Patterico's Pontifications


I Need a Vacation

Filed under: Government — DRJ @ 9:52 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Actually I don’t need a vacation, but Congressman Alan Grayson (D-Florida] believes you and I should have at least a week of paid vacation each year. To make that happen, Politico reports Grayson will introduce vacation legislation next week in Congress:

“The bill would require companies with more than 100 employees to offer a week of paid vacation for both full-time and part-time employees after they’ve put in a year on the job. Three years after the effective date of the law, those same companies would be required to provide two weeks of paid vacation, and companies with 50 or more employees would have to provide one week.

The idea: More vacation will stimulate the economy through fewer sick days, better productivity and happier employees.”

Great idea! Except if it’s not, since a recent survey shows that the thought of taking a vacation in tough economic times stresses workers out. Slightly less than half of all Americans (49%) plan to take a summer vacation this year, compared to 63% in a survey two years ago.

There must be a law that will solve this problem.


52 Responses to “I Need a Vacation”

  1. Next, he’ll come up with a law that you have to spend at least one hour a week in the local mall. Did you see that picture of the North Carolina mall today ? People have stopped spending. The prices for cruises this summer is astonishing.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  2. Sorry, are astonishing.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  3. How many 100 employee companies will have 99 the payday after this goes into effect?

    highpockets (4d6731)

  4. Why stop at 1 week, and why limit this to companies of more than 50 or 100? I proclaim that 5 weeks paid vacation should be mandatory for any oppressed worker that earns an hourly wage or salary. Stick it to the man.

    JD (a0720d)

  5. How many companies do not already offer paid vacation?

    JD (a0720d)

  6. Since these are tough economic times, I think Obama should raise the minimum wage again, by several bucks an hour.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  7. Mike K,

    I saw that mall story. It’s sad and, in addition to the decline in sales, I think it said 100 malls could close this year.

    DRJ (2901e6)

  8. Simon Properties is a big mall / commercial real estate company, located nearby, and several friends work there. None of them seem to be in very good moods sine November. Coincidence?

    JD (a0720d)

  9. I think that Rep. Grayson should pay for everyone else’s vacation from his Congressional salary, and the funds allotted for his staff and offices.

    JD (a0720d)

  10. Hey, they know what is best for all of us, right? Since we don’t seem to care about the expertise or background of our leaders, are we surprised?

    Eric Blair (262ccd)

  11. EB – I am sure that Rep. Grayson has lots of experience in meeting a payroll, human resource allocation, salary and wage allotment, etc … It costs these clowns not one penny while creating incredible and dubious costs for employers. This kind of stuff should cause physical pain to the person that comes up with that idea.

    JD (a0720d)

  12. JD, in biology there is a twenty dollar word: homeostasis. It’s like your thermostat: when it is cold, turn on the heater. When it gets too warm, turn it off.

    Politicians don’t have anything like that. No decision they make impacts their own lives. In the old days, they could get voted out easily, but that is nearly impossible in many gerrymandered districts. So they can say nonsense and still get re-elected.

    Why do you think ACORN is so important to the DNC? Census is coming up, and that will help cement districts still further.

    I am with you 100%. Heck, we have legislators who cap off about science without ever taking more than one science class (if that). In fact, there is a recent Nobel Prize winning former VP and senator who fits that mold.

    And he is smarter than all of us.

    What he really is, is richer.

    Oh well.

    Eric Blair (262ccd)

  13. Is he still selling carbon credits to people?

    JD (a0720d)

  14. Oh, I forgot to mention. This reminds me of my solution to water pollution.

    Imagine there is a pulp plant that isn’t meeting emissions standards in their effluent water. My solution? The Board of Director’s only source of water for cooking, drinking, and bathing should be from directly downstream.

    And you know what would happen? The water would be superclean, and I will bet you money they would still turn a profit.

    Eric Blair (262ccd)

  15. Gore’s carbon credits? Probably in that lockbox of his.

    Eric Blair (262ccd)

  16. Goodnight, all. To most of you, it has been a pleasure. To the rest of you, not so much. Generally, you should know which group you fall into.

    JD (a0720d)


    To those of you in the latter group, this is what I picture while you are typing your drivel.

    JD (a0720d)

  18. If memory serves, France tried something similar to this earlier in the decade. In order to combat high unemployment, the French government cut back the workweek from 40 to 35 hours. The theory behind it is that to deal with this arbitrarily created 12.5% shortage of manpower-hours, businesses would simply hire an additional 12.5% new workers to fill in. Was it any surprise that the real world didn’t quite follow this prescription?

    JVW (eabe68)

  19. This has a troubling whiff of another politician attempting to model ourselves after Europe, where the government agencies make the decisions of vacation times, not the individual employers. Interesting to note the average vacation days per year according to Expedia,

    • France: 39 days
    • Germany: 27 days
    • Netherlands: 25 days
    • Great Britain: 23 days
    • Canada: 20 days
    • United States: 12 days

    Parlez-vous français ?

    Dana (aedf1d)

  20. Homeostasis ?!

    Why, how very homophobic of you. Consider yourself denounced.

    JD (a0720d)

  21. On the other hand, Dana, do you know why there are so many trees planted along the Champs-Élysées?

    So German soldiers can always march in the shade.

    Okay, France isn’t so bad. But I don’t want to be like France.

    On the other hand, they make over 80% of their electricity via nuclear. Guess what they do with the waste, while we dither over million year old salt mines in Nevada?

    Eric Blair (262ccd)

  22. Lloyd: What the hell are we doing here, Harry? We gotta get out of this town!
    Harry: Oh yeah, and go where? Where are we gonna go?
    Lloyd: I’ll tell you where. Someplace warm. A place where the beer flows like wine. Where beautiful women instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano. I’m talking about a little place called Aspen.
    Harry: Oh, I don’t know, Lloyd. The French are arseholes.

    JD (a0720d)

  23. JD, I thought you were going to ask if the word mean a “gay friendly home visiting” program for students?

    Eric Blair (262ccd)

  24. JD, that’s “swallows” to Capistrano.

    But, back to Grayson….
    It would be cheaper for the taxpayers to send all 535 members of Congress on an around the world cruise for 24 months upon their being sworn into office, without any electronic communication.
    If the boat sank, we could just call it “term limits”.

    AD - RtR/OS! (6a6a3b)

  25. Great. More government influence in the evil private sector. With all of the problems this country is facing, the largest tax increase in world history on the middle class and poor at our doorstep, Americans will need to work nearly non-stop just in order to survive. Productivity suffers just a wee bit when working Americans are paid to stay away from work. This idiot that thought this nonsense up should be tarred and feathered. And we wonder why we’re all screwed ?

    DaveinPhoenix (699f08)

  26. In Northern California this kind of garbage made it almost impossible to get hired for entry level work at most big companies. All the companies like Apple used employment agencies which forced low skill employees to go there. The workers get minimum wage, no security, and no benefits while the companies pay much more, but it is the only way the employers dare hire someone because the unemployment and workers Comp costs and fraud are impossible. We’re from the government and we’re here to help!

    Machinist (b7bcb0)

  27. Notice that Disney World is in this clown’s district.

    Soronel Haetir (a3f11b)

  28. If it’s someone who works a fair amount of overtime this mandatory vacation is going to cut their income for that week,

    They may resent having that done because someone smuggly thinks they know what’s best for them.

    It’s like the legislation requiring higher minimum payments on credit cards so people will pay them down faster.

    Lot’s of people don’t make just minimum payments unless they are strapped for cash

    In that case the Federal concern will just make things more difficult for them

    We are from the Government and we are here to help you and we do not have the slightest idea of how your life runs

    Priced Arugula at Whole Foods lately ?

    Dan Kauffman (ce5245)

  29. Another dumba** idea from a politician that has never run a business.
    Everyone of the Democrats solutions involves spending other peoples money.
    I was listening to Dennis Miller the other day and he pointed out that these people will tax burden us (producers of wealth) into the grave and then blame us for not paying more

    SteveG (c99c5c)

  30. I saw that mall story. It’s sad and, in addition to the decline in sales, I think it said 100 malls could close this year.

    While I agree it’s an unfortunate situation, I don’t think anyone can argue that the mall/retail expansion over the past ten years was close to insanity. You could call it a market correction to the expansive spending habits that were unsustainable.

    Dmac (1ddf7e)

  31. The idea: More vacation will stimulate the economy

    So, we’ll stimulate the economy by raising the payroll costs of small businesses and reducing their profits.

    Where’s TEH NARRATIVE to explain things when I need him?

    Steverino (69d941)

  32. There must be a law that will solve this problem.

    Why not put Soma in the drinking water? Stresses, gone.

    (Yes, Dmac, I read where we have the highest mall to shopper ratio in the world.)

    Patricia (2183bb)

  33. What bothers me about the mall situation is how they have become cookie cutter copies. The same stores with the same stuff no matter where you go. Even a little originality would help these places a lot.

    Soronel Haetir (a3f11b)

  34. “… raising the payroll costs of small businesses and reducing their profits…”

    Kind of difficult to balance the old Fed Budget when you are mandating the above, and reducing the amount of revenue flowing into the Federal coffers from the Corporate Income Tax.

    Do these people EVER think three steps out?
    Perhaps we need a qualification test for office that evaluates an office-seeker’s skill level at Chess?

