Instigator / Con

Government Benefits


The debate is finished. The distribution of the voting points and the winner are presented below.

Winner & statistics
Better arguments
Better sources
Better legibility
Better conduct

After 2 votes and with the same amount of points on both sides...

It's a tie!
Publication date
Last updated date
Number of rounds
Time for argument
One week
Max argument characters
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One month
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Multiple criterions
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Contender / Pro

Now I suppose a general description of the rules.

(1.) BOTH sides have a burden to prove their positions. (I have noticed this kind of burden swinging in far too many debates. It is a tactic to merely win a debate, not to find truth.)
(2.) Sources are NOT everything. (Something that is also misunderstood is the nature of facts. Facts are NOT automatic guarantees that what you say is true. Facts can be: 1. Wrong 2. Misinterpreted 3. Misapplied to your argument. Lastly you can have a fallacious argument, which is one consisting of logical fallacies, such as contradictions that are unable to be defended by mere facts)
(3.) Basic etiquette. (No character/ad hominum attacks, ...etc)

In this debate I will be defending the side that government benefits are a bad idea to say the least. To clarify what “government benefits” are, I have used the government term found at ( ) To sum it up, it comprises of all of the supplemental subsidies our government gives out including Food, Healthcare, Housing, and Financial Assistance.

I would like to weigh this debate based on two main values:
1. Purpose of our Government
2. Freedom
My opponent may use other Weighing Mechanisms, but I request a debate of the WM should this be the case.

Here is a clarification of the burdens:
For side Pro (For Government Benefits): To support (build evidence on) and defend Government Benefits.
For side Con (Against Government Benefits): To support (build evidence on) and defend against Government Benefits.
We will have three rounds and 1 week each to post.

To Truth!

Round 1

(1)   Government Benefits
Law insider: “Government benefits means financial aid or services” (Citation 5)
(2)   Government Benefits of this debate
As stated in the description, we will be debating the major government benefits listed on These are the Food, Healthcare, Housing, and Financial Assistance measures as shown on the site. In this opening round I will setup the general arguments for why Federal intervention in these areas is unjustified, a severe detriment to freedom, and then I will explain the failed results of these programs in the Second round.

Background: History of Government Intervention Into Society
The First Welfare Programs
The type of government assistance programs that we find ourselves with originated fairly recently with the creation of Bismark’s Germany, beginning with the Prussians/Saxxons in the 1840s (Citation 1) Other nations have adopted similar measures such as the UK’s, ”passing of the Old-Age Pensions Act in 1908, the introduction of free school meals in 1909, the 1909 Labour Exchanges Act” (Citation 1)
U.S Welfare
The United States however didn’t begin its current practice until the Great Depression, where new emergency benefits and safety programs were issued. Further increases in scope were made in the 60’s under the Great Society legislation, which pushed benefits to include regular citizens (not just the elderly and disabled).
Current Spending
Currently our Federal Government is projected to spends 37% (2.966 trillion) of its budget on these Government Benefits, comprising of 1.151trillion on Social Security, 722 billion on Medicare, $448 on Medicaid, and 645 billion on other welfare programs in 2021. (Citation 2)
This rounds out to $21,000 taken from each of the 140.9 million Tax Payers per year.
In this Debate I will carry Several main arguments viewed through two main values:
(1.) Purpose of our Government
(2.) Freedom

Contention (1) Government Overreach
a. Purpose is To Protect Rights
There are many things to which I think our Government should not have its grubby hands on, but Federal Benefits is a sore thumb among the many. Jefferson, one of our principle founders of the Constitution, said this about government’s role, “The purpose of government is to maintain a society which secures to every member the inherent and inalienable rights of man, and promotes the safety and happiness of its people. Protecting these rights from violation, therefore, is its primary obligation.” (Citation 3)
The Constitution Highlights these rights as, “life, liberty, or property” Under Amendment 14. (Citation 4)
b. Welfare Violates the Right to Property
The Federal Government was created to provide the necessary glue to defend and maintain tranquility for the individual states (Beginning with the struggle against Great Britain). However, the federal system was not intended for everyday needs, as not only would it be impossible for it to maintain a local vigilance necessary for effective assistance (bureaucratic backlog comes to mind), but it outright violates the liberty of the rest by deciding a small minority of people know better how to handle the rest of the people’s labor (money) to help those whom they determine as needy.   
Impact: Purpose Failed
Since it is not the place of the Central Government to use other’s salaries to fund the poor, the Government must yield back its strain on the people. As a dangerous pit bull must be kept on a leash.

The Economist Milton Freedom underlines this important detail:
“nobody spends somebody else’s money as carefully as he spends his own” -Milton Friedman

The Federal Government is no different, leading to my second contention:

Contention (2) Failed results
I will provide a general outline to this argument in this round and then get to the specifics of it in the next one.

