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Updated on: 11 Nov 2017, 19:17
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43% (02:07) correct 57% (02:15) wrong based on 1076 sessions

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The current administration and Congress have once again practiced bad public policy in failing to increase Pell grants or at least limit their reduction for next year’s budget. Pell grants improve access to higher education for those who have historically been disadvantaged in our society by financial or other life circumstances, thereby helping recipients elevate themselves to the middle class. Without that access, the gap between the rich and poor in this country will continue to widen, increasingly straining the stability of our democracy.

Which of the following, if true, most seriously weakens the conclusion of this argument?

(A) Total spending on programs targeted at improving access to higher education for disadvantaged students will increase in next year’s federal budget.

(B) The neediest candidates for Pell grants often lack information about their eligibility for such grants.

(C) Congress recently authorized a bill that will increase after-school programs in urban communities.

(D) On average, an individual Pell grant funds less than 15% of the full cost of attending a four-year college or university.

(E) Federal spending on education for next year will increase as a percentage of the total budget.

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Originally posted by vd on 10 Jun 2008, 00:37.
Last edited by hazelnut on 11 Nov 2017, 19:17, edited 1 time in total.
Edited the question.
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01 Jul 2008, 04:51
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vdhawan1 wrote:
The current administration and Congress have once again practiced bad public policy in failing to increase Pell grants or at least limit their reduction for next year’s budget. Pell grants improve access to higher education for those who have historically been disadvantaged in our society by financial or other life circumstances, thereby helping recipients elevate themselves to the middle class. Without that access, the gap between the rich and poor in this country will continue to widen, increasingly straining the stability of our democracy.

Which of the following, if true, most seriously weakens the conclusion of this argument?

A) Total spending on programs targeted at improving access to higher education for disadvantaged students will increase in next year’s federal budget.

The question is testing whether you confuse a subset with the whole set. Are Pell grants the only mechanism used by governments to help the disadvantaged pursue higher education? Or are there other programs? Perhaps the government will cut Pell grants, but fund new, equally effective programs. A) tells us that there are other programs besides Pell grants, and they are receiving increased funding.

That said, I do find the question a bit strange. What is the conclusion, after all? It seems the more important conclusion of the argument is that 'access to higher education for the disadvantaged is required to prevent the gap between rich and poor from widening, and to prevent straining the stability of our democracy'. None of the answer choices addresses this conclusion. There is an implication, of course, that 'cutting Pell grants will make it more difficult for the disadvantaged to pursue higher education', but I don't read that to be the main conclusion of the argument, as presented. Still, that's the conclusion addressed by the answer choices.
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01 Jul 2008, 13:51
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My take on why D is the right choice:

The current administration and Congress have once again practiced bad public policy in failing to increase Pell grants or at least limit their reduction for next year’s budget. Pell grants improve access to higher education for those who have historically been disadvantaged in our society by financial or other life circumstances, thereby helping recipients elevate themselves to the middle class. Without that access, the gap between the rich and poor in this country will continue to widen, increasingly straining the stability of our democracy.

Which of the following, if true, most seriously weakens the conclusion of this argument?

Since the question concerns an argument, let us restate the argument in our own words to see which statement below weakens it most:
Premise 1: Pell grant spending has decreased/will not rise
Premise 2: Pell grants improve access to higher education and help poor people elevate themselves to middle class
Conclusion: Without enough Pell grants, the gap between rich and poor will widen and the stability of democracy will decrease.

A) Total spending on programs targeted at improving access to higher education for disadvantaged students will increase in next year’s federal budget.
This seems correct because it weakens the conclusion a great deal. The conclusion states that the gap will widen without enough Pell grants, because Pell grants improve access to higher ed for disadvantaged students. This statement here says that spending on programs for improving higher ed will INCREASE, which weakens the need for Pell grants, but does not address the conclusion enough. Remember, the conclusion is saying "PELL GRANTS CAN SAVE US", and this doesn't attack the conclusion enough. If option D did not exist I would go for A...

