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Author Topic: 2011-2012 Foreign Assistance to India Controversy Proposal - Jarrod Atchison  (Read 14017 times)
Nate Cohn
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« Reply #15 on: May 03, 2011, 01:33:26 PM »

1) The Pakistan relations DA lacks both link uniqueness and issue-specific uniqueness. It's an affirmative advantage for a help-Pakistan topic, not a winning disad on the proposed India topic.
2) A topic which permits increases in assistance for both India and Pakistan, while tempting, is far too bidirectional. If the core DA ground on the India topic is really the Pakistan relations DA, why would we double the size of the topic to permit the Pakistan relations advantage and India relations DA?
« Last Edit: May 03, 2011, 01:37:47 PM by Nate Cohn » Logged
brubaie
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« Reply #16 on: May 03, 2011, 02:04:02 PM »

I also wondered this. I want to add my two cents to this concern and the concern about the Process CP associated with the topic.

1. bin Laden's death

I think Repko's distinction that this almost certainly would change the topic but not destroy it is correct.

Taylor's logical concern about a quick collapse in US-Pakistan relations, or just a drop in aid, aren't as likely as they are intuitive.

The article "Al-Qaeda Terror Threat Remains, U.S. Warns," from the NTI today @  http://www.globalsecuritynewswire.org/gsn/nw_20110503_7581.php  

Begins by noting the basis for concern;

"The news that bin Laden might have been holed up for years in the South Asian state has fueled Capitol Hill skepticism over whether Washington was getting its money's worth from the billions of dollars of military and other aid that has been provided to Pakistan in recent years. Some lawmakers have called for a re-examination of the aid package."

...but concludes;

"Washington and Islamabad's relationship has become increasingly strained over U.S. suspicions that Pakistan is backing extremists in neighboring Afghanistan, and the South Asian nation's frustration with drone strikes and intelligence operations within its borders. However, neither country is seen as being able to break off ties. Worries about the Pakistani nuclear arsenal and the continued need for Islamabad's participation in efforts to stabilize Afghanistan means that Washington cannot afford to cease its involvement with the South Asian state. Likewise, Islamabad is too poor to sacrifice U.S. economic and military aid over anger about unauthorized operations within Pakistan."

Of course, this only says aid wouldn't collapse, not that it wouldn't decrease or change. I think the most likely option is that we'll be more cautious towards Pakistan but we won't cut them off. Again, neither Repko or Taylor made that claim, but I think the intelligent questions they raise demonstrate the timeliness of the topic.

There are lots of great topics, but so far this has been my favorite one to research.

2. I polled a decent sampling of my colleagues from the Middle East topic at the prestigious Tolly Ho on the question of whether "foreign assistance" on the Middle East topic led to generic process CPs.

The only examples anyone could think of were offshoots of funding  mechanism CPs -- tax incentives, etc.

To be fair, most debaters on that topic were pre-occuppied by intriguing debates over QPQ, and the most common Affs dealt with security guarantees.

I think the same balance applies here; we'd certainly see more new process CPs than on the Middle East topic, but there also weren't a lot of silver bullets lying around when very good researchers looked for them in 07-08.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2011, 02:06:10 PM by brubaie » Logged
repko
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« Reply #17 on: May 03, 2011, 02:11:29 PM »

Over time, I'd be happy to discuss the substantive merits/drawbacks of including Pakistan.... That seems to be a wording paper question. I can even envision TC clarification that it *possibly* could be included (pre-topic vote)... but then ultimately excluding it as a ballot option because a wording paper raised excessive concerns. The TC should and does reject all sorts of wording options after the topic vote.

At this time, my inquiry is more about process and not substance.

I am sure that some voters would be encouraged to learn that Pakistan would not be procedurally excluded (highly topical issue of the day, fewer worries about substantive concerns come June)... and that other voters would be happy to learn that it would be (breadth, etc).... I am more seeking clarification as to whether the community should factor-in these concerns as they begin to vote in May.

... I do appreciate that one of the authors feels that this is not faithful to the original controversy -- that is helpful. And, I am sure that I am not the only one intrigued by that author's idea of an addendum.

That said, there might be drawbacks to allowing a late addendum (precedent).

