Instigator / Con
3
1519
rating
6
debates
58.33%
won
Topic

Government Benefits

Status
Voting

Participant that receives the most points from the voters is declared a winner.

The voting will end in:

00
DD
:
00
HH
:
00
MM
:
00
SS
Parameters
More details
Publication date
Last update date
Category
Philosophy
Time for argument
Three days
Voting system
Open voting
Voting period
Six months
Point system
Four points
Rating mode
Rated
Characters per argument
30,000
Contender / Pro
7
1586
rating
321
debates
65.73%
won
Description
~ 1,834 / 5,000

Now I suppose a general description of the rules.

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 ( https://www.usa.gov/benefits ) 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 3 days each to post.

To Truth!
-logicae

Round 1
Con

I want to thank Rational Madman for this debate. May we find the truth. 

I want to examine what is at stake with this topic. There are two ideals at war: Collectivism and Individualism. Collectivists declare that individuals should be dependent upon a central authority in order to deter unjust action, while Individualism’s defining ideal is that the Individual is best left to himself. I will champion the individual in this debate.
 
Law insider:“Government benefits means financial aid or services” (Citation 5)
As stated in the description, we will be debating the major government benefits listed on https://www.usa.gov/benefits. 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 and a severe detriment to individual freedom.
 
 
The type of government assistance programs we know today are traceable to the creation of Bismarck’s Germany, beginning with the Prussians/Saxxons in the 1840s. (Citation 1) Othernations have adopted similar measures, such as the UK’s ”passing of the Old-AgePensions Act in 1908, the introduction of free school meals in 1909, the 1909Labour Exchanges Act.” (Citation 1)
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 scopewere made in the 60’s under the Great Society legislation, which pushedbenefits to include regular citizens (not just the elderly and disabled).
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, 722billion on Medicare, $448 on Medicaid, and 645 billion on other benefits programs in 2021. (Citation 2)
This rounds out to$21,000 taken from each of the 140.9 million Tax Payers each year.
 
 
I believe that the individual is the fundamental building block of society, which must take precedence over the group identity. Uniquely America has allowed its people to thrive based on an emphasize that each person is their own captain, their own chauffeur,and that you as an individual, and only you, can use your talents to fulfill your purpose. It is no coincidence that suppressing individual autonomy leads to deterioration, Communism makes that case eerily clear, because it is your very human dignity that is taken. Understand that our very existence is being called into question. So be vigilant, that it is you and not an imposter that answers your call.
 
“To every individual in nature is given an individual property by nature not to be invaded or usurped by any. For every one, as he is himself, so he has a self-propriety, else could he not be himself” -Richard Overton
 
And so the individual is the very thing we must value before anything else, it is the highest valueof this debate.
 
Government benefits are socialist in nature, since their common defining goal is a redistribution of wealth. Socialism implies camaraderie, that a group of individuals freely back a cause together. Socialism, however, fatally ignores the competing free will of the individual for which the whole society is made up of. Individuals will necessarily be coerced to follow the lead of those in charge, removing any possibility of free choice by the individual. It is this false sense of “community” or “social fabric” that must be dispelled when we talk about the federal government.Washington D.C itself is made up of a group of individuals who decide a large part of our lives through our taxes. Government benefits make up a significant portion of this socialist policy.
 

a. Purpose Is To Protect Individual Rights
There are many things to which I think our Government should not have its grubby hands on, but Federal Benefits stands out as a sore thumb. 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 dignity of the Individual
It does this in two ways:
 
-Takes choice
The government forces the direction of its citizens, limiting their choice. From these “benefits”Americans lose a fourth of their income. (average being $87,864) Money is work.Americans must now work 25% more to achieve their dreams, pay bills, compensate for disaster, and help their fellow Americans. (citation 7)
 
-Takes Life
-The government lives the lives of those taking benefits-whose existence is now tightly bound to the decisions of those politicians. They are therefore kept from using their gifts to achieve something greater, becoming a shell of what they could be.
 
Unfortunately, not only are people’s lives hindered, but bad choices are also subsidized. The failure to curb poverty is testament to this.
 
