Sept/Oct Topic 2014: Questions behind the resolution

September/October topic is Resolved: On balance, public subsidies for professional athletic organizations in the United States benefit their local communities.

Any time that you brainstorm arguments for a topic, you also want to take time to consider the questions behind the resolution. These questions are what is implicitly being asked behind the seemingly simple words lined up as a resolution.

With this topic, here are a few questions I think you should consider and be able to answer on both sides of the debate.

Whose interests are being weighed – professional athletic orgs? teams? community? city? minority groups?

Should long term or short term benefits and costs be prioritized?

Why do governments provide public subsidies to private companies?

For what purposes are taxes collected and used?

If the benefit or cost is location dependent, how do we draw broad conclusions about public subsidies in this area?

What are the current trends in public subsidy use? Have there been important shifts that make more recent evidence better than past examples?

Do we care about the policy implications of affirming or negating, or should the resolution be taken as a question of fact?

What values are at stake – quality of life? public good? government obligation? economic prosperity? inequality? minority rights?

What are public subsidies? (though obvious, you will be surprised to find how many types of subsidies exist under the umbrella of this topic).

Remember, analyzing a resolution is not simply about figuring out arguments. Figure out what’s at the core of the debate to craft better arguments and ultimately build an effective framework for both sides of the round.




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