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Free choice and time off

July 18, 2007

Re "Keeping up is getting us down," Opinion, July 15

If the U.S. government should guarantee 20 to 30 vacation days a year as Britain and France do, then why not make it 60? Wouldn't everyone enjoy one week off a month? The case that Americans work too hard rests on the fact that the average employee currently works 100 more hours a year than in the 1970s. Sure, this amounts to 2 1/2 weeks over a year, but it's also less than 30 minutes a day. How much time does the average American worker spend surfing the Internet at his employer's expense?

Individuals choose their occupations and balance their preferences for material consumption and leisure. Those who prefer material comforts to vacation time are free to pursue this lifestyle and vice versa. Perhaps we wouldn't have to work so hard if the government would stop eroding the value of our savings through inflation or taxing away our income to fund needless wars. If we were allowed the full fruits of our labor, we might actually have some time to enjoy them.

ERIC SPIESS

Los Angeles

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