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Michael Vazquez

Textual Analysis

Prof. Michael R. Moore

WRD 103

“What The Rich Don’t Need” Sunday Business September 26, 2010

By Richard H. Thaler

Have you ever seen someone show charity towards the wealthy?  Well, in “What The Rich Don’t Need,” Richard H. Thaler emphasizes that this will happen if Republican leadership of the House have their way.  The tax cuts of President George W. Bush are due to expire at the year-end, and there are debate among parties whether to extend some, or just all of these tax cuts.  Thaler takes a clear political stance against conservative thinking, and asserts that extending these tax cuts for all would be giving “affluent households a present worth $700 billion over the next decade.”  He goes on to illustrate the possible effects of extending all, or just come some of the tax cuts, and he does so in a well balanced claim that appeals to ethos, logos, and pathos all in their own respects.

Thaler agrees with President Obama’s proposal of retaining the current rates on incomes up to $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for couples.  This would remove the tax cuts from everyone above this bracket.  He alludes that under this plan the tax rates would be relative to that in the Clinton era; which was an era of healthy economic growth, thus providing a positive attitude towards President Obama’s proposition.  Thaler establishes fairness with in his article and provides ‘3 arguments’ in favor of extending the tax cut for everyone; even quoting contrary ideas.  He then refutes each one of these ideas and explains why they are misguided.

Thaler employs all three techniques of rhetorical writing throughout his article.  He immediately appeals ethos and builds a good reputation through his bio alone; “Richard H. Thaler is a professor of economics and behavioral science at the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago.”  His argument is informed by ethos in his reply to the claim that not providing tax cuts for everyone would amount to “class warfare.”  He disputes this remark by establishing credibility and quoting other reputable sources, such as Warren E. Buffet and two other academic economists (Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez).  Thaler quotes Buffet: “There’s class warfare all right, but it’s my class, the rich, that’s making war and we’re winning.”  Thaler appeals to both ethos and logos when quoting Piketty and Saez because they are reputable sources that also provide statistical information that pertain to logic.  There data shows that the proportion of income earned by the top 1 percent of American families, to that of the nation’s total has doubled since 1980.

Thaler’s argument continues to agree with logic.  He believes that there is some merit in that raising taxes in a weak economy is foolish, but he also writes that tax cuts is only one of the many ways to stimulate the economy.  He appeals to logic when he asserts, “Numerous studies have shown that the poor spend nearly all of their income, while the rich save a significant amount of theirs.”  Therefore tax breaks to the rich do not show to be cost-effective.  He uses the same approach when confronted with the idea that not extending the tax cuts will impose a burden on small business.  He presents statistics that support his point as well as taking time to explain what those statistics mean; stating: “To understand these statistics, we need to know how small business is defined.”

While his argument doesn’t directly appeal to pathos, the article in its self is an emotional topic.  He illustrates this concept towards the beginning and end of his article.  Thaler exposes that “the fact that 3 percent of businesses earn nearly half of the money is precisely what many people are concerned about: growing income equality.”  He directly references this common concern that stirs emotions among the reader.  He continues to refer to this idea of growing income equality as a concept of emotion in hopes to create a reaction.  He leaves the article concluding, “the question comes down to whether we want a society in which the rich take an ever increasing share of the pie, or prefer to return to conditions that allow all classes to anticipate an increasing standard of living.”  He leaves you with this rhetorical question in hopes you will act on this idea of increasing social stratification.

Thaler wrote “What The Rich Don’t Need” with the intended audience being educated adults.  Thaler discusses a business controversy with political underpinnings, but yet doesn’t expect the reader to be well versed in economics.  He takes time out of the article to explain concepts, as well as quoting household names like Warren Buffet in order to provide a well know economic face to his ideas.  While Thaler obviously leans to the left politically, he established both sides of the argument and explained why he believes he is correct. Although at times, Thaler uses sarcastic tones to take political stabs at the right and the previous administration.  For example, when introducing the topic of the expiring tax cuts he remarks: “They’re expiring because the only way they could be enacted was by pretending that they were temporary.”  He uses this same type of sarcasm when he refers to a contradicting argument, writing: “But by that same argument…everyday should be your birthday.”  It is this type of little political stabs that lead me to believe that this article was geared more towards Democrats who may make a difference and voice their opinions to the public.

