UPDATE: This Next Level Debate is now live, and can be found HERE.
Welcome to the second installment of Newsvine Next Level.
As we approach the April 15th deadline to file federal tax returns, tensions are running hotter than ever as a recent article from the Associated Press indicates that nearly half of U.S. households escape federal income tax.
Heated debates have ensued about what the most equitable and sensible way is for the federal government to tax its citizens. Emotions run extremely high on this topic, as all Americans are impacted by the way that the system works (or doesn't work). Elected officials can't come to a consensus, and over time seesawing legislation efforts make the IRS tax code increasingly complex and cryptic, while millions of American citizens are caught in the crossfire.
We at Newsvine and msnbc.com hereby challenge all of you to tackle one of the most controversial veins of this topic with reason rather than rhetoric - by taking this debate to the Next Level.
What is Newsvine Next Level? It's a venue where msnbc.com and Newsvine users are encouraged to deliver their arguments on contentious topics with civility and logic. Ultimately, two individuals are selected, one on either side of a polarizing issue, to engage one another in a substantive, structured debate- where rationality rules the day and bad manners are not allowed. Instead of adding heat to the issue, let's collectively shed some light on it.
Interested? Great, we thought you'd be.
This week's topic is: Should the federal government do away with the current progressive tax system in favor of a flat tax (income and/or sales tax based)?
Participants will be determined today, and the debate will begin tomorrow (Tuesday). This debate will follow the same rule format as did the previous Next Level debate.
If you are interested in taking up one position or the other in this debate, please post a cogent statement summarizing your position in 200 words or less as a reply to my first comment below. Submissions must be entered by 11:59PM PT to be considered as entries for participation in the debate.
Also, we will be accepting nominations of Newsvine members who can carry out the role of a mediator during this debate, ensuring that both parties play by the rules. Such a person should have a history of being level-headed, fair and should not express support for one view or the other on the issue at hand. Please post your nomination as a reply to my second comment below.
All comments inappropriately posted as a reply to either my first or second comment will be removed (i.e., those that aren't position statements or nominations). Please feel free to post questions or comments about general and other topics relating to this debate in the area provided below.