B) The neediest candidates for Pell grants often lack information about their eligibility for such grants.
Incorrect in my opinion because there seems to be an issue with a SHORTAGE of Pell grants. Say there were 100 Pell grants issued last year, but a demand for 1000 (think of it like securing a spot at H/S/W ). Lets say next year also 100 Pell grants were issued, but there was demand for 1100. Since grants are usually in low supply and very high demand, I dont think the issue that the neediest candidates don't know enough about it is the biggest problem. Sure, it may be a problem, but the biggest problem is that there are not enough Pell grants available to satisfy demand.

C) Congress recently authorized a bill that will increase after-school programs in urban communities.
Don't see how this could apply...

D) On average, an individual Pell grant funds less than 15% of the full cost of attending a four-year college or university.
Perfectly addresses the conclusion. Pell grants alone cannot decrease the "widening of the gap between the rich and poor in this country" because they only cover 15% of the full cost. How on earth could a poor person so far divided from the rich afford to attend college for 4 years on a measly 15% discount? I was previously sold on A, but now I vote for D.

E) Federal spending on education for next year will increase as a percentage of the total budget.
Incorrect. If the total budget goes down from \$1000 to \$10 and the % for education goes up from 5% to 90%, we would actually be spending less than last year.
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02 Jul 2008, 15:48
I just googled the question, and found it discussed on two message boards (one was ScoreTop, so I went to the ManhattanGMAT one instead). The OA is indeed A. D cannot be the correct answer here, incidentally. That "Pell grants improve access to higher education for those who have historically been disadvantaged" is presented as a factual premise of the argument, not as its conclusion.

I don't much like the question for two reasons:

-the argument has more than one conclusion ("Cutting Pell grants will prevent the disadvantaged from receiving higher education"; "If the disadvantaged don't get access to higher education, the gap between rich and poor will widen"; "If the gap between rich and poor widens, the stability of democracy will be strained").

-since Pell grants and the cost of US education are likely better known to US test-takers than to others, the question invites a different amount of personal input from different test-taking populations. Those who know the expense of US higher education are likely to be more tempted by D than those who do not. One of the purposes of including the many diagnostic questions, the questions which don't count, on real GMATs is to identify whether questions are 'biased'-- that is, whether certain populations answer questions better than other populations do. In the research language, the questions are examined for 'differential impact'. Questions which show significant bias are either rejected or modified. The US and non-US test-taking populations are certainly examined in these differential impact studies; GMAC has published research papers about this.
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09 Jul 2008, 06:57
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I got A as well. I think what threw a few people off is not identifying the correct conclusion.

"Without that access, the gap between the rich and poor in this country will continue to widen, increasingly straining the stability of our democracy.'

If we look earlier in the argument we see that "access" is to higher education and not Pell grants. Pell grants are just one method of providing access to higher education for the disadvantaged.

So our conclusion is that not providing access to higher education will widen the gap between the rich and the poor.

A says that while we may not be increasing Pell grants (remember just one method of access for the disadvantaged), we are increasing total spending (access) to the disadvantaged.
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09 Jul 2008, 16:50
But guys, I honestly don't like this question and I don't think it's representative of the actual gmat question. The usual answers to the CR questions will NEVER contradict the premise, something that answer choice A did in this question. The weakening or strengthening answers usually address the conclusion or the logical flow of the argument from the premise to the conclusion.

In CR, one should always treat the premise as true. One should only challenge whether the logical flaw from the premise to the conclusion is appropriate. In the weakening question, we could have an extra information that could make the conclusion doubtful...but to pick an answer choice that simply contradicts a premise in the argument is just simply wrong and not the correct way to tackle CR questions!
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09 Jul 2008, 17:42
tarek99 wrote:
But guys, I honestly don't like this question and I don't think it's representative of the actual gmat question. The usual answers to the CR questions will NEVER contradict the premise, something that answer choice A did in this question. The weakening or strengthening answers usually address the conclusion or the logical flow of the argument from the premise to the conclusion.

