Debate: 1AC

Hello everyone,

The big reason this blog has been incredibly… boring is because I’ve been too occupied with speech and debate to post here. Sorry. So I decided to post my 1AC so everyone could see what’s going on.

Note to everyone who is competing in NCFCA and still reading: Yes, this is the complete case flow for Maisano/Morgan from Texas (R4). If you continue to read it, I’m going to make a simple request. I understand that I can’t enforce this, but I’m trusting in your conscience. 🙂 So, if you read this, please post your feedback. You are welcome to use the evidence we’ve dug up here, but the same principle applies. Post your evidence against it.

So, in a word, if you are going to use this, please return the favor and post any information you may have that will help us improve. Everyone hates free-riders, right?

As a side note, you can check out my marvelous partner’s blog at: Toni’s Thoughts.

Americans are among the most generous people in the world. That policy should not change. But the United States federal government should significantly change its policy toward India, because our current irresponsible foreign aid policy endangers our future.

Today we will examine the long term consequences of the government’s policy of shipping foreign aid to India. But first we need to make sure we’re on the same page by providing a couple definitions in:

1. Definitions

Sources and further definitions are available upon request. Here are a couple to get us started:

United States-country North America bordering on Atlantic, Pacific, & Arctic oceans; a federal republic
(“United States of America.” Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. 2008. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/United States of America )
Significantly-“Having or likely to have a major effect; important”

Change-“to undergo a modification of “

(Merriam-Webster Online Dict. 2008, www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/change)

Policy-As foreign policy consists of ‘decisions and actions which involve to some appreciable extent relations between one state and others’, it can be defined as ‘the actions of a state toward the external environment and the conditions under which these actions formulated’.

(Prof. Mustafa Aydın (professor of International Relations at the Faculty of Political Science, Ankara University, Turkey; as well as at the National Security Academy, Ankara, Turkey; was Research Fellow at the Center for Political Studies, Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor) 2006, “Turkish Foreign Policy at the End of the Cold War; Roots and Dynamics”, Turkish Yearbook of International Relations, http://www.politics.ankara.edu.tr/dosyalar/MMTY/36 /1_mustafa_aydin.pdf)

Toward-“With regard to; in relation to”

(American Heritage Dictionary, http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/toward)

India-“A country of southern Asia covering most of the Indian subcontinent.”

(The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition, http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/India)

Foreign Aid-“assistance (as economic aid) provided by one nation to another
(Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/foreign%20aid)

In this case, we will be focusing on one goal. That’s the second point we want to make:

2. Goal: Long-term Responsibility

So, in this round, we would encourage you to look at our policy on foreign aid and see if it is truly responsible, and if our plan can provide long-term benefits. But before we can look at the long term results, we need to see the current system’s trajectory in:

3. Status Quo

Our argument here is that our policy of shipping foreign aid to India is simply irresponsible. There are three points to be made abou
t foreign aid to India: We’re spending money we don’t have on a program that hasn’t worked when there are perfectly valid alternatives out there.

a) Debt

This case specifically addressed economic aid, both in cash and in kind. According to the most recent report from the Congressional Research Service, we are sending India $74.1 Million annually.

Thomas Lum (Specialist in Asian Affairs Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division). “U.S. Foreign Aid to East and South Asia: Selected Recipients.” October 8, 2008. Congressional Research Service, RL31362. http://opencrs.com/document/RL31362
Interestingly enough, the Department of the treasury reported that while giving India this money, we also owed them about $16.2 Billion in Treasury Securities.

