, in America, 80% of women have access to timely cervical cancer screening compared to only 70% in other OECD countries. So Americans also have better access to healthcare.

In summary, Americans get the best healthcare so we pay for the best healthcare. But it would still be far less expensive if other countries would start pulling their weight.

No. America's middle class is gaining wealth naturally. It's expected for the middle class of a country to gain wealth, as that shows economic development. Also, the middle class is actually not that rich compared to the super rich. The wealth gap is huge! And like I've stated before, a big wealth gap is a big problem.
So essentially my opponent seems to be claiming that the middle class is getting richer, but also that they are somehow failing. Which seems a bit strange to me. He claims that there is a wealth gap between the middle class and the upper class. To which I say: "who cares." My opponent has still failed to address any of the arguments I made that took down his wealth gap claims and going into the final round he cannot without committing a rules violation as I won't have an opportunity to respond.

New argument.

Trump

No comment=no argument.


the Constitution.

My opponent claims that the constitution is outdated. 

1. Because it doesn't take into account AI. My opponent has provided no evidence that any countries constitution talks about A.I. and since this is a comparative debate, this argument is nonviable
2. Because it doesn't take into account "foreign affairs" this is hard to talk about seeing as my opponent never bothered to tell us what he means by that. the Constitution does delegate powers between the president and legislature to conduct foreign policy. So I don't know what he means.

Guns.

My opponent makes several misinformed statements about guns. For example, guns at the time could only fire a bullet a minute. Not true. Semi-automatic weapons did, in fact, exist at the time of the founding and the founding fathers knew about them. Consider the Belton Flintlock which could fire 30 rounds per minute at an effective range of 30 yards. the Belton Flintlock was presented to the continental congress in 1777 while the constitution was written in 1787. Moreover, the idea that the founding fathers were so stupid that they never considered that weapons technology wouldn't stay stuck in 1787 forever is ridiculous.

The constitution fails people.

As for healthcare and housing and all of that stuff, declaring things rights doesn't make them magically appear. Someone has to pay for everyone to have a house and free healthcare etc. There's no such thing as "free." A system where people can work for and earn these things is far better as it ensures productivity and also ensures that the country is bankrupted. You know, like every socialist government in the history of socialism.

The filibuster ensures that the minority still has a say. Mob rule is incredibly dangerous and America's founding fathers knew it. The filibuster is good because it ensures that the majority can't just ram through whatever it wants and stomp all over the rights of the minority.

The right to privacy was read into the constitution in Roe v. Wade. So that argument is just untrue.

My opponent did not define what he means by "body integrity" so I can't argue against it. This point is far too vague to be considered.

My opponent has not identified a single right that is denied to an unspecified sexual orientation. This argument should be disregarded for lack of evidence.

My opponent's argument against the founding fathers amounts to nothing more than an argumentum ad hominem logical fallacy. Moreover, a plurality of the founding fathers were abolitionists. It was impossible to abolish slavery at the time of the founding because the southern states wouldn't go along with it. And without them, the country would fall apart. So they did the next best thing: they did not constitutionally enshrine slavery which given demographic growth towards the anti-slavery north, put slavery on the long march to extinction. Which is exactly what happened. They also implemented the three-fifths compromise which ensured that slave states did not have disproportionate power in the congress. After all, if slave states can count their slaves as population, then not let their slaves vote, they can get far more slavery supporting politicians in the House of Representatives.

New information.

You can provide new information. But be careful that you don't cross the line into new argument territory. It will be up to the voters to decide whether or not that happened.

Conclusion.

I would like to end this debate by saying that though America has its flaws as all countries do, America still provides the most freedom, the most opportunity, and the best results in terms of prosperity when compared to any other country that has ever existed on this planet. I would like to use a modified version of an old quote from Winston Churchill. America is the worst country on Earth. Except for all of the others.


References

Pro
Hey and glad you enjoyed this debate. I had fun!

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A) CLASH

My opponent said...

Moreover, he has shifted the burden of proof. It's his job to prove that banning an opinion will make that opinion go away, which he hasn't done
Let's take a step back for a second, to the original argument you made:

"The baseline assumption of my opponent's argument seems to be that state-issued gag orders on, say, racists will decrease hate and increase tolerance. However, nothing could be further from the truth. The only way to get rid of a bad smell is to air it out. The same is true with bad ideas. The only way to allow good ideas to win out over bad ideas is for an open debate to occur. violating free speech doesn't get rid of the racists. It just turns them into secret racists that are angry about being silenced. Allowing bad ideas to be challenged by good ideas is the only way to ensure that bad ideas go away.

