Author Topic: 2011-2012 Foreign Assistance to India Controversy Proposal - Jarrod Atchison  (Read 27747 times)


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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.

give the paper a read though and I think you'll see that the revenue neutral option to 'lower the tax rate while expanding the tax base" is one of the core affs the committee should include. 

Ryan Galloway

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I quote from the paper:

"This controversy is as follows:  should the United States federal government broaden the corporate tax base?

The author of this paper strongly endorses a resolution on corporate tax reform that at a minimum has the aff broaden the tax base (close corporate tax loopholes)."  (Gordon, pg. 1).  (My emphasis)

The controversy on the ballot is corporate tax reform...The controversiy in the paper is framed as should the USFG "broaden the corporate tax base."

Revenue neutral approaches don't do this--they leave it the same.

Is this topic a screw the corporations topic (make corporations pay more) or is the paper a topic that gives businesses their lead item on their agenda in the Obama administration? 

The framing of the controversy in the paper and the follow-up posts from Murillo (screw the corporations topic) and the counterplans post by Malcolm on decreasing the rate being a counterplan leave me confused.

If you are voting for corporate tax reform because you think only far left AFF's are topical, the lead AFF on this topic is the top item for businesses in the Obama administration.  It actually makes me more likely to vote for the topic, but is a very different topic than has been discussed for about two weeks in this forum.


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I already sent you a reply to your email.  I have explained this several times, and gabe's post is especially helpful. 

Your definition of revenue neutral is incorrect.  If you look at the t cards provided in the paper they explain it.  Revenue neutral means the government doesn't get a net increase in revenue.  Broaden the tax base just means more people are paying taxes, or paying taxes on more types of income.   So you can have more people paying (broadening) while lowering the tax rate, and it would be revenue neutral.

you are defining TAX neutral-whether the statutory tax rate changes.  If you follow the thread on corporate tax reform, Gabe explains this quite effectively.  The wording section of the paper also addresses this.


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i mentioned Taxes (again, not necessarily the Corporate Tax Reform topic area) as an example. Electoral Reform from back in the day is another example that would fit.

these areas get short shrift in our community for being "boring" when instead they should be prioritized IF we think the debate community has any obligation to tackle important public policy controversies as a means of contributing our brain-trust to the larger discussion.

Foreign Policy topics can be necessary to debate for the same reason. the Pakistan idea that started this sub-thread is a good example.

to answer the "uniqueness" question, i'd say Taxes may deserve our attention because
a) we have never debated it as a topic unto itself - foreign policy topics don't come close to that uniqueness, and even domestic topic areas like education have had their day in the sun, so to speak;

b) Taxes are unique in the direct role they play in everyone's life. Not merely "affect" our lives like most domestic and foreign policy issues; we pay taxes on a daily (sales) and annual (income) basis that are used to fund all the other examples you mention. Taxes are thus a root issue in that other policy debates assume their existence AND in that they involve one of the (along with voting or running for office) most personal interactions members of society have with their governments.

i agree with the skeptical tone of your second point. we messed up a good chance to debate immigration in a way that would have put the debate community smack dab in the middle of huge public debates that have been occurring over immigration. that's not unusual - the debate community has a strong track record of f#cking up resolutions and missing out on relevant debates. reference my other rants on this forum and edebate for more of my explanation of why we make this mistake so often.

the discussion over the CTBT is an example of how this problem continues. more than half of the students debating next season (maybe close to all) were not born the last time the US tested a nuclear weapon in the ways that the CTBT would prohibit. while there indeed may be additional advantages to ratifying the treaty, an honest appraisal of contemporary nuclear issues would acknowledge that CTBT is not a "hot issue" (FMCT would be a much cooler treaty to debate, Disarm would have a larger effect on the world, etc). the saliva stains on the carpets of those demanding it be on the ballot are not due to any desire to make a meaningful contribution to contemporary policy controversies going on in the US right now. folks simply want to debate it b/c it was a cool AFF 8 years ago and re-debating it would make for any easier summer.

K teams are just as culpable for this miasma. the "cede the political" argument isn't that far off base. K debates as represented by Euro-trash (listen to the lyrics of The Dead Milkmen's "You'll Dance to Anything" for context) K authors has created such shallow debates that most teams arguing from the Left can't even articulate why a community supposedly as brilliant as ours shouldn't be wasting its time re-hashing backfile orgies over and over again. hard to accuse the other team of shallow thinking when you bring one according filled with Nietzsche cards cut by another 17yo at the 2004 DDI.

the point of my original post was a reminder that we don't have to screw topics up. and we might be less likely to do so if we lived up to the message we preach about debate being so valuable. i didn't use the terms "spur social engagement" because i honestly don't think the debate community is up to that standard of achievement. i'd accept "original thinking" and "willingness to debate the most controversial public policy issues of the day" as first steps toward reviving the activity. baby steps, Taylor.

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.



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to get the tax discussion out of the india thread, I responded to galloway's post here: