What does it mean when British & French govts work harder than America’s?
August 11th, 2011
04:12 PM ET

What does it mean when British & French govts work harder than America’s?

Cabinet members leave 10 Downing Street this morning following British PM David Cameron's meeting to discuss the unrest that has spread across the UK. Parliament was recalled following four days of rioting. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

As the global economy hangs on by a thread, maybe our leaders should take some notes from the British and the French.

In England - Prime Minister David Cameron cut his vacation short and called Parliament back from theirs to hold a special session today. They're dealing with the worst rioting and violence that country has seen in decades; and there's no doubt economic instability and high unemployment are partly to blame.

Meanwhile French President Nicolas Sarkozy returned to Paris from the Riviera to deal with France's own financial crisis. Bank shares are plunging there; and he's pledged drastic austerity measures. He's even recalled the French parliament from their vacation to vote on a balanced budget amendment to their constitution.

Hop over the pond here to the U.S. ... where our Congress is on vacation for five weeks; and President Obama is headed off on his own vacation to Martha's Vineyard.

The only thing of any consequence that Congress has done in the last month or so was to fail to stave off the first credit downgrade in our history. And once they finished that - they couldn't get out of town fast enough. No wonder they have a measly approval rating of 14%.

Meanwhile President Obama's own approval ratings are at or very near all-time lows as he gets ready to try to convince the country he deserves a second term. The White House was out defending Mr. Obama of course, saying presidents are never really on vacation and that they take their work with them.

Nonetheless it's all about appearances. Our president and Congress choose to go on vacation while our country struggles under an economy perhaps lurching toward another recession and a debt crisis no one has been very serious about solving.

How dare the people think the government is disconnected from reality.

Here’s my question to you: What does it mean when the British and especially the French governments work harder than America's?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 5pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

Filed under: France • Government • United Kingdom • United States
soundoff (232 Responses)
  1. Gerry

    It means the American work ethic has gone down the tubes.

    Ash Fork, Az

    August 11, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
  2. Ed from California

    I don't believe that any worker in the world can outperform an American worker (if the American had a job that is. Three cheers for deregulation, and outsourcing).
    European workers are, "happy in their work", that's for sure. Why? their jobs haven't been outsourced. They have better vacations and benefits than us, that's deemed mandatory by their... awful governments. It seems that European leaders are patriotic towards their own citizens.And they look after them, very well indeed. They don't hate them as much as The Baggers/Kochplicans hate all of us...poor folks!

    August 11, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
  3. John in Alabama

    Jack: The French work a 32 hour work week at their main job, but work another 20 to 40 hours at another job for which they pay no income taxes. I have a friend in Paris who works as an account for 32 hours, and a bakery for 18 to 30 extrta hours a week. Another words there is the job, and then there is the Frenchman's passion. The French work more hours because they want to do it. It also keeps immigrants on a work visa from getting a job. The French are very much the snob or bigot. The British just have stiff upper lip when it comes to work.

    August 11, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
  4. James C

    It only means that we're lagging behind as usual. Thanks to our idiots in the Congress for a Deal that no one wanted in the first place.

    August 11, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
  5. pat in michigan

    I don't think for one minute they do! We used to work at manufacturing but greed drove our corporations to hire slave labor in third world countries to undercut unions.
    I spent 30 years chasing the chain in an auto plant.I busted my butt. the unions didn't let me be lazy ,they protected me from getting killed by a supervisor who wanted to cut corners at the expense of my safety.
    Americans aren't lazy. we want to work. would the congress and Wall street please stop blocking our economy so we can get back to work.

    August 11, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
  6. Peg from NY

    It means we have become a Nation of lazy, shiftless, snotty, entitled
    brats with no idea of the real value of hard work. How embarrassing.

    August 11, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
  7. David in Mississippi

    To me it means don't believe everything you read. I guess whomever wrote this has a much easier job than I do. Then again Americans get more done because we also work smarter. Give us our jobs back and the world will see that what made us great still exists here.

    August 11, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
  8. Brad, Portland, OR

    You mean the British and French LEADERS, not the people. The American people work harder than almost anyone else on Earth.

    August 11, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
  9. AJ Miller Tobyhanna PA

    I haven't had a vacation since 2005,,,,,and was working two jobs for the last few years to make ends meet as a single mom, until I lost the full-time one.....we, the people, need to remember that Congress works for us! Could you imagine if the local governments closed for 5 weeks in the summer? Get back to work Congress! We, the people, need to put Congress up for a performance and salary review!!!

    August 11, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
  10. Rich McKinney, Texas

    The distinct difference is that when America's congress meets they can not agree on anything beneficial to the country. Personally i think that our congress being gone for 5 weeks is saving us trillions. With them on vacation they can do no more harm. The same with Obama. I would be happy if they would all just finish out their terms that way. Jack it is time to retool and re-fool in Washington. What we currently have is not working. We need a change of leadership all the way around.

    August 11, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
  11. walt giblin sarasota fl

    Get ALL of them back to the capitol and lock them inside with porta-potties and slots for food and drink. Then for each 5-10 billion in TAX
    agreements let one republican member out. Then for each 5-10 billion
    in TAX CUT expirations agreeded to let one democrat out..Last if a major
    TAX REFORM (tax code) agreeded to and confirmed.Let ALL of them
    out to face their voters back home for the next elections, most won't be
    around after the past months worth of disgrace...

    August 11, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
  12. rheapdx1

    it means that both countries take their issues seriously, while the US does its version of Nero playing the violin as the country goes down for the count.

    August 11, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
  13. AB

    This means that the British and French take the business of government alot more seriously than Americans do. Unlike Americans, the British and French care about the public welfare of their countries and put the pubic interest first.

    August 11, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
  14. Russ in PA

    It's a darn hard job driving the US into a ditch, don't you know. Takes lots of pandering and money to ensure that you're a "public servant" for life. Takes lots of nerve to forsake the rule of law, and your sworn responsibilities. Why, it's so hard, I'm surprised many politicians show up in DC at all, but then, of course, they wouldn't be able to meddle in the affairs of others.

