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Author Topic: Corporate tax reform topic cps  (Read 5026 times)
Malgor
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« on: April 27, 2011, 02:22:20 PM »

Hi all

I thought i would post some supplementary work I'm doing on corporate tax reform.  One theme I notice a lot in topic discussions over the last few years is the desire to provide counterplan ground that cuts across the entire resolution but is NOT related to process or agent.  Many of the topics on this year's list outline these arguments as the some of the key areas of debate.  Two examples come to mind:  agency overstretch DAs and agent CPs for CIKR, and CEAs for treaties.  I don't mean to isolate these two, as other topics like India will clearly have big alternate actor counterplans that can solve a majority of affs. 

Two things I am outlining in this post:  1) if you like process arguments, a tax reform topic does offer them, but it does so in a way that gives the aff some high quality answers-the aff won't have to rely on agent cps bad and theory.  2) if you don't like topics where the only generic cp is process or agent related, you should give serious consideration to the corporate tax reform topic.

Overview- courts, delegation, and treasury department are the three main process counterplans.  However, universal and unwaivering deference to the congress on tax matters in the status quo gives the aff access to some great answers.  These include: court roll back, solvency deficits, separation of powers, and some of the best 'cp links to politics' args I have seen on a topic in a while.  For teams that prefer topic specific generic cps, the paper is worded so the cp to lower the corporate tax rate is always competitive, because it's a pic.  The literature on this is vast, easy to access, and well defended on both sides.  The core question of "will tax decreases help the economy?" has been well debated by the right and left.

1) Process/agent cps

I have cards to provide, but for some reason copy/paste is taking their formatting away, so I have attached them as a word doc.  they are in order of my reference, and I'll be explaining the key concepts here. 

The first card explains the general process of tax law.  The constitutions grants explicit authority (and we have an amendment specific to income tax) to Congress in creating tax policy.  A theme in all of the evidence is that the court recognizes this authority strongly, and rarely decides in a way that changes the tax code.  Deference to the congress on tax policy is even stronger than court deference to the military on issues of national security.  The court often imposes fines on people who attempt to challenge the tax code through the judicial branch. The three Mazza and Kaye cards establish this.

The three process/agent related cps on this topic are courts, treasury department, and delegation.  Congress creates the tax code, and the IRS (under the treasury department) enforces it.  This is found in the first Mazza and Kaye card. 

Courts- the legitimacy arguments are compelling on this topic.  Any supreme court ruling on this topic would require the supreme court to directly interpret the constitution as its opposite (there is an explicit amendment that grants congress the power to tax incomes).  It would also go against every previous judicial decision.  The rhetoric in these cards is straightforward-the court has interpreted that every conceivable level of deference should be granted to the congress.  The impact here is separation of powers, but keep in mind the internal link.  This isn't a separation of powers debate about some health or educational policy-this would be the court violating the division of powers over how to fund the government. 

Treasury-  Rollback, plain and simple.  The aff can win great arguments that congress will use oversight on the treasury, and the incredible number of corporate interests involved guarantee extensive lobbying of congress to do so.  Even if the counterplan weren't rolled back, the act of congress preventing a roll back is enough to make the cp link to politics.  Think about it, in the face of massive partisan and corporate pressure to rollback the treasury law, Congress would let it stand.  There's a big debate to be had on how this would also effect the presidential agenda or election.

Delegation-  the separation of powers cards contained in the simon in 91 cards are all about delegation.  The argument here is that congress should write broad laws, and delegate to the treasury powers to interpret the meaning and implementation of those broad laws.  There is a debate over whether this is normal means, since the aff plan would obviously be a broad reform.  The simon debate speaks to the larger issue of separation of powers. Does congress exercise too much authority when they create tax codes, or is it better for SOP to delegate some of the details to the treasury?  Rollback/congressional oversight is a big issue here, too.  If the net benefit is that the counterplan avoids the contentious political debate, there will be a lot of great aff arguments about whether this is true.  The tax code effects billions of dollars in corporate revenue every year, and special interest groups lobby hard to get the law changed in their favor.  Since Congress has sole oversight authority over the Treasury, and explicit authority over the tax code, the aff can effectively argue that these process cps all link to politics, and some of them risk a congressional rollback of the counterplan.

