Poverty and Class Warfare Debate
Class Debate: Poverty and Class Warfare
- Team 1: Debate team arguing in favor of government interference in the economy and direct aid to the poor (6 People)
- Team 2: Debate team arguing against government interference in the economy and direct aid to the poor (6 People)
- Panel members (8 People)
- Judges (7 People)
- Debate team members will be responsible for researching their side of the argument and will be prepared to present a logical argument for their cause. Teams will support their arguments with documented evidence/facts. The use of visual aids (posters, powerpoints, prezis, etc.) is highly recommended. Debate team members will also be prepared to answer questions from the panel members. Debate teams will submit a list of sources that were used in their research.
- Panel members will be responsible for researching both sides of the debate. This is necessary in order to ask relevant, intelligent and challenging questions to each debate team. Panel members will also be responsible for reading four articles that relate to poverty and class warfare and submitting a half page summary with the web address included. Summaries will include the purpose of the article and relevant information relating to the debate. Panel members will also be responsible asking each debate team one question (two questions total). These questions should go beyond the simplistic (i.e. “Do you think the government should provide food stamps to the poor”). Questions should be thought provoking and challenging for debate team members to answer (i.e. “Former White House spokesman Ari Fleischer once stated that “50 percent of the country gets benefits without paying for them.” Is it justifiable for the government to provide services to those who don’t “pay into the system?”).
- Judges will be responsible for researching both sides of the debate. This is necessary in order to effectively analyze debate team members’ responses to panel questions. Judges will also be responsible for reading four articles that relate to poverty and class warfare and will submit a half page summary with the web address included. Summaries will include the purpose of the article and relevant information relating to the debate. Judges will also be responsible for casting a vote to determine which team won the debate and submitting a written half page summary justifying their decision
- Team 2 Opening Arguments (5 minutes): Two members of the team will present the framework of their argument as to why the government should reduce or completely eliminate direct aid to the poor. Opening arguments should be supported with evidence, statistics, visual aids, etc.
- Team 1 Opening Arguments (5 minutes): Two members of the team will present the framework of their argument as to why the government should continue and perhaps expand that amount of aid that is given to the poor. Opening arguments should be supported with evidence, statistics, visual aids, etc.
- Panel Questions (40 minutes): Panel members will take turns asking their questions to both debate teams. Questions should be directed at a specific person on a debate team (i.e. “This question is for Jason…”). Each debate team member must answer a minimum of two questions. The closer is exempted from having to answer panel questions (see below). Debate team members will get one minute to answer the panel member’s question. The opposing team will get a thirty second rebuttal opportunity if they wish.
- Team 1 Closing Arguments (3 minutes): One person will be designated as the “closer” and will be responsible for providing their teams closing arguments. No new evidence can be included at this time. A good closer will not only summarize their team’s arguments and responses to panel questions, but will also detail why the opposing team’s arguments/responses are incorrect. During the debate, the closer should be paying careful attention to everything being said, especially to the statements given by the opposing team. It is for this reason that the closer is exempt from panel questions.
- Team 2 Closing Arguments (3 minutes): Same directions as Team 1.
- Judges Vote and Write Justifications (Remaining time. If time does not permit, then you will do this as homework)
- At all times be a gentleman/lady.
- Be respectful while others are talking.
- Be patient and wait for your turn. Interruptions will result in a reduced grade.
- Attack the argument, not the person.
- Remember to have fun with this!
Suggested Topics to Consider
· Poverty line and how many live in poverty in America
· What demographics make up the poor in America? (Feminization of poverty)
· Relative and Absolute Poverty
· Social Security
· Unemployment insurance
· Implications for class/race relations
· Student loan forgiveness
· Tax rates for different income levels
· Taxes on capital gains
· Other taxes (sales tax, gas taxes, utility taxes, etc.)
· Implications for public safety
· The “Buffett Rule”
· The 1% vs 99%
Suggested Websites to Get You Thinking