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Taxing the Rich

Be it resolved, tax the rich (more)...

May 30, 2013

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How should advanced countries respond to growing income inequality? For some the answer is obvious: redistribute the wealth of the top income earners who have enjoyed, for almost a generation, the lion's share of all income gains. Imposing higher taxes on the wealthy is the best way for countries such as Canada to reinvest in their social safety nets, education, and infrastructure while protecting the middle class. Others argue that anemic economic growth, not income inequality, is the real problem facing advanced countries. In a globalized economy, raising taxes on society's wealth creators leads to capital flight, falling government revenues, and less money for the poor. These same voices contend that lowering taxes on everyone stimulates innovation and investment, fuelling future prosperity.

To advance the public policy debate of our time, the Munk Debates will move the motion: Be it resolved, tax the rich (more)…

The Results

Pre-Debate

58%

Pro

28%

Con

14%

Undecided

Post-Debate

70%

Pro

30%

Con

PRO gains 12%. PRO wins

The Debaters

George Papandreou

George Papandreou

Pro

"We have created an uber-class, a super-class, that is beyond democratic control of our nations."

George Papandreou

George Papandreou

Pro

"We have created an uber-class, a super-class, that is beyond democratic control of our nations."

As Prime Minister of Greece from October 2009 to November 2011, George Papandreou has been at the forefront of the recent global financial crisis. He was named one of Foreign Policy magazine’s ‘‘Top 100 Global Thinkers’’ in 2010 for ‘‘making the best of Greece’s worst year.”

Papandreou also held the portfolio of foreign minister from 1999 to 2004. His administration spearheaded “Agenda 2014,” an initiative that seeks to integrate the Western Balkan states into Europe by 2014. As foreign minister, he was instrumental in the successful negotiation of rapprochement with Turkey, which had been an old rival of Greece. Papandreou was also a key player in the negotiations that led to Turkey’s candidacy for membership in the European Union in 1999 and Cyprus’s entry into the EU in 2004. He has also held other government posts, including under-secretary for cultural affairs and minister for education. Following his grandfather Georgios Papandreou and his father Andreas Papandreou, he was the third member of the Papandreou family to serve as the country's prime minister.

Born on June 26, 1952 in Minnesota, Papandreou spent his childhood in the United States and Canada, until his family returned to Greece in 1961. After completing his university studies at Amherst College in Massachusetts and graduate studies at the London School of Economics, Papandreou won a parliamentary seat for the Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) in 1981. He was elected leader of the party in 2004, a position he kept until March 2012. Papandreou is also president of the Socialist International, an international association of political parties, of which PASOK is a member.

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Paul Krugman

Paul Krugman

Pro

"The simple analytics say that we should soak the rich, hard."

Paul Krugman

Paul Krugman

Pro

The simple analytics say that we should soak the rich, hard.

Paul Krugman is one of the preeminent economists of our time. A renowned columnist for The New York Times, Krugman won the 2008 Nobel Prize in Economics for his groundbreaking work on international trade and economic geography. In addition to the Nobel Prize, Krugman’s work in economics has earned him broad acclaim from the economic press and several prestigious awards, including the John Bates Clark medal for his work on international trade and the 2011 Gerald Loeb Award for commentary. Foreign Policymagazine named Krugman one of its 2012 Foreign Policy Top 100 Global Thinkers "for wielding his acid pen against austerity."

A gifted observer and contributor on policy and economics, he has published over 200 scholarly articles and 20 books including the most recent call to action End This Depression Now! He is also the author of the bestsellers, The Return of Depression Economics and the Crisis of 2008 and The Great Unraveling. Professor Krugman teaches economics and international affairs at Princeton University.

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Newt Gingrich

Newt Gingrich

Con

"The effort to finance Big Government through higher taxes is a direct assault on civil society. "

Newt Gingrich

Newt Gingrich

Con

The effort to finance Big Government through higher taxes is a direct assault on civil society.

Newt Gingrich is a former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, New York Times bestselling author, and Time magazine’s 1995 Man of the Year. Called “the indispensable leader” by The Washington Times, he is the architect of the Contract with America, which led the Republican Party to victory in 1994 by capturing the majority in the U.S. House for the first time in 40 years. Under his leadership, Congress passed welfare reform, the first balanced budget in a generation and the first tax cut in 16 years.

As an author, Gingrich has published 27 books, including 14 fiction and non-fiction New York Times bestsellers. Non-fiction books include his latest, Breakout, in addition to A Nation Like No Other and To Save America: Stopping Obama's Secular-Socialist Machine. He is also the author of a series of historical fiction books, including Gettysburg, 1945, Pearl Harbor and Valley Forge. His latest novel, Duplicity, is a thriller about Washington intrigue and international terrorism.

Gingrich received his bachelor of arts from Georgia’s Emory University and a master’s and doctorate in modern European history from Tulane University in New Orleans. Before his election to Congress in 1978, he taught history and environmental studies at West Georgia College for eight years.

Gingrich served as a member of the Defense Policy Board and was on the Terrorism Task Force for the Council on Foreign Relations. He founded and chaired several policy think tanks, including American Solutions for Winning the Future and the Center for Health Transformation. In 2005, he co-chaired the Task Force on the United Nations, a bi-partisan Congressional effort to reform the U.N.

Gingrich is a former Fox News contributor, a senior advisor at global law firm Dentons and a senior scientist at the U.S. research firm Gallup Inc.

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Arthur B. Laffer

Arthur B. Laffer

Con

"If I could figure a way to stop future Congresses from ever raising taxes I'd do it every day of the week and twice on Sunday."

Arthur B. Laffer

Arthur B. Laffer

Con

If I could figure a way to stop future Congresses from ever raising taxes I'd do it every day of the week and twice on Sunday.

The “Father” of supply-side economics, Arthur B. Laffer was an economic adviser to Ronald Reagan for both of his terms (1981–89) and a member of the Reagan-Bush Finance Committee; he also advised Margaret Thatcher on fiscal policy. One of his earliest successes in shaping public policy was his involvement in Proposition 13, the groundbreaking California initiative that drastically cut property taxes in the state in 1978.

A co-author of The End of Prosperity: How Higher Taxes Will Doom the Economy — If We Let It Happen, Dr. Laffer was listed by TIME magazine as one of “The Century’s Greatest Minds” for inventing the Laffer Curve, a representation of the relationship between possible rates of taxation and the resulting levels of government revenue. The Los Angeles Times named him among “A Dozen Who Shaped the ’80s,” and he was featured in “A Gallery of the Greatest People Who Influenced Our Daily Business,” in the Wall Street Journal.

Dr. Laffer received a B.A. in economics from Yale University in 1963. He received an M.B.A. and a Ph.D. in economics from Stanford University in 1965 and 1972 respectively. From 1972 to 1977, Dr. Laffer was a consultant to Secretary of the Treasury William Simon, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of the Treasury George Shultz.

He was a professor at Pepperdine University, the University of Southern California, and the University of Chicago. He is the founder and chairman of Laffer Associates, an institutional economic research and consulting firm that focuses on the interconnecting macroeconomic, political, and demographic changes affecting global financial markets.

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