CAT Model Paper 6 Questions and Answers with Explanation Part 8

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Questions 38 to 41: Answer the questions after reading the passage given below.

Two of America’s brightest Democrats have written books about reforming the public sector: Gavin Newsom’s “Citizen Ville” and Cass Sunstein’s “Simpler”. Mr. Newsom was mayor of San Francisco from 2003 to 2010 before becoming California’s lieutenant governor. He is expected to go on to higher things. Mr. Sunstein’s is a Harvard law professor who was Barack Obama’s “regulatory tsar” from 2009 to 2012. He is also one of the authors of “Nudge”, a book that advocates guiding (but not forcing) citizens to make wise decisions. Both present themselves as post-partisan: Mr. Newsom strokes the tea party; Mr. Sunstein’s boasts that David Cameron, Britain’s Conservative prime minister, is a fan of “Nudge”. But both argue that Barack Obama has done a lot to improve American government.

Mr. Newsom begins by lamenting the contrast between government and the private sector, particularly the tech industry in nearby Silicon Valley. “In the private sector and in our personal lives, absolutely everything has changed over the past decade,” he notes. “In government, very little has.” The public sector is top-down and producer-dominated. Silicon Valley is bottom-up, networked and consumer-driven. Government needs to change as radically as it did in the early 20th century, when reformers replaced patronage and corruption with a measure of meritocracy. It needs to become a “platform” for services rather than a machine. It needs to engage citizens rather than treat them as subjects. But citizens need to change, too: becoming problem-solvers, not whingers; and volunteers, not supplicants.

Mr. Newsom’s emphasis on citizens fixing their own problems rather than pestering the government is admirable. But he is naive to think that if you simply give more power to ordinary people, government will fix itself. California empowers its citizens through ballot initiatives. The result is a mess: they vote for higher spending but lower taxes. It is not enough just to give people hand-held devices that let them vote for their priorities, as Mr Newsom argues. You have to design intelligent systems that force them (or their representatives) to reconcile their contradictory impulses. The Republic is not a reality show.

Mr. Sunstein says the problem is that government is not just old-fashioned but overcomplicated. Nothing alienates people (or empowers clever lobbyists) so much as complexity. And nothing imposes so many unnecessary costs. But Mr. Sunstein claims that he and his colleagues at the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs have conducted a successful (if unheralded) war against complexity. They have re-examined old laws to remove outdated bits. They have subjected new laws to rigorous cost-benefit analysis. And they have done their best to ensure that rules are easy to understand. Mr Sunstein argues that his own great passion—nudging people to make sensible choices—is perfectly compatible with simplicity. The best companies are good at combining the two, encouraging people to become or remain customers. Government is learning to be just as clever.

Mr Sunstein has indeed hacked back some thickets of regulation. But the problem is that far bigger thickets have grown up at the same time: the Affordable Care Act (Obama care) and the Dodd-Frank financial reforms, both passed in 2010, are hundreds of bewildering pages long, partly because Congress regards laws as comprehensive instruction manuals rather than broad guidelines. America’s tax code has almost tripled in volume over the past decade, to 3.8m words. Nine out of ten tax filers pay for help to complete their returns. And the federal government remains a maze: the Interior Department oversees salmon while they are in fresh water but the Commerce Department takes over as soon as they swim into saltwater. Mr. Sunstein prefers to focus on his own office. But you expect a bigger picture from a book subtitled “The Future of Government”; perhaps even the odd mention of foreign countries that have done a better job than America of reducing complexity.

Messrs Newsom and Sunstein are part of a growing army of Democrats who recognise that their party needs to reinvent government. But compared with the vast challenges of reforming Congress and taming the public-sector unions, what they offer in their books is little more than well-intentioned tinkering.

Q: 38. Which of the following is NOT an issue that the Newsom and Sunstein have with the government?

(A) Government is top-down, while the private sector is bottom-up

(B) Government manuals are elaborate exercises in complexity

(C) Government will fix itself if people are given more powers

(D) Government departments have poorly designed roles

Ans: C

Solution:

‘Government will fix itself if people are given more powers’

‘Government is top-down…’ can be inferred from paragraph 2.

‘Government manuals are….’ can be inferred from paragraph 4

‘Government departments have….’ can be inferred from “the Interior Department oversees salmon while they are in fresh water but the Commerce Department takes over as soon as they swim into saltwater.” ‘Government will fix itself if ….’ is a recommendation that Newsom has for the government. It’s not a problem.

Q: 39. What does the author mean when he says in the first paragraph: Both present themselves as post-partisan?

(A) Newsom and Sunstein want people with diverse political affiliations to heed their call

(B) Newsom and Sunstein do not mention politics since it is a deeply partisan sphere

(C) Newsom and Sunstein boast their Democratic credentials to buff up the strength of their arguments

(D) Though Democrats, Newsom and Sunstein have a positive outlook towards other political affiliations

Ans: D

Solution:

Though Democrats, Newsom and Sunstein have a positive outlook towards other political affiliations.

Post-partisan means that N & S are willing to engage with people from other parties/ideologies. As evidence the author says: Mr Newsom strokes the tea party; Mr Sunstein boasts that David Cameron, Britain’s Conservative prime minister, is a fan of “Nudge”. But both argue that Barack Obama has done a lot to improve American government.

‘New son and Sunstein want people with….’ is not implied from the statement.

‘New son and Sunstein do not mention…’ and ‘New son and Sunstein boast their…’are wrong.

Q: 40. What is the authors view on the books of Newsom and Sunstein?

(A) Dismal and worth overlooking

(B) Noble but unlikely to effect change

(C) Impractical but potentially beneficial

(D) Ground breaking and worth immediate implementation

Ans: B

Solution:

Noble but unlikely to effect change.

Look at the last line of the passage: But compared with the vast challenges of reforming Congress and taming the public-sector unions, what they offer in their books is little more than well-intentioned tinkering.

The author says they are well-intentioned but a lot of work remains to be done before their ideas can be considered.

‘Dismal and worth overlooking’ and ‘Impractical but potentially beneficial’ are wrong because they are critical.

‘Ground breaking and worth immediate implementation’ is too positive.

Q: 41. Which of the following comes closest to the meaning of supplicant as used in the passage?

(A) Those who seek Favours

(B) Those who override others

(C) Those who know their rights

(D) Those who hate government

Ans: A

Solution:

The meaning of supplicant is one who requests assistance. Here it means people who look upon the government as a helping hand rather than an entity that they constitute.

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