Presidents and their vacations have long been a source of public scrutiny, and President Barack Obama is no exception. But as it turns out, Obama hasn’t taken nearly as many presidential vacation days as many of his recent predecessors. Still, at a whopping 138 days in six years, not to mention the ill timing of this latest getaway, the attention and criticism is widely deserved.
When you have an American getting beheaded by a terrorist group, riots in Ferguson, Missouri, and the rapid unraveling of all the work we did in Iraq, you’d think he could muster up more than a quick press conference before heading immediately back to the golf course.
Nevertheless, this isn’t a criticism of the current President, but of all Presidents. The people who hold this office have no right to take a vacation while they’re serving, especially 138 days in six years. That’s 23 days annually, or close to five full workweeks.
While you can say, yes, but they take their cabinet with them and they’re able to respond to a crisis on a moment’s notice, that’s not really the point.
Presidents take five (or more) weeks of vacation each year on our dime, and they’re doing the hardest job in the world. As a business owner of six years, I’m lucky to get one day off per month, I work between 70 and 80 hours per week, and I haven’t had a full-blown vacation since starting my business. What’s more, I’m convinced I could not have achieved the measure of success that I have with the amount of time off that President Obama or President Bush have taken during their terms.
Yes, I wanted it this way, but the people who run for President want to be the leaders of the free world. It’s about time they started living the way the rest of us do.
And to piggyback on the success argument mentioned above, vacation days more often than not hinder accomplishments and productivity. How many of you have gone back to work after a week off with the feeling that you’re drowning in a sea of makeup work? If you feel that way with your job, imagine how much worse it is when you’re trying to run an entire country.
But even if presidents stay apprised of key issues on their vacations, let’s talk about the fact that they travel to some of the most expensive places in the world and are forced to bring along an entourage of Secret Service and advisors.
Who pays for that? We do. And we’re forced to watch it through the press as we skimp and scrounge and save every little dime that we can to keep roofs over our heads, electricity running in our homes, food on our table, and enough in retirement to stay out of the nursing home when we’re too old to take care of ourselves.
Why should a president’s job have so many perks, especially when so little gets done? If these men were really fit to run our country, wouldn’t they want to stay so focused on the position they were elected to that they didn’t have time for golf or a trip to the ranch?
Why can’t a simple two or three days off per month be enough?
Until we start demanding more from our leaders, they will continue to push this envelope and enjoy perks the rest of us do not, while making us pay for it. Is that the direction you want your country going?
What do you think, readers? Am I being too harsh? Should presidents be allowed vacations?