The political debate that is the basis of this article is a one that is discussed daily on the news, in classrooms, and at dinner tables.  The idea of social stratification is such a well discussed topic, especially because regardless of what social class you are in, you are affected.  Whether not raising taxes or lowers taxes I feel will have little effect on my life as a whole, but to our country as a whole these policies will have substantial impacts.  Regardless, Richard H. Thaler provides a balanced argument in “What The Rich Don’t Need.”

Thaler, Richard. “What the Rich Don’t Need” The New York Times. 27 September.

2010. Web. 28 September. 2010 http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/26/business/26view.html

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Advocacy/Argument Draft

Michael Vazquez

Michael Moore

WRD 103

Rough Draft Advocacy/Argument

The United States’ Obesity rate is more than twice that of the National average, and has increased drastically in recent years.  While the cause may be poor eating habits, is it the government’s responsibility to pass laws and ordinances in hopes to remedy the situation?  Obesity and physical inactivity is the cause of 400,000 deaths annually, while illicit drug use is only responsible for about 17,000.  With this in mind, very few Americans oppose laws restricting drug use, whereas when discussing health issues, it is perceived as the government attempting to gain more control over our lives. The government is not attempting to control our lives, but rather prevent the increase the current obesity epidemic.

The fact of the matter is there is no single cause of obesity.  The New York Times has written articles linking obesity to genetics, the increase of eating out, a change in mind sets, and lack of exercise.  It seems that obesity is the result of a multitude of poor health choices, although the blame is usually attributed to an increase the consumption of low-price, high-fat food.  What we eat is ‘our’ decision, and to blame anyone else seems to me as a folly idea.  This being said, there is no harm in the government encouraging society to make healthier food choices.

The New York Times covers obesity rather extensively, and connects the epidemic with other national and worldly issues.  They have done a remarkable job exposing the topic to its readers, contributing to a well-rounded discussion of its causes and possible remedies.  Such articles consist of Disney’s new physical activity and health campaign, the effects of overweight mothers on the development of their children, and most importantly the government, county, and school districts role in America’s health issues.  They discuss this issue directly stating: “New York City and State are asking the United States Department of Agriculture, which administers the food stamp program, to authorize a demonstration project in New York City. The city would bar the use of food stamps to buy beverages that contain more sugar than substance — that is, beverages with low nutritional value that contain more than 10 calories per eight-ounce serving.” (Farley)  New York is attempting to pass a restriction on what food stamp recipients can purchase, with their food stamps. Saying that this restriction is unjustifiable does not make sense.  The government issues the food stamps; therefore shouldn’t they be able to decide how they are used.  Food stamps are meant to benefit society, and by reducing the options of certain unhealthy items the government is attempting to prevent an ever increasing obesity epidemic.

Data has shown that obesity is more common among those with a lower income, those who generally the recipients of the food stamps.  With the ever increasing death rates due to health issues, New York’s attempt, while very minor, is a necessary step to help rid the problem. [Elaborate]

Some of the opposition argues that the government is trying to control their lives, and just “preventing me from having a soda.”  They clearly are not, because you can still buy a soda, just not with food stamps.  [Elaborate]

[Partial Conclusion]  The New York Times coverage of obesity is extensive and well-rounded.  In response to their commentary, I have come to the conclusion that while the government doesn’t necessarily have a responsibility to advocate good health through the form of legality, it should most certainly not be ridiculed in doing so.

