Let's get my position out of the way on this:
P1. Society as a whole should provide support to families, individuals and institutions that care for the mentally ill.
P2. Charities, private businesses and individuals most likely do not meet all the needs of caring for the mentally ill.
P3. The only other significant source of support for meeting the needs of the mentally ill is the government.
C1. The government should use some of their tax revenues to help support meeting the needs of caring for the mentally ill that is not provided by other sources.
The first two premises (P1 and P2) I think are reasonable. P3 is only true insofar as I can't think of other sources of support. The conclusion (C1) is a valid logical appeal, but the truth of the premises need to be proven.
Here is the syllogism from the news story
P1. The government should provide support to families, individuals and institutions that care for the mentally ill.
P2. The government is cutting benefits for the mentally ill.
C1. You should contact the government to tell them that they should not cut benefits for the mentally ill.
I'm not enough of an expert, but my emotions agree with C2 while the fiscally responsible side is confused. These are unanswered questions:
Why is government cutting support for the mentally ill?
These are my premises:
P1. State revenues have dropped relative to financial obligations
P2. Support for the mentally ill does not have the priority (due to political and legal reasons) as other financial obligations (such as pensions, etc) do.
P3. Cutting funding for emotionally charged issues like mental health care is a political move to gain acceptance for increasing government budgets and is a distraction from the need to cut less critical expenditures in a time of declining state revenues.
An implied syllogism from the news story:
P1. State revenues have dropped relative to financial obligations.
P2. The people don't want the state to cut spending on critical programs like mental health care.
C1. Therefore, the State should spend more than it has or raise taxes.
This syllogism is not valid, since it does not address the total State budget and what other items could be cut. My version of this logical argument is:
P1. There are many families, individuals and institutions that operate at the margin of their budget that would be significantly overburdened by a reduction in mental health benefits.
P2. There are other means of cost cutting that would not cause undo burden on an individual. Examples (to name a few):
- Cutting the salary ($117,000) for wealthy members of the California State Assembly.
- Cutting the retirement benefits provided by California to wealthy recipients.
- Cutting the budget of other programs.
- Wealthy Athletes, Hollywood stars, heirs/heiresses, etc.
- Using more of California's rich resources (untapped oil and natural gas).
C1. Therefore, we should look for specific areas of cost cutting and revenue generation instead of raising taxes in general to help meet the mental health needs in California.