Utanian Presidential Debate 303

TOPIC: Economic wealth redistribution
SUBTOPIC: Broad approach
Utania's top 20% of households earn more than 60% of all income. After years of Guwimithian oppression of the Utani, they own less land, less material assets as 75% of the country's population than the 25% of non-Utani. Utani nationalists are calling on the President to take "active steps" to redress the imbalance. Should this country redistribute wealth, and if so, how?

Candidate
Name
Pres. George OKARVITS
Gov'r Edward R. HOPE
Kyle LANGLEY MP
Max BOORNAL MP
Cameron OLDS MP
Robert TALIN MP
.
President Okarvits
Gov. Edward Hope
Kyle Langley, MP
Max Boornal, MP
Cameron Olds, MP
Robert Talin, MP
Party's
policy
Land reform
Active redistribution of wealth
Opposed to land reform
Believes in "trickle-down" economics
Strongly opposed to land reform
Believes the state must play role in wealth redistribution; Supports progressive taxes
Believes jobs are the key to wealth
Opposed to land reform
Believes in "trickle-down" economics
Would capitalise on Burovian realm investment
Progressive taxes good if moderate
Believes "trickle-down" needs government help
Supports handing state land to Utani; not so sure about farmers' lands
Firmly supports progressive taxes
State must play very active role in wealth redistribution
Debate
points
Land reform = returning that which was stolen, and foundation for economic independence
Progressive taxation
Education for Utani to bring them "up to speed"
Land reform will bankrupt the economy
Jobs are the key to a prosperous future
Promises to create millions of new jobs through privatisation and foreign investment
Land reform an "intolerable" injustice
Companies are losing touch with their social responsibilities
Government will force companies to provide more jobs
Government will part-fund new jobs
Forcing companies to create jobs is "welfare"
Jobs the future; capitalise on low wages and foreign investment in industrial sector
Lower taxes to promote investment
"Give capitalism a chance"; moderate capitalism
Criticises Belson's wealth and size
Jobs require education and investment
Savings must be used for investment not expensive consumer items
16 million people living on less than C2 a day
Supports state land to Utani, and purchased land to Utani
"Trickle-down" economics will never work; Wealth distribution must be an active task
Progressive taxes; wealth and inheritence taxes
Best
Quote(s)
"Land reform is the key.. that will provide the sound basis for long term economic independence and wealth of Utania's millions of Utani." "Jobs mean a fixed income, jobs mean certainty, jobs will provide the foundation for elimination of the horrible poverty this nation is inflicted with through two hundred years of exploitation by the Guwimithian regime." "[Land Reform] is an intolerable injustice inflicted upon a people in order to correct an injustice perpetrated by a completely different set of people."
"These greedy fat cats have forgotten what their responsibilities are to the society they belong to."
"Creating jobs cannot be done by mandate... Companies must have a need for the people they're employing, otherwise we're going to end up with millions of company-profit funded jobs where people are doing nothing. I call that welfare." "[Capitalism] produces wealth. It has promoted poor immigrants from Christiana and Lendosa into wealthy individuals, and promoted millions of Utani from illiterate, subsistance farmers into doctors, lawyers and very successful and wealthy golfers." "Even if my wages rise to twenty thousand, that is insignificant compared to the tens of million earned in dividends by Belson's grandchildren."
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Edited extract:

OKARVITS: "This is a country in desperate need of change, of reforms that will reverse the past two hundred years of racially-based exploitation and bias. We need to resolve these issues quickly in order to minimise the pain involved, and to establish a framework for working toward our collective future. Though I do accept that these reforms may take a decade to finally bed-down, I believe the bulk of the truly hard work can be completed within the next four years, which is what makes this Presidential election the most important in our history.

The reforms I am proposing are founded on five key actions: land reform, progressive taxation, significant educational reform, a system of loans and aid to the poorest of our poor, and setting government on a course to provide reform in its own institutions and in the infrastructure of the nation to better serve ALL Utanians.

Very briefly, Land reform is the key action that will provide the sound basis for long term economic independence and wealth of Utania's millions of Utani. But, this is also an action founded in the idea that Utani have been deprived their traditional lands, and that they should be returned. My policies provide for generous compensation for Uta-Decashi farmers who are deprived continued ownership through a system of hundred-year leases, and loan guarantees with Utani land owners.

In order for Utani to be able to take advantage of land reform, to provide this firm basis of economic independence, the Utani people will require significant educational resources to be provided. My government will provide.

I believe that these and other reforms will provide a sound basis for the future of this country, by reversing the injustices of the past, and by establishing a framework for future economic independence of the poorest of our citizens.

MODERATOR: Governor?

HOPE: I would like to thank the President, first of all, for being a man of such vision and compassion. He is clearly committed to combatting the poverty we are surrounded by, a poverty I also absolutely believe must be fought for the sake of this nation. However, what the President and I are going to disagree on is implementation. Simply, I do not believe the country can afford the sort of reform that he is proposing.

In short, such reforms will bankrupt the country... Compensation for Uta-Decashi former-owners through leases will not succeed in preventing numerous farmers from going bankrupt under the weight of debts, and this will become a draw on the economy, regardless whether the government moves to prevent them...

The key to economic independence for the poorest of our people is not in land but in jobs. It takes only one family to farm ten hectares, Mister President, so what will the thousands of other Utani be doing? They need jobs, because jobs mean a fixed income, jobs mean certainty, jobs will provide the foundation for elimination of the horrible poverty this nation is inflicted with through two hundred years of exploitation by the Guwimithian regime.

It is my firm policy commitment to provide millions of new jobs through the reforms I will implement on the Utanian industrial economy. A government-owned company has no incentive to expand as a privately-owned company does. So, we must capitalise on the companies we have, the entrepreneurs that this country has bred, and the foreign capital waiting to invest in this country.

