A study carried out by the Center for Economic and Policy Research, based in the United States, shows that the United States is the only nation of 21 “rich countries” where employers are not required to provide paid vacation leave for their employees. What may come as a shock to North Americans, of the countries studied, five require employers to pay a little extra to help with vacation related expenses.
France and the United Kingdom top the list with 30 and 28 paid vacation days respectively.
The statistics reflect an attitude about the quality of life people expect in Europe vs. North America. Canada is far more advanced than the United States in this respect but well behind all the European nations surveyed. Canada has a minimum of 10 vacation days and 9 statutory holidays. All European nations require employers to provide 20 paid holidays per year.
This study hints at a much bigger and dangerous reality. It reflects an attitude of contempt of the working class that is most pronounced in the United States. This attitude of contempt is reflected in the policies of austerity that have been pushed by the IMF and the Federal Reserve and it runs through ruling circles across the globe (with a few exceptions). Even though austerity policies have been a colossal failure, they continue to push this cruel attack against the poor and the middle class. It is an attitude of contempt that runs so deep and it is so entrenched that they are biting off the hands that feed them.
Freedom and Security
The term 'freedom' is bandied about in the United States like a mantra. This is especially true of self described libertarians, the ideological force driving neo liberal economic policies. Their focus is entirely on freedom from the state; that is, freedom from taxes and its concomitant freedom from any type of social responsibility.
The problem with this peculiar and specific notion of freedom results in slavery and destitution for people that are on the lower end of the economic spectrum. With no or very little by way of a shrinking social safety net, employers are granted tremendous power. This reality is an open field for abuse of workers. If they don't behave the way the boss wants, they may be fired. The sheer horror of that reality when no other jobs exist and where very little in terms of public services exist results in a very real system of wage slavery.
On the other hand, they are not so eager to stop spending on the coercive state apparatus; the side of that apparatus that is related to 'national security'. This use of the term security is related only to security of the state and the corporate greedsters that control it. Food security, health care security, housing security is a whole other matter. Its all about the class that benefits, not the health of the whole nation/nations.
These Ayn Randists emphasize individualism and abhor social health or anything that enriches the commons. Their fear is that the expansion of the public sphere to the provision of services and goods to all citizens may curtail power for those on the top end to arbitrarily fire workers and compromise their freedom to not pay taxes. To the extent the public sphere is expanded, freedom and security for citizens is expanded.
This libertarian dream to privatize anything and everything has a malicious and selfish intent. The owners of wealth can control access to human needs and they may demand a price for whatever it is the individual needs. The logical extension of the neo liberal dream is not only enslavement but a return to a system of quasi-feudalism where the wealthy class not only own everything, they also control everything.
The United States has already traveled well down this barbaric and brutal road. Canada and Europe are not far behind.
In this climate of excessive wealth and power, the creeping private sphere is taking control of what certainly belong to the public domain. No human being should suffer and die due to lack of access to vital needs such as medicine, shelter, or food. This is a quiet and pernicious violence perpetrated against those most in need. A poor person in a nation with little by way of public services is certainly neither free nor secure. His counterpart on the other end of the spectrum is not only secure and free but has realized the dream of arbitrary power.
This notion of freedom is shoved down the throats of victims through media and through the quisling political whores that crave to meet at Bilderberg or, to even shake the hands of those that meet at Bilderberg. They emulate those that have the privilege of setting the agenda, legislation, and defining what is important and what is not.
On the other hand, many of those adversely affected by this so called freedom will fight and die for it as if its their own. But many of these folks have little choice; its either joining the army or working at McDonalds. As for those they are really fighting and dying for, the truly free; they are on vacation.