United States. Department of the Treasury. Federal Reserve Board. “Major Foreign Holders of Treasury Securities.” January 16, 2009. http://www.treas.gov/tic/mfh.txt
In other words, we’re donating to our creditor. Our children are the ones who will have to pay for it This is anything but a responsible policy, especially when you consider that foreign aid has not produced long term results.

b) Ineffective

After pouring money into India and other countries since the end of World War II, we have quite a bit of evidence on it’s long-term consequences. For example a study in the:

Cristina Arellano (Ph.D., Assistant Professor, University of Minnesota), Aleš BulĂ­Ĺ™ (PhD. M.Sc., Associate Professor, Prague University of Economics), Timothy Lane (Ph.D., M.P.H., Assistant Professor, University of California, San Francisco), Leslie Lipschitz (Ph.D., Director of the International Monetary Fund Institute). “The dynamic implications of foreign aid and its variability.” Journal of Development Economics 88 (2009) 87–102. http://www.econ.umn.edu/~arellano/aidpaper.pdf

“The paper examines the effects of aid and its volatility on consumption, investment, and the structure of production in the context of an intertemporal two-sector general equilibrium model, calibrated using data for aid-dependent countries in Africa. A permanent flow of aid mainly finances consumption rather than investment—consistent with the historical failure of aid inflows to translate into sustained growth. Large aid flows are associated with higher real exchange rates and smaller tradable sectors because aid is a substitute for tradable consumption. Aid volatility results in substantial welfare losses, providing a motivation for recent discussions of aid architecture stressing the need for greater predictability of aid. These results are also consistent with evidence from cross-country regressions of manufactured exports, presented later in the paper.”

Consumption, not investment. In other words, short term gratification, not long term responsibility. What about India specifically? Well, according to:

The Financial Times.
January 23 2008.
“Western donors wrestle with the contradictions of rising India.” By Jo Johnson (B.A., M.B.A., Financial Times’ South Asia bureau chief). http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/3470229c-c9db-11dc-b5dc-000077b07658.html

India does little to solicit aid and, sometimes, much to deter it. Ahead of Mr Brown’s visit, Rahul Gandhi, a senior Congress party politician, hinted at the extent of corruption, claiming that only 5 per cent of development funds reached their intended recipients, down from 15 per cent when his father was prime minister.
His warning coincided with the release by the World Bank of a report that found “systemic fraud and corruption” in a flagship health programme and “suggested that other projects had been similarly compromised”. The bank in the year to June 2007 provided $3.7bn in new loans to India, its largest borrower.”

Even officials in the Indian government admit that foreign aid is being lost in a quagmire of corruption. So your 74 Million becomes 3.7 Million. With such a low rate of return, one must ask: Was it really need in the first place?

c) Irrelevant

As Indian economist Joydeep Mukerji said in response to that story in the Financial Times.

Joydeep Mukherji. (B.A., M.A. in economics, former economic consultant to the Asian Development Bank, works with credit ratings in Asia and the Western Hemisphere).”India’s aid donors reluctant to admit their irrelevance.” Financial Times Letters, January 30 2008. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/0a0d5afc-ced5-11dc-877a-000077b07658.html

“Sir, Your article “Western donors wrestle with the contradictions of rising India” (January 24) implies that there is a contradiction between a booming India and the reality of mass poverty. The real contradiction is between aid donors who failed and their reluctance to acknowledge their irrelevance in an India that has finally learnt how to grow rapidly and reduce its massive poverty.”

The Federal Government’s foreign program is irrelevant because organizations on both sides of the ocean are more than capable of aiding India. The Index of Global Philanthropy 2008 shows that only about 12% of all American assistance comes through the government anyway.

The Index of Global Philanthropy 2008. Darrell Delamaide, Ed. Hudson Institute, Center for Global Prosperity, 2008. p 17-20. https://www.hudson.org/files/documents/2008%20Index%20-%20Low%20Res.pdf
So, because there are valid alternatives to US governmental spending that aren’t in such a financial predicament, there’s no reason to continue an Unfunded, Ineffective, Irrelevant program.