I get that this procedural inquiry is weird -- as the India paper is not really about Pakistan.

That said, if that controversy ultimately wins, I'd like a good answer to the following common-sense inquiry posed by an administrator, alum, reporter, etc:

"AFTER Osama bin Laden was killed, the community voted to debate security assistance to India... but not Pakistan ?..."

An awesome new journal article by Zizek is not a good basis for altering the scope of a topic paper after-the-deadline... One of the five defining geo-political events of our lifetime may be.
 
 -- Will
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stables
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« Reply #18 on: May 03, 2011, 03:11:03 PM »

The topic committee is working to handle these requests and questions as quickly as then can.

I have asked them, and the CEDA Executive Secretary, for perspectives on both a stand-alone and a supplemental wording paper. I will not pre-judge their outcomes, but I have expressed concern about the difficulties associated with any revision to our ballot. Remember that a ballot has to be open for 14 days, so any adjustment forces the clock to be restarted and that takes valuable wording time away.

We will have resolution to both items shortly.

I did want to provide an answer to Will's question about a question from a concerned party (administrator, alum, whomever). This is exactly the kind of situation we are better able to address with the controversy process. We move from debating 'nouns' (i.e., Latin America, Russia, treaties, prisons, rogue states, Indian Country) to an important public policy conflict that we should spend a year debating (should we reduce our prison population, engage rogue states, ratify treaties, decrease control over Indian Country). 

When an an outside party asks about our topic process I am proud to point to eight compelling controversies. We are certainly reviewing aspects of both domestic and international policy. If they ask about the death of bin laden it is easy to point to the topics that would allow discussion of how that event will inform public policy. We can also engage them in a conversation how how that event will or will not influence specific areas of public policy. Remember the India paper is about a whole lot more than security assistance and those policies, while not as influential today in the news, are still compelling and important aspects of public policy.

This is a great thought because we should be able to talk about our topics with larger audiences. The topic process encourages for timely and compelling subjects, even as we know we have deadlines to actually finalize a topic.

More soon, but great to see the discussion continue.

Gordon
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Gordon Stables
Assistant Dean for Student Affairs
Director of Debate & Forensics
Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism
University of Southern California
stables
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« Reply #19 on: May 03, 2011, 05:28:04 PM »

As I mentioned in the last post the topic committee was presented with two proposals today. 

1) Reopen the ballot to include a stand-alone Pakistan paper.

We feel this is both procedurally and substantively ill-advised. We are required to submit a ballot to the Executive Secretary which is left open for 14 days. We have already done and so the 14 day clock is ongoing.  Any revised ballot would require us to restart the 14 day clock. Even if we got another paper today we would need to restart the clock and take those additional days away from our wording work. We also know that all of the papers were hurried and some not completed at the deadline. We also didnít include a very promising paper (and one that had some overlap in this area). As much as the event was significant it is premature to say that a paper can and would be written that would satisfy our requirements. I have also had backchannel conversations with the original advocate of this idea and he independently expressed concerns about the proposal. We donít feel there is sufficient reason to re-open our ballot.

2) If the India topic wins, allow a wording paper that includes a Pakistan wording paper

This was referenced today as a possible solution. After re-reading the India paper today and we are concerned that a Pakistan wording paper is really not part of that original idea. The fundamental controversy stems from how the US is developing its relations with one of the world's growing powers. The relations debate is about boosting US-India ties and how that would implicate China and Pakistan's views. This whole focus is lost or offset if the affirmative can work with India and Pakistan or even possibly just Pakistan. The topic paper says there is a zero-sum balance in India-Pakistani ties - a foundation that is a core element of topic wordings.

It was also noted that the topic paper expresses India alone as a great rationale because there is such a clear line between the status quo and possible affirmative proposals. The inclusion of Pakistan, while timely, undermines one of the core rationales for the topic.

This proposal also returns us to the dilemma of the sufficiency of such a Pakistani aid proposal. Obviously there is more time to review this item, but the fact that it would not have any foundation in the controversy paper is a concern.

We also noted that all of the non-security elements of the India proposal reinforces that this topic is not just about security matters. The Pakistan proposals may, in fact, move the topic away from the core of US policy with India. The controversy paper expresses that broad wording options may be considered. We again are worried that what type of foreign assistance and how much is involved all change with Pakistan as an option.  Educationally - this means we research less of what is important. Competitively - we dramatically change the balance of affirmative and negative ground.