What's more, America understands that the government is a ravenous leviathan. It doesn't stop at just a little bit of power. The more you feed the beast, the hungrier it gets. It won't stop at just banning speech you don't like. A government that is powerful enough to shut up people you disagree with is powerful enough to shut you up too."

First, I claimed that there was no evidence to support these claims, which is true. Then you attempted to dilute and shift my response, eventually ending up to claim that I was the one with no evidence. Well, let's just look over this argument one last time.

You said that the only way for bad things to go away is if they are exposed to good things, and therefore free speech is a good thing and limitations are bad. However, limitations on free speech doesn't mean that a debate can't take place, it just means that violent protests can't take place. Also I provided these two links to back up my claims, however, you have yet to provide a single link to back up your claims.


My source then used an objective standard to determine actual poverty levels by percentile which proved that Americans are better off than in other countries
Again, let's go back to the original source. My opponent claims that this website clearly states that America's poor are better off than in other countries. However, this website is stating the exact opposite! Let's take a look at what my opponent claims using the website as reference (my opponent used the exact wording of the website):

"38 percent of the persons whom the Census Bureau identifies as "poor" own their own homes with a median value of $39,200. 62 percent of "poor" households own a car; 14 percent own two or more cars. Nearly half of all "poor" households have air-conditioning; 31 percent have microwave ovens. Nationwide, some 22,000 "poor" households have heated swimming pools or Jacuzzis."

Those were my opponents exact words. Notice that the website used quotations marks around the word poor. This is because those fact were taken from the Census Bureau, however, this website disagrees with those claims. In fact, the very first line states: "Next week the United States Census Bureau will release its annual report on poverty stating, as it has for many years, that there are some 31 million to 32 million poor Americans, a number greater than in 1965 when the War on Poverty began. Evidence mounts, however, that the Census Bureau's poverty report dramatically understates the living standards of low income Americans." Notice how the very first paragraph contradicts my opponents claims.

I highly recommend you to read the website for yourself to get a better look to what my opponent is missing here.

In a free democratic society the people have the right to vote for whatever politicians and policies that they want
Yes, that is true. There is no problem with the voting system. However, it's the Republicans that are the problem. Mainly Trump.

America is a good country because all Americans have everything they need to prosper as well as the freedom not to take it and to do what they want with their lives
Ignoring everything else related, let's take a look at your core idea in this, and previous, arguments. It's that America has high economic mobility.

First, let's just assume that this is the case. there are still millions of people in America living in poverty. High economic mobility doesn't mean anything if no one uses it, which appears to be the case in America (keep reading).

However, let's now take a look at the real situation in America. And once we do, we shall find that the economic mobility is actually very low.

Using my previously sited source, we see that between 36% and 40% of all those born in the bottom fifth stay at the bottom as adults. 50% of the low-income children who grew up with never-married parents remained in the bottom fifth as adults. Among low income children whose parents had some form of a high school degree, 54% ended up in the bottom 40% of their adult income distribution. This is because of market inequalities, lack of social resources, and family problems.

And as my opponent has requested, here's some more evidence [1]:

  • Labour market barriers
    • Labour force is underutilized
    • Rural labour force is slowing
    • Some groups haven't caught up since the Great Recession
  • Economic segregation [2]
    • Rising income inequality
    • Poor families live in poor neighborhoods
    • Lower income correlates to lower education [3]
  • Justice system barriers
    • Affect jobs, or any other system that requires background checks
    • People with criminal records are twice as likely to remain at the bottom
    • Affects 70 million people in America
All of this clearly shows many economic mobility problems facing Americans today. Oh, and also, how can you have a high economic mobility, if half a million familes go bankrupt each year due to healthcare bills [4]?

We have the best healthcare in the world
Really?

Let's see here. Well, according to Bloomberg [5]:

"The U.S. life expectancy of 78.8 years ranks 27th. It has the fourth highest infant mortality rate in the OECD, the sixth highest maternal mortality rate and the ninth highest likelihood of dying at a younger age from a host of ailments, including cardiovascular disease and cancer. The U.S. is the most obese country in the OECD, leads in drug-related deaths and ranks 33rd in prevalence of diabetes."

