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rss GMAT Practice Question (One of Hundreds)
The New Deal in America began in 1933 and included widespread bank reforms, unprecedented government infrastructure spending, and unparalleled expansion in the size of government. Some political commentators and economic historians contend that President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal singlehandedly propelled the United States out of the Great Depression and into decades of uninterrupted prosperity. To support this claim, these economists note that during the years following 1933, GDP grew, unemployment shrunk, and optimism increased.
Which of the following statements, if true, would most weaken the above argument?
Correct Answer: D

The argument's claim is: the "New Deal singlehandedly propelled the United States out of the Great Depression and into decades of uninterrupted prosperity."

The argument's evidence for this is: "during the years following 1933, GDP grew, unemployment shrunk, and optimism increased."

There are two major ways to undermine the claim that the "New Deal singlehandedly propelled the United States out of the Great Depression and into decades of uninterrupted prosperity." (1) Show that another event propelled the United States out of the depression. (2) Show that the New Deal did not propel the Unites States out of the depression.

In order to weaken the argument, it would be helpful to weaken the evidence cited in the argument ("economists note that during the years following 1933, GDP grew, unemployment shrunk, and optimism increased").

  1. The stimulus never states that the fear sparked in "some" (note that we do not know how many) by debt spending actually exceeded the fear of not debt spending on infrastructure etc.. Further, this answer never states that the fear actually translated into a reduction in GDP or an increase in unemployment (the two main factors used to support the argument).
  2. This answer merely states that World War II "expanded" economic prosperity. There is a difference between expanding prosperity and propelling a country out of a recession (i.e., the New Deal may have propelled the USA out of the depression while World War II strengthened the already growing economy). This answer does not state that World War II "propelled the United States out" of a depression and so it does not weaken the argument that it was the New Deal (not another program or event) that propelled the United States out of the Great Depression.
  3. This answer speaks to the global condition while the argument pertains only to what "propelled the United States out" of the depression.
  4. This answer undermines the notion that the New Deal "singlehandedly propelled the United States out of the Great Depression and into decades of uninterrupted prosperity" since the recession came back six years later.
  5. This answer fails to weaken the original argument that the New Deal "singlehandedly propelled" the country out of the Great Depression since numerous other events could have propelled the country out of the depression between 1933 and 30 years after the mid-1930s.