Resolved: The United States should promote the development of market rate housing in urban neighborhoods.

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Resolved: The United States should promote the development of market rate housing in urban neighborhoods.

Oof, what is it with these terrible topics? I don’t understand what people are thinking anymore. What is there even to debate here? So little research has been done, and available data is so limited, that the debates on this are going to devolve into emotion battles about which side the judge feels is right. On the bright side, you’ll probably learn things you didn’t know before, but the resolution is worded so poorly that all of that will probably be lost. But alas, it is what we are given, so let’s do the best we can.

Definitions

Market rate housing – This is housing that is build without rent restrictions. Often, in urban neighborhoods, rent restrictions will be put on housing construction. The owner can only rent it for so much. This has historically been one solution to creating affordable housing.

Urban Neighborhoods – The word “urban” here doesn’t necessarily mean within a big city. Rather, it refers to poor, often minority, neighborhoods within any greater metropolitan area. It will be important to define this properly to prevent bad debate.

The most important part of your definitions is going to be determining how we determine what the U.S. should do. The trouble here is that there isn’t a clear agent of action. The government can enact policies, sure, but the U.S. contains many more actors like housing developers and citizens. They are also relevant. Your framework will need to clearly define an agent of action and then explain how we determine what that agent of action should do. The easiest agent of action to talk about is the government, so that’s what we’ll focus on here.

Pro

1. Societal Welfare – The government’s entire purpose is to promote societal welfare. If it fails to do that, then what’s the point of having one? Market rate housing promotes welfare. Areas where there are market rate developments fare better economically than areas with rent controls. Additionally, market rate housing attracts developers to build more because they can more easily sent rents. Urban neighborhoods have severe housing shortages, and this will promote new construction to end those shortages.

2. Progress – How do we make things better than they are now? Market rate housing will help urban neighborhoods accelerate their development. A society is marked by how well it provides for the least advantaged members of its society, so the U.S. should promote market rate housing in the least advantaged neighborhoods.

Con

1. Market rate housing promotes poverty – Rent controls don’t just appear out of thin air. They appear because landlords charge exorbitant rents to exploit the citizens in an area, particularly in areas with housing shortages. Remarkably, there is no shortage of housing for people who have money. The shortage exists for those people who don’t. Instead, the government should invest in affordable housing initiatives. Developers aren’t attracted to urban neighborhoods anyway, and market rate housing won’t solve that. After all, not every urban neighborhood has rent controls, but new construction is still sparse.

2. Market Freedom – The U.S. government should not interrupt the free market. Let the market decide what rent should be and where development should occur. That will result in the best situation for everyone.

3. U.S. Constitution – This type of economic regulation is beyond the constitutionally permitted powers of the U.S. government. It is not an exercise necessary to regulate interstate commerce, and therefore, should not be permitted. It is a violation of property rights and economic freedom.

There you go. That’s a start at least. Good luck!
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Resolved: The illegal use of drugs ought to be treated as a matter of public health, not of criminal justice.

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Resolved: The illegal use of drugs ought to be treated as a matter of public health, not of criminal justice.

This topic is a load of hot garbage, legitimately one of the worst I’ve ever seen. I get where it was trying to go, but the wording is so poor, that debate on the actual topic will effectively be non-existent. It also does not belong in LD, at all. Nevertheless, we have to do what we have to do, so let’s get to it.

Definitions – You fortunately don’t really need to define terms per se. However, you will need to utilize the entirety of your case to define what it means to treat something as a matter of public health vs. a matter of criminal justice. Ostensibly, the resolution wants you to debate things like punishment vs. rehabilitation. The problem, however, is that’s a false dichotomy. There’s no reason there can’t be both. And some public health/mental health issues are actually addressed through imprisonment. It will be a challenge to navigate these things, and you’ll need to make sure your framework is tight.

Affirmative

1. Utilitarianism – This is a pretty basic position you can run on this topic. Basically, when we treat illegal drug use as a matter of criminal justice, everyone suffers. Drug users stay addicted, taxpayers pay for them to be in jail, and drugs keep being bought/sold on the illegal market. When we look at the cost/benefit of it all, it clearly harms way more people. Treating it as a public health issues allows for the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people.

2. False Dichotomy Kritik – I almost never advocate for Ks, but in this case, I actually think it’s really powerful, even on the Affirmative. You can argue that the resolution poses a false dichotomy between punishment and rehabilitation that doesn’t exist. No substantive debate can actually occur when the world created by the resolution is one of fantasy. Therefore, you pose an alternative resolution which says that drug addiction is effectively treated when approached from a perspective of public health. That affirmative is really easy to prove. And importantly, it also has impacts to the actual resolution if your judge is a toolbox and doesn’t buy the K.

3. Veil of Ignorance – This is also a very powerful position for this case. Imagine if you woke up the next day and were a drug addict. You wouldn’t want to just be locked up without any treatment or consideration. Similarly, you wouldn’t want to pay taxes for someone to be imprisoned in a similar fashion. It’s clear that from behind the veil, we would want to treat drug use as a public health issue rather than a criminal justice issue.

Negative

1. False Dichotomy K – I actually think this is the most powerful position on this resolution. The resolution should be negated not because drug use shouldn’t be a public health issue, but because that doesn’t mean it isn’t also treated as an issue of criminal justice. The two are not mutually exclusive. People can be treated while also paying penance for the crimes they’ve committed.

2. Fear – There are many philosophers who argue that fear is the most effective/only deterrent against crime. If we begin treating drug use as a public health issue, then that deterrent is eliminated. People will more readily try drugs and become addicted because they know that it isn’t so bad on the other end. Fear maintains law and order, and the government should prioritize that.

3. Doctrine of the Mean – Similar to the K, but not structured as such, the virtue position argues that we don’t need to fall on one extreme. We need the help of the law to deal with drug lords and cartels, but we can also provide better for the public health by helping addicts get the treatment they need. Aristotle’s Doctrine of the Mean would espouse taking such a middle ground.

Well, there you go. Hopefully this helps you navigate this garbage topic. And don’t forget to visit the Academy if you want private coaching or to purchase briefs.