 

 

 

Farley, Thomas, and Richard F. Daines. “No Food Stamps for Sodas.” New York   Times. 7 Oct.   2010. Web. 12 Oct. 2010.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/07/opinion/07farley.html

 

Advocacy/Argument Proposal.

The United States’ Obesity rate is more than twice that of the National average.  Ever since the release of the film Supersize Me, it has become a sort of consensus that fast food corporations are the cause.  Although while poor eating habits and choices may be the cause of this epidemic, is it the government’s responsibility to pass laws and ordinances in hopes to remedy the situation?  Obesity and physical inactivity is the cause of 400,000 deaths annually, while illicit drug use is only responsible for about 17,000.  With this in mind, very few Americans have a problem with laws restricting drug use, but when it comes to other health issues, such as what we eat, it is perceived as the government trying to control our lives.

The New York Times covers obesity rather extensively, and connects the epidemic with other national and worldly issues and articles.  They have done great to expose the topic to its readers, and contribute to a well rounded discussion of its causes and possible remedies.  They write about Disney’s new physical activity and health campaign, the effects of overweight mothers on their children, and most importantly the government, county, and school districts role in America’s health issues.  The New York Times has historically presented the topic of obesity in a well-rounded manner, and in discussing their position I will advocate mine; while the government doesn’t necessarily have a responsibility to advocate good health through the form of laws, it should most certainly not be ridiculed in doing so.

Michael Vazquez

Textual Analysis

Prof. Michael R. Moore

WRD 103

“What The Rich Don’t Need” Sunday Business September 26, 2010

By Richard H. Thaler

Have you ever seen someone show charity towards the wealthy?  Well, in “What The Rich Don’t Need,” Richard H. Thaler emphasizes that this will happen if Republican leadership of the House have their way.  The tax cuts of President George W. Bush are due to expire at the year-end, and there are debate among parties whether to extend some, or just all of these tax cuts.  Thaler takes a clear political stance against conservative thinking, and asserts that extending these tax cuts for all would be giving “affluent households a present worth $700 billion over the next decade.”  He goes on to illustrate the possible effects of extending all, or just some of the tax cuts, and he does so approaching the dispute by means of ethos, logos, and pathos in a well balanced claim.

Thaler agrees with President Obama’s proposal of retaining the current rates on incomes up to $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for couples.  This would remove the tax cuts from everyone above this bracket.  He alludes that under this plan the tax rates would be relative to that in the Clinton era; which was an era of healthy economic growth, thus providing a positive attitude towards President Obama’s proposition.  Thaler establishes fairness with in his article and provides ‘3 arguments’ in favor of extending the tax cut for everyone; even quoting contrary ideas. He then refutes each one of these ideas and explains why they are misguided.

Thaler employs all three techniques of rhetorical writing throughout his article.  He immediately applies ethos and builds a good reputation through his bio alone: “Richard H. Thaler is a professor of economics and behavioral science at the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago.”  He uses ethos in his reply to the claim that not providing tax cuts for everyone would amount to “class warfare.”  He disputes this remark by establishing credibility and quoting other reputable sources, such as Warren E. Buffet and two other academic economists (Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez).  Thaler quotes Buffet: “There’s class warfare all right, but it’s my class, the rich, that’s making war and we’re winning.”  Thaler appeals to both ethos and logos when quoting the Piketty and Saez because they are reputable sources that also provide statistical information that pertain to logic.  There data show that the proportion of income earned by the top 1 percent of American families to that of the nation’s total has doubled since 1980.

Thaler continues to agree with logic and in his other responses as well.  He believes that there is some merit in that raising taxes in a weak economy is foolish, but he also writes that tax cuts only one of the many ways to stimulate the economy.  He appeals to logic when he asserts, “Numerous studies have shown that the poor spend nearly all of their income, while the rich save a significant amount of theirs.”  Therefore tax breaks to the rich do not show to be cost-effective.  He uses the same approach when confronted with the idea that not extending the tax cuts will impose a burden on small business.  He presents statistics that support his point as well as taking time to explain what those statistics mean; stating: “To understand these statistics, we need to know how small business is defined.”

