I’m essentially the mad scientist of the Ethos group. I keep trying to re-invent the wheel, and more often than not, it blows up in my face. So, with that in mind, some of my favorite cases should probably be approached with caution, but I think they’re pretty solid.
- End ethanol subsidies and tariffs– This is frankly my most favoritest at the moment, because it combines my favorite impact (food prices) with something our judging pool loves (the free market) without sacrificing the environment. But the key point of this case is the strategic appeal- it shuts down the two most obvious routes of attack. Essentially, the point of the case is to kill corn ethanol and replace it with Brazilian sugarcane ethanol. Now, when teams hear “kill corn ethanol” they’ll start talking about how great ethanol is, right? You can just say “okay, and we solve for all the reasons ethanol rules with Brazilian ethanol, which is even better.” A smarter team will start talking about how horrible ethanol in general is, but you can solve back for all of that with crazy warrants for why sugarcane > corn. Plus, you can leverage all kinds of crazy impacts about Brazil and food prices in the developing world, and you’ve got a case with some serious impacts. You’ll need to have a lot of A2 to beat some of the advs on this case. The problem, of course, is topicality, which is really debatable. This case gets a bad rap because the teams that run it make arguments about oil, which is the wrong way to go. You can get those impacts anywhere, and you’re just becoming dependent on Brazil instead of Saudi Arabia. Make arguments where you can actually solve for the big impacts that are unique to your case.
- Superfund Tax- This one is really based on my deep-seated distaste for the NCFCA trend of abolishing absolutely everything. I think the idea of abolishing every single flawed program and assuming someone else will take it over is completely silly, which explains how this case sprang from a counterplan against the abolish superfund case- fund the Superfund appropriately, don’t abolish it. There are some cards out there that can completely make the case if you put an emphasis on pre-emption of superfund sites, which lets you turn almost every disadvantage the negative team reads. If you do it right in the 1AR, it leaves the 2N scrambling with a turn he probably didn’t anticipate, which means the 2AR can just pull it through and coast on the overview.
- Coal Pollution- I think there’s a great harms-solvency plan here. Coal pollution from old plants kills a whole bunch of people, and it honestly should not be that tough to argue that’s a bad thing. Also, you could probably throw in a good econ advantage from the reduction in all kinds of health problems. There’s a big strategic advantage to running straight harms-solvency, because everybody gets it. “Coal pollution is bad. The plan solves coal pollution” intuitively makes sense.
- RPS- Personally, I feel like alternative energy is something that doesn’t get argued enough, except people wanting to cut everything, which, again, annoys me. RPS strikes me as a good, real-world way to increase the use of renewables, which lets you leverage all kinds of neat advantages. A smart team might not even go for climate- things like tech leadership can be great advantages for our judging pool.
- Bottle bill- I might be biased, but personally, I think increasing recycling is one of those things that intuitively makes sense, and the bottle bill gives you an empirical way to get it done. You’ve got to go pretty deep into the research to find exploitable flaws (though they do exist), and even when you find them, it can be tough to get them into a coherent neg strat.