Bernie Sanders is the most popular Senator according to public polling. In February, he unveiled a proposal which, if implemented, would increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour, which is something that this country desperately needs. This proposal failed due to a group of eight Senate Democrats (and all 50 Senate Republicans) voting against it. In case you were wondering, a $15 minimum wage is supported by the majority of the American people. This issue of the Congress not voting in the interests of the people is a very broad one, so let’s simply focus on one man who is a part of the problem. This one man is an absolutely perfect example of an elected official who serves no interests but his own.
That man is Joe Manchin, and he has been in politics since 1986. He is a Democrat, he is on the Senate Armed Services Committee, Veterans Affairs Committee, Appropriations Committee, and he is Chairman of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
Now, one would think that the Chairman of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources would be very transparent, especially when it comes to the issue of energy and natural resources. One would be wrong however, when it comes to Joe Manchin. He owns and profits massively from a stake that could be worth as much as $5,000,000 in his own son’s coal company. Knowing this, it isn’t very surprising that he claims to be “disturbed” by the idea of eliminating the use of fossil fuels.
Another example of his corruption is that he opposes universal healthcare, and at the same time, his daughter was, up until recently, the CEO of Mylan, a pharmaceutical company which under her, quintupled the price of epi-pens. In addition, he was also receiving generous campaign contributions from them, further incentivizing his opposition to universal healthcare.
The reason why this is such a big deal is that Joe Manchin has incredible leverage. The Senate is split 50/50, he is very conservative for a Democrat, and he isn’t unwilling to sink a bill if it doesn’t have exactly what he wants. If he is allowed to continue voting in the interests of his own bank account rather than in the interests of those who elected him in the first place, then that sets a very bad precedent for the integrity of our government. His corruption, along with the corruption of many others in power in this country needs to be called out, and stopped.
Ryan Burke is a sophomore at Sweet Home High School, and a former Co-Editor of the Panther Press Viewpoints Section. He is on the swim team, and likes to write about current news and events.