8 Argument Starters: Great Topics to Debate


Having a husband creates an extra seven hours a week of housework for women … A wife saves men from about an hour of housework a week.

Source: University of Michigan

Online Dating

In the world of online dating, a five-foot-eight-inch man has to make $146,000 more a year than a six-foot-tall man to get the same number of dates.

Source: Wired


"This country -- including you and most of the people related to you by birth or marriage or both -- is populated by beings who have been so blessed for so long that they have become almost completely immune to any interests other than their own."

-- Denis Leary, Why We Suck: A Feel Good Guide to Staying Fat, Loud, Lazy and Stupid (Viking, $25.95)

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Free Education

Drug use and sexually transmitted diseases among American teenagers persist at alarming rates. And U.S. teens aren't the scholars some of their international peers are.

"We have to end adolescence as a social experiment," Newt Gingrich writes in BusinessWeek. "We tried it. It failed. It's time to move on ... Children rapidly assuming the roles and responsibilities of adults would yield enormous benefit to society."

Students who finish high school a year or two early, the former House Speaker says, should qualify for a year or two of free college tuition.

Birthday Dinners

"People started celebrating their birthdays by inviting friends out to dinner, typically at a moderately fancy restaurant (then splitting the tab and paying for the guest of honor). Seems like a nice idea, the birthday dinner. It is not. It is a tedious, wretched affair. It is also an extravagantly expensive one. In these wintry economic times, we need to scale back. I hereby propose that the birthday dinner go the way of the $4 cup of coffee, the liar's mortgage, and the midsize banking institution."

-- John Swansburg, Slate


The Internal Revenue Service audited 36 percent fewer millionaires in 2008 than it did in 2007, according to a Syracuse University study. The IRS disagrees, saying the decrease was "only 19 percent."

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"Economists mostly failed to predict the worst economic crisis since the 1930s. Now they can't agree how to solve it. People are starting to wonder: What good are economists, anyway?"

-- Peter Coy in BusinessWeek

New Jersey

“Whenever I stumble over my own feet, or blurt out a thought that makes no sense at all, or leave the house wearing one pattern too many, I always think, It’s okay, I’m from New Jersey. I love New Jersey, because it’s not just an all-purpose punch line, but probably a handy legal defense, as in, ‘Yes, I shot my wife because I thought she was Bigfoot, but I’m from New Jersey.’”

-- Paul Rudnick, I Shudder (HarperCollins, $23.99)

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