"I get 10 vacation days a year and I try to hold off taking them for as long as possible. This year I got to the third week in January." That was Pam Beesly, a character from NBC's The Office, but certainly we've all been there.
This close to the holidays, with temperatures as low as they are, it's pretty safe to say that your average business owner and employee want exactly the same thing: to avoid the outdoors at all costs or to somehow find themselves on a beach with access to drinks served with tiny umbrellas.
America's first family will be taking the latter approach. For the sixth year in a row, the Obamas will be spending Christmas and New Year's in the president's home state of Hawaii. Air Force One is expected to depart from chilly D.C. for Oahu on Friday and will return in 17 days.
As with previous years, the duration of the president's vacation, the necessity for beefed up security in the Kailua area, as well as the trip's expected costs, has given Obama's critics some tropical-themed fuel to add to their fire.
This spring, a report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research found that the U.S. is the only advanced ecomony in the world that doesn't have laws on the books for paid vacations and holidays. And in a year that has been so defined by personal health and well-being with the rollout of the Affordable Care Act, it isn't hard to see how time off can be a sensitive subject.
Last year, the country was facing the potential consequences of going over the fiscal cliff, necessitating the president's early homecoming. This year, bipartisan budget legislation is facing smoother sailing in the House and the Senate. But while the president's supporters and detractors don't agree on much, they can probably agree on this: an uninterrupted, 17-day long break would certainly be nice.
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