Robert Reich's column in the Tribune recently proposes what sounds like a really nice idea: three-week mandatory minimum paid vacations for all Americans (I assume he means all Americans who actually work). Who can argue with this nice idea?
He knows that this is a "win-win-win." Or is it? I have a few problems with his idea, which is a perfect example of what economist F.A. Hayek termed "The Fatal Conceit." This term describes basically a small group of people, usually government types, who absolutely know what is best for all of the rest of us. It is the worst type of arrogance and often leads to tyranny. Why stop at three weeks? Why not a month or two?
The second problem is the word "mandatory." Where does he get off telling every individual in the country how much he or she can work? We have no choice in the matter? Or, more likely, he feels that us little people are too stupid to know what is good for us?
And you greedy, ignorant business owners don't even know how to treat your obviously vacation-starved employees. You should let the central planners, in their wisdom, help you manage your employees' morale and productivity. The elite always know better than the rest of us, just ask them.