    Perhaps this is one time the US could learn from Germany: if memory serves, running for office is done in a six-week window, and they all get the same stipend from the government for running for office. Nothing from constituents – other than the government hand-out, of course.

    Ron Paul in 2012...

    August 11, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
  15. David in Tampa

    Jack, our government is working exactly as designed by our founding fathers. Say nothing of consequence, always blame the other guy's incompetency while never acknowledging your own, screw those less fortunate as much as possible, and laugh all the way to the bank with the rewards from your benefactors, and when things turn ugly get the hell out of Dodge until the heat dies down. God forbid these clowns would act in the best interests of the general populace by biting the hands that feed them.

    August 11, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
  16. Richard, in Kansas

    In all fairness what can President Obama do? Until the republicans decide that competent governance trumps ideology calling congress back would only result in five more weeks of gridlock and political sniping. Maybe the British and French systems are just less dysfunctional than ours.

    August 11, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
  17. Dave

    The European's are responding to their crisis the same way we did in 2008, when we were at the bring of a depression. Our president and lawmakers, realized the gravity of the crisis, and responded. Our credit downgrade is nowhere near the magnitude of the European crisis.We did our part when it was time to save the world. Now it's their turn.

    August 11, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
  18. Dan in Aluququerque

    Actually, the British are working because young hoodlums are burning their cities,not because of major political disasgreements. And, the French are going through what the US just went through unsuccessfully concerning downgrade. This is probably as good a time as any for vacations (although 5 weeks for Congress is too much), because we are in a period of limbo and stalemate. Nothing will be done until the so-called "super committee" decides if they are going to respect the American majority and do spending cuts as well as significant tax revenue from restoring the taxes that Bush cut. If trhere is no change, the Rlight will learn that mandatory cuts will seriously affect jobs and their own special interests.

    August 11, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
  19. Bizz, Quarryville Pennsylvania

    The French and the British governments realize they have a problem that needs to be taken care of right away. It also means that either our gov't doesn't realize the extent of our problem or they do not care. The only thing it seems that the Congress is willing to work 100% at is politics and getting elected. I think it is a disgrace when our country is in such a mess our Congress takes off on a five week vacation. They need to lose some of their benefits including vacation like they the average working man has been forced to give up in order to keep his job. Then maybe they might get it.

    August 11, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
  20. Jane in CA

    The uber rich in America have never had it better, therefore congress thinks everything in our country is just peachy, there is nothing to do except make sure things keep on going the way they have been headed for the last 30 years. On the other hand, the British and French governments are made up of people who care about the good of their country.

    August 11, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
  21. ohnomrbill

    It means that our elected officials are more concerned with fulfilling the primary function of the American political party than actually governing. We all know the primary function of political parties is to get elected. George Washington warned us about the dangers of factionalism; what would he say if he could see us today?


    August 11, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
  22. Jack B. Panama City, Fl.

    I am thinking that they don't have the same love for chinese food as our leaders do. Or why would they be doing what ever it takes to not let China call all the debt due? It could happen, I am glad I like chinese food.

    August 11, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
  23. Tom in Desoto, TX

    It probably means many from Latin America will be going there for jobs since we're fresh out.

    August 11, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
  24. Mike from Texas

    At least the governments of other countries realize they have a job to do even if it is reacting to a situation they created. Unlike our dysfunctional government who are out of touch with America, and work for big business. Even if the governments of other countries receive support from lobbyist, they know where their responsibility lies, and that is to the people who elected them to do a job. Our Congress knows Americans feel they should voluntarily cut their vacations short and return to work, but they continue to prove they don't care what Americans want.

    August 11, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
  25. john thomas

    Maybe the British and French politicians aren't overpaid, over compensated and are more responsible. I truly believe the majority of our government legislators care only for themselves and their own wellbeing.
    The old man Marathon Fl. Keys

    August 11, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
  26. Brian from, Colorado

    Work smarter, not harder. British and French don't make more money than we do. We gust had to dump are people relying on the stock market for retirement. It's gust a durty card game. The investors lost, "GET OVER IT".

    August 11, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
  27. Loren

    Doesn't say much for President Obama, does it? Leadership begins at the top and he hasn't shown himself to be much of a leader, more of a kibitzer, the best he can do is complain that Congress isn't doing enough, but not able to offer any more direct guidance. Although I haven't seen a violin in his hands, I wonder if he has that in common with Emperor Nero as well.

    August 11, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
  28. calaurore9

    Cameron calling off vacation was laudatory. But when a Frenchman leaves the Cote d'Azur in August, that's serious. Obama is doing his usual lame half-baked version of everything. He's only taking off one week instead of two. Woo hoo.

    Carol in Ma

    August 11, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
  29. Dave, Orlando, FL

    Their countries have long histories and they will remain viable well into the future. With the leadership our politicians have demonstrated, I doubt we will even last as long as our European neighbors have to this point.

    I used to work for someone who chewed me out once for calling him at home. He went out of business. The next guy I worked for was into everything. Nothing happened in his business that he wasn’t on top of. That company has survived for over half a century through some very tough economic times that destroyed all of his competitors and is still going.

    On the other hand, the British and the Europeans get 3 months of vacation time and often retire at 50 in style. We are afraid to take more than a day or two of vacation and many of us have to work into our 70’s to avoid the poor house.

    August 11, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
  30. Bob Mickelberry

    Maybe President Obama feels that with everyone back in Washington, the government would only screw things up faster.

    It is time to find some new players, maybe we can trade or draft some to work in Washington. They would have to be an improvement.

    August 11, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
  31. Jenna Roseville CA

    What does it mean when the British and especially the French are working harder than the Americans?

    Jack, shouldn't the question read:

    "What does it mean when the British and especially the French LAWMAKERS are working harder than the American LAWMAKERS?"

    Obama needs to recall these members of the house and senate and tell them to create the jobs they promised Americans.

