8/02/2005 10:40:00 PM | Author: baloghblog
UPDATED and pushed up to top:

Bush to set record vacation for sitting president:
WACO, Tex., Aug. 2 -- President Bush is getting the kind of break most Americans can only dream of -- 33 days away from the office, loaded with vacation time.


Until now, probably no modern president was a more famous vacationer than Ronald Reagan, who loved spending time at his ranch in Santa Barbara, Calif. According to an Associated Press count, Reagan spent all or part of 335 days in Santa Barbara over his eight-year presidency -- a total that Bush will surpass this month in Crawford with 3 1/2 years left in his second term.
(emphasis mine)

What the fuck is it with these Repub presidents and their time off? It's hard work, that's all...

From Arianna:
Actually, I’m glad the president is able to get out of Washington and recharge his batteries so frequently… unlike most Americans, who only get an average of 12 days of vacation a year. Compare that with workers in Germany who get around four weeks off a year.
According to Scott McClellan, Bush will use part of his August vacation encouraging Americans to become more physically active. That’s great. But how about the president encouraging employers to give employees more time off -- or even just encourage them to take the vacation time they are owed -- so they can both get physically active and spend more time with their families?
Making matters worse, Americans don’t even use all the time off they have coming to them. A poll commissioned by Expedia found that U.S. workers will fail to use more than 421 million vacation days this year -- in no small part because they feel they have “too much work” and can’t afford the time away. Which is not to say that Americans couldn’t care less about taking vacations. Indeed, a poll found that, if given the choice, 39 percent of U.S. workers pick more time off instead of a $5,000 raise.
(emphasis mine)

I feel fortunate to have a job (first of all), and secondly a job that allows for adequate time off. My wife has found, however, that 1 week vaca seems to be the norm for her field in Upstate NY. 1 WEEK? That is ridiculous. What kind of life is that? Luckily her employers to date have been flexible and allowed her to take more time off - without pay.

With the unions breaking up. I fear that the balance of power will continue to swing towards the profit mongers and wall street and away from the American worker.

And before anyone posts about high unemployment in Europe, and how American's are so better off, etc. There are a lot of people out of work here as well, and some of those who work here work multiple jobs to make ends meet. These people get no time off. Krugman has more thoughts. Please read, I have been meaning to post on this since I read his op-ed this weekend.
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On 9:36 AM , Jeff McIntire-Strasburg said...

Thanks for posting the Krugman piece, Steve. We Americans are a bit narrow in our definition of "the good life..."

On 10:45 AM , Ianqui said...

I think the important point here is that if you don't have any time to enjoy your salary, then the extra $5000 doesn't mean very much.

On 4:41 PM , baloghblog said...

I totally agree. I think that there is too much focus on what your salary is, versus what your benefits are, although I think that that is slowly changing as more people in "my" generation enter the management positions. We've seen that the excesses of the 80-90's do not necessarily lead to happiness. A bigger home, a faster car, and more $ seems to end up with more debt, less free time and more stress.

On 6:15 PM , Kate West said...

I was watching a show the other day in which women from various countries talked about their quality of life. I was absolutely amazed at how much vacation people in other countries get. Some countries, like France, mandate that workers get a certain number of weeks off per year (I think it's 5 weeks in France), as well as a shorter number of hours in a full-time work week. Almost all the people who were interviewed said they saw Americans as having to work too hard and not having enough time to enjoy themselves and enjoy life. That is so true. My husband works in a management position and gets 2 weeks of vacation per year. If he's sick, it comes out of his vacation time as he gets no sick leave. When he's off, we never have money to go anywhere because he doesn't make enough even though he works very hard (45-50 hours per week). It's very depressing and we have been considering moving to another country if we can't change the situation in the near future.

On 9:54 AM , Big Gav said...

Good post (and I like the new look).

I saw one article this week (can't remember where I'm afraid) which said that if the US measured unemployment in the same fashion as a lot of European countries then your unemployment rate would be around 8.5%, so I wouldn't worry about the "Europe has higher unemployment" argument anyway.

Most people in the UK get 5 weeks a year, Germany is 6 weeks I think and a lot of people in Franceget 8 weeks.

Personally I always take as many holidays as a I can and for a long time I averaged 12 weeks off per year (no longer alas - now its down to about 4) - one benefit of being a consultant. It keeps you fresh and motivated and that always makes a big difference in your work performance - people who don't take holidays often end up burnt out and just grind away at jobs that really need a bit of creativity.