Consequence 1: Failures 
-> Trillions taken from taxpayers.
-> Less incentive for taxpayers to work. (they make less)
-> Less incentive for poor to get out of poverty. (since they are only given benefits for being poor)
Impact: Poverty here to stay and tax payers have no say. Because citizens lose $20,000 a year, they have less money to invest, donate to charity, or pursue other important ventures necessary for a growing free market economy. A smaller economy does not present a favorable environment to the poor who are also incentivized to stay where they are in order to receive Government Benefits. (I will get very specific next round, don't worry ;) 

Consequence 2: Lost Freedom
 Takes from people by:
 1: Delegating the power to a figure head in Washington DC
 2: Individuals no longer have freedom to use a considerable portion of their income

I don't want to beat a dead horse by saying I will get more specific in the next round, but I want to see what PolymathPete has to say before I step down from the general. As you have seen, not only has the Government grown beyond its leash, but it has harmed us while doing so. 

"Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver."  -Ayn Rand
 To Truth!

(Citation 4) (Constitution)
(Citation 5) (Definition of Government Benefits)
(Citation 6) (U.S Gov website for Federal Benefits)

Thank you for your opening remarks.

My position is that the (any) Government has an inalienable responsibility to provide certain support, and means to its citizens to perform its obligations.  These support mechanisms will vary depending on what level of government and what the overall objectives are.  Whilst my counterpart appears to have focused on the US federal government, I will refer to other governments as an example.

While this is a debate that could get drawn into many tangents, I do want to highlight an error in your spending numbers, and use that error to further define "benefits"

Some of the "benefits" you describe are not paid from tax revenue, rather they are deductions from employers and employees, contributing to a fund.  And whilst that fund has its issues, the objective of that fund is to provide a safe investment guarantee vehicle for workers as they age into retirement, based on their own earned contributions as matched by their employer.

I shall assume that is not one of the intentions of your core argument.  Rather you are objecting to tax-based revenue being used for the benefit of people who do not. have their independent means. If we look at the two WM Purpose and Freedom, there is an interconnection between the two,   The government cannot ensure freedom unless it has been tasked to do so.   Per Jefferson, and the Constitution, "... Protecting these rights from violation, therefore, is its primary obligation.”

Let's have a thought experiment about how protecting the rights is achieved.  We have the architecture of the constitution, and it's three branches of government which provides a system to ensure the tyranny of a monarchy or totalitarian regime would not occur again.  But second, was a military mechanism needed to establish and secure those freedoms.

So let us assume that the government's only purpose is to prevent invaders.  It needs to raise the funds to pay for its standing army.  Now to outfit the army it needs equipment.  So it raises money for the equipment.  However, the government wants to use locally made equipment, as it is unreliable to expect foreign delivery in times of war.  So now the government needs to invest in the establishment of local machines, factories, and technologies, to fund its army.  It also needs to secure its sources of energy.  Now the government needs to invest in the infrastructure to get the supplies, raw materials, and products around the country, to.... fund it standing army.  So the government needs to collect more money.

Now when we look at our army we know it is not just infantry.  We have all sorts of areas that need experts, and technologies,   Science, Nutrition, Health, etc..   So the government invests in Universities, and Colleges to research these elements, which it needs for its standing army.   But to ensure they have an educated population to do the research, to get the technologies it needs for its army, the government realizes that it needs to pay for primary and secondary education.    Gotta raise more money.

Now we have a few natural disasters and significant damage occurs to the local infrastructure, it needs to be repaired.  And the people that have been impacted need to be provided for them to provide the services they need, for the standing army.  Well, now we have to raise more money.  Without even going too far into it, or looking at anything outside our borders, we can see that there is a significant chain of dependencies to provide for the standing army. 

So purely based on that premise, to have a secure country, you need to have a well-developed army, and supporting infrastructure, people and economy to support it.  In that, the government provides lots of benefits from clean water, secure roads, lighting on the streets, police, fire, emergency response.  Without which you compromise your nation's ability to have, develop and maintain a robust and secure standing army.

As an example If there is a natural disaster, the government provides free food, shelter, fuel.    Which is a benefit?   We are seeing right now there is a bill to modify some benefits for individuals affected by the CoVID-19 outbreak.  Per your definition, this type of support should not be provided. 

So we established that support the governments only objective (in this thought experiment), of a standing army, it would need to collect taxes, and invest in the following:

  • Materials
  • Fuels
  • Machines
  • Infrastructure
  • Higher Education
  • Lower Education
  • Science
I put to you that it is not practical or possible to have a country that can secure it's core rights (as described by Jefferson and the Constitution), and not provide some form of benefit.

Round 2
Round 3