And only I have the experience in making the changes to bring about jobs, as I created thousands upon thousands of new jobs in Lasanne state over the past four years.

Only jobs will provide the poorest of our poor with any future, and boost our economy into providing more income, and even more jobs. Jobs will be the foundational policy of any Hope administration.

MODERATOR: Mr Langley, two minutes.

LANGLEY: Governor Hope is right about two things he said. Firstly, the President's plan for land reform WILL be very expensive, and very unfair on farmers who have worked their whole lives to build up these farms. It is an intolerable injustice inflicted upon a people in order to correct an injustice perpetrated by a completely different set of people.

The Guwimithians stole land from the Utani, then sold it to the ancestors of our farmers. To go ahead and steal that land back in the name of justice would be the highest form of criminal activity perpetrated by any government on this planet.

That said, there is clearly need to address the question of intolerable poverty amongst our poorest. This is where Governor Hope and I agree a second time. [Hope makes a face] Yes, incredible as that may seem, Governor. [Audience chuckles] Jobs are the key to the future, but the Governor's reliance on a free-market to create those jobs is a futile gesture.

Government must be active in pushing companies to provide jobs, and, if necessary co-fund the new positions through tax breaks paid for by the taxes paid by these new workers. It is simple enough for even the Governor to understand, that foreign investors want money, profits, and have no interest in creating Utanian jobs.

In fact, allow me to just say this: These greedy fat cats at the top of the corporate food chains have forgotten what their responsibilities are to the society they belong to. We are a society, and their corporations profit because we feel it is fair return to investors. Growing profits and dividends are a sure sign that greed is ruling the minds of managers and investors, and they need a President who will remind them of their obligations to the community they belong to.

And only a Langley administration is prepared to focus on creating jobs as the path forward, and to ensure that government plays a significant part in making sure those jobs are created.

MODERATOR: Mr Boornal?

BOORNAL: Mr Langley, with all due respect, you have no idea what you are talking about. [Audience chuckles] Creating jobs cannot be done by mandate. That is the way to bankrupt companies. Companies must have a need for the people they're employing, otherwise we're going to end up with millions of company-profit funded jobs where people are doing nothing.

I call that welfare.

The path forward lies in jobs, to be sure, but in providing an economy that can sustain them, that needs them, and that means bringing foreign corporations to Utania not shunning them with high taxes and enforced job quotas.

It is my policy to attract as much as is possible foreign investment to Utania, and as I believe this is under-exploited at the moment, I believe this will yield the same dividends as we felt when the President negotiated the trade deals with Bowdani, Lendosa, Feniz and elsewhere. These deals brought millions upon billions of punds into the Utanian economy, and that started a massive investment boom, which then created jobs.

Now at the moment we are experiencing a significant downturn in exports due to climatic effects, which is why I believe the future lies in industrial products. If we emphasise our manufacturing and industrial capabilities, while these are not dependent on our already overburdened land, we will have a path forward for weather-independent exports.

It is my policy to promote Utania overseas, to promote the fact that we have comparatively low wages that we are under-developed, that we have a second-to-few infrastructure, and I will build on these assets.

This is the real path forward.

TALIN: One full third of the Utanian population is living below the UNV definition of poverty. That is sixteen million people living on less than two Crowns a day, and that is truly appalling.

I support the President's drive to reform Utanian wealth inequalities, and I agree that land reform must play a part in this. I fully support the President's stand to restore to Utani tribes and communities lands owned by the state, and support moves to purchase lands from Uta-Decashi to be returned to Utani.

I believe the way forward also lies in jobs, in developing the industrial and manufacturing capacity of the country, but I do not believe that this will come from simply because we invite foreign investment, nor do I believe this will fully solve the problem of income inequalities, let alone wealth inequalities.

Simple arithmatic can show this "trickle-down" policy supported by the all the parties of the right is complete rubbish.

If I am an Utanian earning fifteen thousand pund, I am never going to get the million-pund house, I am never going to own a foreign-made car, or be able to afford the trips overseas as the wealthy Lukans do. And even if my wages rise to twenty thousand, that is insignificant compared to the tens of million earned in dividends -- they do not even have to turn up to a job -- by Belson's grandchildren.

Wealth redistribution must be an active task, and activity performed by the state, or it is nothing at all. It must be facilitated by highly progressive taxes, by wealth taxes, by

MODERATOR: Mr Talin? Two minutes...

TALIN: inheritance taxes. Either we are serious about this problem or we are dancing about it. Sorry.

MODERATOR: Quite alright. Mr Olds, your two minutes.

Thank you. I would like to start by encouraging the people of this country to have faith in the economic system that has created the majority of the wealth in Utani today. Capitalism may be many things, but it is not entirely unsuccessful. It produces wealth. It has promoted poor immigrants from Christiana and Lendosa into wealthy individuals, and promoted millions of Utani from illiterate, subsistance farmers into doctors, lawyers and very successful and wealthy golfers.

What is needed is moderation. Capitalism is about promoting the most successful to the top of the pile by a very wide margin. Responsible governance is to ensure that the disparity is not too great. The trick for a good President is to provide balance, and that, I believe, is what you, the voter, should be looking for in a President: someone who will provide that balance.

It is the Democratic Party's platform to provide that balance, to ensure that capitalism is allowed to work, but that it does not create the sort of monopolistic monsters and disproportionate wealth that Belson Corporation has become.

I believe that jobs are the secret to success, but so is education and investment. We must save for our futures, and those funds must be used to expand our industrial capacity, to create more jobs, not buy the latest jewellery.

I believe the future can be bright, but we must have faith in it.

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Cameron OLDS MP
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