    Frankly I don't see why members of Congress get so much time off. They don't NEED to go back to their districts, they just need to ensure that their districts know what they are doing (which can be done via mail, email, twitter, etc.. They can even have virtual townhall meetings via telephone) They need to only get a week off in summer and a week off in the winter.- after all most Americans only get 2 weeks vacation a year. If they don't like it then they can choose not to "serve"

    While we are at it Jack, why don't we have term limits for Congress, Senate and the Supreme Court? And Public Financing of candidates (verses them buying their offices or being beholding to corporations/special interest groups)? Taking this one step further why not have vote by mail – I bet more people would acutally vote. The IRS can find folks just fine and waiting a few days for the results of the count would be fine with me..

    Roseville CA

    August 11, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
  32. Lori - PA


    It means that the decision makers in England and France care about what happens to their citizens no matter what their income level is. It's a shame that the majority of our elected officials only care about what happens to wealthy American citizens.

    August 11, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
  33. Michael Bindner, Alexandria, VA

    Obama seems to be on the job. Whether he calls Congress back into session or not is a separate issue. I suspect it is better for them to hear from constituents for a while. A few angry voters who lost in the market due to S&P's downgrade will do more than a special session ever would.

    August 11, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
  34. Tony

    Jack, we can see how hard are so called leaders WORK. And Obama on another VACATION... I would say working hard to screw up our country big time. We will see just how much the people will take before the breaking point comes and they clean house in washington. You think what happened over seas with angry people can't happen here??

    August 11, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
  35. Larry Feierstein-Denver

    It means they work less hours, get more vacation and full benefits. We try to work smarter, not harder without taking much vacation. DO a comparison on number of days per year worked. They work less and are in more financial trouble, who wins?

    August 11, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
  36. kenny

    the French sell out the french youth , the british govt only came back cuz thier cities are imploding with multicultural failures...Our govt works hard to repress the citizens while going out of thier way to act like they cant do anything wrong, its always another parties fault,all while they show more respect to thier honorable colleague from the other side of a monopolized aisle..i dont think sarkozy's games constitute progress or working harder..its just more deceptive perceptions

    August 11, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
  37. David of Alexandria VA

    At the moment, Jack. I would think that a cooling off period from the last set of collaborative, cooperative, bi-partisan negotiaitons would be in order. At let the echoes from the last shouting matches die out in the capitol dome before you start another. Sort of a time-out for adults acting like children.

    August 11, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
  38. Darrell - Brunswick Ohio

    Come on Jack, their government vs. our government. That is not a real contest, I have a nine month old great-grand daughter that works harder than our government. All she does is eat and poop, sorry that is our government too.

    August 11, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
  39. Jim, Denver CO


    Let's just say that if my job performance was anything like our Politicians (Congress & White House) then I would have been let go from my company on Aug. 3rd.

    The real workers of America do work hard, our elected officials definitely do not. Just like their CEO masters on Wall Street.

    August 11, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
  40. Bobby E. Lahmon Jackson MS

    Could be that they work harder because the got more jobs to work on than we have in America

    August 11, 2011 at 2:54 pm |

    tampa, fl i guess you mean politicians, because i don't know of any legal, american taxpayer that doesn't work hard. our politicians work hard at NOT working, to them it's a full time job and they like it that way.

    August 11, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
  42. Wilhelm von Nord Bach

    I think part of the British and French lawmakers working harder is that in a Parliamentary system, they can be RECALLED IF there is a VOTE of NO CONFIDENCE.

    IF we had the same option here in the United States, I'm sure that Bush-Cheney would have been out on their ear WAY before they actually left office and Barack Obama would have probably been re-called after his complete mis-management of the healthcare debate in 2009.

    August 11, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
  43. Ann from Charleston SC

    It means that the British and the French have an idea of what to do while our government sticks it head in the sand. Personnally I think it is pleasant to have Congress on vacation – we don't have to listen to the political posturing and game playing theatrics.

    August 11, 2011 at 3:02 pm |

    they have jobs!!!

    Grand Blanc, MI

    August 11, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
  45. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    Politics is perception and my view and most of the American peoples is that these people should go on an extended vacation forever. Pathetic doesn't even describe them but didn't want to use any profanity. The French and the UK care about their people, our Congress and President care about themselves and the next election!

    August 11, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
  46. Michael

    But why would they come back from vacation early? To fix the debt? Come on now... this is the United States of America. It always has been and always will be a AAA rated country.


    Guelph, Ontario

    August 11, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
  47. Dave - Phx, Az

    It means what we knew all along. Unless some special interest is paying these folks to stay around Washington and do their bidding, they do not care. Congress and the President DO NOT CARE about us.

    August 11, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
  48. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Jack: Congress probably works about 60 days out of the year-–and I'm being kind--but more disturbing is that Congress has loss their sense of morality to do what's right-–in fact, they make up their own morals-it is "Politics without principle"-–What does it actually mean-–The reality is that we legislators and a President who are very content with the situation as it is–bottom line!

    August 11, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
  49. Cheryl C

    You know Congress will say they are returning home to" check the pulse" of their constituents. Right! I voted for Obama because I thought he was a leader. So LEAD already! All of his speeches contain ideas that we should tell our elected representatives that we support. President Obama, please lead the way! Tell them yourself! Congress needs to hear from YOU not just us. Your reelection is in the bag. The Republicans have nobody who can beat you unless you let them by continuing your position of the Great Mediator. Please be a great leader not just a great speaker!

    Freedom, IN

    August 11, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
  50. Riley - Seattle

    French leaders–and British too–working harder than their American counterparts, is the nouveau normal. But don't begrudge the president and congress their time off: Reducing a country, that took over 200 years to make great, to ruin can't be done overnight. They need their rest so they can come back fresh in the fall to finish the job.

    August 11, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
  51. Sam Martin in PA

    If they come back to work, what will they do? Congress is NOT listing to the people. You can see it in what people want: jobs a way to make a living and pay our bills, hang on the home, etc; versus what we get: 28-29 Hover era economic solutions, ransoming anything that they can to get the 1890-Hoover solutions, protecting big business / the rich, and moving certain sciences back to BC eras.