“During the 20 years before the War on Poverty [President Johnson’s attempt to pay America out of poverty] was funded, the portion of the nation living in poverty had dropped to 14.7% from 32.1%. Since 1966, the first year with a significant increase in antipoverty spending, the poverty rate reported by the Census Bureau has been virtually unchanged.”
-Foundation for Economic Education (citation 8)

This is of course is because paying for people to not work, is, well, not working. People tend to do less when someone else takes their place in life and they can afford to do nothing as a consequence.
 
Since it is not the place of the Federal Government to use other’s salaries to fund the poor, the government must yield back its strain on the people. As a dangerous pit bullmust be kept on a leash.
 
"Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver."  -Ayn Rand
 
Spending money at the federal level has replaced the individual as the driver.
 
 To Truth!
-logicae
 
Citation:
 
(Citation 4)(Constitution) https://constitutionus.com/
(Citation 5)(Definition of Government Benefits) https://www.lawinsider.com/dictionary/government-benefits
(Citation 6) (U.S Govwebsite for Federal Benefits) https://www.usa.gov/benefits







Pro
Turning the dynamics of Collectivism vs Individualism on its head.

Let's start by half-agreeing to Con; the individuals of a society make it up and what's best for the individuals in the society as a whole inevitably benefits the collective society itself. Great, now that we got that agreement out of the way, let's start building up a case that will revert the right-wing delusion of Individualism vs Collectivism and completely flip the dynamic back onto them...

How many individuals in a society, such as USA, are poor and in need of government welfare? How many  individuals are well-off and most hurt by the taxation that is required to achieve this?

There are around 1 billion people in the world who live with less than 1 dollar per day. More than half of the world population lives with less than 10 dollars a day.

  • Extreme inequality is out of control. Hundreds of millions of people are living in extreme poverty while huge rewards go to those at the very top. There are more billionaires than ever before, and their fortunes have grown to record levels. Meanwhile, the world’s poorest got even poorer.
    Many governments are fueling this inequality crisis. They are massively under taxing corporations and wealthy individuals, yet underfunding vital public services like healthcare and education.
    These policies hit the poor hardest. The human costs are devastating, with women and girls suffering the most. Despite their huge contribution to our societies through unpaid care work, they are among those who benefit the least from today's economic system.

  • THE WORLD’S RICHEST 1% HAVE MORE THAN TWICE AS MUCH WEALTH AS 6.9 BILLION PEOPLE.
  • ALMOST HALF OF HUMANITY IS LIVING ON LESS THAN $5.50 A DAY.
  • ONLY 4 CENTS IN EVERY DOLLAR OF TAX REVENUE COMES FROM TAXES ON WEALTH.
  • THE SUPER-RICH AVOID AS MUCH AS 30 PERCENT OF THEIR TAX LIABILITY.
  • TODAY 258 MILLION CHILDREN – 1 OUT OF EVERY 5 – WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO GO TO SCHOOL.
  • FOR EVERY 100 BOYS OF PRIMARY SCHOOL AGE WHO ARE OUT OF SCHOOL, 121 GIRLS ARE DENIED THE RIGHT TO EDUCATION.
  • EVERY DAY 10,000 PEOPLE DIE BECAUSE THEY LACK ACCESS TO AFFORDABLE HEALTHCARE.
  • EACH YEAR, 100 MILLION PEOPLE ARE FORCED INTO EXTREME POVERTY DUE TO HEALTHCARE COSTS.

It's extremely easy to sit there and say that individuals matter and that the 'evil state' is stealing from them via taxation but let's not forget that your money is only worth anything because others in society give it that value. If every individual is said to matter and their wellbeing is held paramount in what is 'best for the collective' then it backfires on Pro when we understand that it is the significant majority of individuals who benefit from government benefits and welfare and only an insignificant minority who are extremely rich who are truly 'hurt' by it. Why should all the individuals benefitting from it be sacrificed for the few individuals who demand their massive inheritance and snowballed income via Interest from banks and hired stockbrokers (who basically do their stocks and shares for them).

It's very curious how exactly Pro has concluded that individuals who would otherwise starve, be denied Capitalist/privatised healthcare and sufficient education (which then limits their career prospects hence generation-after-generation doing blue collar work) should somehow set aside their individualist mentality for the collective by getting rid of government benefits and welfare that helps them and only "hurts" a select few extremely rich people.


Further assessing Individualism and what caring for the poor does for individuals who fall out of wealth.

