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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

Obama serving corporate needs

Thomas Jefferson once said, “I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country.” Thomas Jefferson had the intellect to realize even in the 1700s the power corporations could yield against the interests of the American people.

Now the Obama administration’s decision to expand offshore oil drilling along the Atlantic Ocean and the eastern Gulf of Mexico shows the continuation of the United States becoming more and more a government dominated by corporate interests instead of serving the needs of ordinary citizens.

President Barrack Obama first buckled to the corporate interests of the health care companies. This new health care bill still leaves 23 million Americans uninsured and a study by the American Journal of Public Health estimates 180,000 people will have died by 2014 when the health care bill is implemented because they will not be able to afford it. Our current health care system wastes up to $800 billion per year.

This bill simply subsidizes private insurance companies who will receive at least $447 billion per year from the federal government with no provisions to contain skyrocketing health care costs including waste and fraud. Insurers gain more customers while their financial incentive still remains to find ways to deny care and overcharge for gross profits.

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After 25 years of banning offshore drilling, Obama has fallen prey to the corporate oil industry machine. Maybe he did too much listening to the “Drill, Baby, Drill” chants at the 2008 Republican National Convention.

The corporate-dominated Republican Party and their oil contributors would like the American people to think that drilling for more oil would put downward pressure on future gas prices. If you believe this, you have fallen to their propaganda bombardment.

The Earth Policy Institute has written, “The U.S. Department of Energy projects that opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and Outer Continental Shelf would reduce the price of gasoline by at most six cents—and this would not be seen for at least another decade.”

If opening up offshore drilling doesn’t really put much downward pressure on prices, especially considering it wouldn’t happen for a decade, why is this policy even being discussed, much less implemented?

It would sound more reasonable to push for electric cars and hybrids with better fuel standards, because these would have more of an impact in utilizing oil than drilling for more oil which wouldn’t do much. The oil that the United States could get out of drilling would be less than one percent of our current consumption.

There is something even worse than the economic reasons against offshore drilling. It’s called “mother nature.” The Houston Chronicle has found that there has been 595 oil spills across four state coastlines and nine million gallons spilled in the events after Hurricane Katrina and Rita. The environmental costs of offshore drilling are far more important than any economic costs that can be found.

These policies show how much power corporations have over regular citizens and voters. The American people deserve a government of, for and by the people. Instead we have gotten a government of the Exxons, for the General Motors and by the DuPonts.

Some people may think that Obama is simply being pragmatic on these political issues, and he has been, but he has not been able to step up to corporate interests when they are clearly against the will and interests of the people.

If citizens think the situation will get better in the future, I think they are living in a fantasy.

With the Supreme Court decision in recent months that has equated unlimited spending of money by corporations as “free speech” under the First Amendment, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, we can expect more politicians who will put their political contributors’ interests before their constituents’ interests.

Unless the American people get serious about reforming the amount of influence corporations have we can only expect to get more marginalized. We must find a way to end this corporate domination of our country we call the United States of America.

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