In short, we feel if there was a strong case that the best way to generate a good educational and competitive topic would be produced for increasing US assistance to India by including Pakistan it would have been part of the original paper.  As the paper argues, Pakistan is an important part of this topic, but there is not a reason to shift to Pakistan as a topical focus.
 
We all acknowledge the significance of recent events, but we are not sure it revises the fundamental dynamic of fraying US/Pakistani ties. It certainly accelerates these trends a great deal, but we don't feel it requires that we re-start the topic clock or shift the focus from India to South Asia in the wording stage. There is no doubt that these events would inform a topic in this area (or potentially some of the other topics), but that alone cannot be a reason to depart from the good work done to date.

The topic process encourages timely and compelling controversies. We feel the current ballot has a wide range of topics that are both educationally valuable to engage and competitively balanced. We therefore are not in favor of allowing a new paper or amending the India controversy to directly include Pakistan.

Gordon
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Gordon Stables
Assistant Dean for Student Affairs
Director of Debate & Forensics
Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism
University of Southern California
Hester
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« Reply #20 on: May 03, 2011, 05:51:08 PM »

Ross and Wake Forest provided another option 10 years ago.

At the Wake tournament in 2001 (the Indian Country topic), Wake Forest decided that given the significance of 9/11, they would have only 6 prelims, with the time when 7 & 8 would have taken place filled instead with debates and discussions about terrorism.

Tournaments could do the same this year no matter what topic is selected - i.e., set aside time to debate Pakistan.

or Obama's long form birth certificate. whichever is more salient at the time.



As I mentioned in the last post the topic committee was presented with two proposals today. 

1) Reopen the ballot to include a stand-alone Pakistan paper.

We feel this is both procedurally and substantively ill-advised. We are required to submit a ballot to the Executive Secretary which is left open for 14 days. We have already done and so the 14 day clock is ongoing.  Any revised ballot would require us to restart the 14 day clock. Even if we got another paper today we would need to restart the clock and take those additional days away from our wording work. We also know that all of the papers were hurried and some not completed at the deadline. We also didnít include a very promising paper (and one that had some overlap in this area). As much as the event was significant it is premature to say that a paper can and would be written that would satisfy our requirements. I have also had backchannel conversations with the original advocate of this idea and he independently expressed concerns about the proposal. We donít feel there is sufficient reason to re-open our ballot.

2) If the India topic wins, allow a wording paper that includes a Pakistan wording paper

This was referenced today as a possible solution. After re-reading the India paper today and we are concerned that a Pakistan wording paper is really not part of that original idea. The fundamental controversy stems from how the US is developing its relations with one of the world's growing powers. The relations debate is about boosting US-India ties and how that would implicate China and Pakistan's views. This whole focus is lost or offset if the affirmative can work with India and Pakistan or even possibly just Pakistan. The topic paper says there is a zero-sum balance in India-Pakistani ties - a foundation that is a core element of topic wordings.

It was also noted that the topic paper expresses India alone as a great rationale because there is such a clear line between the status quo and possible affirmative proposals. The inclusion of Pakistan, while timely, undermines one of the core rationales for the topic.

This proposal also returns us to the dilemma of the sufficiency of such a Pakistani aid proposal. Obviously there is more time to review this item, but the fact that it would not have any foundation in the controversy paper is a concern.

We also noted that all of the non-security elements of the India proposal reinforces that this topic is not just about security matters. The Pakistan proposals may, in fact, move the topic away from the core of US policy with India. The controversy paper expresses that broad wording options may be considered. We again are worried that what type of foreign assistance and how much is involved all change with Pakistan as an option.  Educationally - this means we research less of what is important. Competitively - we dramatically change the balance of affirmative and negative ground.

In short, we feel if there was a strong case that the best way to generate a good educational and competitive topic would be produced for increasing US assistance to India by including Pakistan it would have been part of the original paper.  As the paper argues, Pakistan is an important part of this topic, but there is not a reason to shift to Pakistan as a topical focus.
 
