It is an election season, and political candidates have plenty to argue over around the country. In Arizona, one issue is whether taxpayers should be expected to shoulder the burden of public education, and particularly higher education.
Why, a retired voter who has moved to Sun City from, say, Ohio might wonder, should I have to pay taxes to send Arizona children to school? Why, a childless executive in Chandler might grumble, should I have to give someone else’s child an education? Why, a construction worker might ask, should my taxes go to sending my better-paid neighbor’s kid to university?
On the other hand, plenty of other scenarios exist in which taxpayers see good reason to support education.
You are the economic advisor to a candidate for Arizona’s governorship. As governor, if successful, your candidate will need to make critical decisions concerning education—not least, whether to slash funding to the state’s university system.
Your candidate has no firm stance on the matter, and he or she has asked you to write an op-ed piece (that is, an opinion essay that goes opposite the editorial page in a newspaper such as the Wall Street Journal) in which you articulate a position for him or her: to support increased funding for education, or to advocate cutting state spending on it.
Your op-ed piece is written for someone else—namely, the candidate—to deliver, so it needs to include first-person pronouns (“I believe,” “I think”). It is meant to sway voters, so it should reach out to them (“you, the taxpayer”). And it is meant to distinguish one position from another (“my opponent believes, incorrectly, that…”).
And, of course, because you are an economist, the article you write for your candidate needs to include an economic concept, one that is explained in plain language, so that an audience without training in economics can understand it.
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