Thursday, June 26, 2008

Work Them All to Death - from The President on Down

It's a sign of our ongoing national sickness that we're supposed to be shocked (shocked!) to learn that John McCain "doesn't work on weekends."
McCain’s habit of weekends off is recognized by his small band of beat reporters, who are pleased by their good fortune but nevertheless find it puzzling.

Yet for insiders who follow the campaign closely, his streak has become increasingly tough to overlook.

As with so many issues surrounding his bid, McCain’s schedule is a sensitive topic because it is unavoidably suffused with the looming question of his age.
What? Resting, on your day off?! That's for old people, man!

For decades, most productivity gains made by Americans have gone, not into increased leisure time, but into increased consumption. We work longer than previous generations, and take little time off. We are one of the few countries in the world without mandated vacation time (and the time we do get from private employers is well below the world average).

Instead of finding remedies, we turn it back on one another. When someone asks us how we're doing, we launch into a diatribe about how "busy" we are - a self-pitying conversation meant to elicit sympathy, but also to show off what good people we are for putting in such long hours for a corporate employer who could fire us at any moment. Instead of demanding that our politicians pass mandatory vacation legislation, we mock them for failing to put in 80-hour work-weeks.