Let's look at another source [6]:

"The United States health care system spends far more than other high-income countries, yet has previously documented gaps in the quality of care. [..] The U.S. ranked last on performance overall, and ranked last or near last on the Access, Administrative Efficiency, Equity, and Health Care Outcomes domains."

The full report is actually an interesting read, however I'm running out of time here.

Oh, and by the way, America spends the most on healthcare, however, like you just saw, has one of the worst outcomes. Talk about inefficient!

Moreover, the idea that Americans are paying the most for medical expenses is untrue
Then explain to me why 500,000 people go bankrupt every year due to healthcare bills?

So essentially my opponent seems to be claiming that the middle class is getting richer, but also that they are somehow failing
Nope. The middle class wage has increased slowly over the past decade, and that is expected, nothing out of the ordinary there. However, the rich continue to grow faster than the middle class, causing a wealth gap. And like I have shown, is a terrible thing.

No comment = no argument
Do I really need an argument for this? I feel like that this topic is for a separate debate.

However [7],

  • False claims about Obama, a lot of them
  • Bad relations with Mexico (wall)
  • Insulted senator John McCain's military service
  • Oh, and insulted a lot more people
  • The list just goes on...
Also, like Oromagi has pointed out, Trump is a very bad source of information!

And besides, a man who claims that his "J" stands for Jenius, well...

My opponent claims that the constitution is outdated
So you want me to elaborate on AI and foreign affairs? Sure.

So what I meant by AI is that AI is becoming increasingly powerful. So should their rights be guaranteed under the Constitution? And yes, this is a serious argument

Also, what I meant about foreign affairs is that the world is obviously different now than in the past. More focus on soft power and overseas relations are becoming vastly important. So should the Constitution remove or restrict these actions?

My opponent makes several misinformed statements about guns
Actually I didn't. Everything I said there is true. You tried to counter this statement with one example of a gun, however this gun was an experimental gun that wasn't proven to live up tot it's claims. Oh, and by the way, were there easy to buy assault rifles back in the 18th century?

I highly doubt that guns haven't changed since the 18th century.

You also claim that the people who wrote the Constitution clearly predicted the future, and wrote it while also taking into account 21st technology. This seems unlikely, especially with no evidence.

The filibuster ensures that the minority still has a say. Mob rule is incredibly dangerous and America's founding fathers knew it. The filibuster is good because it ensures that the majority can't just ram through whatever it wants and stomp all over the rights of the minority
Filibusters are good? First, you have no evidence, and second, do you know what filibusters have done [8]?

  • Blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act
    • Allowed women to more easily report wage discrimination
  • Blocked the Creating American Jobs and Ending Offshoring Act
    • Supported creating new business and job opportunities in America
  • Blocked A bill to amend the National Labor Relations Act and the Railway Labor Act
    • Prevented discrimination based on participation in labor disputes
  • Blocked the Energy Policy Act
    • Regulated safe and clean drinking water, free of MTBE
  • And more!
So how is that a good thing?

My opponent's argument against the founding fathers amounts to nothing more than an argumentum ad hominem logical fallacy
How so? I mean, if the Founding Fathers unfairly wrote the Constitution, then it's their fault, not the Constitution's. After all, the Constitution is just a piece of paper that reflects the beliefs of the Founding Fathers...

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B) CONCLUSION

I would recommend judging this debate by the previously mentioned factors: social, economic, and political.

Here's a helpful chart to help you!
 
                            |         Pro         |         Con
-----------------------|--------------------|--------------------
Social                  |                        | 
Economic            |                        |
Political               |                         |

Well, that's all from now. I'm going to write my first midterm tomorrow, so sorry if this is a little rushed.

I had fun debating this topic.

See you soon!

Thank you.

Links:

[~] United States Department of Agriculture - Rural Employment and Unemployment

[1] Jared Bernstein - Wage outcomes and macroeconomic conditions

[2] Sage Journals - Inequality in children's context

[3] Washington Post - Parent income distribution by percentile (picture)

[4] Nasdaq - Medical bankruptcy

[5] Bloomberg - Healthcare spending

[6] Common Wealth Fund - International comparison reflects flaws and opportunities for better U.S. health care

[7] McSweeney's - Lest we forget

[8] American Progress - Impact of Filibusters on federal policy making