In CR, one should always treat the premise as true. One should only challenge whether the logical flaw from the premise to the conclusion is appropriate. In the weakening question, we could have an extra information that could make the conclusion doubtful...but to pick an answer choice that simply contradicts a premise in the argument is just simply wrong and not the correct way to tackle CR questions!

I agree with all you're saying, except with respect to this particular question- answer choice A does not contradict any of the premises of the argument. The argument says Pell grants are being cut, but nowhere does it mention other government funding for education.
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Updated on: 05 Jun 2014, 02:59
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This question seems to have stumped many because of he positioning of the conclusion. Finding the conclusion of the argument is the most important task, and here the conclusion is - The current administration and Congress have once again practiced bad public policy.

Note: The classic conclusion markers, strong tone and strong subjective opinion is found in this line. The last line - the gap between the rich and poor in this country will continue to widen, increasingly straining the stability of our democracy - is used to justify the conclusion.

Argument Structure:

PREMISES:

1. Failure to increase Pells Grant or at least limit its reduction.
2. Pell grants improve access to higher education for those who have historically been disadvantaged in our society by financial or other life circumstances, thereby helping recipients elevate themselves to the middle class.
3. Without that access, the gap between the rich and poor in this country will continue to widen, increasingly straining the stability of our democracy.

CONCLUSION:
The current administration and Congress have once again practiced bad public policy .

The question stem asks us to weaken the argument.

Lets look at Choice (E): Not Enough Information: It talks about Federal Spending on education whereas we are interested in improving access to historically disadvantaged sections of the society. We do not know how much of Federal Spending on education will be directed towards improving access to the disadvantaged sections of the society.

Choice (D): Tempting but Trap: On average, an individual Pell grant funds less than 15% of the full cost of attending a four-year college or university.

The argument states that Pells Grant improves access to higher education. It does not say it fully covers the cost of attending a four-year college or university. May be 15% is enough to improve access to higher education.

Choice (C): Irrelevant: Congress recently authorized a bill that will increase after-school programs in urban communities.
We do not know how it improves or reduces access to higher education.

Choice (B): Tempting but a Trap: The neediest candidates for Pell grants often lack information about their eligibility for such grants.
A very tempting choice but note the word "neediest". The neediest candidates lack information, and they are likely to be a small number, and the majority may actually benefit from it. So it strengthens the argument rather than weakening it.
The author of the argument is hoping that you will confuse a smaller group (neediest) with the larger group (all students who benefit from Pell's grants).

Choice (A): Correct: Total spending on programs targeted at improving access to higher education for disadvantaged students will increase in next year’s federal budget.

Note the words - “total spending on programs targeted at improving access to higher education for disadvantaged students will increase in next year’s federal budget.” It uses the same set of words and is a perfect alternative to the Pell Grants. Hence the criticism of the Congress for failing to increase Pell Grants is nullified. This is the right choice!

Hope that helps!

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Originally posted by CrackVerbalGMAT on 05 Jun 2014, 00:43.
Last edited by CrackVerbalGMAT on 05 Jun 2014, 02:59, edited 1 time in total.
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09 Oct 2015, 05:30
The current administration and Congress have once again practiced bad public policy in failing to increase Pell grants or at least limit their reduction for next year’s budget. Pell grants improve access to higher education for those who have historically been disadvantaged in our society by financial or other life circumstances, thereby helping recipients elevate themselves to the middle class. Without that access, the gap between the rich and poor in this country will continue to widen, increasingly straining the stability of our democracy.

Which of the following, if true, most seriously weakens the conclusion of this argument?