This vision of the process/agent cps has two beneficial sides.  First, affirmatives will have better evidence to answer these cps.  On the flip sides, squads who believe the process cp with a politics net benefit is the heart and soul of any debate topic will be challenged to come up with new, innovative strategies for over-specifying and exploiting the shit out of negative fiat in order to solve the aff and avoid politics.  I think that both sides of this issue would love the opportunity to 'rise to the challenge.'

2) topic specific generic cps.  I hear a lot of people clamor for these.  They encourage debates that compare actual policies (as opposed to methods of implementation), and frankly they have been rare on many recent topics.  This is a big advantage to debating corporate tax reform.  If you don't want to run process or agent oriented cps, this topic affords you the opportunity to develop some generic, competitive alternate tax proposals that can sustain robust debate on both sides.

There are two aspects to this-cps that are broad enough to run against any aff, and counterplans that will be confined to one 'problem area' of the topic, but apply to nearly all affs in that problem area.

The biggest generic cp that would apply to the entire topic would be to just lower the corporate tax rate.  Any resolution will require the aff to broaden the corporate tax base (by closing loopholes).  The counterplan to lower corporate taxes, without closing loopholes, will be competitive against virtually all topical affs.  This is an accessible, well defined, but well developed part of the literature.  It's the classic debate over tax policy (a debate we have never had in college):  do tax cuts stimulate growth and solve economic/spending problems?

Cp- lower the tax rate to 20 percent
Chris Edwards in 10 director of tax policy studies at the Cato Institute and a top expert on federal and state tax and budget issues,  U.S. Corporate Tax Rate the Highest, http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/u-s-corporate-tax-rate-the-highest/
Japan has announced that it will cut its corporate tax rate by five percentage points. Japan and the United States had been the global laggards on corporate tax reform, so this leaves America with the highest corporate rate among the 34 wealthy nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. That is not a good position for us to be in. Most of the competition faced by U.S. businesses comes from businesses headquartered in other OECD countries. America also competes with other OECD nations as a location for investment. Our high corporate tax rate scares away investment in new factories, makes it difficult for U.S. companies to compete in foreign markets, and provides strong incentives for corporations to avoid and evade taxes. The chart shows KPMG data on statutory corporate tax rates in the OECD for 2010, but I’ve also put in the new lower rate for Japan. With the Japanese reform, the average rate in the OECD will be 25.6 percent. That means that the 40 percent U.S. rate is 56 percent higher than the wealthy-nation average. Most fiscal experts agree that cutting the U.S. corporate tax rate is a high priority, and President Obama’s fiscal commission endorsed the idea. If the president wants to get the economy firing on all cylinders–and generate a new pragmatic and centrist image for himself–he should lead the charge to drop the corporate rate to at least 20 percent. With state-level taxes on top, a federal corporate rate of 20 percent would put America at about the OECD average, and give all those corporations sitting on piles of cash a great reason to start investing again.

This is a big counterplan that you can write at the beginning of the year, and keep updating.  It's a viable strategy because, as we all know, conservative think tanks and policy analysts have refined and developed the arguments well over the years.  The aff will have great built in answers-corporate loopholes create economic distortions/inefficiencies in the tax code (which undermines predictability, investor/business/consumer confidence, and creates bubbles with 'winners' and 'losers' hand picked by government), and loopholes also decrease government revenue by narrowing the tax base.  Much like the CTBT debates people have referenced so much in treaties discussions, this literature base is big enough to remain innovative, even though it's a generic cp strategy.

This is a big plus for me.  The process and agent counterplans are available on ANY RESOLUTION.  For m any, those debates will never create the educational benefits we want them to.  Resolutions like CIKR, where the key cp ground is purported to be agency cps with overstretch DAs, or treaties, which only has 1 generic cp that cuts across the toipc (CEA)....these just don't provide as much opportunity.  Of course we can make any debate educational, but the difference is the type of education provided and its relevance to the topic at hand.  With tax reform, the generic topic counterplan is THE CENTRAL ISSUE in tax debates:  do tax cuts stimulate the economy and solve revenue problems?

Another brief mention must be made to the 'area specific' cps. For instance, two big affs under the 'tax deferral' section of corporate tax reform are to either adopt a purely worldwide or purely territorial taxation system (worldwide= gov taxes all company money regardless of what country the money was earned in, territorial = gov only taxes you on what you earn here).  These core issues are counterplans to one another.  To provide another example, in the debt v equity section of the paper, two big affs are a) end the deduction on interest or b) provide a deduction on investments made with equity.  These are also counterplans against one another, because the combination of the two (perm) would tip the scales too far in favor of equity, deter investment made with loans, thus stifling speculative and capital investment growth, which are important job creators in the economy.