So it’s obviously not a responsible policy. But why is this so important? That’s the fourth observation:

4. Impacts

Our policy has three impacts. They are the impact to Us, to India, and to the Future.

a) Us: Wasted Resources

We can’t afford to loose 95% on any program. This kind of waste does not meet long-term responsibility.

b) India: Subsidizing Bureaucracy

Joydeep Mukherji. (B.A., M.A. in economics, former economic consultant to the Asian Development Bank, works with credit ratings in Asia and the Western Hemisphere).”India’s aid donors reluctant to admit their irrelevance.” Financial Times Letters, January 30 2008. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/0a0d5afc-ced5-11dc-877a-000077b07658.html
Since the second world war, India has received more foreign aid than any country in the world. The money subsidised the creation of a corrupt, parasitic bureaucracy following anti-market policies typically advocated by well-meaning donors. The economy stagnated for nearly 40 years, compared with the dynamism of east Asian countries that relied on themselves and on markets more than on foreign aid.”
So our policy actually makes Indians worse off by subsiding harmful bureaucratic tendencies.

c) Future: Swindle Futurity

We are swindling our future because this program is sponsored with deficit spending, money that is thrown to future generations – with interest.

Thomas Jefferson to John Taylor, 1816. Lipscomb and Bergh, ed. The Writings of Thomas Jefferson 15. Memorial Edition. Washington, D.C., 1903-04. 23. http://etext.virginia.edu/jefferson/quotations/jeff1340.htm

“I sincerely believe… that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity under the name of funding is but swindling futurity on a large scale.”

That’s exactly what this policy does. It swindles our future.

If we are financing a program that doesn’t help us, doesn’t help them, and doesn’t help the future, that program should obviously be stopped. That’s our plan. We intend to phase out this irresponsible policy of sending aid and replace it with a sound investment in:

5. Plan

Our plan is really pretty simple. Here’s the specifics:

the Agency and Enforcement: of this plan is the Federal Government of the United States. There are two mandates that this agency will carry out:

Mandate 1: Phase Out. Current government non-military aid sent to the India will be phased out. According to the Congressional Research service, this currently includes CSH (Child Survival and Health), DA (Development Assistance), P.L. 480 Title II Grants (In-kind food aid).

Mandate 2: Pay Debt. Funds freed shall be redirected to pay off Indian Securities.

Next, the Timeline: This plan will be phased in over the next two fiscal years, FY 2009 and 2010. Savings will begin in FY 2011.

Finally, we reserve the right to clarify this plan as needed.

6. Advantages

In short, we are allowing private charities to do what they do best, and establishing a solid foundation for our children’s future. There are two ways this plan pays off; you could think of it as M&M: Math and Morals.

a) Math: Exponential Savings

See, the aid we finance through debt doesn’t just increase at a constant rate. It is also accumulating interest, so it grows exponentially, a lot like cancer. So, starting with just $ 74.1 Million,
-In 10 years, we will not save $ 741 Million, we’ll save almost a billion dollars.
-And in 20 years, we won’t save $ 1.4 Billion, with interest we’ll save 2.5 Billion.

The longer we save, the more we save. So now is the time to start making this long term investment. But there are other reasons to adopt this plan.

b) Moral: Responsible Policy

This is more than just a frugal policy, it is also a responsible policy.
Iqbal Z. Quadir (B.A., M.A., M.B.A., founder and director of MIT‘s Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship, formerly taught at Harvard University, and founder of Grameenphone, the largest cellphone company in Bangladesh) “Foreign Aid and Bad Government.” Wall Street Journal. January 30, 2009. http://legatum.mit.edu/content-206
“In short, America should stop pouring billions into bureaucracies to buy short-term alliances and focus its efforts on bottom-up entrepreneurship. This would increase America’s popularity, alleviate poverty, and promote real democratic change in these developing countries.”

The government’s current policy with India is nothing short of using our children’s money to pay other countries for stuff they don’t do. It not a responsible policy, and it turns out that it is not a necessary policy. So I urge you to do the responsible thing and affirm the resolution.

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Definition

This post is going to be short. I just want to define two things for everyone so you aren’t fooled by political rhetoric.