Finally, while he may not apply to pathos to refute opposing arguments, the article in its self is an emotional topic.  He illustrates this concept towards the beginning and end of his article.  Thaler exposes that “the fact that 3 percent of businesses earn nearly half of the money is precisely what many people are concerned about: growing income equality.”  He directly references this common concern that stirs emotions among the reader.  He continues to refer to this idea of growing income equality as a concept of emotion in hopes to create a reaction.  He leaves the article concluding, “the question comes down to whether we want a society in which the rich take an ever increasing share of the pie, or prefer to return to conditions that allow all classes to anticipate an increasing standard of living.”  He leaves you with this rhetorical question in hopes you will act on this idea of increasing social stratification.

Thaler wrote “What The Rich Don’t Need” with the intended audience being educated adults.  Thaler discusses a business controversy with political underpinnings, but yet doesn’t expect the reader to be well versed in economics.  He takes time out of the article to explain concepts, as well as quoting household names like Warren Buffet in order to provide a well know economic face to his ideas.  While Thaler obviously leans to the left politically, he established both sides of the argument and explained why he believes he is correct.  Although at times, Thaler uses sarcastic tones to take political stabs at the right and the previous administration.  For example, when introducing the topic of the expiring tax cuts he remarks: “They’re expiring because the only way they could be enacted was by pretending that they were temporary.”  He uses this same type of sarcasm when he refers to another contradicting argument, writing: “But by that same argument…everyday should be your birthday.”  It is this type of little political stabs that lead me to believe that this article was geared more towards Democrats who may make a difference and voice their opinions to the public.

The political debate that is the basis of this article is a one that is discussed daily on the news, in classrooms, and at dinner tables.  The idea of social stratification is such a well discussed topic, because regardless of what social class you are in, you are affected.  Whether we raise taxes or lower taxes I feel will have little effect on my life as a whole, but to our country as a whole these policies will have substantial impacts.  Regardless, Richard H. Thaler provides a balanced argument in “What The Rich Don’t Need.”

Cowen, Tyler. “Can the Fed Offer a Reason to Cheer?” New York Times 19 Sept. 2010, Sunday ed., Business sec.: 5. Print.

Rhetorical Precis

Tyler Cowen asserts that we should stimulate the spending by increasing the inflation rates by 3%.  Cowen does so by establishing credibility, and by demonstrating the possibility of a cause and effect between the inflation rates and spending.  He does so in an attempt to convince his audience of influential business leaders and economists that if the Fed raises inflation, spending increase and therefore jump starts the economy.

Bilton, Nick. “A Tech World That Centers on the User.” New York Times 13 Sept. 2010, Monday ed., Business sec.: 1-2. Print.

Rhetorical Precis

Nick Bilton states that my generation expects personalized media and rejects the old business models; therefore we will only spend our money on seamless and effortless personalized content.  He does so by providing examples and hypothetical situations; such as his experience with pirating music and his teenage cousin’s means of obtaining news.  Bilton write this article in order to foreshadow the ‘death of print’ and integration between our phone, computers, and televisions that will provide a completely personalized experience, including every advertisement.  His intended audience is that corporations and all others we may be responsible for his idea of seamless integrated media.

Rhetorical Analysis of Op-Ed article by Thomas Friedman, “We’re No. 1(1)!”

Thomas Friedman argues that the current generations are causing America to lose its worldly dominance.  Friedman makes this argument by comparing this generation (particularly their values and mindsets) with previous generations, attributing this difference to the hardships and expectations of each generation.  Friedman makes this argument in order to expose what he considers the causes of Americas falling dominance (esp. our poor education system).  Friedman assumes his readers are educated leaders, parents, and possibly students who may be responsible for Americas’ future.