Jenny EriksonIn a perfect world, we'd all be kabillionaires. We'd all go to work and do something beneficial to mankind, like cure AIDS or breed cats that stayed adorable little kittens forever. Our children would all be on the honor roll, we'd all have 17 pairs of Manolo Blahniks, and our personal chefs would create delicious low-fat meals for us.
That's fantasy. This is planet Earth. No one ever said life was fair, or easy, or even that you'd get what you deserved. Life has actually been pretty crappy for most people in history. Thankfully, today in America our biggest problems seem to be whether or not everyone should have to pay for doctors' medical expertise.
We Americans have pretty much been left alone to flourish, and flourish we have. We have gone from a land of immigrant misfits to the biggest, baddest nation on the planet, and no, I will not apologize for it. Somebody has to be the best, why not us?
Capitalism isn't perfect. It is flawed. But it does something that socialism doesn't do. It takes into account basic human nature. We are flawed. We all want the best for ourselves, whether that means an Ivy League education and the corner office, or 2.7 beautiful, perfectly mannered children with your gorgeous lawyer husband that fixes up the house on the weekends.
In America, if you're willing to work hard, make some sacrifices, and take a risk or two, there's a high probability you will achieve your goal. But you have to work for it. People don't just fall into primo jobs without working their way up the ladder, and children don't behave unless they are taught to behave.
There's no guarantee of everything coming up roses, but there's the chance it will. This is uniquely American. Until our country came around, the idea that the government was there to protect our God-given rights, not decide what they were, people stayed in the same station they were born into. There was no opportunity for them to pursue a different life like there has been in the United States. Abraham Lincoln, the man that held a divided nation together with intelligence and grace, was born in a log cabin in the backwoods of Illinois, for Pete's sake.
This genius system begins to break down when the government takes our money and wastes it. Of course we need things like roads and cops and super buff firemen. But do we need the New Jersey Turnpike Authority to waste $43 million on perks and bonuses?
According to reports,
The audit says that toll dollars From [sic] the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway were spent on items ranging from an employee bowling league to employee bonuses for working on birthdays and holidays.
It took place as tolls were being increased.
The biggest expense uncovered in the audit was $30 million in unjustified bonuses to employees and management in 2008 and 2009 without consideration of performance.
One example was paying employees overtime for removing snow and working holidays and then giving additional "snow removal bonuses" and "holiday bonuses."
In a perfect world, everyone would get a snow removal bonus. But this is reality, and in reality, you can't get something from nothing. The money for the government employees' bowling leagues and ridiculous bonuses came out of our pockets -- money that could've been spent on soccer uniforms or Manolos or fancy wine.
It's easy to say that everyone deserves the best in life. It's another thing to pay for someone else to have it.