Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Political Issues of the 2012 Election



“One not only has a legal, but a moral responsibility to obey just law. Conversely, one has a moral obligation to disobey unjust laws.” – MLK, Jr.

Today our generation is faced with moral dilemmas regarding just and unjust laws on the spectrum of all human life issues.

Life, defined by, is “the existence of an individual human being or animal.” At the moment of fertilization, a new human life comes into existence. A new life with a unique set of DNA and fingerprints. At just under four weeks, this new life has a beating heart that we are able to hear through sonogram technology. At around six weeks, we are able to detect brain waves and by 12 weeks, the baby has already developed everything necessary for their development. After fertilization, this life is continually growing and developing; anything done to intentionally end this life, like induced abortion, is essentially killing this life.

According to groups such as Students for the Right to Life, at least 3,000 induced abortions are performed on women of all age and race in the United States everyday and more than 53 million induced abortions have happened since the legalization of Roe V Wade in 1973.

The majority of these abortions take place within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, more specifically in the first 6 weeks. It is during these stages of development, that growth is most vital to the human life. If a new human life is not growing and developing, then what is the necessity of abortion?

Students for the Right to Life value both the life of the mother and her unborn child. The group can sometimes be labeled as anti-woman, but to make things clear, Student for the Right to Life is very pro woman. The group works with local Crisis Pregnancy Centers to help women choose life. These centers offer help and support through and after pregnancy.

Students for the Right to Life promotes Natural Family Planning and Fertility Awareness so that women can work with their bodies to track their fertility rather than working against their feminine bodies and suppressing their fertility with contraceptive use.

Students for the Right to Life believe that women deserve better than abortion and efforts concentrate on giving them better resources.

Pro -Choice

Privacy is protected under the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. This includes a woman’s right to decide whether or not to have an abortion.

There are a variety of reasons that may lead a woman to choose abortion, ranging from the dramatic effect a child may bring to her life to concerns about her health or financial well being. No matter the motivation to have an abortion, the government must fulfill its duty to protect women’s privacy.

 Before the court’s decision in Roe v. Wade, back-alley abortions were typically performed under heinous circumstances outside the medical system. Often, these types of abortions were self-induced or performed by non-medical practitioners, and sometimes resulted in fatal consequences. Without the protection of the law, women’s health was at risk.

Although Roe v. Wade legalized abortion, state legislators, pressured by interest groups, have passed regulations restricting the accessibility to an abortion. This results in many illegal practices to this day. Among the most famous is the 1988 case which involved the death of Rebecca “Becky” Bell.

Bell, like some American teenagers, became pregnant at the age of 17 and the parental consent laws of her home state, Indiana, prevented her from having an abortion due to her young age. She sought help elsewhere and became a victim of an unsafe abortion.

Indiana, and many other states, has created laws that require parental consent or a formal notification to parents of underage women seeking an abortion. These policies led  Bell to seek options that ultimately resulted in her death. Her parents have since become outspoken opponents of laws that require parental consent.

In Texas, policies have been implemented to limit a woman from proceeding with an abortion. Texas Law requires a doctor to inform a woman about potential consequences and provide a sonogram 24 hours before an abortion. This has a drastic psychological impact on women and is being justified as “a woman’s right to know.”

Each person is different and what some women may decide to do with their pregnancy may not be the best alternative for every woman. Government can only protect citizens’ rights. It is a woman’s right to decide if abortion is the right choice for her or not.

Student Loans

Private Loans

Libertarians and economics majors look at government financial aid for students just like any other public policy. In this case, the public policy involves a service market: education. Like all markets, the education market is comprised of supply and demand. It is the supply and demand of any good or service that determines its price.

One common argument for more subsidized student loans argues students will not be able to pay off their debts. According to the Library of Economics and Liberty, education must be seen as an investment that students will be able to pay off with the more prestigious jobs that come with higher education.

The ability to borrow from private lenders will offer competitive interest rates that students can easily pay off. Education yields steady returns and lenders can be confident of repayment, allowing them to lend at lower interest rates.

There are two ways to lower the price and two ways to raise the price. Decreasing demand or increasing supply will lower the price; consequently, increasing demand or decreasing supply will raise the price. What does this educational policy do in terms of supply and demand?

Because this policy affects students, who are consumers of educational services, it affects demand because more students are given the ability to consume the service. Basic economics tells us that when you hold things equal and increase demand, prices will rise. Sure, you might be increasing the amount of money consumers hold, but that means nothing if the prices are rising.

Not only does this make sense in theory, but the numbers support the claim. According to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics, prices for public undergraduate universities rose 42 percent between 2000 and 2001 as well as  2010 and 2011 after adjusting for inflation. Something is driving these prices up, and most economists agree that financial aid plays a huge role in this by driving up demand to artificially high levels.

For those who support government financial aid, it is unjustifiable to drive up prices 42 percent in 10 years. Americans should get quality college education, but government funded policies just don’t work; it’s time to try something different. Student financial aid will only continue to raise the price of university education.