    Let them stay away for a while. Perhaps, if they do spend time in some town halls, they will hear some heated words that will get them to listen when they come back. They were not working when they were in session, but we can hope they might if they hear the anger that is growing toward them. If not, at least we tried and we got a short break from the designated rhetoric spouts of daily unproductive Congressional sessions.

    If they don't change, I favor stop all Congress funding until they get unemployment below 8% and revenue within 30% of expenditures.

    August 11, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
  52. Bill in New Mexico

    Our leaders are not dumb.

    It means in France and England, there is still a chance for recovery.

    Here–everything is beyond hope.

    Why bother!

    What you can't take with you–sell!

    Pack what you can–tonight!

    Flee for the hills in the morning.

    August 11, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
  53. Alex in Bremerton, WA

    Goddess forbid President Obama call congress back to session! The Right and FOX would scream he was being arrogant (read uppity) by having the nerve and unmitigated gall to exercise presidential power!

    August 11, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
  54. Ken from Pinon Hills, California

    It means they don't have time to read "My Pet Goat".

    August 11, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
  55. Tina Tx

    Because America has become a nation of whinners and sit on their duffs and not doing a dang thing to help themselves out. Get off your lazy butt and get moving doing something constructive and quit complaining.

    August 11, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
  56. Steve, Clifton, VA

    Be careful Jack when comparing..Our problems are self imposed because of politics. France and Germany's problems are as a result of economic woes which have discounted the value of having a middle class society.

    August 11, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
  57. thomas j parker

    It means that there decated to there work more,doing a great job, and presenting qualtiy workmen ship,American have given up because there are not enough jobs to be good at

    August 11, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
  58. Sam

    Congress absence maybe healthier than their presence. Everything they touch turns to crap.

    Houston, TX

    August 11, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
  59. Clara, NM

    Because they take hold a higher standard by taking care of their entire
    citizens' health and well being, Jack. That's why they are rich and
    robust, while we are 'standard and poor'.

    August 11, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
  60. Lauri L., Baltimore MD

    While I understand the point of your question, I must take issue with the wording. I'm sitting here at my desk, barely able to escape for a doctor's appointment, working like crazy while most of France is on vacation. I only wish I had to work as hard as the French OR the US Congress.

    August 11, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
  61. Noel Sivertson

    It probably means they care more about their respective countries than they do about their own egos.

    New Mexico

    August 11, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
  62. Pat (Missouri)

    What would you have him do? Stay in Washington D.C. and call congress back in to session? To what purpose? What does he need to do about the U.S. credit rating that he has not done? I think we have had enough about appearances and need to deal with reality now. You need to get off his back and let him take a breather while congress is out of town. Maybe you need a vacation too!

    August 11, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
  63. Donald in New Mexico

    I know you mean the Brit and Fr governments are working harder than our government, because nobody works harder than the American Worker! This Congress has done enough to us for one term . I say stay home and leave us alone. Either come back and get to work,or stay home and plan your heavily subsidized retirement. Where are the JOBS.

    August 11, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
  64. Larry in Omaha

    Is the American government working? I missed it.

    August 11, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
  65. Kathie

    The fact that our elected NONrepresentatives are more concerned with their own self interests, their next election, their special interests, the opinion of Norquist/Limbaugh, leaving on vacation says volumes. They get more vacation time than the rest of us do in a decade. This on top of the fact that they cannot even work together and engage in honest debate proves that they are not concerned about our country.

    August 11, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
  66. Mitoosense Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    Evidently, the Brits and French feel they must perform or lose power. In Oligopoly America elections are just a incovienent distraction from high crimes and misdemeanors in Wahington,DC. 8000 bottom.

    August 11, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
  67. aelarsen

    I am truly disgusted with all politicians...democrats...republicans...and the fringe groups that hold so much sway in the political process.
    I truly believe that we should vote out every single incumbent and break the strangle hold of big corporations,labor unions and on and on.
    all of this posturing is done for $$$$ and to pay for re-election.
    maybe you idiots in washington think we are stupid....well guess again.
    you fools have to tackle all avenues to start job growth....fair trade....wars...pork....waste on all levels of government...
    to sum it all up politicians are all cut from the same grubby cloth...too bad

    August 11, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
  68. Bonnie Kelly

    I"ve been sick for the last 2 weeks from finding out that I think Obama is not the leader I voted for. I thought he may have to "fall on his sword" to get what he what wanted and what we needed to save our government from a small minority, the Tea Party who believe they are still in 1876. the Tea Party people are trying to rule our present govern-ment with old stubborn ideas. Obama is going to have to find the 'guts" to really lead our government or he'll lose re-election. He should call the congressmen and postpone his own vacation to help our country get better.

    August 11, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
  69. J.D.

    At this point, our Congress might as well stay on vacation until the 2012 election. I've never seen so many people accomplish so little for such a high salary. $174,000 plus benefits for amounting to nothing. As for the president, he'll agree with whatever Republicans want to do that is bad for the country so he might as well stay on vacation, too.

    August 11, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
  70. James Crego

    It jsut means that the we're (the U.S.) is lagging behind as usual. Thanks large in part to inept Congress, a President that lacks the negotiation skills, and debt ceiling deal that nobody wanted in the first place.

    August 11, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
  71. Jessica

    It means that our representatives are more concerned with their private interests than what is best for the American people.

    August 11, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
  72. MNResident

    It's a reflection of the "entitlement mentality" of the US. The current generation in the US (including the leadership) thinks they are entitled to everything without having to work for it (That it's a "right"), while forgetting the cost their parents and grandparents paid to get them there. We've lost sight of the true cost of freedom, Jack, and we are in danger of losing that freedom as a result.

    August 11, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
  73. Jerry; Johns Creek, GA

    It is not how much time you spend at work that counts, it is how effective you are when you're on the job. On second thought, seems like Britain and France win both races.

    August 11, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
  74. Kevin in CA

    If your constituency is the über rich and political elite, you don't need to "do the people's work". On the other hand, if you're a bunch of bleeding heart, liberal, socialistic, AAA rated types, then you tend to work to help the "little people".

