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GRE Argument Essay: Clearview. A Great Place To Die - With A Free Essay Review
Prompt: 'The following appeared in a magazine article about planning for retirement. "Clearview should be a top choice for anyone seeking a place to retire, because it has spectacular natural beauty and a consistent climate. Another advantage is that housing costs in Clearview have fallen significantly during the past year, and taxes remain lower than those in neighboring towns. Moreover, Clearview's mayor promises many new programs to improve schools, streets, and public services. And best of all, retirees in Clearview can also expect excellent health care as they grow older, since the number of physicians in the area is far greater than the national average." Write a response in which you discuss what specific evidence is needed to evaluate the argument and explain how the evidence would weaken or strengthen the argument.'
First of all, the author suggests that Clearview is a good place to retire since housing costs in Clearview have fallen significantly during the past year. In order to evaluate this claim, we need evidence that shows whether current housing prices in Clearview are lower than the average price in that area. It is possible that housing costs in Clearview were initially very high, and even after housing costs have fallen significantly, housing costs still remain higher than the average housing costs in that area; then, the implied decline in housing costs would not effectively help attract more retirees; thus, the author’s argument would be weakened.
Moreover, the author also mentions that taxes in Clearview remain lower than those in neighboring towns, thus Clearview is a more suitable place for retirees. In order to evaluate this claim, we need to know whether taxes in this area are generally higher than other parts of city. If it is shown that taxes in this part of city tend to be much higher than other parts of city, then, taxes in Clearview are still high even though they are lower than its neighboring towns. For this reason, the author’s claim is ilogical.
In addition, the author implies that Clearview is a good choice for retirees, since the mayor promises many new programs to improve schools and streets. To test the validity of this argument, we need evidence that the local government will put these words into practice. The argument would be weakened if the local government does not do what they have promised, but even if they really work on these projects, improving schools is not likely to benefit the majority of retirees, because it is possible that majority of their children are old enough to work or go to college somewhere else, then, improving schools might not be favorable.
Furthermore, the author suggests that Clearview can provide good health care to retirees, because there are far more physicians in this area. In order to verify this argument, we need evidence about whether these physician can provide quality service or not. The argument would be weakened if there is evidence shows that these physicians in this area do not provide good services, for instance, they are not approachable, unfriendly, or impatient when they talk to senior citizens, then, people might not like to visit them even though they are close and available, since the quality of the health care is more important than the quantity.
To sum up, in order to evaluate the author’s argument, we need evidence about whether housing costs in Clearview were initially very high or not, if taxes are generally higher in this area compare to the rest of the city, and whether the quality of heath care is high or not.
The argument of the first paragraph is reasonable enough, but I don't really understand your second paragraph. You seem to read the article as being about an area within a larger city, but there’s no indication of that in the prompt. That appears, then, to be the kind of basic error that you really need to avoid (by reading the prompt carefully). Even if the paragraph made sense, however, its final sentence would not. You cannot logically assert that the "author's claim is illogical" (you can say that it _would be_ illogical, under the specified conditions).
In the next paragraph, you ask for evidence that the local government will keep its word with respect to promised programs. It's not clear what kind of evidence you are looking for here. (Presumably it wouldn't do just to have the government promise it will keep its promises.) The real issue here, I think, is similar to the issue with housing costs. Will the improved services make Clearview better than neighboring towns?
In your final paragraph, you identify the right issue; having many physicians doesn't mean having good physicians. But there's probably not a lot of value here in speculating about possible ways in which the physicians in Clearview might be substandard practitioners; it would be better, I suspect, to say something explicit about the possible impact of evidence on the argument, as demanded by the instructions.