Topics – PF Apr ’16 – Income inequality

First of the month, so next month’s PF topic is out. In my area this will apply only to those NFL/NSDA districts who have NatQuals in April (two, I think). The rest of us will be done by then.

2016 April PF Topic Area: Income Inequality
Resolved: To alleviate income inequality in the United States, increased spending on public infrastructure should be prioritized over increased spending on means-tested welfare programs.

Hit the Extemp Files, and look for the Economic Crisis – US and the Poverty folders. Infrastructure info will be in the first one, means-tested welfare should be in the second one (and some relevant articles might be in both).

The topic wording is a bit odd. Income inequality usually has to do with how much the top 10%/1%/0.1% earn (income, not wealth, and definitely not me) compared to the rest of us. Either option in the resolution seems to assume that the power of the government will be used to redistribute income; the choice seems to be one of work vs. direct grants (so to speak). But welfare usually targets poverty and not the structural reasons for income inequality, and infrastructure needs, while supposedly ‘shovel-ready’ (short implementation times) seems to be an odd, or oddly specific, choice for workfare. Both seem to dodge the role of people already working but who have stagnant wages (productivity gains for something like 20+ years haven’t been passed along), or who are underemployed. (Economics is rarely/never simple.)

Current topic recap:

2016 March PF Topic Area: East Asia
Resolved: The United States should withdraw its military presence from Okinawa.

2016 March/April LD Topic
Resolved: The United States ought to promote democracy in the Middle East.

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

Cross-Examination Policy Debate 2016-2017 topic
Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its economic and/or diplomatic engagement with the People’s Republic of China.

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