Topics – PF Feb. ’16

First of the month, so next month’s PF topic is out:

2016 February PF Topic Area: Energy Security
Resolved: The United States federal government should adopt a carbon tax.

In the Extemp Files (see the previous post for a link), look for the Global Warming folder. I’ll see if I have anything additional elsewhere, and post it if I do. The basic idea is that capitalism responds better when financial incentives are involved, and pollution normally doesn’t have a cost unless one is added externally. My professor for Environmental Economics stated bluntly that the course involved applied market failure – capitalism encourages the externalizing of certain costs to be economically more competitive (with waste streams being an example), and air and water allow for dispersal that makes normal market cost assignment essentially impossible. (Pollution is one of the best examples of the failure of pure free market systems.) He very carefully walked us through cap-and-trade economics (the system really does work if there are allowable levels of pollutants); a straight tax on a pollutant may be more direct but not as market-efficient.

Current topic recap:

2016 January PF Topic Area: Russia
Resolved: On balance, economic sanctions are reducing the threat Russia poses to Western interests.

2016 January/February LD Topic:
Resolved: In the United States, private ownership of handguns ought to be banned.

Cross-Examination Policy Debate  2015-2016 Topic
Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially curtail its domestic surveillance.

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