A) Total spending on programs targeted at improving access to higher education for disadvantaged students will increase in next year’s federal budget. correct, as if the total spending are increasing, the premise of the argument is contradicted and thus weakening the conclusion
B) The neediest candidates for Pell grants often lack information about their eligibility for such grants. wrong, here we are talking about only a fraction of total beneficiaries.
C) Congress recently authorized a bill that will increase after-school programs in urban communities. wrong, here too only a fraction
D) On average, an individual Pell grant funds less than 15% of the full cost of attending a four-year college or university. wrong again, as how much the grant is, it will help
E) Federal spending on education for next year will increase as a percentage of the total budget. wrong, talking about education and not particularly about higher education as discussed in the argument
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25 Jun 2016, 23:25
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- they did not increase pell grants, more over limiting it next year.
- if not this then gap between poor and rich will widen. - conclusion

Flaw with these arguments is - anything that contradict this conclusion, ofcource if they get more PG next year.

A) Total spending on programs targeted at improving access to higher education for disadvantaged students will increase in next year’s federal budget. - well a poor will get more benefit by this.
B) The neediest candidates for Pell grants often lack information about their eligibility for such grants. - means poor will not get PG due to lack of info
C) Congress recently authorized a bill that will increase after-school programs in urban communities. - increasing after school program is not going to help. better give one program but give PG with it.
D) On average, an individual Pell grant funds less than 15% of the full cost of attending a four-year college or university. - by this they are trying to say that help coming from PG is not significant. poors still need to pay a hefty price.
E) Federal spending on education for next year will increase as a percentage of the total budget. - if federal spending will increase then PG should also increase, but i can't say that with certainty, if yes then this will also weaken.

close call between A and E but i will go with A
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17 Jul 2016, 08:11
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zw504 wrote:
A directly attacks the premise. Is it common in weaken Q? I mean, it's extraneous to the conclusion..

Hello zw504

The argument says about "Perl grant" program and the answer A says about "programs targeted at improving access...". So these facts do not contradict each other.
"Perl grant" can be reduced but other similar programs can be increased and in total, disadvantaged students will receive more money from the budget
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17 Jul 2016, 08:27
Harley1980 wrote:
zw504 wrote:
A directly attacks the premise. Is it common in weaken Q? I mean, it's extraneous to the conclusion..

Hello zw504

The argument says about "Perl grant" program and the answer A says about "programs targeted at improving access...". So these facts do not contradict each other.
"Perl grant" can be reduced but other similar programs can be increased and in total, disadvantaged students will receive more money from the budget

Thank you Harley1980.

I found the point to weaken the reasoning. Should be more careful when analyzing the options and figure out the subtle words indicating the point (programs--programs).

I still haven't recognize the structure of this Q. Is it a premise-conclusion one or a conclusion-premise one?

thanks,
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17 Jul 2016, 08:38
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zw504 wrote:
Harley1980 wrote:
zw504 wrote:
A directly attacks the premise. Is it common in weaken Q? I mean, it's extraneous to the conclusion..

Hello zw504

The argument says about "Perl grant" program and the answer A says about "programs targeted at improving access...". So these facts do not contradict each other.
"Perl grant" can be reduced but other similar programs can be increased and in total, disadvantaged students will receive more money from the budget

Thank you Harley1980.

I found the point to weaken the reasoning. Should be more careful when analyzing the options and figure out the subtle words indicating the point (programs--programs).

I still haven't recognize the structure of this Q. Is it a premise-conclusion one or a conclusion-premise one?

thanks,

Do you ask there is the conclusion in this argument? If yes, then this is the conclusion:
"Without that access, the gap between the rich and poor in this country will continue to widen, increasingly straining the stability of our democracy. "
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03 Feb 2017, 01:21
The current administration and Congress have once again practiced bad public policy in failing to increase Pell grants or at least limit their reduction for next year’s budget. Pell grants improve access to higher education for those who have historically been disadvantaged in our society by financial or other life circumstances, thereby helping recipients elevate themselves to the middle class. Without that access, the gap between the rich and poor in this country will continue to widen, increasingly straining the stability of our democracy.

