I've read chineseburned's guide to getting a 6 on the AWA and this past weekend I decided to take my first stab at writing the AWA essays with the 30 minute time limit. I would greatly appreciate some feedback on what I did right and what could be improved upon.
Analysis of an issue:
"Some people claim that the measure of a successful government is in how well it directly supports the poorer members of society. Others claim that if the government focuses on lifting the wealthier members, the benefits will reverberate throughout the social structure and the standard of living will rise for everyone."
In your view, to what extent should government be responsible for supporting those members of society who struggle to support themselves? Explain, giving relevant reasons and/or examples to support your position.
For those people living below the poverty line, it can often be a struggle just to put food on the table and keep water running. The government should provide enough support to the poorer members of society to where they don't have to struggle just to survive.
It is difficult for the poorest members of society to get by because they are in a constant struggle to provide basic necessities that most take for granted. This struggle hinders poorer members of society from trying to improve themselves and thus improve their ability to contribute to society since they don't have the luxury of being able to pay for classes or other activities that could improve their circumstances. Furthermore, struggling for basic necessities can often lead to desperation and increased crime which just further burdens society.
Another point is that the poorest members of society do not have any disposable income to spend on anything deemed non-essential. If the poorest members of society didn't have to worry about their survival, they would have more income to spend on non-essential items which would benefit many businesses as well as society as a whole.
The argument that by lifting the wealthier members, everyone benefits does have some merit since wealthier members tend to invest their money which provides working capital for businesses. However, the link between helping the wealthier members of society and an increase in the standard of living for the poorest members of society is a hypothesis and there not enough evidence to definitively prove this connection.
By providing enough support to the poorest members of society to where life is not a daily struggle, poor people are given the freedom to focus more energy on improving their circumstances. Furthermore, when poor people benefit, everyone benefits since the poor can generate massive demand for products and services they couldn't otherwise use when they were worried about survival. Lastly, the link between helping the wealthy and the poor benefitting from it is a hypothesis and not a fact. Why not help the poor directly and cut out the middle man?
Analyze an Argument:
The following appeared in the editorial section of a local newspaper:
“The inflow of immigrant workers into our community has put a downward pressure on wages. In fact, the average compensation of unskilled labor in our city has declined by nearly 10% over the past 5 years. Therefore, to protect our local economy, it is essential to impose a moratorium on further immigration.”
Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Point out flaws in the argument's logic and analyze the argument's underlying assumptions. In addition, evaluate how supporting evidence is used and what evidence might counter the argument's conclusion. You may also discuss what additional evidence could be used to strengthen the argument or what changes would make the argument more logically sound.
The editorial argues that immigration should be stopped because the author believes that immigration contributes to declining wages and that declining wages will harm the local economy. However, there are several flaws in this argument since the author fails to thoroughly analyze the connection between immigration and the effect immigration has on the local economy.
The first issue with this argument is that the author presents no evidence that immigration contributes to the 10% decline over the past five years in the average compensation for unskilled labor. The author incorrectly assumes that immigration is responsible for the decline in wages for unskilled labor as opposed to numerous other possible causes.
The second issue is the author assumes that creating artificial scarcity in the unskilled labor market in order to prevent further decline in the average compensation for unskilled labor will protect the local economy. The decline in wages could be due to increase supply in labor, decreased demand for labor, or other possible causes. Regardless of the cause, the decline in wages for unskilled labor reflects how much the market values that labor. By artificially influencing the price of labor, there may be unintended consequences such as making it more expensive for businesses to provide products and services.
The third and most important point that the editorial ignores the possible positive effects that immigration can have on the local economy. Immigrants provide increased demand for items and services such as groceries, water, electricity and other necessities which can help stimulate the local economy. Furthermore, immigrants can come from a wide variety of backgrounds and while some may be unskilled laborers, others will be doctors or lawyers which can provide essential expertise.
The author's argument could be strengthened by providing evidence demonstrating how immigration harms the economy and that the harm isn't offset by what immigrants contribute to the economy. Without such evidence however, there is no substance to backup the authors claims. The author fails to demonstrate that immigration harms the local economy.