We don’t envy former New York Governor Mario Cuomo: He’s been tapped to mediate the epic $300 million lawsuit that alleges the owners of the Mets illegally profited from Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. Manhattan Bankruptcy Court rep Burton Lifland said a mediator was chosen because “there are special issues presented in the [suit] that suggest referral to an appropriately experienced mediator.” A blackout is also a part of the deal: “no documents relating to the matter to be mediated shall be filed with the court,” explained Lifland.
[B]ad systems corrupt good individuals [by] enlisting our self-interest to convince us to betray our values. And make no mistake: America’s campaign finance system is a disaster. Most candidates can’t self-finance their campaigns, so they spend a disproportionate amount of time asking the rich to donate to their campaigns. Those donations are limited to $2,800 per individual, but the Supreme Court believes political spending is a protected form of free speech, so the rich can spend as much as they want on their own campaigns, or on Super PACs to push their political agendas.
Populists like Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and, in his complicated and contradictory ways, even Donald Trump, have risen in part because Americans loathe seeing their political system bought by the rich. Bloomberg isn’t so much a defense against those critiques as he is a confirmation of them. The populists say that politics is rigged, elections are bought by those with enough money to spend, modern liberalism is mere lipstick on perpetual corporatism. Bloomberg is here to test whether they’re right. He may pitch himself to centrists as an answer to the populists, but in leveraging his fortune to fight them, he offers the country the (hopefully) false choice between populism and oligarchy.