Monday, August 6, 2012

how much vacation do you get?

Most Europeans get the whole month of August, plus more time around the major Christian holidays. I think the U.S. average of paid vacation time is only 10-13 days outside of federal holidays, which amounts to 2-3 five-day weeks.

Then there's Congress. So far in 2012, the Senate has been in session 101 days, the House 102. Over the past year and half the 112th Congress has passed 153 bills signed into law by the President. Now both houses have no business until September 10, when lawmakers will have to rush to accomplish much of anything before they adjourn for the elections.

In fact, Congress has scheduled only 13 more days of legislative work before that adjournment.

I'm not against a modest amount of time for congressional recesses, but the official name for the days off -- "district work period" -- is really a euphemism for campaigning and fundraising. The real job of lawmakers is not to "listen" to constituents (which they rarely do, except briefly before giving the voters something to listen to), but to oversee the government and pass laws. They've done a poor job of that so far this year.

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