CNN: Americans 'work more than medieval peasants'

     Americans work hard for their money. Too hard, according to CNN. Even worse than even grovelling medieval peasants scratching the land to survive.


     That conclusion came from reporter Polly Labarre of CNN’s “In the Money.” In the June 9 broadcast, Labarre argued that Americans are working too much, using her “favorite comparison” to explain “we work more than medieval peasants used to work.”


     She didn’t provide a source, but she certainly had a solution to our “work culture” – more vacation, even government-mandated vacation. “The bigger problem is, we’re a country with no mandated paid vacation, whereas the European Union has a floor of 20 days.” She added that “vacation champs like France and Sweden offer 39, 40 paid days.”


     Although host Christine Romans urged that we “compare GDPs” to show which country has a better economy, Labarre didn’t back off. She switched her comparison then to Japan, which offers “25 days off on average.”


     The “peasant” claim has grown common in media outlets and has been circulated by the “Take Back Your Time” movement. At the group’s Web site, visitors can even buy a poster proclaiming peasants had it better.


     National Coordinator John de Graaf has been on a mission to reduce American work hours. In an interview with the Salt Lake Tribune in April 2007, he claimed that “for vacation to do its work ... (studies show) you usually need at least two weeks.”


     But neither de Graaf nor his organization provided a basis for the idea that peasants worked less than Americans do now.