The death of meritocracy

A growing chasm between reward and job performance threatens us all.

Do we still reward merit in this country? Bankers are the quintessential case on the nay; many of them have been given huge bonuses despite managing their firms so poorly as to require $700 billion in taxpayer bailouts. Locally, Gov. Tim Pawlenty has all but checked out in order to campaign for president. Political water-testing in Iowa and New Hampshire began months ago. He seems to think voters will be happy with cosmetic budget balancing through unilateral unallotments of questionable legality, even if it includes irresponsible cuts. On the contrary, PawlentyâÄôs fitness to be president should be judged by the welfare of Minnesotans and by his performance as governor âÄî not by the size of his campaign coffers. Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak seems equally disinterested in his current job. He barely bothered to campaign for mayor, instead focusing on the governorâÄôs seat. He filed gubernatorial campaign paperwork just two days after his re-election and had to repay over $25,000 in mayoral campaign money he used for gubernatorial campaign expenses. This University has also seen swelling salaries and employment among employees who arenâÄôt on the front lines of education, including 40 highly paid vice presidents and a 75 percent increase in the number of administrators since 1999, despite stable total enrollment. What happened to the American meritocracy? It is about time we start rewarding jobs well done and stopped rewarding public figures and institutions doing substandard or nonessential work.