Type - weaken

The conclusion is that the government has “practiced bad public policy in failing to increase Pell grants or at least limit their reduction for next year's budget." The basis for that claim is that Pell grants improve access to higher education, which allows lower-income students to improve their economic standing. The main assumption this argument relies on is that Pell grants are the only means available to lower-income students who wish to access higher education. The correct answer will weaken the conclusion by contradicting this assumption.
A) Total spending on programs targeted at improving access to higher education for disadvantaged students will increase in next year’s federal budget. -CORRECT. If total spending on access to higher education will increase, then the federal government has addressed the issue that the author cites, albeit through means other than Pell grants.
B) The neediest candidates for Pell grants often lack information about their eligibility for such grants. - Whether candidates for Pell grants are aware of their eligibility is irrelevant to the claim that the government has practiced bad public policy.
C) Congress recently authorized a bill that will increase after-school programs in urban communities. - This choice may sound like a counterargument (that Congress is somehow practicing good public policy by authorizing a bill that will increase after-school programs in urban communities) to the argument presented (that the government is practicing bad public policy by failing to safeguard Pell grants). However, we have no evidence that after-school programs in urban communities help lowincome students afford higher education, so this does not weaken the argument presented by the author.
D) On average, an individual Pell grant funds less than 15% of the full cost of attending a four-year college or university. -The dollar amount of the Pell grants is irrelevant. To this argument, it matters only that they provide some help at all.
E) Federal spending on education for next year will increase as a percentage of the total budget. - Increased spending on education as a percentage of the total budget does not necessarily imply that low-income students will have better access to higher education. In fact, it does not even imply that education spending (in dollars) will increase.

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13 Apr 2017, 23:09
Conclusion: - "government has “practiced bad public policy in failing to increase Pell grants or at least limit their reduction for next year's budget."
The logic of the argument is:
1. Current admin has weakened Pell grants.
3. Access to higher education is necessary to elevate to middle class
4. Elevation is necessary to make democracy stable.

Choice A weakens it badly. Choice A gives us an alternate route to 3. Once we accept A as true, it no longer matters whether the Pell grants have decreased. The only problem with reducing Pell grants (decreased access to higher education) is no longer a problem, since access to higher education will be better funded, not more poorly funded. They have actually given more overall money to programs helping the poor, then have they really practiced bad policy by cutting Pell grants? No, because they are still helping the poor go to college. This really weakens the idea that the administration is doing something bad.

(B) Whether candidates for Pell grants are aware of their eligibility is irrelevant to the claim that the government has practiced bad public policy.

Hence A is best choice here.
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05 Sep 2017, 06:49
Strange, as it may sound, the conclusion of the argument is that government has practiced bad public policy in failing to increase Pell grants or at least limit their reduction for next year's budget.

Before anyone refute this, I would like to add that this explanation and question is from Manhattan. And I myself came here looking for explanation. Since we all are confused, I will try to put my understanding, which I gathered from various places, as follows-

Conclusion : The current administration and Congress have once again practiced bad public policy in failing to increase Pell grants or at least limit their reduction for next year’s budget.

Reasons why author think that whatever the government has done is BAD-
1) Pell grants improve access to higher education for those who have historically been disadvantaged in our society by financial or other life circumstances,
thereby helping recipients elevate themselves to the middle class.

2) Without that access ( Access of higher education) , the gap between the rich and poor in this country will
continue to widen, increasingly straining the stability of our democracy.

So option A states that the government have an alternative to pell program. MAYBE they would have found another program more effective etc. But presence of another alternative, in which the government is increasing the investment- proves that the what government did was not a BAD policy PRACTICE but a kind of well THOUGHT out POLICY.

Now ASSUME that if the last line was the conclusion - Without that access ( Access of higher education) , the gap between the rich and poor in this country will continue to widen, increasingly straining the stability of our democracy.

All the author is saying is that the ACCESS TO EDUCATION is necessary to close the GAP.
A) Do you think that by pointing out the necessity of pell, the author was trying to conclude a general idea of necessity to education? Had the author
mentioned that increasing pell's investment is necessary to reduce the GAP, then it would have made better sense.