    August 11, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
  75. Kent - Iowa City, Iowa

    History has shown us that great civilizations fall when they become complacent.

    The US government has simply decided that it is big to fail and become fat and lazy to the point that they consider reaching for the grafts that corporate America feeds them to be exercising their duties to the American people like giant political couch potatoes.

    August 11, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
  76. David Doherty

    It means our government is broken, if there are no term limits, which there should be. Then the voting public should take it upon them selves to impose them. It shouldn't matter how much you like your Representative, if they've serve more than 2 terms they should be voted out of office, period. Let them find out what it's like to be unemployed in the economy that they've created. All ballots should have the names color coded to reflect this, so the voters know whose been coasting though on our coattails.

    Dave from Peterborough, NH.

    August 11, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
  77. Gary H. Boyd

    Jack, Whether on the job or on vacation, when these clowns get paid, they're taking money under false pretenses. An example being 1990 when the Government took over the Mustang Ranch brothel in Nevada for tax evasion and, as required by law, tried to run it. They failed and it went broke. America's Congress, then and now, can't even make money running a whore house and selling whiskey. The time they spend is Washington is meaningless.

    Gary in Scottsdale, Arizona

    August 11, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
  78. Mr. D

    It's not how "hard" they work, it's what is accomplished while they are working. I can't say any more, I'm going on vacation with the members of Congress.

    August 11, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
  79. Kevin in CA

    It means that everything is just ducky ... don't worry, be happy 'cause the rich are doin' just fine.

    August 11, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
  80. Brandon H.

    Work SMARTER not harder..... Does Washington maybe need a Dr. * to explain to explain this to em'?

    * From Texas!

    August 11, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
  81. Wm in PA


    Our congress has a 14% approval rating??!. They only represent less than the 10% of the richest Americans who will tell you they are getting just what they pay the congress to do: lower their taxes, increase corporate subsidies, de-regulate banks and corporations and put education only within their reach.

    The Europeans, what do they know? They only live longer than Americans; have family living wages with benefits; have free or deeply subsidized education; and more innovation than the U.S. Our landed aristocracy will have none of that for the average American.

    August 11, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
  82. Peter

    Ah Yes!! Nero fiddles while Rome, oops the U.S. Burns.

    August 11, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
  83. Jack - Lancaster, Ohio

    Mr. Cafferty:

    With all due respect to this question...I think we got troubles right here in "River City"....who cares about France or Merry Old England especially since they do not have a dysfunctioning democracy to compare and contrast with. All they do is talk over each other like media political consultants.

    August 11, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
  84. Bryan, Colorado

    We have a different cultural attitude that says work smarter not harder. It obviously isn't working for our goverment because you actually have to be smart to work smarter (not tea party smart). The fact the U.S. is at the bottom globally in almost everything these days should not be a surprise anymore. That cat has been out of the bag for years now. So what are we doing about it ? Nothing, no jobs no nothing.

    August 11, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
  85. Ken Mahwah NJ

    It means there mad as hell they got called back from their vacations and our congress hasnt. They envy our Washington and wish they were members of our US Congress so they could finish their vacations without worry of a call back !!!!

    August 11, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
  86. John Colorado Springs

    Please Jack, don't encourage them to come back, they do less damage when they are out of town. When they are in town ALL they do is create damage.

    August 11, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
  87. Pete from Georgia

    Uh...................I think, in reality, Zimbabwe's Gov't. works harder than ours.

    August 11, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
  88. Terry in Virginia

    By comparison, the majority in Congress are a bunch of spoiled rotten children, regardless of age. Why should they work hard? Taxpayers pay for their Federal retirement, a great healthcare system, 23 weeks off this year alone, and a very short work week when they bother to show up to work. Instead of staying in D.C. and working on our national crisis of JOBS!, skyrocketing debt, and lack of revenue, both sides are acting like royalty thumbing their noses at the working class. It's time we taxpayers take back Congress, get rid of their perks, force them to pay into Social Security instead of steal it, and remind them what it's truly like to work 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year. Come 2012 - fire them all !!!

    August 11, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
  89. Mike

    The French gov't taking action to solve a real problem!? I'm impressed. The British gov't tackling domestic unrest in the streets of England. I'm not surprised. Washington politicians bugging out to go on vacation in the midst of economic uncertainty that could potentially spiral out of complete control. I'm depressed. Wake up Washington! You're no longer "king of the mountain" and the rest of the world is watching. When are you going to come to terms with reality?

    Mike – Hewitt, TX

    August 11, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
  90. Charles

    Our congress has shown that they do nothing when they are in session, why bring them back to prove it further? Let them hear from the voters while they are "vacationing", they don't listen to each other,, maybe their constituents will jam something into their thick heads.

    August 11, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  91. Dennis north carolina

    If the president goes on vacation, he has a staff with him to alert him if he is need.he is on a week to 10 day vacation with his family but he is always available unlike congress on a 5 week vacation with no staff big different. Jack you take vacation with out telling us! the president can not do nothing because congress controls the pocket book.

    August 11, 2011 at 4:41 pm |

    It means they should be fired. Thier leave can be cancelled at any time. Why hasn't it? They are all idiots.

    August 11, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
  93. LA Belle

    It means that Congressional pay is one of the spending cuts that is necessary in the debt plan.
    They need to be put on commission pay. This is the only amendment that's needed.
    Bet that would cut the pompous attitudes and vulgar games to a dead halt.

    August 11, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
  94. Nurse Lisa in Shelton CT

    It means the French and British officials believe they can accomplish something important by going back to work. Our incumbent congressmen and senators obviously don't believe that or else they would stop their undeclared but obvious war on the middle class and keep working to fix this economic money pit too.

    August 11, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
  95. Ron Lambert


    Why does everything have to "mean" something. I am sure that they have vacation days also. in short it "means" NOTHING! lol.

    Miami FL.

    August 11, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
  96. Joe in Arizona

    This country has become so lazy and out of touch with reality that it doesn't really matter any way. American pride is dead and about to be buried.

