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In this problem, the percent is the unknown quantity! Looking at this problem, it is clear that 8 is the part and 20 is the whole.
We need to figure out how to find this unknown quantity. Similarly, in the statement, "One number is some percent of another number.", the phrase "one number" represents the part and "another number" represents the whole.
You should be aware of this two-facedness, and should listen to their arguments while carrying this fact in the back of your head. Each interpretation above is correct — as far as it goes — but you should always wonder what the actual numbers are, what the speaker's motivations are, and whether you have enough information to come to your own independent conclusions.
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However, of all welfare recipients, only 50% are "white" (you would expect 75% to be "white") and 35% are "black" (you would expect only 12% to be).
In other words, "blacks" are three times more likely to be on welfare than they ought to be, if you just look at their percentage of the population.
One of their techniques is to argue for more benefits for "their" group, while claiming that "their" group shouldn't be blamed for the problem.
How can they do this, when they're using the same statistics each time?
I would posit that any family on welfare is a tragedy, and that the legal structure of the economy should be changed to allow more opportunities for advancement.
But others with a vested interest in the status quo just squabble over how the present system, and thus their power base, should be expanded.