  1. Bond (in the context of government, not Chemistry)-“a certificate of debt (usually interest-bearing or discounted) that is issued by a government or corporation in order to raise money; the issuer is required to pay a fixed sum annually until maturity and then a fixed sum to repay the principal”

A bond sounds great, and we’ll approve bonds easily to fund Austin schools. What about debt? Would we approve debt? I don’t think we would as regularly, which is why politicians resort to such political rhetoric to pass thier proposals.

  1. Debt-Slavery

Proverbs 22:7b rightly tells us: “…And the borrower becomes the lender’s slave.” (NSAB) I think we probably should take the advice of the wisest man to ever live, don’t you?

Read this article by my good friend Thomas Umstattd about why the federal government shouldn’t be borrowing and how we’ve got ourselves in a load of trouble because of it.

Re: Medicare Cuts; Why Medicare is Not a Caring Policy

As explained by the heading on my blog, I am taking a government class at my community college. My classmates posted on her blog, Farren’s Inside Look, regarding Texas legislation to fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) by taking money from Medicare funds.

I agree with the main point of the article. It makes no sense to take from one major insurance program to give to another. I think its just politics, little else. As stated by George Bernard Shaw, “A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.”[1] The issue I have with the article is in the last two paragraphs. The assertion Farren makes is that Medicare is the future of America’s seniors and therefore is worth keeping around. I respectfully disagree. Medicare is a bad policy for the same reasons as other government welfare programs. The dilemma with government welfare programs such as Medicare is that either 1) money comes from taxpayer right back to taxpayers, and some mysteriously disappears along the way; or 2) Money goes from taxpayers to non-taxpayers and then Government has become no better than any thief.

The first problem is that when government takes money from people via taxation and then decides to give it back to them, some will inevitably disappear through government’s “butter fingers.” At best, it is useless; at worst, it causes economic lag. According to Economists James D. Gwartney, Ph.D., and Richard L. Stroup, Ph.D.:

“In the United States, studies indicates [sic] that it takes businesses and individuals approximately 5.5 billion worker-hours (the equivalent of 2,750,000 full-time workers) each year just to complete the taxation paperwork. This compliance cost adds approximately 15 cents to every dollar of tax revenue raised by the government.”[2]

Fifteen percent mysteriously disappears in the process of just getting tax money to the government, and that’s not counting administration of the programs. On the other hand, when people can keep more of their money and invest it as they see fit, and then the money can be more effectively utilized. Therefore, I think that Medicare money should be given back to the people in the form of tax-cuts.

Secondly, it is morally wrong for anyone, especially the government, to plunder one person to “give” to another. If a person stole money from one person while threatening to take their property, he would be punished as a criminal. It doesn’t matter if he had the benevolent ends of helping someone in need fund their health care. Yet, government somehow claims immunity from this law. Justice Brandeis had some very insightful words for us when he said: “Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law…”[3] No matter how benevolent the acts of the government be, sponsoring Medicare-like programs is still plunder if it takes from one person to “help” another.

After realizing the facts outlined above, Texas hero Davy Crockett stated before Congress:

“We have the right as individuals, to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right to appropriate a dollar of the public money.”[4]

I believe its time for Texas government to grasp this idea and realize that it has no more right to steel than anyone.

A note I believe I need to add: I am not attacking anyone who uses programs such as Medicare, Welfare, CHIP, etc. In fact, I was on CHIP for a while. I understand that such people have paid the government a lot of money, and should get at least a little bit back. I just believe that we should stop funneling money through a bureaucracy that has butter fingers and start letting people keep more of their own money.

References

I recommend The Law by Frederick Bastiat. It is an excellent primer on the philosophy of freedom.

