Home >> GMAT >> Essays >> Essay - 73
The following appeared as part of a memorandum from a government agency.
“Given the limited funding available for the building and repair of roads and
bridges, the government should not spend any money this year on fixing the bridge
that crosses the Styx River. This bridge is located near a city with a weakening
economy, so it is not as important as other bridges; moreover, the city population is
small and thus unlikely to contribute a significant enough tax revenue to justify the
effort of fixing the bridge.”
Discuss how well reasoned... etc.
The author of this government agency memorandum argues that the government should not spend any money this year fixing the bridge
Argument Page numbers
that crosses the Styx River, given the limited resources available for building and repair of roads and bridges. The author reasons that
this bridge is less important than others because it is located near a city with a weakening economy, and because the city’s small
population is unlikely to contribute enough tax revenue to Justify fixing their bridge. This argument is unconvincing for four reasons.
First of all, the author unfairly assumes that the importance of a bridge is determined solely by the economic condition of nearby cities.
This assumption overlooks other criteria for determining a bridge’s importance—such as the number of commuters using the bridge,
the role of the bridge in local emergencies and disasters, and the impact that bridge closure would have on the economies of nearby
cities. Without accounting for these other potential factors, the author fails to provide a convincing argument that the Styx River Bridge
Secondly, the author fails to provide any evidence that other bridges are more important than the Styx River Bridge. Without such
evidence, we cannot accept the author’s conclusion that no government funds should be directed toward maintaining the Styx River
Thirdly, the fact that the nearby city has a weakening economy does not prove that the city will not contribute significantly to tax
revenues. Perhaps tax revenues are based on property taxes, which are not related directly to economic conditions. If so, and if
property values and taxes are high in this nearby city, then the city would contribute significantly to tax revenues, and the bridge would
be important to maintain those property values and the revenues they generate.
Finally, the author assumes that a city should receive government services commensurate with the tax dollars it contributes.
Substantiating this assumption requires examining the proper duty of government. However, the author provides no such examination.
Accordingly, this assumption is simply an unproven claim.
In conclusion, this editorial fails to substantiate its claim that the Styx River Bridge is not important enough for the government to spend
tax dollars to maintain and repair it. To strengthen the argument, the author must account for other factors that also determine a
bridge’s importance, and must compare the importance of this bridge relative to other bridges.