The 'safety net' laid out for the poor and lower-middle class isn't solely benefitting them. Think for a moment what will happen to absolutely any rich individual when chaos hits them. Coronavirus has made many rich people less rich, that's just one recent extreme example of a chaotic unforeseen circumstance that can spiral someone out of the wealth they had secured. Imagine you owned an industry that heavily relied on goods and/or services which required a lot of in-person face-to-face interaction, something like Covid-19 will have thwarted your business and income. This is only the most recent and extreme example of what already happened anyway, from natural disasters to new technology and techniques rendering some goods and services obsolete without warning.

Ludditism has been around for over a centurythese people were usually poor but what do you think it meant for the owners of the business who had to shift? Not all could suddenly shift to the automated methods, some had to perish. What happens when a very rich person suddenly becomes poor due to unforeseen technology, scandals and other such circumstances driving them towards bankruptcy and their business obsolete?

Even an individual who feels they lose out from government benefits and taxation, needs to appreciate that one day they or their offspring may fall out of the extreme wealth that was presumed to last via inheritance and accumulated wealth. Even the individuals who don't need or use government benefits may suddenly need it some day and so even from their individualist perspectives, a safety net for the very poor is a net-beneficial thing to have.


It is an illusion based on cynicism towards the poor, that leads one to think that 'giving to the poor' ruins economies.

Instead of having worse economies, nations that readily tend to the needs of their vulnerable and poor often find that it benefits them overall as they now have healthier, happier poor people working for them. There are a very select few who may try and abuse the system, remaining intentionally unemployed and uncaring towards the nation's economy and duty they have to their nation. These are nowhere near to being the norm. Social democracies work in more ways than one. They have happier citizens, extremely sustainable economies (both with the environment and in terms of longevity themselves).

When you give the poor a safety net, enabling them to get healthcare, education, transport-access and even a slight foot-up to have a tiny bit of disposable income themselves that they can then use to accumulate more, you enable those that truly aspire to gain wealth to gain it. This actually helps the economy overall, the only 'hurt' is due to the rich having to give up more wealth and the select few of the poor who 'leech' on the system (as I say, these are a significant minority and not at all proven to have a massive net-detrimental effect to nations that have employed progressive social democracy as their core ethos).

Round 2
Con

“One of the great mistakes  is to judge policies and programs by theirintentions rather than their results.” -Milton Friedman

It is good that Rational madman and I agree that theindividual is the key value of this debate. Thus who ever upholds theindividual best in this debate should prove the stronger side.

 
Rebuttal:

Is it rich vs poor or government vs individual?
Rational madman starts out by pointing out the United Statesis among the richest nations in the world and that most of the world is farpoorer in comparison. This I would certainly agree with, but I want to pointout that this degree of prosperity came about in western societies because they uniquelyvalued the individual above government, culminating into freedom and innovation. Furthermore, the poorest countries tendto be the ones that exert greater control. The collapsed Soviet Union, Cuba, Venezuela,North Korea, and China come to mind.  
 

“It's extremely easy to sit there and say that individualsmatter and that the 'evil state' is stealing from them via taxation but let'snot forget that your money is only worth anything because others in societygive it that value.”
The more freedom to the individual, the better.
True, everyone hates taxes. My argument is that taxes shouldbe kept as low as possible in order to uphold the centuries long understanding thatwe know best what to do with our money. All government benefits do is decidefor you what you need, and take your money to pay for it.
 
Rational Madman then argues that government benefits are simplya benefit to the poor and a hindrance to the rich. While it may be easy toclassify better off people as evil or less deserving, I think it is wrong to suckon success of another because you are not him. But even if you insist on demonizingthe rich and forcing them to pay, you still do not remove the problem of takingover people’s lives, which is what relying on the government does for people(See my former post).
Another point made was that Government benefits benefit themajority of people. This is simply not true. According to the census only 22%of Americans even participate in government benefits on a monthly basis. (https://www.census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2015/cb15-97.html)Still even if this was possible, you would still be degrading people to the status of aleach as I pointed out in my first post. Why should they achieve anything at all if they are rocked to sleep in the government cradle? Thisis exactly why government benefits have failed at dropping poverty-Theirintended goal in the first place.
 