1. George Bernard Shaw. Everybody’s Political What’s What? (1944) ch 30. http://www.quotationspage.com/quote/179.html

2. James D. Gwartney and Richard L. Stroup. What Everyone Should Know About Economics and Prosperity. (1993) p 76. available at: http://oldfraser.lexi.net/publications/books/econ_prosp/

3. Justice Louis Brandeis (dissenting). Olmstead et. al. v. United States. 277 U.S. 438. (1928) http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cgi-bin/getcase.pl?court=us&vol=277&invol=438

4. David Crockett. “Not Yours To Give” originally in: Edward Sylvester Ellis. The Life of Colonel David Crockett (1884). http://www.house.gov/paul/nytg.htm

Proposition 2

In November, Texas voters will be given sixteen amendments to approve or reject. One of these, Proposition 2[1] is about providing loans through government bonds in order to help college students, or that’s the way supporters would like to put it.

Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo published a commentary in the Austin American Statesman that explains why she supports the bill. With all due respect, her argument is a total misunderstanding of economics and will simply promote irresponsible use of credit. Senator Zaffirini, who is the chairwoman of the Texas Senate Higher Education Subcommittee, supports this bill because, according to her, it will help fund “the education of our children”[2] without increasing taxes. It sounds like a worthy goal, but there are two major economic flaws in the plan. Firstly, it produces a synthetic, artificially enticing environment for student debt to only increase. Secondly, her argument doesn’t consider any of the great opportunity costs associated with this plan. Basically, there are better things we could do with the money.

The reason that interest rates on student loans are so high is because there is a lot of demand for loans. Its the simple economic law of supply and demand. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the number of students who have debt increased ten percent between 1996 and 2000 and the average student’s debt increased 36%.[3] This statistic reflects one of the major problems with American today; we overuse credit. Because of this, the market is making corrections by raising interest rates, which will ultimately discourage students from taking too much money in loans. However, if Zaffirini has her way, the Texas government will just encourage this debt explosion by utilizing artificial, government-stabled interest rates that do not respond to the demands of the marketplace.

This is the first and greatest reason that I believe we should vote against prop 2: The Texas Government should not encourage debt! Artificially induced market situations only treat symptoms, instead of really dealing with the root of loan indulgence!

Then the Senator, being in Texas, makes the “no more taxes” argument:

“…because the bonds used to finance these loans are repaid by those who borrow the money, Prop. 2 will have no impact on our… taxes…”[2]

While taxes will not go up what she ignores is that there are costs to this proposition; opportunity costs. As stated by Economist David R. Henderson,

“When economists refer to the “opportunity cost” of a resource, they mean the value of the next-highest-valued alternative use of that resource. If, for example, you spend time and money going to a movie… you can’t spend the money on something else.”[4]

Opportunity costs are based upon the principle that when a resource is used for one purpose, it cannot then be used for another. It’s basically what opportunities we will loose. In the case of higher education bonds, the money lent to the students is not available for four years or more. This money might have gone to a plethora of other venues such as improving roads, lowering taxes, improving policing abilities, and so forth.

The question we have to ask ourselves is this: are there better things we could be doing than manipulating the student loan market? I strongly believe that there are. So, for the sake of student responsibility and for a wise, economical, investment of government resources, I strongly and respectfully urge Texans voters to vote against proposition 2.

References

[1] Approved Prop. 2 ballot language: “The constitutional amendment providing for the issuance of $500 million in general obligation bonds to finance educational loans to students and authorizing bond enhancement agreements with respect to general obligation bonds issued for that purpose.”

[2] Judith Zaffirini. “Keep college within Texans’ reach” Austin American Statesman (October 4 2007). http://www.statesman.com/opinion/content/editorial/stories/10/04/04/1005zaffirini_edit.html

[3] Cited in: Sandy Baum. “The Role of Student Loans in College Access” (Pathways to College, January 2003):5. p 1. http://www.pathwaystocollege.net/pdf/NDSFA_report5.pdf

[4] David R. Henderson. “Opportunity Cost” in The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics. (Library of Economics and Liberty, 2002). http://www.econlib.org/LIBRARY/Enc/OpportunityCost.html

What is property?

