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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

OLIVER: EU legislation denotes political shortcomings in US

eric oliverWe elect lawmakers in the United States to represent our needs and fight for what we want. But after seeing what happened in Europe this week, I’m not so sure it’s working anymore.

The European Union passed two controversial measures in a move I find incredibly bold. Instead of favoring big business, the governing body choose to side with the consumers by abolishing all roaming charges.

I’m sure everyone has heard a story of an ill-advised friend who took his or her cell phone abroad and came back with a phone bill equivalent to an international plane ticket. Well, Europeans soon won’t need to worry about roaming charges in the European Union because, by 2015, carriers will no longer be able to charge additional fees.

If the entire EU can adopt that measure, why can’t the United States? The impact is undeniable. We shouldn’t have to pay more for roaming data when our cell phone plan already costs so much.

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The only reason we can’t roll it out now is because the telecommunications lobby is too strong and too greedy. It’s the American capitalist’s dream: more, more, MORE.

In an even greater surprise, the EU decided to protect net neutrality and not force websites such as Netflix or Google for the amount of data they transmit through their sites. All data usage will be anonymous, and sites that use more bandwidth will not be charged extra money, effectively cutting down the money tree growing in the offices of European broadband providers.

Major telecommunications companies wrote to the EU condemning the bill. This shows broadband providers and cell phone companies are in a position with far too much power. What the EU did for its citizens is nothing short of tremendous, and to uphold its decision is possibly even more amazing.

Legislation that sides with the consumer shouldn’t make me scratch my head, but it does. I’m shocked these measures passed, and I can’t believe that they are for the entire EU, not just select countries.

But why can’t that happen in here? We elect our legislators with the idea they will represent us and our needs. I certainly don’t want to pay roaming charges in this country or when I’m abroad, and the net neutrality bill discussion is a joke. We shouldn’t be forced to pay more for the Internet we use.

The more I read into it, the more I realize American politics is a joke, and we, the citizens, are the punchline.

You can almost compare it to high school. Let me take you back to the lunchroom. Picture those awful collapsible tables, trash everywhere, everyone screaming to be heard over the constant chatter. Pretty great, right? Now add more people. Find the geekiest kids at lunch and sit down. That’s where we are as citizens.

Then find the rich, cool kids, I’m sure you remember them. They’re big business. They have money to spend and their word becomes law.

Then there are your best friends, those who make up the legislative branch. You want them to come sit with you, but they have an invite to sit with the cool kids today. They’re taken in, love the experience and soon they forget about you, geek – I mean, average citizen.

But enough is enough. I want to be the geek who takes back my best friends from the cool kids’ table. I want to see our government officials work alongside the consumers, not the big businesses they work for now.

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