    AD - RtR/OS! (cc479c)

  35. Do these people EVER think three steps out?

    AD, we all know the answer.

    Paul (creator of "Staunch Brayer") (14d6a1)

  36. Yes, unfortunately, you’re right.
    Too many are in the Bubba mold, and we know the extent of his forward thinking.

    AD - RtR/OS! (cc479c)

  37. Do these people EVER think three steps out?

    “Think?” These people don’t “Think”. They “Feel”. Much more equitable. How dare you suggest people “Think”. Racist!

    Horatio (55069c)

  38. The idiocy of the left is nicely manifested in a country like France, which I guess is sort of what the United States (or certainly the state of California) would be like today if the people in, say, the San Francisco Bay Area were in charge of government policymaking.

    The current finance minister of France, Christine Lagarde, was appointed by the current president of France, who beat his Socialist rival in an election a few years ago. But by not that large a margin—I understand polling data indicated that if most French voters under around the age of 50 had their way, France right now would be managed by an ultra-liberal, on top of years of ultra-leftism, meaning France would be sort of a mini-Hugo-Chavez-Venezuela.

    George F Will, August 2007:

    [Christine] Lagarde, 51, has a more informed affection for America than anyone who has ever risen so high in this country’s government. She was an exchange student at a Washington prep school and a Capitol Hill intern during the Nixon impeachment proceedings. As a partner in a large law firm based in Chicago, for several years she lived in, and loved, the most American city.

    Today, her challenge is defined by this fact: France’s welfare state, which has enabled many to have it “too easy,” is incompatible with the welfare of the state, and of society. The government, preoccupied with propitiating dependent groups that it wants to proliferate, is big but weak. And the welfare state weakens its clients. “The ethic of work,” Lagarde says, “has vanished.”

    Recently she threw the intelligentsia into a tizzy by saying: “France is a country that thinks. … Enough thinking, already. Roll up your sleeves.”

    Proving her point, intellectuals here theorize about why President Nicolas Sarkozy’s jogging is unprogressive: It involves “individualism,” “the cult of performance” and “management of the body,” whereas walking is “sensitive.”

    Rolling up one’s sleeves is, however, almost illegal because of the statutory 35-hour workweek. Lagarde’s response to this “stupid” (her word) law is “a law in favor of work,” one implementing a slogan that helped Sarkozy get elected in May: “Working more to earn more.” What a concept.

    Lagarde has undertaken to subvert the 35-hour restriction, which has been enforced by government agents snooping in companies’ parking lots for evidence of antisocial industriousness. Overtime work will be exempt from taxes and social insurance charges. For this, she has been abused in parliament by socialists — their invectives are as stale as their doctrines — who compare her to Marie Antoinette.

    Why not just repeal the law? Because, Lagarde says, the left considers this “an accrued right.” Think about that — a right to be forbidden the right to chose to do something elemental (work). French intellectuals are adept at thinking themselves into such tangles. “They,” Lagarde says, “want to bring people down to solidarity.” And “they regard work as alienation in the old Marxist understanding.”

    [Largarde] favors slashing inheritance taxes and preventing any person from paying more than 40 percent of income in total taxation. One index of her success would be decreased emigration by young college graduates, driven abroad by the fact that French unemployment has not been below 8 percent in 25 years.

    Mark (411533)

  39. Dmac — 5/23/2009 @ 8:24 am:

    I don’t think anyone can argue that the mall/retail expansion over the past ten years was close to insanity.

    That’s true. I blame easy access to credit cards. It will be interesting to see if the credit card companies expand or restrict credit under the new law. Expanding credit will help the economy but lenders will have to relax their lending practices to make that happen, encouraging defaults. Restricting credit would make it easier for lenders to establish better lending standards, but it will also contract the economy and make it harder for credit-addicted consumers to maintain their lifestyles.

    DRJ (2901e6)

  40. Kind of difficult to balance the old Fed Budget when you are mandating the above, and reducing the amount of revenue flowing into the Federal coffers from the Corporate Income Tax.

    AD, you’ve hit upon the meat of the matter. Assuming the corporations this affects are turning profits, they are paying roughly 35% in income tax on their profits.

    If they now must pay all of their employees for an extra week (essentially a forced 2% raise), then the employees will just get more time off, they won’t be making any more money. So, the money won’t be taxed at all.

    Parenthetically, I doubt very much that this plan will provide even minimal stimulation. I’d be willing to bet that most companies with 100+ employees are already offering vacation pay.

    Even if there is a large number of people who will now get an extra week’s pay for no work, this isn’t the way to stimulate the economy. What it does is lower productivity, as the same amount of money is being paid to do 2% less work.

