Thursday, October 25, 2012

PF 2012 Proposed December Topics

UPDATE (Nov. 1, 2012) :
The coaches have voted and decided our students can successfully convince judges that raising taxes is preferred over spending cuts.  Good luck with that one!

The December topic is : Resolved: The United States should prioritize tax increases over spending cuts.

My analysis of the topic begins *HERE*

The TOPIC AREA for the month of December is, "After the election, what's next? The budget." The two resolutions from which advisers may choose are as follows:

Resolved: The United States should prioritize tax increases over spending cuts.

Resolved: The United States should prioritize preserving entitlement benefits over reducing deficit spending.

The first proposed resolution may be appealing on one level, because I think most high-school debaters understand, what is a tax increase and what is a spending cut?  But, I think one must look at this topic from a debate point of view and consider, is it really possible to support tax increases in a  public forum debate?  Is it possible to convince a citizen judge, such a policy is the best course of action for America considering economic conditions sure to be in place in December?  The term "tax increases" is ambiguous.  It could mean across the board increases, middle class increases or increases for the top 'x' percent.  Given these possibilities, it may be possible to leverage the generally popular idea the wealthy should pay more taxes, but usually this rhetoric targets eliminating tax loopholes and deductions as opposed to actually raising tax rates.  Tax increases may also refer to federal income taxes or any of a plethora of other kinds of taxes including state/local taxes and taxes on services and commodities.  Though the resolution does not say "federal" taxes, that is almost certainly the intent of the resolution.  I think Pro, either way, will have a tough time with this topic.

The second resolution, is probably less understandable to high-school debaters who may not have a good understanding of entitlement benefits so it is a chance for students to learn something.  However, there is huge potential for debate over the definition of entitlement benefits.  For example, some will argue, social security benefits are entitlement benefits and certainly there is significant political debate over the viability of social security in the United States.  Some will argue, that social security is not an entitlement since individuals pay into it.  Regardless, the term is broad and therefore potentially difficult to pin-down to specifics.  Nevertheless, it may not be necessary to get too specific depending on how the case is framed.

I have not researched either of these topics at all.  I am basing my comments on a very general knowledge of the topics arising from experience and personal knowledge.  I have my initial idea of which to vote for, but I will do some preliminary research before making a final choice.


  1. Sorry this is slightly unrelated but has a team of second-year debaters (i.e. novices last year) ever qualified for the TOC?


    2. thats just a bid not a qualification (which requires two bids)... so i think its never been done before right?

    3. Well, if you can believe Facebook, its been done (see:

      Just look it up. Schools like to brag about their students, so it's not difficult to find. I don't keep tabs on TOC qualifiers, just trends on the national circuit.

  2. oh in addition to the previous comment, I meant pf debaters, not ld or policy


Feel free to leave comments relevant to the topics and activity of competitive high school debate. However, this is not a sounding board for your personal ideologies, abusive or racist commentary or excessive inappropriate language. Everyday Debate blog reserves the right to delete any comments it deems inappropriate.