Rich benefit too
I also want to turn this point about the rich’srelationship with the government. I think that the rich actually do better withgovernment benefits, because it keeps people below the poverty line and unableto compete in the rich’s domain. Image that the rich are the ones who haveclimbed a ladder (The great ladder of success) and the poor are the ones given money to stay at the bottom. Government is always the favorite benefactor of the rich, so isgiving more power through government benefits a good idea? Certainly not.
 
Maybe helpful one day?
Finally, Rational Madman asks us to appreciate the fact thatthose of us better off may fall into harsh times and find ourselves in need ofthe safety net government benefits provide. However, no amount of government safetynet can save you. This is because the very same money you turned in earlier isthe very money given back, minus the amount lost to bureaucracy, and you areleft off no better than if  you had kept your money in the first place.

 
“It is an illusion based on cynicism towards the poor, thatleads one to think that 'giving to the poor' ruins economies.”

We are in agreement this this is wrong, but this is not whatwe are talking about. The problem is not whether we should help the poor, butrather who should do it. I think because we agreed that  the individual is most important, we shouldalso agree that the individual should not be prevented from his own help to thepoor.

I am looking forward to your rebuttable of my first speech and where we go from here!

To Truth!
-logicae
Pro
I have absolutely no idea what has happened in this Round 2.

This debate was about government benefits in all nations, not just US and I said that there are more poor people in all nations than rich people (always, without fail) and that the ratio is at a bare minimum 1:5 of people who are 'hurt' by government benefits via significant taxation vs people who realistically benefit from it.

This then combined with the ideals of individualism since the 4/5 individuals who will at some point in their life either use benefits or have very potentially needed them, had that safety net to rely on that would then enable them to make moves in their career and life that they otherwise could not (because they'd fear too much and stay impoverished as would their future generations).

Pro is now fighting a different case, saying that government benefits don't work, rather than that they are immoral. This is simply false. The nations who embrace it are the social democracies I referred to in Round 1, there is strong correlation between having elements of socialised care for the poor, in a mixed economy (that is fundamentally capitalist but with socialist elements that stop the poor 'rotting away with no help or safety net') and being high in many categories of national success.

Secrets to success – Norway
The HDI criteria are designed to be broad enough to be inclusive of countries’ social, political and economic diversity while being indicative of a country’s quality of life. With the exceptions of 2007 and 2008, Norway has topped the HDI chart in every year since 2001. The UN also regards Norway as ranking high in its implementation of the SDGs. So why has it been so successful?

Norwegians have a relatively high life expectancy of 81.7 years – one of the highest in the world. This is in part due to Norway’s accessible and affordable public healthcare system. Norwegians spend an average of 17.7 years in school – a measurement reflecting on levels of knowledge as well as freedom of choice, both of which indicate a high level of human development.

It is true that at US$67,614, Norway’s GNI per capita is the seventh-highest in the world: Norwegians have a lot of purchasing power, which is likely to translate into a high potential for choice. However, this alone is not sufficient to explain Norway’s performance. Strong institutions and a holistic and capability-based approach to development also play a significant role.

For instance, Norway ranks first on the Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index (IHDI), first published in UNDP’s 2016 Human Development Report, which compares country’s HDI rankings to their levels of inequality. The IHDI is sensitive to the level of human development lost when inequality is high, allowing for a more complex understanding of the relationship between development and welfare distribution.

When we talk about what makes a country a success or failure with respect to the SDGs, GDP simply does not reflect the progress of human development. Though the HDI may not fully capture all the complexity of the 17 SDGs and 169 targets, it is not realistic to expect any index that accommodates the diversity of all countries’ development to do so. Rather, the HDI can be used as an easy and more accurate indicator of progress as it considers factors that serve as valuable forecasts of quality of life.

Country
Human Development Index Population 2020
Norway
0.953
Switzerland
0.944
Australia
0.939
Ireland
0.938
Germany
0.936
Iceland
0.935
341,243
Hong Kong
0.933
Sweden
0.933
Singapore
0.932
Netherlands
0.931
Denmark
0.929
Canada
0.926

There is a severe link between having many elements in a nation that provide for the poor and succeeding in the quality of life for all people involved in a nation, which is what each individual should aim for in the individualist outlook.
Round 3
Con
Forfeited
Pro
My arguments remain untouched.