No Vacation Nation

(noon. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

All work and no play makes America a dull country. For some today, the Fourth of July and Labor Day will have to serve as their summer vacation, three days off. Besides honoring the more than one million Americans killed in battle and the people who serve today, Memorial Day also marks the unofficial first weekend of summer. For many a season no different from the rest, one survey shows only 10% of us will take a full two weeks off.

CBS Sunday Morning opened yesterday with the facts, nine vacation days per year for the average American. It was another of those “of the thirty-three richest nations” stats that the U.S.A. comes out on the wrong side of. The U.S. is the only developed nation with no legally required vacation for its workers. Why is America the only industrialized nation that thinks of vacation as a perk, not a right?

For many Americans waiting for an unemployment extension from Congress time off is not an issue but for some who are worried a little getaway might mean the person in the next cubicle getting ahead there’s an app for that, good government. Allen Grayson made the segment talking about creating a law here and claimed “Sixty-nine percent of middle class Americans say that their number one desire in life is more free time.”

The segment opens with John Schmitt. He is the author of “No Vacation Nation” and you can see his report in this pdf. from The Center for Economic Policy and Research. For a quicker study here is the CBS Sunday Morning transcript.

Or you can watch the entire video where they try to explain why “the rest of the world has a different recipe when it comes to vacation.”

Watch CBS News Videos Online

In the video Alen Grayson, the freshman Democrat from the vacation capital of the nation offers a thought.

“We lead the world in science. We lead the world in innovation. I don’t think we need to lead the world in people who can’t take a vacation.”

And John Schmitt has the closing line.

“The bottom line is in Europe, people have smaller cars, but much bigger vacations. And in the United States, we have bigger cars, but much smaller vacations.”

I thought the most interesting part was when they pointed out that we can’t blame the Puritan work ethic for our tortured relationship with vacation. Because in Jolly Old England, the source of our Puritan work ethic, workers are guaranteed 20 days off. It must be our corporate work ethic where Americans die sooner than most developed nations and our motto is “There’s more to life than living.”


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    • Eddie C on May 31, 2010 at 17:04


    The response so far shows how labor is doing in America and what progressives have come to expect from our elected officials.

    I think the diary is just one more example of who is really running things in a nation where a little time seems so European.  

  1. People with no free time can be kept politically unaware, and more easily swayed by propaganda.

    If all you do is work all the time, and you don’t know what’s true and what’s not, what is to prevent one from, say, listening to Rush Limbaugh and deciding everything he says is God’s Truth?  After all one can listen to the radio, in many professions, while working….

  2. …. matters.  I mean, look at the Senate.  11 days fr last thursday after passing the asian opium growers and ied manufacturer’s stimulus package, combined with the war supplemental and the little thing added about gitmo-  it’s hard werk.

    Having laptops now frees the domesticated undermucks here in this country, to be expected to work 2 to 4 hours a day, or more, on their vacations.

    this has been going on since Reagan inspired us all to sacrifice for the greater good of the uppermost classes.  we were trained to consider the job itself the bonus, with the massive layoffs everywhere, and it was understood that we didn’t really deserve the benefits but they had to give them to us.


    I can agree with this anymore.

    “We lead the world in science. We lead the world in innovation.

    There was once a day we did, but other nations, IMHO, have surpassed us.  There is a dumbing down process going on right now.

    • banger on June 1, 2010 at 16:03

    abnormal as we are. We have become a kind of exotic land with strange practices–we have disengaged from Western Civilization into something of a Disney universe with Ronald Reagan as the symbol rather than Mickey Mouse.

    Again, the reason for this situation is that we have no left-wing in America. Half-wits who claim to be progressives (but are not) all worship Obama the Center-Right President–go figure. Why? Out of fear and only fear (oh the Republicans are so bad, I’m so scared…etc.)

  4. So many things about the downslide of the entirety of American life seem to trace back to the 1980s.  I remember then, that the whole culture of work began to move and move rapidly … toward a more anti-human mindset.

    In my first job out of school, I remember that not only did I get vacation time, I was awarded a free company-paid vacation after one project. During business travel, you could stay at nice hotels, and have dinner at a nice restaurant.  And the company that I had worked for prided themselves as never having a “lay off”. The word was like poison…”we don’t do layoffs”.

    This was in the early 1980s, but after just a couple of years, that culture began to start to change there as well as everywhere else. Company pensions (guaranteed money) were taken away, and replaced by 401K accounts. People began to start bragging about working 50+ hour work weeks, and even 60 hour weeks. It now was just expected that everyone was required to be workacholics (slaves?), and subjugate all human needs, and outside life considerations.

    But it gets even worse..suddenly normal office rooms (with walls) were taken away, and workers would now be jammed into tiny CUBES — as if we were all some type of rats participating in a laboratory experiment.

    Somehow Industry had survived for many decades without these dehumanization changes, yet that’s where we are now.

    America is a slave Nation.

    • We are slaves to the Banking Oligarchary and War Establishment that run and operate the policy of the Country.
    • We are slaves to the massive, incomprehensible National Debt created by corrupt and tyrannical policies, and institutionalized looting of the wealth of American citizens.
    • We are also slaves to a new American Totalitarianism where our once cherished civil liberties have all been systematically stripped away from us, and anyone can be decreed “suspicious” and locked away with no formal charges, no trial, and no rights, simply if someone in “the government” doesn’t like something in your background — which the government’s erosion of all personal privacy assures now applies to everyone.

    Salvery didn’t go away.  It just became race neutral.


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