B) Moreover, to weaken this particular conclusion we need an answer which shows that THERE ARE OTHER WAYS TO REDUCE THE GAP. No option
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11 Sep 2017, 21:53
The argument's conclusion is: Without that access, the gap between the rich and poor in this country will continue to widen, increasingly straining the stability of our democracy.
Option A shows that if, other than pell grants, govt is going to increase total spending on programs targeted at improving access to higher education for disadvantaged students then also the gap will not continue to widen between rich and poor.

So, option A is a serious weakener in this case.
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19 Dec 2017, 09:28
vd wrote:
The current administration and Congress have once again practiced bad public policy in failing to increase Pell grants or at least limit their reduction for next year’s budget. Pell grants improve access to higher education for those who have historically been disadvantaged in our society by financial or other life circumstances, thereby helping recipients elevate themselves to the middle class. Without that access, the gap between the rich and poor in this country will continue to widen, increasingly straining the stability of our democracy.

Which of the following, if true, most seriously weakens the conclusion of this argument?

(A) Total spending on programs targeted at improving access to higher education for disadvantaged students will increase in next year’s federal budget.

(B) The neediest candidates for Pell grants often lack information about their eligibility for such grants.

(C) Congress recently authorized a bill that will increase after-school programs in urban communities.

(D) On average, an individual Pell grant funds less than 15% of the full cost of attending a four-year college or university.

(E) Federal spending on education for next year will increase as a percentage of the total budget.

Conclusion : No Pell Grant (cause) means the gap will be widened, ruining the democracy (effect).

Our job : to WEAKEN

According to Power Score, strategy to attack cause and effect argument are :
1. Bring alternate cause
2. Cause occurs, effect doesn't occur
3. Effect occurs, cause didn't occur.
4. Reverse causation
5. Statistical error

Answer A weaken this argument by strategy no. 2 : even though no Pell Grant, there is no effect because all of the other programs combined will bring a huge effect.

Wdyt?
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15 Sep 2018, 06:43
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03 Oct 2018, 02:46
vd wrote:
The current administration and Congress have once again practiced bad public policy in failing to increase Pell grants or at least limit their reduction for next year’s budget. Pell grants improve access to higher education for those who have historically been disadvantaged in our society by financial or other life circumstances, thereby helping recipients elevate themselves to the middle class. Without that access, the gap between the rich and poor in this country will continue to widen, increasingly straining the stability of our democracy.

Which of the following, if true, most seriously weakens the conclusion of this argument?

(A) Total spending on programs targeted at improving access to higher education for disadvantaged students will increase in next year’s federal budget.

(B) The neediest candidates for Pell grants often lack information about their eligibility for such grants.

(C) Congress recently authorized a bill that will increase after-school programs in urban communities.

(D) On average, an individual Pell grant funds less than 15% of the full cost of attending a four-year college or university.

(E) Federal spending on education for next year will increase as a percentage of the total budget.

Though I chose the correct answer, reading the answers of experts such as Ian made me think otherwise. I found the below from MGMAT forum-

https://www.manhattanprep.com/gmat/foru ... t4492.html

1. It was raining, therefore Tom's shoes got wet.
Here, the word 'therefore' shows causality. There isn't actually any argument here.

2. Tom's shoes are wet, therefore it must have been raining.
Here we have an argument (I'm making a claim and supporting it with evidence).

PROPOSITION A: BECAUSE "The current administration and Congress have once again practiced bad public policy" THEREFORE "the gap between the rich and poor in this country will continue to widen" - This is causality, not an argument.

PROPOSITION B: BECAUSE "the gap between the rich and poor in this country will continue to widen" THEREFORE "The current administration and Congress have once again practiced bad public policy" - Here, the argument is supporting a judgement of the government's policy with a claim about it's consequences.

AjiteshArun , GMATNinja , mikemcgarry , egmat , RonPurewal , DmitryFarber , MagooshExpert , ccooley , ChiranjeevSingh, GMATGuruNY , VeritasKarishma , other experts-- please enlighten
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