The U.S. Department of Education was not happy with the way Virginia Tech handled the brutal 2007 shooting that occurred on its campus, and on Tuesday, it fined the school $55,000, the maximum amount allowable under federal law. Cho Seung-Hui began his killing spree by shooting two students at around 7:15 a.m. on the morning of April 16. He went on to kill an additional 30 students and faculty members before turning the gun on himself. The Department of Education charged that Virginia Tech failed to alert the campus immediately after the first two students were shot, and instead waited almost two full hours to make the attack known. The school has said it will appeal the fines.
[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.