We all acknowledge the significance of recent events, but we are not sure it revises the fundamental dynamic of fraying US/Pakistani ties. It certainly accelerates these trends a great deal, but we don't feel it requires that we re-start the topic clock or shift the focus from India to South Asia in the wording stage. There is no doubt that these events would inform a topic in this area (or potentially some of the other topics), but that alone cannot be a reason to depart from the good work done to date.

The topic process encourages timely and compelling controversies. We feel the current ballot has a wide range of topics that are both educationally valuable to engage and competitively balanced. We therefore are not in favor of allowing a new paper or amending the India controversy to directly include Pakistan.

Gordon
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jgonzo
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« Reply #21 on: May 03, 2011, 10:16:52 PM »


That said, if that controversy ultimately wins, I'd like a good answer to the following common-sense inquiry posed by an administrator, alum, reporter, etc:

"AFTER Osama bin Laden was killed, the community voted to debate security assistance to India... but not Pakistan ?..."

An awesome new journal article by Zizek is not a good basis for altering the scope of a topic paper after-the-deadline... One of the five defining geo-political events of our lifetime may be.
 
 -- Will

Two quick comments:

1. It's a good question and I could not fathom wanting to answer it.  I am becoming a bit concerned by what seems to me to be a growing systemic aversion to debating highly salient issues, be it on the basis of ground/process/whatever. The preservation of competitive equity and procedural clarity is indeed meaningful, but at some point it is worth considering to what extent those concerns should be trump cards. My intuition is that this may well be a circumstance in which they should not.

2. Since when is a new journal article by Zizek NOT "one of the five defining geo-political events of our lifetime?"

Best,

Gonzo.
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Hester
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« Reply #22 on: May 04, 2011, 07:26:34 AM »

I am becoming a bit concerned by what seems to me to be a growing systemic aversion to debating highly salient issues, be it on the basis of ground/process/whatever. The preservation of competitive equity and procedural clarity is indeed meaningful, but at some point it is worth considering to what extent those concerns should be trump cards. My intuition is that this may well be a circumstance in which they should not.

Frap, JPaul, and myself were chatting it up at the TOC and JP made this same kind of comment as a warrant for why debating Taxes should be an obligation of the community (he wasn't saying whether or not Gtown was voting for the Corporate Tax Reform paper). nearly everyone pays taxes, the government doesn't run without them, and 'taxes' are among the top 2-3 controversies in every election cycle.

if we as a community believe any part of our value/worth within the Academy is based on our ability to contribute to the discussions the larger society has over contemporary public policy controversies, we need to put our money where our mouths are and be willing to debate the "real world" issues of the day.
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twhahn215
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« Reply #23 on: May 04, 2011, 09:17:31 AM »

Quote
Frap, JPaul, and myself were chatting it up at the TOC and JP made this same kind of comment as a warrant for why debating Taxes should be an obligation of the community (he wasn't saying whether or not Gtown was voting for the Corporate Tax Reform paper). nearly everyone pays taxes, the government doesn't run without them, and 'taxes' are among the top 2-3 controversies in every election cycle.

if we as a community believe any part of our value/worth within the Academy is based on our ability to contribute to the discussions the larger society has over contemporary public policy controversies, we need to put our money where our mouths are and be willing to debate the "real world" issues of the day.

While I strongly agree that we as a community need to do a better job of ensuring social engagement, I'm hoping you can extrapolate on this thought. It seems like two things are possible for next year:

1. Any of the proposed topic areas will provide an excellent forum for the community to discuss issues that pertain to the larger society. All of the topics have the potential 'matter' to society at large. We are all affected by our relations with India. We have all experienced the current state of disrepair in modern academia. We all use various aspects of modern infrastructure. We all have an ethical/moral obligation to support various treaties. Finally, yes, we all pay taxes and should care about tax law. What makes taxes uniquely important for us to engage socially?

This leads to the second possible outcome of our topic selection:

2. Whatever topic is chosen will be fertile ground to influence society, but the community will fall short of these goals. Similar to the timeliness of immigration, which ultimately wasn't very well translated into social engagement outside of our individual debate rounds.

Every year we talk about important issues, but based on your initial post I don't see how discussing taxes will spur increased social engagement given our collectively poor track record.