    Steverino (69d941)

  41. Comment by Horatio — 5/23/2009 @ 10:05 am

    Deleriously Happy as charged!

    AD - RtR/OS! (cc479c)

  42. Comment by Steverino — 5/23/2009 @ 11:12 am

    One thing we have overlooked, is that this requirement will not affect the Congressman,
    or his buds, as they are not “Corporations” employing greater than 100 persons,
    so staffers on the Hill will remain as the overworked,
    and mostly underappreciated, serfs that they are, working on the Government Plantation –
    Hell, IIRC, they aren’t even subject to Min Wage Laws.

    AD - RtR/OS! (cc479c)

  43. Vote for me, and all of your dreams will come true!

    Amphipolis (42043b)

  44. The FMLA has certainly helped me as I’ve dealt with caring for my aging/sick/dying parents over the past 7 years. But that just allows me to use leave I’ve already accumulated, leave I earn as a part of my job contract.

    Will the vacation for part time workers be prorated? It should be.

    I just don’t see how this will affect the economy. Most people I know are taking staycations this year. They are locking the door and staying home. Some even unplug their land line for the week.

    Vivian Louise (c0f830)

  45. It will be interesting to see if the credit card companies expand or restrict credit under the new law

    DRJ, I think it’s a bad law, but it wouldn’t have been necessary in the first place if Bush had not enacted the revamped bankruptcy law that allowed the credit card companies to pursue more consumers after they’d declared insolvency. It basically let the card companies off the hook for letting so many previously – denied consumers get the cards, setting everyone up for a big reckoning when everything hit the fan. One bad law enacted = even worse law enacted in order to alleviate prior law’s consequences.

    Dmac (1ddf7e)

  46. It takes half the week to get into relaxation mode, and the other half is wasted because of stress from the upcoming return to work.

    People obviously need at least two weeks. Or three. Or a 35-hour work week.

    Actually, in the inner city most people don’t work at all.

    Amphipolis (42043b)

  47. DMAC – How did the 2005 BAPCPA let prior debtors get more credit?

    Amphipolis – I agree. At this point in my life, I need more time preparing for and recovering from a vacation than I need in vacation.

    DRJ (2901e6)

  48. I’m self employed and I find it takes at least 1/2 day per day gone to catch back up.
    So I run around coordinating things the week before I leave, then it takes me about three days into the vacation to calm down… then I get back, sign all the checks, pay all the bills, do the billing, solve all the problems.

    3 week vacation minimum or it is not worth it.
    A 1 week vacation is a net loss of three weeks productivity

    SteveG (c99c5c)

  49. DRJ, here’s a fairly unbiased summation of the law in question:

    I may have been in error by claiming that the law explicitly made easier credit available to folks who previously would not be eligible – but it appears to have taken the onus off the card companies to properly vet potential customers regarding their financial stability. When these same customers inevitably defaulted on their card debt, the companies could pursue them much more strenuously that was previously allowed.

    Dmac (1ddf7e)

  50. Dmac,

    I completely agree that the 2005 changes benefited credit card companies but they had been aggressively targeting bankruptcy debtors for years before the law changed. In fact, it’s not unusual to see credit card companies offer new credit to bankruptcy debtors as soon as they get their discharge, and sometimes sooner.

    DRJ (2901e6)

  51. Re the 2005 changes on bankruptcy and credit cards:
    Don’t forget the influence of the Sen from MBNA on this legislation – who now happens to be V-P.

    AD - RtR/OS! (cc479c)

  52. @Dana:

    What, precisely, is so “troubling” about a law that ensures that people get some trivial amount of PTO? Do you prefer the minimally-voluntary near-slavery of employers who provide little or no vacation time?


    I have known people who received as little as 1 PTO day (not “vacation day” or “sick day” – a PTO day combines both) — accrued over a period of 6 months, and forced to use it as a sick day.

    You were being sarcastic, but I agree, they should not stop with just 1 week.


    What evidence do you have that the minimum wage does anything useful? Most economists now believe it has little, if any effect at all, since:

    1) By-far the largest group of people earning minimum wage are people with no work experience – i.e., teenagers, who generally live with their parents anyway.

    2) As basic economic theory suggests, if producers in a market know that consumers have more money in their pockets — and they will if for no other reason than because of increased consumer demand — then prices in the market will rise to capture a greater share of that money (i.e., to react to the change in demand and shift the equilibrium to a higher price point on the supply-demand curve).

    Also, Mayor Daley (of Chicago) is as corrupt as IL governor Blagojevich.


    I like this law, hope it passes, and wish it would go farther in taking us closer to the European model of time off. Too bad his economic argument supporting it (vacation boosts the economy) is fairly weak, except for tourism-driven economies.

    ABC (a80c72)

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