    August 11, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
  97. Paul P.

    I picked out something different from the European examples, I noticed they are actually doing something. While I am sure they bicker and argue like they do here, in the end we are seeing them taking actual steps towards correcting their problems... without the deadlines and drama. A sign perhaps they are more unified in their objectives.

    August 11, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
  98. Eric from Cali

    the special interest in France and Britain don't run the government. Unlike here where oil companies don't want too give up their tax subsides and the rich don't want to pay a cent more of tax's.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
  99. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    Be careful what you wish for Jack by asking for Congress to come back.

    That's like saying "gee, I wish I had the clap again".

    Their vacation is our vacation from the frustration and pain all of them keep causing.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
  100. pat in michigan

    It means they are getting more bang for their buck!sorry Euro!Besides Jack our congress needs to get out on ther yachts and decompress .

    August 11, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
  101. Don, Toledo Ohio

    It’s about priorities, Jack. The French and British get together face to face and hammer out an agreement that will get the job and then go about their business. Our government is more concerned with how it will look on camera or to their biggest contributors like big oil and the pharmaceutical companies. It’s time to stop this nonsense and get America back to work starting with our own government. Get your butt off the beach, get back into Washington and give the American worker some jobs.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
  102. Dee in New Paris Ohio

    Maybe it means that the british and the French People don't stand for some of the slackers we seem to take for granted.

    I mean, those people seem to not be afraid to really raise cain when they are sick and tired of what their governments are doing. Here, we just sort of suck it up and complain under our breath!

    Maybe Americans lack some specific body parts that the Europeans seem to still have.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
  103. Matt

    Jack, sometimes the best you can do is serve as an example to others. Horray for us, Europeans now have a low water mark they can identify, and don't want to hit.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
  104. Jeff In Minnesota

    Pardon? Except for this year, the Brits and French essentially take August off. In fact, almost all of Europe shuts down for August, so let's not get carried away. The President could have influenced Congress from going away for their annual recess, but I'm not sure it would ahve been productive given the current state of affairs.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
  105. Midwest Jim

    In parliamentary systems, one party rules the entire government until ousted. Here the extreme minority rules. Do the French or British have a Tea Party?

    August 11, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
  106. Gary in Pa

    I believe that Obama should stay on vacation permanantly, along with Congress, they only screwup when they are in session.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  107. christine

    Jack it means that pleasure before buisiness

    August 11, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  108. Ken in NC

    It doesn't mean much Jack. For them to work harder than our Congress and government, all the French and Brits have to do is show up for work.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  109. Keith

    JACK, it is simple! they do not care about the AMERICAN PEOPLE,
    only their own lifestyle! ironic they forget or ignore we are the ones providing this luxury.

    likewise, I am amazed at the apathy of the citizens.

    have a good one!


    August 11, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  110. rick

    This is ludicrous. Even if they came back they wouldn't get a single thing accomplished. the republicans have made it very very clear that they will not compromise about anything. The governments in Britain and France are totally different from ours so how can you make any kind of comparison. You want to focus on Britain? Then focus on the riots there. We are about 2 seconds away from that starting to happen here. People have had enough and there are those just waiting in the wings to attempt to take our government back just like our Constitution gives us the right to do. Congress better wake up or they will wake up one day without a job.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  111. Sam

    It means it is time to find some new leaders. The need to find out what it is like to be unemployed, Maybe that will wake them up. Make them work as laborers so they can see what real work is like. They are too entitled!

    August 11, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  112. Martin Wielgus

    It means that we have lost it. We are now a third world country. Our Congress is no better at governing than the people who run the screwiest banana republic on the planet.


    August 11, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  113. Stephen

    Means very little Jack,....99% of AMericans work harder than our Government,.....perhaps it's time THEY got a real job!!

    August 11, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  114. theincogntio66

    It means that our country's culture has become outrageously lazy (not disregarding the fact that 1/3 Americans are now overweight), and that people have made politics their profession when it wasn't meant to be. Without term limits in congress, we end up with out-of-touch, lobbyist-influenced, mouths that don't speak from the heart, but rather, from what, say, the Heritage Foundation says. They don't deserve a vacation...not when our country needs everyone to be at work...

    August 11, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  115. Mark, Oklahoma City

    It means the French and British know their nations are in BIG trouble and they DON'T go on Vacation to solve BIG problems.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  116. Joe

    What makes you believe the rich and wealthy have ever worked hard? As far as I can see the majority of those in office are filthy rich people who are used to not doing a whole lot. Until we get campaign finance reform, and eliminate lobbyists we will always have lazy politicians who like to talk more than walk.
    Joe, Binghamton, NY

    August 11, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  117. Mike from Virginia

    This should come as no surprise. The Republicans are against government. The less the government (including Congress) works, the more successful the Republicans are. The ultimate Republican success would be no federal government at all. Then there would be no federal taxes and Grover Norquist would feel like he was in heaven.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  118. Josh Smithson

    Just because someone is in their office doesn't mean they are actually working.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  119. kay king

    What it says is that we – and our government – are not as good as we keep saying we are.

    We've gotten good at whining one day and then patting ourselves on the back the next – and that exactly what our leaders do.

    Talk won't get us where we need to be. When the economy struck me down I worked harder and took on more jobs to get by. I sure as hell didn't head out for vacation.

    What shocks me are those who stick by Obama no matter how bad things get. He can't solve all the country's problems – but he's caused quite a few of them.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  120. Ian-New York City, NY

    Jack, When the English but most shocking the French are beating America is the day that George Washington revolutionary efforts becomes a joke. This country is going down faster then an ICBM and I doubt that our Congress really cares enough to do anything. Its sickening to think that this country cannot do anything properly like passing a real fiscal piece of legislation. We need to keep them here working or keep them as far away from D.C.
    Ian C.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  121. Ray H.

    It means Preident Obama has succeeded. We have become more socialistic than western Europe.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  122. Kris


    Instead of Blaming the President Obama why cant Speaker & Senate Majority leader agree on a compromise to call the session immediately?

