I'm betting you're not reading this while lolling on the beach

Before the work ethic was hijacked by the overwork ethic, there was a consensus in this country that work was a means, not an end, to more important goals. In 1910, President William Howard Taft proposed a two- to three-month vacation for American workers. In 1932, both the Democratic and Republican platforms called for shorter working hours, which averaged 49 a week in the 1920s. The Department of Labor issued a report in 1936 that found the lack of a national law on vacations shameful when 30 other nations had one, and recommended legislation. But it never happened. This was the fork in the road where the United States and Europe, which then had a similar amount of vacation time, parted ways.

Europe chose the route of legal, protected vacations, while we went the other -- no statutory protection and voluntary paid leave. Now we are the only industrialized nation with no minimum paid-leave law.
Joe Robinson in the Washington Post. "After writing about our vacation deficit disorder as a journalist, I decided three years ago to start a grass-roots campaign to lobby for a law mandating a minimum of three weeks of paid leave."
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