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#1 - Politician: The funding for the new nationwide health

LSAT Master
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question -politician:The funding for the new nationwide health awareness campaign.....

I put e, and the correct answer is a. Can someone please explain why e is wrong and a is better? thanks !
PowerScore Staff
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Hi Kristina,

This is a good question to demonstrate careful reading of the stimulus. Notice what is occurring between the Politician and the Smoker. P has proposed a tax be levied against smokers to fund a health awareness campaign. S obviously disagrees, but notice that S doesn't just announce his disagreement, instead he is much more subtle.

P's logic is that smokers should pay for the campaign because smoking is unhealthy. S argues that eating fatty food is also unhealthy, but it would be unreasonable to tax them in order to fund this campaign. Nowhere does S every say whether he believes taxing smokers will actually pay for the campaign. Or if it will be efficient.

Instead, S analogizes smoking to eating fatty foods and implies the question: how can taxing one unhealthy habit be reasonable while taxing another unhealthy habit is unreasonable. I think it is important to note that S even use the word "unreasonable" in his response, while neither party ever mentions efficiency.

Hope that helps,

Ricky Hutchens
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Hi Ricky,

Thanks for responding! I would just like to clarify some things.

When you say "Nowhere does S every say whether he believes taxing smokers will actually pay for the campaign. Or if it will be efficient", does that mean the argument isn't about whether taxing smokers will actually cover the cost of the campaign, because that is irrelevant. The argument is actually whether the taxation on this group of people should be done at all?
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Can anyone tell me why D is wrong?

From my understanding, P states that it is reasonable that people whose unhealthful habit cause so many health problems should bear the cost of the campaign. From his statement, he might think eating high-fat, high-cholesterol foods are also reasonable to share the burden of the campaign. He didn't say the funding source ONLY comes from increasing taxes on cigarettes. He might as well increase taxes on eating high-fat/cholesterol food and use the tax for funding .

From the smoker's response, we can know that he think both smoking and eating high-fat/cholesterol foods are unreasonable groups to share the burden.
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Hi chian9010,

The Politician is discussing whether or not it would be REASONABLE to have ONLY the people who engage in the unhealthy activity (smoking) to bear the burden of financing related campaign. In response, the Smoker alludes that it would UNREASONABLE to require the burden of cost of a similar campaign (eating unhealthy food) to those who ONLY engage in this activity. This is explicitly different from “whether it is UNREASONABLE to require people who DO NOT benefit from certain governmental programs to share the costs of those programs.” Choice D mentions what can be termed as the Mistaken Negation of the point at issue.
Rachael Wilkenfeld
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Hi Chian,

I think the main issue with answer choice (D) is the idea of benefiting. Who benefits from this campaign? Do we know? Does either speaker tell us? We just don't have enough information to say anything about who would or would not benefit from this campaign. The argument hinges on costs, not benefits.

Hope that helps!