    May the this the First Compromise needed. The we will see who will be real leader.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  123. dave in nashville

    Look at the positive side, they can't do any harm not in session except more to themselves at town hall meetings. I hope they stay home.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  124. Kate from Phoenix

    Obama and members of Congress don't get it because they all have jobs. Obama has said many times "I don't need the money." If these people were faced with no job and no healthcare, they would fix this problem so fast your head would spin. They talk the talk but because they don't have to walk the walk they have no idea. I say this, because I myself was employed during two major recessions and it didn't much phase me. But now I've been out of work for two years, and trust me, I'm phased!

    August 11, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  125. Mara

    No, Jack, it’s not “all about appearances”. Isn’t that the problem with our politics—too much surface, too little substance. Do you really think Obama’s day will be any different whether he’s in DC or on the Vineyard? Do you really think our lives will be any different?

    New York City

    August 11, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  126. Randy

    I'm not sure how England and France fund their re-election campaigns but, if the majority of them are almost guaranteed re-election because of Gerrymandering and a Supreme Court that says corporations are individuals, that's where I would start looking.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  127. Niki

    It means they don't have idiots in office

    August 11, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  128. Tim

    Our systems (Political, etc.) use rules developed over 200 years ago. Is it time to redo our Constitution and Political System to work better in today's world.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  129. Matt

    I understand that they need to have some time away from Washington, but a 6 week vacation is ridiculous. They should hold town halls in their district or at least answer emails personally.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  130. kathyrn sprouls

    armageddon! it means armegeddon when the french exceed us in work – and they have no work ethic at all. forget the floods, plagues, and locusts – this is the signal that dec 2012 is the end of days.... 🙂
    – kate, washington dc

    August 11, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  131. Josh

    It will cost to much to have the blow hards come back to work and waste more tax payiers money just to sit on their butts and do nothing. So I say what have they done to help? Nothing at all. So no I do not want them to come back and waste more time and my money just to fill the room with hot air.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  132. findthetruth

    In the US the government fears corporations and in turn works for them.
    In Europe the government fears the people which forces themto work for the people.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  133. Kim

    Must mean we are not raising enough h-e-double toothpicks.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  134. Garrett Perez

    it means that they care more about the people and the country more then there vacations, which sets a good example.Its sad when are leaders seem more concern about there vacations then the people, I mean we are the most powerful country in the world we should be setting a good example not sitting on the sidelines

    August 11, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  135. Pete Veslocki

    It means the Britiash and French leaders care more about their country than ours do. Time to impeach them all and cut off their pensions.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  136. William Y

    How "hard" the government works is not the problem. The problem is what the government does about the problem. If you want to blame the United States government, complain about their infighting and the lack of focus on actual problems, not the fact that they have lives outside of government

    August 11, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  137. john

    It means that the American public can relax that the "government" isn't wasting anymore of our money doing their "job". When did it become part of the American dream to do as little as possible for as much money as possible without taking any responsibility for your actions. These jokers in Washington D.C. don't deserve to have their shoes shined by anyone in America, they should be shipped out to Afghanistan to fight the war that they can't seem to end and leave the American public alone.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  138. Mark, Tempe Az

    Jack, it means the French and British politicians care about their country. Ours only care about reelection and their lobby money.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  139. Robert W. Carlson

    Either they care more or they don't get full pay and benefits after just 1 term.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  140. Wesley Shipp

    The meaning iis in the historical facts; our politicians, no matter Democrat/Republican, have for a while now been elected in by the corporate rich few, why should they worry about what the people say or think? If your money is coming from the few rich, for their campaigns, who do you think they work for? Us? or the hand that feeds them? WS

    August 11, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  141. Jose , Brooklyn New York

    American Government did work harder than our counterparts, that was before the French and Brits were Liberal Socialist and we were center right. Sadly it is now reversed, we've become European.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  142. Stephen Charchuk

    It means that the government fears the people over there while Americans fear their government instead.......

    Yamouth, NS Canada

    August 11, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  143. Rahul, San Antonio Texas

    The problem is that of expectations not whether they are working harder. Until expectations are brought into alignment with reality, nothing is going to move in Washington..unless perpetuating misinformation is the object.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  144. Gordon Klofstad

    Maybe it should be perceived that they work smarter not harder. In a Democracy, the basic idea is a government by the people. Whenever we vote a person to a congressional position, we concur in their membership in a controlling and dominating political party. They do not represent those that voted them into office, they are part of a gang that requires them to honor and obey the party leader.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  145. Dianne, Atlanta, GA

    It shows that the other countries really do care about the people they serve. Every single politician in the U.S. could care less about us because this downturn doesn't affect them. I wish I could go on vacation...it's been 8 years, and after 3 years of looking for work, I finally got a part-time job which just pays for groceries!

    August 11, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  146. Nancy Bamber

    What does it mean when French and British come home to work from their vacations and our illustious leader says if he were to call Congress back all that would be accomplished would be infighting? How does he think it would be any diffferent come September? Might as well call them back and show the world that WE, the citizens of the UNITED STATES do have a Work Ethic and prefer to solve our own problems rather than let things fester like a blister on the debt!

    August 11, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  147. Randy from Colorado

    Our congress works just as hard Jack! The diffrence is that France and England works hard at getting things done while our government works hard at getting us deeper in debt. We need is a congress that works for the people, not for corporate paymasters and special interests.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  148. Bill Rowe

    I really think that Obama's comments today were the effective approach. If we had a Congress that would cooperate, they could be effective in Washington. However, Barack pointed out that Congress people will be exposed to voter discontent at their "vacation" town halls and perhaps they will come back ready to negotiate! Hooray for vacations.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  149. Nancy in California

    Obama's statement that it would do no good to bring the House and Senate back because all they would do is fight is like a parent not disciplining their child because it wouldn't have a good result . . . And we wonder what is wrong with America. . .

    August 11, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  150. Jan Thompson

    The British and the French, obviously, place much more importance on where their countries are going than those in our government do! Shame on those in Washington (or, right now, those who have fled Washington)!

