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Complete Question Explanation

Assumption. The correct answer choice is (D)

The stimulus says that government bureaucrats have taken private-sector jobs due to the public-private pay gap. If the gap is closed, these bureaucrats will return to their government jobs. Thus, says the author, public agencies will function better.

A major missing assumption here is that the influx of the old bureaucrats will actually improve the functioning of public agencies.

Answer choice (A): We need not assume that the old government bureaucrats, now moved to private-sector jobs, will use their private-sector skills when they return to government jobs. They could just use their old government skills.

Answer choice (B): The argument does not suggest that the skill, quality, or experience of bureaucrats is the "most important factor" in determining the functioning of government agencies. The argument merely suggests that the return of government bureaucrats from private-sector jobs will lead to some improvement — perhaps big, perhaps small.

Answer choice (C): Assume the logical opposite of this statement: What if the public-private pay gap will not continue to increase without government action? Perhaps the public-private pay gap will stay positive but constant. This does not destroy the argument: there still may be a need for government action to close the pay gap to zero. Thus, by the Assumption Negation test, this answer choice is not correct.

Answer choice (D): This is the correct answer choice. Assume the logical opposite of this statement: What if people who moved from government jobs to private-sector jobs would not choose to change careers back to government jobs? If so, the author's argument will totally fail. Thus, by the Assumption Negation test, the statement contained in this answer choice is absolutely necessary for the argument.

Answer choice (E): The argument never discussed what would happen if the public-private pay gap increases, rather than shrinks.
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Re: Answer choice C --

The necessary condition is "unless government action is taken," yes? In the Course book, on pg. 5-138 it says, "To negate a conditional statement, always negate the necessary condition." But in working through the answer choice here, you have negated the sufficient condition. Please 'resolve this paradox' for me ;) !?
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Administrator wrote:Complete Question Explanation

Answer choice (C): Assume the logical opposite of this statement: What if the public-private pay gap will not continue to increase without government action?
Nvm, nvm, I totally see now that you negated the necessary condition (by saying "without gov. action"). I didn't properly apply the Unless Equation originally. Wow, that is a lot of steps to make sure you properly eliminate this answer choice... I'm not sure I'd be able to do all of that just for one answer choice & keep my timing in-check!?? :hmm:
 Nikki Siclunov
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Hi angel,

Glad you were able to figure this out on your own! :) Yes, applying the Assumption Negation Technique can seem like a lot of work at first, but you absolutely need to automate the process. Practice, practice, practice! Here are a few links you might find helpful:

Negating Compound and Conditional Statements

Negating conditional statements on the LSAT

Good luck!
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Hi PS,

I'm still having trouble logically negating Answer (C).

I diagrammed the Unless Equation for the original answer as: Disparity Continues to Increase :arrow: Government Action Taken

I keep getting confused on whether I need to negate the necessary condition or the sufficient condition or both. What would I need to negate in this conditional to turn it into the logical opposite? And is diagramming conditionals generally the best way to negate "Unless" answer choices?

Would a correct logical negation be: "Even if government action is taken, the disparity in pay between government administration and private-sector management continues to increase" ?

Thank you so much!
 Adam Tyson
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Great question, demk26! Negating a conditional statement trips up a lot of students, especially when they try to take a mechanical approach in the same way that we approach creating the original diagram (which you did perfectly here, btw). Instead of approaching it mechanically, try taking a more holistic approach. When we talk about negating an answer, we mean that you should respond to the answer by making it false. Often, we can do that very mechanically by inserting or deleting a word like "not," but with conditionals the goal is to come up with a statement that indicates that the alleged necessary condition is not actually necessary. For example:

Sample answer choice: Whenever I eat fast food, I feel sluggish afterwards.

Negation: Sometimes I eat fast food and I don't feel sluggish afterwards (meaning that the original statement is false - feeling sluggish afterwards is NOT required)

More negations that would also work:

Even if I eat fast food I might not feel sluggish afterwards.
I do not always feel sluggish after I eat fast food.
Eating fast food does not guarantee that I will feel sluggish afterwards.
It is not true that whenever I eat fast food, I feel sluggish afterwards.
I could eat fast food and not feel sluggish afterwards.

Each of these negations is a way of saying that the original conditional statement is false, that what was presented as a necessary condition is not actually necessary. Think of it just like that - the answer says something is necessary under certain conditions, and your job when negating is to say "no it isn't."

In this question, the answer says that government action is needed to stop the increasing disparity, so your job is to say "no, government action is not needed." Maybe one of these?:

The disparity might stop decreasing without any government action.
It is not true that unless government action is taken, the disparity will continue to increase.
Even if there is no government action, the disparity could stop increasing.

Negate a conditional statement by saying that we do not need the thing that the answer choice said was necessary. Don't say that it will NOT happen - say that it doesn't NEED to happen.
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I am struggling with this question a bit. I picked A, which I can now see does not have to be true because, for instance, it might be knowledge that is valued rather than experience. And I can see why D would have to be true. However, I am a little bit confused about why D would be the correct answer given that it is already noted that the government will be able to 'recapture' these individuals. I am surprised by the fact that D simply seems to be re-affirming something we were told in the premise. I guess I am wondering if I am missing something in my reasoning? Thank you! :-D
 Robert Carroll
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The author really doesn't say how the government will be "recapturing" these people except by offering higher salaries, right? Also, it says the government "will be able to" recapture them - the government may try, but their success depends on those people's coming back, right? So answer choice (D) is not just repeating the stimulus, by showing an assumption of it - that the strategy the government attempts to use will have some chance of actually working.

Robert Carroll

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