The point here is this:  there is a topic cp that gets to the heart of the issue, and it doesn't require students to debate the same process/agent cps every round.  there are also a few cps under each section of the topic that are competitive and specific to the central issues being debated.  To be certain, process/agent cps are inevitable because some people think the only thing relevant in debate is an agenda DA.  This topic provides the aff with better substantive tools to defeat those counterplans.  It also gives us counterplans that speak to the core of the policy goals themselves, not just to the process we use to enact policy.

I think these are big issues, and decisively in favor of a corporate tax reform policy.

* process-agent cps.doc (73.5 KB - downloaded 423 times.)
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Adam Symonds
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« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2011, 05:00:31 PM »

This is a big plus for me.  The process and agent counterplans are available on ANY RESOLUTION.  For m any, those debates will never create the educational benefits we want them to.  Resolutions like CIKR, where the key cp ground is purported to be agency cps with overstretch DAs, or treaties, which only has 1 generic cp that cuts across the toipc (CEA)....these just don't provide as much opportunity.  Of course we can make any debate educational, but the difference is the type of education provided and its relevance to the topic at hand.  With tax reform, the generic topic counterplan is THE CENTRAL ISSUE in tax debates:  do tax cuts stimulate the economy and solve revenue problems?

I want to echo the importance of topic specific generic CPs. If there is to be educational value to the rotation of topics from year to year, the central place we will find it is in the case debates and solvency mechanism debates. The presence of generic aff/neg mechanism debates suggests the possibility of strategic AND educational debates on a topic, which I think we should really be striving to achieve. While there is certainly educational/strategic thinking value in process cps, it largely does not require or produce in depth knowledge of the topic area we have selected. Let's prefer that knowledge over process cps in the topic construction, so that both are viable options during the debate season.

In this vein, I think it would also be productive for us to largely ignore the politics and economy das in our discussion of negative ground within the different topic areas. Certainly, these will be disads on all of the topics. But instead of saying the topic is controversial, there's your DA, let's talk about the reasons that they are controversial - it seems to me this is the point of the controversy papers: identify the 2 (or more) sides on a particular policy question. A literature base comprised of aff authors calling for critical infrastructure protection and critics saying its too expensive does not a controversy make. Hopefully, the resulting shift in dialogue would highlight topic specific disadvantages that are viable amongst the various topic areas.

I applaud the tax reform paper for having a great deal of evidenced discussion of aff and neg mechanisms, along with topic specific net benefits to these mechanisms.
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kelly young
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« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2011, 05:19:07 PM »

A literature base comprised of aff authors calling for critical infrastructure protection and critics saying its too expensive does not a controversy make. Hopefully, the resulting shift in dialogue would highlight topic specific disadvantages that are viable amongst the various topic areas.

I applaud the tax reform paper for having a great deal of evidenced discussion of aff and neg mechanisms, along with topic specific net benefits to these mechanisms.

That couldn't be any more arbitrary of a line. The CIKR paper highlights a range of reasons why CIKR protection is contentious - jurisdiction infighting, corporate vs. federal mandate/regulations bad, expense (believe it or not, this is the central controversy to any infrastructure change. It might be generic across some of the controversy areas, but given the economic climate, it's a particularly timely controversy given that Obama call for infrastructure development as an economic stimulus and all of these issues have been pushed off the table due to the budget debates), federalism, etc.

Yes, these are all generic issues - hence why we list them after the sector discussions to highlight the central controversy. But these are central within all of the literature on CIKR and is precisely why action hasn't been taken. To bag on the CIKR paper as simply a bunch of aff advocates and simply a focus on economic cost is unfair and obviously based on a rather shallow reading of the topic paper.

Yes, the corp tax paper is excellent. It doesn't mean that there isn't a controversy in CIKR OR that politics and economy aren't relevant issues within the controversy.
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Adam Symonds
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« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2011, 05:20:35 PM »

I should be clear that I was not taking a shot at the CIKR paper, which I think is great. I randomly selected a paper for the purposes of that line. My concern is primarily that we attempt to flesh out more specific negative arguments in all the topic areas beyond politics and the economy, which I think is clear from my post.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2011, 05:22:36 PM by Adam Symonds » Logged
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