It’s official: Your commute just got more expensive. The MTA board voted unanimously today to hike fares, raising the base fare from $2.50 to $2.75. The price of a monthly pass will bump from $112 to $116.50, and the one-way single-ride tickets will go up from $2.75 to $3.00. Weekly subway and bus passes are also going up. On the sort-of-good-news front, the bonus for loading your MTA card will increase from 5 percent to 11 percent (with at least $5.50). Fare hikes are probably also coming for Metro-North and LIRR commuter rails, along with toll increases, as the MTA has to fill a gaping $15 billion in its capital funding budget. These fare hikes will take effect in March, so you have a little time to brace yourself to pay more for the least enjoyable parts of your day.
[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.