GRE Argument Essay 148
The following appeared in a letter to the editor of a newspaper serving the villages of Castorville and Polluxton.
“Both the villages of Castorville and Polluxton have experienced sharp declines in the numbers of residents who pay property taxes. To save money and improve service, the two villages recently merged their once separate garbage collection departments into a single department located in Castorville, and the new department has reported few complaints about its service. Last year the library in Polluxton had 20 percent fewer users than during the previous year. It follows that we should now further economize and improve service, as we did with garbage collection, by closing the library in Polluxton and using the library in Castorville to serve both villages.”
The arguer recommends that the villages of Castorville and Polluxton merge their libraries as the merger of their garbage collections departments had been successful as has been reflected by the less number of complaints received about its services. The arguer supports his recommendation by stating that the sharp decline in the number of residents who pay property taxes had been countered by the money that was saved and the improvement in services provided by the merger of the garbage collection departments. Nevertheless, on closer scrutiny, it is seen that the argument provides scant evidence that can prove the validity of the recommendation made.
Firstly, the arguer fails to substantiate the assumption that a lesser number of taxpayers has led to a decline in the tax revenues of Castorville and Polluxton. It is likely that there has been a change in the taxation policies which has led to an increase in the property tax rates. This could have led to the decline in the number of property tax payers due to the hike in the amount to be paid or it is likely that the new tax policies have exempted certain categories of people from paying property taxes. Nonetheless, the high tax rates would have ensured that the tax revenue for the villages does not dip below the minimum requirement. Moreover, the arguer does not address other sources of revenue like income tax which would still be contributing to the revenues for the villages. Therefore, in all probability there have been no losses to the tax revenues of the villages despite the fall in the number of property tax payers.
A less number of complaints does not indicate that the people are happy with the merger of the garbage collection departments of the two villages. There may be a number of people who are unhappy with the services being provided by the merged garbage collection department, but they have chosen not to file written complaints. The merged garbage collection department now has to cater for the requirements of both the villages as opposed to one village before the merger and therefore, it is evident that there are bound to be shortcomings with the services being provided.
The fact that there have been a lesser number of users in the past year, as compared to the year before that, has been cited as the main reason for the merger of the two libraries. However, the arguer has completely ignored the fact that one year is too small a time frame to assess the usage of the services being provided by the library in Polluxton. It is possible that the less number of users in the past year was due to some other reason like renovation of the library building. It is not necessary that the conditions will be the same in the future also and so the claim that the library needs to be merged with the one in Castorville is unwarranted.
Finally, the arguer draws an unfair analogy between the garbage collection departments and the libraries of the two villages. What seems to have worked for the garbage collection departments may not hold true for the libraries as well. The merger of the garbage collection departments did not affect the residents of the two villages as it were the garbage collectors who had to come to their houses despite the distance between the two villages. On the contrary, if the libraries are merged, the people of Polluxton will have to travel all the way to Castorville to use the merged library. Therefore, it is not necessary that the merger of the libraries would be as successful as the merger of the garbage collection departments. Moreover, the arguer does not provide any evidence that proves that the merger of the libraries would result in added tax revenues for both the villages.
The argument needs to be strengthened by proving that the library in Polluxton will not be used often in the future also and that both the villages will benefit from the merger of the libraries. Therefore, in light of the fallacies that have been discussed, the given argument has been rendered indefensible due to lack of crucial evidence in its support.