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Tobaco Settlement Essay, Research Paper

“The Bottom Line” is an opinion which makes a claim stating the correct uses of tobacco settlement money. The money should be spent on smoking related health care and prevention, according to the claim. In order to support his claim the writer resorts mostly to using assumptions.

The title of the article gives the first assumption made by the writer. The catch phrase used for the title, “The Bottom Line”, is immediately at work trying to convince the reader that whatever the content of the article, it is the truth. The writer smartly tries to set this tone even before the reader begins reading the first sentence of the piece. The statements made by the writer might contain no truth at all. The reason for this tactic is simple. The phrase “bottom line” is a popular catch phrase with universal meaning. Anyone in our society would expect to get the truth whenever they receive a bottom line statement, regardless if it is from their physician or a used car salesman. When accountants determine the profits and margins of a business, we consider this to be the bottom line. In this case, just a couple of sets of numbers, even if distilled from perhaps millions pieces of data, is held to be a fundamental universal truth for rating the performance of a business. The writer is trying to quickly connect this article, by means of its title, to this presumption he hopes many of its readers hold.

When the writer of the editorial reveals what he believes the correct answer for the issue about to be presented is, another assumption is immediately made. The first sentence of the first paragraph begins with “The bottom line in the question…”. The phrase “the bottom line” is implied to constitute the same meaning as the word answer. I do not see the reason why, in most cases, anyone should believe this. When tackling a question of any sort, would a person be looking for a bottom line to be the answer for a question? The phrase “bottom line” and the word answer are not perfect synonyms. The tests I have taken since kindergarten never requested the answer of a question in the form of a bottom line. These catch phrases are only a tactic to snare less wary readers into quickly believing the writers opinion.

The end of the first and the whole second paragraph are another assumption. The author assumes that just because the state fought the tobacco industry in the name of “…smoking related health care and prevention”, the concessions it won belongs to this area. Not all areas of revenue in New York State put their funds back into the areas they came from. For example, lotto revenues do not go back into expanding lotto games once their expenses are met, and income taxes do not go completely towards forwarding the cause of income.

By the time the third paragraph is written, the next assumption occurs when the topic the opinion focuses on is stated. The tobacco settlement money awarded to the states is argued to be needed “…to fight off the scourge of tobacco-related illnesses…”. Whether we need to do this or not is a pure assumption. Specifically, the paragraph outlines three separate areas we need to put this money towards. Statistics could defend the need to replenish money lost to youth illness and state funds. When the writer states the need for the money to be used to fight off tobacco related illnesses that sap our potential, he assumes we know what the word potential means in this case.

Moving down to paragraph six, the assumptions first stated in paragraphs one two and three are restated. At the bottom of that paragraph the writer assumes smoking to be the direct cause for ravaged health. This could be proven, but in the sentence above the last one the assumption is made that “…smoking cessation programs and other anti-smoking efforts…” will prevent any other adverse effects from smoking to happen. What is other? It could be anything from laws restricting marketing to the approval of FDA oversight during the manufacture of cigarettes.

Paragraphs thirteen is a one sentence assumption of morality. The writer tries to back up his point in paragraph twelve. As I stated earlier, just because a state revenue comes from an area does not mean the funds necessarily will to go back to that area. This pattern of stating an outside opinion and then declaring it a fact is used in almost the same fashion with the next two paragraphs. The writer quotes a statement from a director of the American Lung Association. Although the American Lung Association is respected for the purpose they defend, respiratory health , I can not assume their directors are right about everything.

Paragraphs seventeen through twenty outline the problem of how diminished cigarette sales cut into settlement payments the state was depending on. In order to fill this budget gap, the counties are spending some of the initial settlement money given to them before the payments began since the reduced payments will not balance their budgets alone. The decision made by the state to spend the settlement money on the budget, and not on anti-smoking is wrong according to the writer. This restates the assumption made in the beginning, and in paragraphs twelve and thirteen. The last paragraph restates this assumption again, adding to it the new assumption that this course of action by the state will be costly in the future.

I feel the writer presented a fairly strong case for his view. The downside of his opinion in the writing is its use of assumptions, but not fact. If you look at the argument it can seem appealing if it is seen from the perspective of the main causes he fought for in the piece. They are youth, health, and The American Lung Association. Some health care workers, farmers who grow tobacco, and tobacco company workers might view anti-tobacco spending as a means to end their livelihood. They would probably not agree so easily with the message of this piece. Since I have very little connection to any of these interests I remain neutral, looking for hard facts to base my own opinion on.

The argument’s lack of statistical support is a major weakness. The writer provided no evidence of instances where spending money on a certain anti-smoking campaign produced worthwhile results. The success of increased anti-smoking spending is assumed. No mention of past attempts at this leads me to wonder, is the writer not mentioning past programs where money that was spent on fighting off tobacco produced little success? If the writer had included some statistics, along with his opinion and show of good will, the piece would be more convincing.

The writer based the validity of the opinions argument only on assumptions. The whole writing lacked hard statistical evidence of any sort for the argument. My analysis concludes that I do not see how spending the tobacco settlement money on tobacco problems makes sense.


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