Matt Holliday, Truman Day, and “Freakonomics”
This post actually has nothing to do with Matt Holliday, but it does regard holidays in general, and I thought adding him into the title of this entry would be good for the ‘ol Google hits. I love the Freakonomics franchise: books, blog, lectures, and all. But today I came across a post I thoroughly disagreed with, and one that also directly relates to a policy debate in Missouri.
Daniel Hamermesh, whose short posts on microeconomics-related subjects I really enjoy, writes that we need more national holidays because Americans deserve more time off of work, like Europeans. To this, I say: If you want more time off work, start your own business, hire employees who can do the work when you are out, and take as many — or as few — days off as you like. The idea that it is the role of the government to give us more time off just buys into the idea that the government should serve as mother-protector, and the rest of us as dependent children. (Yes, I do sometimes work on the national holidays that we have. At a prior job, I used to work on holidays regularly.)
This question applies here in Missouri because our state government has long taken off Truman’s birthday. That is one of the issues surrounding lesser national holidays (not naming any examples, lest I upset some overly profound interest group): In reality, legislating additional holidays would only lead to paid days off for government workers and bankers. Most of us would still have to work or use a vacation day if we wanted to take that day off, as well.
But back to Truman Day. It has been proposed that the state should cut its budget by eliminating Truman Day as a state holiday. It is my understanding that this would save money because some state workers are still required to work on that day (like prison guards and highway patrolmen), and they are currently paid time-and-a-half to do so. The Associated Press has reported that state employees will still get Truman Day off next week, no matter the final decision, but I support the effort to eliminate it as a state holiday. If state employees really want to take that day off, they can use some of their generous vacation time. Otherwise, go to work like the rest of us.
Thanks to Combest for the AP link.