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Connor Lord

Ms. Slivka

English 250


Giving the Government a Helping Hand

In the realm of government, the words saving money are usually two

of the greatest words a member of Congress can hear. Saving taxpayer

money has been one of the main goals on Capitol Hill ever since the meeting

of the first Continental Congress. However, some decisions that seem like

they will save money turn out to have a negative return on their

investments. In the 1990s, Congress made the decision to jettison around

one hundred and forty science and technology advisers in an effort to save

twenty million dollars per year of taxpayer money. While it seemed like a

cost-effective movement at the time, the decision would ultimately prove to

be extremely costly. Upon seeing the amount of money that they saved,

Congress then decided to discard a plethora of other advising groups such as

economists, foreign affairs experts, and other leading legislative planners.

These job cuts led to informational deficits which in turn resulted in congress

making poor, ill-informed decisions on major legislation. The article

Universities Must Help Educate Woefully Uninformed Lawmakers, written

by Justin Talbot-Zorn and Sridhar Kota, offers up a unique solution to this

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issue: having large, Public Universities assist lawmakers in making big

decisions by providing them with information, research and other general

advice on a topic they specialize in. The authors successfully support their

idea by immediately putting the reader on their side, and instead of

campaigning against the other side, they offer up detailed and creative

solutions on how to effectively solve the problem.

Upon reading the article, the first emotion that is invoked on the

reader is surprise. The authors organized the opening paragraph to make the

decision to get rid of these advisers seem absolutely absurd. They use

specific words such as failure, unworkable, and ineffective to

immediately give the readers a negative connotation of the governments

decision and to make them wonder how they could make such a reckless

decision. They also deliberatly underplay the fact that the decision was made

to save money, while in the big scheme of things, twenty million dollars is

not actualy that much money, roughly 12 cents per tax paying adult.

(Williams 1), People tend to think that almost anything that can be done to

save money should be done. By strongly emphasizing their own point, the

authors can make the readers believe that it is more important to make

informed decisions than to save a seemingly large amount of money.

After giving the reader the background information, Tablot and Kota

start to write using language that they know will be familiar to their readers.
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The article was published in the Science section of Wired magazine. The

authors know that the readers will be more interested and intrigued if they

play toward their interest in science and technology. Given that knowledge,

they mention the increasing use of complex technology in the third

paragraph. Later in the article, a variety of possible solutions to the issue are

presented in a way to emphasize the importance of using the technology

they have on hand to maximize the effectiveness of the solutions. The use of

pathos and a play towards the readers interests helps to get the readers

hooked and interested without having to read very far into the article.

While the first part of the article is mainly used to gain the readers

interest and give them some details about the problem at hand, the majority

of the article is geared toward explaining possible solutions to the problem.

Beginning in the fourth paragraph, instead of continuously criticizing the

decision making skills of congress, the authors offer solution after solution to

the issue in order to make it seem less intimidating. In using this strategy,

they establish a sense of hope and give the readers an optimistic outlook on

the solutions that were presented to them. Tablot and Kota also bring up the

point that as a nation that has 147 of the worlds top ranked universities,

there is no reason that universities shouldnt be working together to come up

with a way to help. At the bottom of the first page they write Theres no

shortage of options for a university seeking to reverse the Hills brain drain.

Since most public universities work with the government anyway on things
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like research and fact finding missions, there would be no problem in using

some of that research to help guide American Democracy. Using this statistic

in the article makes it even more obvious that using these public universities

to enhance the Governments decision making skills is the best option for

solving this problem. When the authors present the readers with an idea that

seems extremely obvious, they are more likely to join in with their argument.

In the final paragraph, the authors bring up a note from Bill Foster, the

only physicist presently serving as a member of congress. Foster said that

only four percent of federal lawmakers who are currently serving have

technical experience, proving that congress is severely in need of advice

from people who have experience and knowledge about the subject. The fact

that he is a member of congress and he is saying that they need help

emphasizes the importance of their assistance. Citizens tend to believe that

the government has everything under control, but when they are calling for

help, it is important that the citizens respond to them. Bringing up this last

fact is the final step in locking in the argument of the article.

With the world becoming more dependent on complex technology, this

article argues that the government should use all the resources that they

have available to them before making a big decision. Tablot and Kota argue

that with hundreds of the worlds top universities at hand and easy access to

technology, solving the countrys scientific problems should be a breeze. The

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authors successfully support their idea by instantaneously getting the reader

on their side, and presenting numerous solutions to the issue to make it

seem simple and easy to fix.

Works Cited

Tablot,-Zorn, Justin, and Sridhar Kota. Universities Must Help Educate

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Uninformed Lawmakers Wired Science, 11 Jan. 2017,

https://www.wired.com /2017/01/universities -must-help-educate-


Williams, Roberton. New Estimates Of How Many Households Pay No Federal

Income Tax

Forbes, 6 Oct. 2015,