Monday, October 20, 2008

Mock Election: Savings Debate

The candidates had their first debate of sorts this evening. You can see how it went below. The debate topic was drawn out of a hat containing all the debate topics. No one, including the moderator, knew ahead of time which one would be chosen, so both questions and answers were extemporaneous. The plan was for each candidate to receive two minutes to answer the question, followed by five minutes of open discussion. The candidates only conversed with the moderator, who granted turns to the candidates based on her judgment. Here is the debate transcript:

Debate Topic: Incentives for Short-Term Savings

Moderator: Miss Fleming, in your position statement on this issue, you stated that "when we are saving for things we want, the item itself is the reward." Would you elaborate on that?

Miss Fleming: I think that the item itself is the reward because the citizen has had the long and hard time saving up the money, penny by penny, dollar by dollar, to get the item. If it is an item like a doll that is ten bucks, the government should not lend it money and the person say that they will lend it later. And the person should not seek help from the other citizens. One citizen went to another citizen and asked for $4 to complete the saving of the money for a doll. She consented and she thought that the $4 was never paid back, but she found out in the last several weeks that it was, and her head is greatly relieved from that. If you borrow money, you have to pay it back, and the government has gotten into a big mess concerning that, and it's awful. As Dave Ramsey says, we'll be eating beans and rice, rice and beans, though occasionally there is a steak dinner. So that is why I believe that we should not borrow money, but if we do borrow money-- if it's offered to us and we accept, as soon as we buy the object of our desire, we must work to pay it back. If we cannot pay it back, we must tell the citizen that lent us money that we cannot pay it back and they may have something that belongs to you that is worth the amount of money."

Mod: Miss Green, you expressed a similar viewpoint when you said, "Saving for an item provides a sense of accomplishment in itself." Will you please elaborate on your statement?

Miss Green: Well, as Miss Fleming has said, saving for an item is a reward in itself, and the value of the reward depends on the value of the item. For example, saving up for a doll that costs ten dollars is not at all like saving for a package of gum that costs a dollar. The reward is perhaps ten times larger, and probably, the item is worth at least ten times as much. Of course, this doesn't excuse us from making sure we get the best deals possible. Another reason I said that is because I think that when a person has a reward for something good they've done, they think, Wow, that kind of works! I think I'll try that again." This is a good way for them to realize that immediate gratification is not such a good thing, because, after all, if they spend their money on the aforementioned pack of gum. they are that much farther away from getting their real goal. I don't believe I disagree with Miss Fleming.

Mod: Mr. Kermit, you have heard your two opponents' views concerning citizens saving for things they want. What do you think about it?

Mr. Kermit: I agree with everything.

Mod: Since everybody seems to agree, I'll go to the next question without having any discussion.

Miss Green, in your position statement, you mentioned a campaign to encourage saving. Will you tell us about your plan for that?

Miss Green: Every citizen likes to spend time with the leaders of our government, and so not only would this be a good citizen/government relationship time, it would also encourage short-term savings. I suggest that the government should sit down with each citizen and discuss why it is good to save for something. They might go online together to find good things to save for. Then, whenever temptation comes in view, the government can quietly remind the person, "Remember, you're saving for this!" Although this may not be enough to deter the citizen, it will serve as a warning so they will stop and think before continuing their actions.

Mod: Miss Fleming, what do you think of Miss Green's plan? Do you have your own plan? If so, what is it?

Miss Fleming: I approve of Miss Green's plan because it is a perfect idea. A good example is a citzen had enough money for something and they are going to the store, but then they see something else they would like to buy before they go to the store where their desired object is. They would like to buy the other item, but the government should say, "I thought you were going to get this instead of that," and if the citizen does not pay attention to the government, the citizen will have to suffer by having to save up again.

Mod: Mr. Kermit, same questions.

Mr. Kermit: Yes, I approve it. No, I don't have a plan.

Mod: It sounds to me like you all would like the moral support of the government, without actually having laws and consequences in place. Is this right?

All: Yes.

Miss Fleming: It's their own fault if they don't get their desired object, and the government should not inflict other consequences. We're overloading Mommy. Poor government.

Miss Green: And after all, it is the citizen's own money. They are the ones who saved up and they shouldn't be dictated to about it.

Mod: Miss Green, that brings up another question-- a bit off-topic, but I'm going to ask it anyway since all of you seem to agree on the other issue. What do you think about the government prohibiting the purchase of certain items?

Miss Green: I'd like the moderator to define 'certain items'.

Mod: Okay. Items the government deems not in the best interest of the citizen.

Miss Green: I think that this really would not be an issue, since the government has pretty much instilled some common sense into the citizens' heads. The citizens already know enough not to purchase items detrimental to their health, mental or physical.

Mod: Miss Fleming, what is your position on that question?

Miss Fleming: Same as Miss Green. You know, if we keep going on like this, we will end up not having any debates!

Mod: Mr. Kermit, what do you think about the government prohibiting the purchase of certain items?

Mr. Kermit: We all agree.

Mod: Okay. Well, I think we can pretty much put this one to bed. Everyone already agrees. No need to vote on this issue. That makes it a non-issue.

Miss Fleming: Let's vote on Triss' cell phone!

Mod: We'll leave that for another day.

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