Subsidized Loans

Though the U.S. government has been spending more money than it can afford and needs to find places to cut back, the education system is not a place we can afford to be making those cuts. The education of many students is covered in part by federal grants, without which many students would be in a lot more debt. Students who do not qualify for a substantial amount of loan money are even more dependent on government assistance for their education.

We need to regulate college loans so that people who have paid $50,000 on a $40,000 loan do not owe thousands more in unpaid interest.

The recent government takeover of college lo
ans promises to help fix some of these problems, and with the right regulation, certainly that possibility remains.

As many industries require a degree before even considering an applicant; therefor demand for college degrees has never been higher. The Bachelor’s degree has become the new high school diploma, except now, students are left paying a big chunk of the bill.

The bottom line is that the availability of higher education affects a person’s ability to advance in their socio-economic class. In a recent TED talk, Richard Wilkerson explained how social mobility is affected by economic inequality. More economically equal nations such as Japan and Denmark have higher life expectancies, lower crime and mental illness rates, as well as more social mobility, than less equal nations like the U.S. He also determined that it doesn’t matter whether this equality is achieved through actual income similarity like Japan or through redistribution of wealth like Denmark.

So while more government subsidization or even the socialization of college student loans may seem bad to some Americans, it should increase social mobility and help decrease economic inequality, which, Wilkerson demonstrated is beneficial to citizens at both ends of the economic spectrum. Science seems to support philosopher John Donne’s conclusion: No man is an island. Let us not allow our students to become cast-aways.



Offshore drilling is vital to our country’s energy security. Take a drive at night; notice how the street lamps illuminate the sky, while families are tucked inside their warm homes. Then notice all the parked vehicles, on average two per household. It would be difficult to maintain the lifestyle Americans are accustomed to using only renewable energy. 

Renewable energy is great in theory, but how much land would we have to destroy in order to effectively produce energy to compensate for not using fossil fuels? Solar panels would have to cover 920 acres to produce 150 megawatts; essentially, taking 6.133 acres to make one megawatt. In contrast, a cycle natural gas combustion turban covers 12 acres and produces 135 megawatts; therefore, it only takes .08 acres to produce one megawatt.   As a result, for every one acre needed for fossil fuel energy, 76.6 acres would be required for solar energy.  Because of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, Americans have given a negative stigma to offshore drilling. The National Academy of Sciences found that tankers carrying oil from other countries to the U.S. account for four times as much spillage as offshore platforms, countries on whom we depend for oil. To stop drilling thus puts the environment in more jeopardy, not less. While other countries have adopted the “Drill, baby drill” attitude, America sits back and relies on foreign oil.

A study commissioned by the American Petroleum Institute found that permitting access to U.S. oil could produce $4 trillion in state and federal revenue. According to the Congressional Budget Office, “that’s enough money to supply veterans’ benefits for 83 years, cover the cost of Social Security and Medicare payments for nearly three years and cover the cost of the entire defense budget for nearly six years.”

Lastly, we must reduce our dependence on foreign nations. Lt. Col. Joseph E. Czarnik noted that “foreign nations have used oil as an effective economic weapon in the past and postulates that oil-producing nations’ ability to halt exports could be an effective coercive measure against America in the future.”

A growth in domestic resources could protect America from imminent conflict; as a result, foreign countries would not have oil to hold over our heads or use as a negotiating tool.

Clean Energy

Texans see them everywhere, on signs, billboards and bumper stickers, all repeating the same slogans: “Drill Baby Drill” or “Support Coal Plants.” If you do not see it in person, it is said by many politicians, who repeatedly address the importance of supporting coal plants and expanding offshore drilling in the gulf.

This is an incredibly frustrating mentality shared by too many people because, now more than ever, it is crucial that the United States move away from these pollutant fossil fuels and switch to clean renewable energy.

Less than two years ago, the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig deposited 206 million gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Influential environmental protection groups such as Greenpeace or the Sierra Club spoke of the damaging effects that hydraulic fracking for natural gas has on the local ground water supplies. Fracking taints groundwater with poisonous chemicals and “clean coal” pollutes the air by burning carbon monoxide. These are the clearest instances of fossil fuel’s impact on our environment and our world, a corrosive and destructive impact that is slowly but surely damaging our environment and contributing to the much larger problem that is global climate change.

This use of unsustainable fossil fuels is made more detrimental by the fact that all these fossil fuel based energies are rooted in a limited resource. As the Wall Street Journal said in a March article, coal and oil will run out as a viable energy resource within 75 to 100 years. This is why it is imperative that we need to remove the aversion that the U.S. seems to have towards investing in new energy solutions.

Huge strides are being made practically every year in the production of solar cells and wind turbines, not only in terms of availability but how much energy they can produce as well. These methods of producing clean energy are also becoming more available and efficient. In fact, wind increased to 13 percent of total renewable energy usage, from the 11 percent it was in 2010.

Now is the time to step away from the burden of oil and other fossil fuels and become the energy independent country that sustains the American lifestyle.

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