GRE Argument Essay 97

The following appeared in a letter to the editor of a local newspaper from a citizen of the state of Impecunia.

“Two years ago our neighboring state, Lucria, began a state lottery to supplement tax revenues for education and public health. Today, Lucria spends more per pupil than we do, and Lucria’s public health program treats far more people than our state’s program does. If we were to establish a state lottery like the one in Lucria, the profits could be used to improve our educational system and public health program. The new lottery would doubtless be successful, because a survey conducted in our capital city concludes that citizens of Impecunia already spend an average of $50 per person per year on gambling.”

The argument utilizes the example of Lucria to arrive at the conclusion that the educational system and public health program of Impecunia can be improved by establishing a state lottery as in the case of Lucria. The arguer credits the state lottery of Lucria for the fact that Lucria spends more on its pupils and it treats more people as compared to Impecunia. The arguer further asserts that the lottery in Impecunia will undoubtedly be successful and he uses the results of a survey carried out in the capital of Impecunia to substantiate this assertion. The said results state that on an average, a resident of Impecunia now spends $50 per year on gambling. As it stands, the argument provides scant evidence to prove that the lottery will succeed in achieving whatever is being claimed by the arguer.

The fact that Lucria is spending more per pupil cannot be linked to the profits from the state lottery as there may be other funds from where the state is drawing the amount to be spent on education. It is likely that the state government of Lucria allocates a larger share of the annual budget to its department of education. Additionally, it is possible that Lucria is a larger state as compared to Impecunia and therefore, it boasts of higher state revenue. Therefore, the argument fails to provide crucial evidence that can lend support to the claim that establishing a state lottery in Impecunia will help in creating additional funds to be spent on education.

The same reasoning holds true for the health program of Lucria. It is possible that the provision of health related facilities is of a high priority in the state of Lucria and therefore, the number of people treated by Lucria’s health program is far more than that treated by Impecunia’s health program. Moreover, the expertise of the health professionals and the infrastructure required to carry out treatments in Lucria may be far superior to those of Impecunia. Therefore, in the absence of credible evidence to establish a link between the profits of the state lottery and good health related services, the assumption that Impecunia can improve its health program by establishing a state lottery is totally baseless.

The results of the survey carried out in the capital city lend no support to the argument. It is not necessary that people who are compulsive gamblers would like to invest in a lottery too. If the people are already spending $50 on gambling, they may not consider spending an additional amount on a lottery which has just been established. Moreover, the argument does not specify the form of gambling that the people resort to. Probably they gamble when they are away on vacations or they like to invest money in racing horses. Such people may have little or no interest in lotteries. One cannot ignore the fact that the survey was carried out in the capital city. The argument provides no information about the gambling habits of people residing in other small towns and villages of the state. It is likely that they neither gamble nor are they interested in lotteries. Hence, the argument fails to prove that the new lottery will undoubtedly be successful.

The argument could have been substantiated by providing convincing evidence in support of the claim that Lucria’s education and health related services have benefited from the profits of the state lottery. Additionally, there is a requirement of evidence that proves that the lottery will be able to rake in high profits for the state of Impecunia as well. In the absence of such evidence, the conclusion drawn by the given argument has been rendered indefensible.