My friend Gerry writes in an e-mail this morning:
Tonight’s Daily Show “reported” that Geo. Bush has taken 423 vacation days in his 6 1/2 years in office. That’s 9 weeks’ vacation a year. Sure, he has a stressful job, what with screwing up the world and imposing his supposed Christian morals on the rest of us normal folk, but that’s a lot of brush clearing for a president, no? It sure beats the average American’s 2 weeks a year.
I saw that segment, too: Samantha Bee of Comedy Central’s nightly faux news show reported from what it called the “western White House”–Bush’s ranch in Crawford, Tex.–where the Prez has spent many of those vaca days. Here’s the vid:
So much of what the President does flies in the face of ordinary Americans’ practices that I suppose this shouldn’t surprise me. After all, we’re notorious shirkers of holidays; MSNBC contributor Rob Lovitt writes,
According to a study by Expedia.com, 51 million Americans — 35 percent of the adult work force — do not take all the vacation they earn. On average, says the study, we now give up three days of vacation per year. Not only that, but we get less vacation time to begin with than workers in every other country in the study.
But not if you run the country! This, folks, is a terrific reason to join the race for the White House in 2008. There’s still time–heck, a whole year! Just think of the perks this job brings: your very own chef; your very own Secret Service handle; your very own military. Think of the travel, the wardrobe, the freedom to call world leaders whatever nickname you deem fit (Shinzo Abe “Lincoln”! Stinky Sarkozy!).
Best of all, you get to take vacation any freakin’ time you want. Tired of the endless criticism from the press about your disastrous war policy? Take a break! Frustrated by Congress’s apparent inability to remake the nation’s laws as you wish? Off to the ranch! Sleepy? It’s holiday time!
In the U.S., the average number of paid vacation days after five years on the job is 13.6, according to the Economic Policy Institute; after 10, it’s 16.2. Of course, unlike every other developed nation, the U.S. mandates no paid vacation days; even workaholic Japan demands its employers give workers 10 paid days a year.
It’s nice to see the President taking the lead on this issue. Surely big employers will take his frequent vacationing as a hint and pony up more days for their employees. Studies have shown that vacations help recharge workers, increase their productivity and improve their quality of work. Works for Bush, doesn’t it?