Ranch and relaxation

When President Bush wakes up and smells the coffee Friday at his Prairie Chapel Ranch in Crawford, Texas, he will surpass Ronald Reagan as the vacationing-est chief executive in our nation’s history. While Reagan required eight years to establish his 335-day milestone, Bush has eclipsed “The Gipper” in less than five years. (Perhaps the record books should contain an asterisk since Bush has had to endure the protests of anti-war mom Cindy Sheehan and her growing entourage.) But compared to the average American, the bicycling Bush is clearly the Lance Armstrong of free time. Earning an average of 12 vacation days a year, Americans will leave 421 million vacation days unused, according to a survey by Harris Interactive for online travel site Expedia.com. In a Monster online poll, 24 percent of more than 23,000 respondents cited "too much work" as the reason they don’t use all their vacation days. About 47 percent said they do take all their vacation days, and 10 percent said they skip vacation days because they fear they might be laid off, not a major concern for our president after his “moment of accountability” last November. "Can you imagine your reaction if you were told in a job interview that you were expected to work eight days each year for free?" said Tom Williams, chairman and CEO of Universal Parks and Resorts in a press release. "Yet that’s what about half of the American workforce is doing. Ultimately, though, it’s not just about whether you’re taking full advantage of your compensation and benefits. It’s about whether you’re taking full advantage of life."

—Posted by Richard Williamson