On the O’Brian FACTor today, I’m getting a little more pro-active. This is an essay on a subject very near to my heart; property rights. Hope you enjoy! Please feel free to post comments for and against if you feel inclined to do so.

Private Property is a phrase thrown around a lot. Often, we’re told of the atrocities eminent domain has claimed against private property. But what is property? James Madison, a man known as the “founder of our constitution” explained to us that private property is a “ketch-all” phrase, that “In its larger and juster meaning, it embraces every thing to which a man may attach a value and have a right…”[1] Now that is a broad definition.

The founder’s love of the right of property was put into the Fifth Amendment in the Bill of Rights with two prohibitions to protect the right of property:

No person shall […] be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due
process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just
compensation.” [2]

Over the years, battles have been fought over what is meant by this clause, and most of it has focused on the right to own land property. Very little has recognized the far-reaching implications of the word “property” as originally intended.

James Madison, who (rather unwillingly) drafted the bill of rights as well as the main body of the constitution, enumerates what he meant by “property” in the essay quoted above. Two main threads come from his broad definition as “‘that dominion which one man claims and exercises over the external things of the world, in exclusion of every other individual.'”[1] The second was inclusive of opinions, speech, etc. The first (which I would like to focus on most) was not only inclusive of land property but, as he stated:

“In the former sense, a man’s land, or merchandize, or money is called his property.”

Notice, not just his land. Private property rights included money and merchandise. If we may then insert this definition into the Fifth Amendment,

…nor shall private [money or merchandise] be taken for public use,
without just compensation.[3]

What is taxation? Princeton provides an obvious definition:

“charge against a citizen’s person or property or activity for the support of government” [4]

Taxation is basically the government charging the people so it can survive; private money taken for public use.

So, then, if the courts would interpret this clause as it was intended to be interpreted, then any tax that did not go back to compensate the individual it had taxed would be unconstitutional by the fifth amendment. This does not mean that the government can’t tax people; there just has to be some kind of compensation to every individual who is taxed. It means that government can’t constitutionally steal from one person to give to another person. Such “legal plunder” is unjust, should be unconstitutional, and is just plain wrong!

Imagine with me that a lawn service comes to your door, points a gun at your head, forces you to pay them for mowing, and then, the next day, decides that you “aren’t qualified” to receive their benefits. Every time the government taxes someone without paying them back with some kind of service, they are doing the exact same thing! Now, imagine with me the Salvation Army coming through your neighborhood to do the same thing. Yes, that’s government “charity programs.” You can probably spot them; affirmative action, welfare, etc.

This theory of the original meaning of private property has many implications. Ultimately, it has effects on both the feds and each state government as well. It would not only mean a more fair taxation, but also less taxation on both levels.

Let me leave you with the words to Davy Crockett who spoke against forced government charity as a representative from Tennessee before coming to the great state of Texas:

“We have the right as individuals, to give away as much of our own money as we
please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right to appropriate a
dollar of the public money.”[5]

Then he boldly took this pro-active stance:

“I cannot vote for this bill, but I will give one week’s pay [of my own money] to the object[…]”[5]

Col. Crockett later told a friend that “Money with them [politicians] is nothing but trash when it is to come out of the people.”

We should give for charity; but from our own pocket, not another’s.

References

[1] James Madison, March 1792. “Property” in William T. Huchinson et al, ed. The Papers of James Madison. (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1962) in: The Founders Constitution, (University of Chicago, 2000) Ch 16. http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/v1ch16s23.html. (accessed 10/2/07)

[2] Bill Of Rights. “Amendment V” (15 December 1791) http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/constitution.billofrights.html (accessed 10/2/07)

[3] (paraphrased by me)

[4] WordNet Search “taxation” (Princeton University, 2006) http://wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=taxation (accessed 10/2/07)

[5] David Crockett “Not Yours to Give” (Project Freedom, n.d.) http://www.house.gov/paul/nytg.htm (accessed 10/2/07)