Taylor
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Ryan Galloway
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« Reply #24 on: May 04, 2011, 11:14:24 AM »

I agree debating taxes is a very high priority item for the community.  I don't think debating "corporate taxes" in the way this paper describes, is very relevant to these goals.

To begin, I applaud Malgor for tackling the taxation issue, and think the corporate tax reform idea is a good starting point for discussing taxation.  However, I have found his paper to be quite narrow even within the issue of corporate taxation, and from a broader view, quite unrelated to the issues of personal taxation, consumption taxes, and environmental taxes.  A broader taxation topic that dealt with those controversies would be preferable.

To begin:

First, Malgor's paper is narrow even within the corporate taxation literature.  I researched corporate tax reform as a large politics disad for both districts and the NDT.  I found a great deal of literature advocating that the USFG move its taxation rates on corporations from the approximately 35% taxation rate to 20% paid by most other OECD countries.  In addition to that, people advocated closing loopholes to make the overall package revenue neutral. 

I found very little literature saying "we should just close the loopholes."  In fact, the lead Republican opposition to the Obama proposal of lowering the rate and closing the loopholes is that the Republicans want corporations to pay less than they are paying now.

I also am concerned that Malcolm has exaggerated the uniqueness question.  There is a great deal of literature saying corporate tax reform could pass and pass this year.  His paper includes a card on the question of "not before the 2012 election" but there is a lot of evidence that says corporate tax reform can pass now and is the most likely area for bipartisan cooperation between the Republicans and Obama.

I was hoping that the paper left open the possibility of the Obama proposal to move from 35% to 20% AND closing the loopholes.  However, it appears the way the controversy is framed "broaden the corporate tax base," that it does not.  The paper goes the opposite direction of the bulk of the literature I have found on this issue when researching this scenario for both districts and the NDT in 100+ page politics files.  I simply don't think there is much mainstream literature defending that corporations should pay more, outside of the far left "screw the corporations" crowd.

Second, a broader taxation topic would be better.  I would suggest we wait a year and craft a broader taxation topic that includes individual taxation, environmental taxation, and "sin taxes." 

First of all, Malcolm's paper does not address the lead issue on taxation confronting the administration:  whether or not to continue the Bush tax cuts, especially on the wealthiest Americans.  The core controversy that led to the deal Obama cut to get the budget passed that arguably led to the success of START and DADT in the lame duck was his deal to continue the Bush era tax cuts.  These are individual taxes, not corporate taxes.  This is the issue that has the most relevance in people's everyday lives when they go to H&R Block every year to pay their taxes, not corporate taxes.

Second, the "taxaphobia" of America does lead to revenue shortfalls in all kinds of areas.  There's good literature in the debate about "soaking the rich" that discusses how we can't pay for universal health care, or even our military commitments abroad unless we foot the bill.  In a sense, this is a warrant for Malgor's paper, because it does provide the edifice for the argument that we need to discuss how we pay for things.  However, the issue of corporate taxation is one component of that larger picture.  Soaking the corporations is an affirmative case on a taxation topic, not a whole resolution.

Third, broadening the area to include environmental taxes would allow us to discuss gas taxes, carbon taxes, etc.  Anyone paying prices at the pump these days and frustrated that the US hasn't made the transition to renewable energy might ask if it is the lack of taxes we pay on those kinds of commodities would be useful.  I also think there is merit to discussing cigarette taxes, alcohol taxes, snack taxes, etc.  Those kinds of issues are the ones most relevant to everyday Americans.

My major opposition to Malcolm's paper is that I think it isn't nearly broad enough.  I'd like to see the issue of taxation discussed, and do think it has tremendous relevance.  However, my read of the corporate taxation literature is that he has chosen a narrow section of even that literature, and not a broader taxation focus.  I would like to see the paper re-booted for next year to be inclusive of these other approaches I've mentioned.

I have "open sourced" our corporate tax reform files from districts and the NDT so others can look into the literature I've discussed on these issues (the second file has links from the high school topic, because I modified it for high schoolers for the post NDT time period).  I'm also willing to open source the articles I began to investigate for the broader taxation paper that I floated the idea of writing around the time period of the Jan term.  I think Malcolm has a good start on an area, but I think taxation is different than corporate taxation, and I think we should take a broader view of corporate taxation when we look into overall taxation.  I don't think we have an "obligation" to debate this version of taxation on the question of debating relevant topics.

RG

* Corporate Tax Rates Scenario Districts '11.docx (263.39 KB - downloaded 1251 times.)
* Corporate Tax Reform Finished NDT '11.docx (270.9 KB - downloaded 1215 times.)
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Adam Symonds
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« Reply #25 on: May 04, 2011, 11:17:42 AM »

I am becoming a bit concerned by what seems to me to be a growing systemic aversion to debating highly salient issues, be it on the basis of ground/process/whatever. The preservation of competitive equity and procedural clarity is indeed meaningful, but at some point it is worth considering to what extent those concerns should be trump cards. My intuition is that this may well be a circumstance in which they should not.

Frap, JPaul, and myself were chatting it up at the TOC and JP made this same kind of comment as a warrant for why debating Taxes should be an obligation of the community (he wasn't saying whether or not Gtown was voting for the Corporate Tax Reform paper). nearly everyone pays taxes, the government doesn't run without them, and 'taxes' are among the top 2-3 controversies in every election cycle.

if we as a community believe any part of our value/worth within the Academy is based on our ability to contribute to the discussions the larger society has over contemporary public policy controversies, we need to put our money where our mouths are and be willing to debate the "real world" issues of the day.

I largely agree with JP on this -- I've been pushing Tax Reform with my team for this very reason. I will add that I've pushed the Arab Spring and the Education controversies for largely the same reasons, though to a lesser extent. Once the season is underway, competition will largely dominate our interactions with the topic. Let's defer to unique education and timeliness in the topic construction process. Tax policy is always salient, but it is particularly so in today's political climate.
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Adam Symonds
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Posts: 349


« Reply #26 on: May 04, 2011, 11:19:52 AM »

I was hoping that the paper left open the possibility of the Obama proposal to move from 35% to 20% AND closing the loopholes.  However, it appears the way the controversy is framed "broaden the corporate tax base," that it does not.  The paper goes the opposite direction of the bulk of the literature I have found on this issue when researching this scenario for both districts and the NDT in 100+ page politics files.  I simply don't think there is much mainstream literature defending that corporations should pay more, outside of the far left "screw the corporations" crowd.

The way I read this paper, it did precisely this: left open the possibility of using the broadened tax base to reduce the corporate tax rate. Thus, fundamental or comprehensive corporate tax reform would allow teams to go left or right.
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Malgor
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« Reply #27 on: May 04, 2011, 11:23:16 AM »

adam is right, the paper explicitly leaves open the 'reduce corporate tax rates and close loopholes'.  that option is reiterated several times in the paper and in subsequent posts.

lots of relevant thoughts here, but i would like to point out y'all (NOT ME) have hijacked the India thread.  Might want to move some of these posts to the corporate tax reform thread.

galloway, where is the comparison.  compare, don't just criticize! 

(obviously just giving you crap)
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Ryan Galloway
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« Reply #28 on: May 04, 2011, 11:27:18 AM »

If Malcolm is right and that approach is allowed, I'm less concerned about the approach.  I will say this, I asked Gordon specifically about this with relation to the framing of the controversy, and he said the controversy was about "broadening the tax base" which the revenue neutral approach does not do (it is revenue neutral, after all).

Is the controversy "increase taxes on corporations" or a more vague "corporate tax reform?"  That would help clarify what voters are voting for.  You may want to ask for clarification of your ballot option if a revenue neutral (don't screw corporations) aff is allowed.

To compare, I would prefer Middle East democracy (relevant to the current Arab Spring controversy) over a more narrow taxation topic that deals with only one aspect of taxation.  I would like to see taxes re-booted into a broader proposal that allows for the tax the rich elements of Obama's individual tax proposal.
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Adam Symonds
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Posts: 349


« Reply #29 on: May 04, 2011, 11:37:18 AM »

I don't think there should be any confusion about the controversy including revenue neutral approaches:

The controversy option on the ballot reads: The USFG should expand corporate tax reform.

The title of the paper is corporate tax reform.

One of the potential wordings in the paper specifically includes revenue neutral as an option. Another potential wording (a list topic), lists several options that would reduce corporate tax rates.
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