    August 11, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  151. Anthony

    It's not Obama's fault, he can't control Congress. Jack, you're cranky, go to bed!


    August 11, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  152. Jim Roberts, Mpls. MN

    The only thing that are congress is good at is diging in their heels and tooting their own horns going bla bla bla and not getting anywhere.
    Maybe they need a sharp stick to the back side before they will do anything.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  153. Patrick, Seattle, WA

    Simply working more days in the year certainly does not make any government any more effective than another.

    It's all about what is accomplished during the time they are in session. But if you want opinion, I don't think our Congress should get 5 weeks vacation with the current economy.

    Unfortunately no one ever bothered to create metrics and standards to measure the successes and failures of our Presidents and our other leaders, instead we are left to giving our opinions and listening to CNN polls on how we think our leaders are doing.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  154. ej rash

    They should stay out of Washington, and stay the blank home. At least they cann't cause any more damage

    August 11, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  155. Raymond Neff

    Jack, what it means is our government leaders have forgotten where this once Great Country came from and NOW have lost sight of where it is going. If any of them gave a crap about this country they would of stayed in Washington and worked at fixing things. Everybody wants the pleasure but nobody wants the pain... Just my 2cents worth...

    August 11, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  156. Jerry, St. George Island, FL

    Jack...it's a loaded question. What do you expect us to say: Socialism is good and socialists work harder? Gimme a break. Our system will work... especially if people continue to speak out in a loud, forceful voice. Congress WILL listen and respond.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  157. Shannon from Carolina


    Let our congress take some time off and go home and listen to the people. Have you seen the clips from McCain and Boeherners town hall meetings. If they go back to Washington it is more bickering and nothing get's done.

    Just because the French and the British have been called back in session does not mean anything is getting done.

    Cameron was in Italy when he returned not in the countryside listening to folks.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  158. john stires

    What's wrong with this picture? The Tea Party grass roots movement has been screaming about present day catastrophes for three years. Scoffed at by radical Left-leaning bureaucrats and talking heads to the point of absurdity, their party line is all of the sudden today's news. They've been on the right track all along; we have a spending problem and we've had a spending problem for decades. Obama's on "Change" was an increase in spending and his healthcare program, more than any other single item is the cause of today's high unemployment numbers. Get 'em all outta there; the White House can't lead from vacation homes and Democratic fund raisers... the best thing for this country was and still is Paul Ryan who was demonized by the Fools on the Hill.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  159. Stevie in Elizabethton, Tennessee

    It means that our government continues to ignore the problems in our country and only choose to run away to their little fantasy lands where no problems exist and when they do come back on the job, they still continue to ignore things like the debt crisis and the economy hoping that maybe someone will come along with a magic wand and just fix everything that's wrong without lifting a finger to do it themselves.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  160. David P Vernon

    Tucson, AZ – The comparison is not valid, given the differences between our Constitution and their fundamental structures (the UK does not actually have a Constitution at all!) Our Congress has been held hostage by an ignorant minority, whose actions for this year do not reflect the will of the people as represented by the opinion polls. As the President said, it is better to have Congress at home taking a tongue lashing from the public than in Washington engaged in endless futile bickering. DC is a horrible place to be in August, anyhow, unlike London or Paris, so Congress has taken "vacation" every August for over 200 years. Since the Congress has achieved nothing useful for the past eight months, another month of doing nothing useful has no added value. If the President could force Congress to produce bills, that would be one thing, but since he cannot, it is better they go home and get the message – make deals and give us JOBS!!

    August 11, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  161. Thom Richer

    It means our leaders don't care and we don't care that they don't care. I'm ok..the hell with you. The land of "me" rolls on.

    Thom Richer
    Negaunee, MI

    August 11, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  162. Alpesh Jivan

    It says that we should out source our government as well! Its utterly ridiculous how our politicians can put aside the problems of the country they were elected to run and go on a vacation. In this harsh economic climate they get to take extravagant holidays while the average American family looks for ways to keep their house and pay their bills. It really says the values of our government have disappeared due to political bickering. Disappointing!

    August 11, 2011 at 5:20 pm |

    Come on Jack – This President has had everything thrown at him, including the kitchen sink. Add in being hated by confederate flag waving, sheet wearing bible thumping deconstructionists, I think he deserves a small break.
    We all know that the American President only has a change of location, not a vacation. I for one am thankful he is there. You could look in the eyes of the last one and tell he was totally on vacation, that's why we are in this mess.
    Let's just get this over with and turn everything over to the corporations and the wealthy and we can all go on vacation, to a cardboard box on the street!

    August 11, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  164. Ruby Zimmerman

    The British and French governments don't have a John Boehner bragging that he got 95% of what he wants, which means he's 95% responsible for the mess we're in. We've seen democracy at its very worst, maybe the British and the French are trying not to follow our example.

    Champaign, IL

    August 11, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  165. Jeff in Michigan

    Maybe it's a sign that the "greatest country on earth" has a few lessons to learn itself. Or maybe the country just needs some new leaders willing to work, learn, and apply these lessons. These new leaders will arrive in Washington sooner rather than later. The others can just stay on vacation.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  166. Eddie Drissi

    This is nothing new. European countries have been working harder than the U.S since 2002. The Euro Has been dominating the u.s dollar for almost a decade now. The difference between European leaders and U.S leaders is That they work with each other, not against each other.
    It is mind boggling that congress gets 5 paid weeks of vacation while the average American only gets one if that. When are Americans going to wake up and demand REAL change???

    August 11, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  167. Ted

    Jack, The british and french governments come off of vacation to prevent riots whereas the American government take a vacation from Rioting....(aka debt ceiling debate)

    August 11, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  168. Violet Byron

    It means that we have an inexperienced ruler who is only interested in where he and his family and extended family should go on their next trip. Please pray to get him out of office before we have no country.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  169. Chuck Wright, Georgia

    Your question implies that when Congress is in town they work. They only posture, spin (lie) and throw rocks. They are products of the "winning is everything" teaching that prevades America. We are producing bright, selfish, egos that pursue money. Intellectual dishonesty (spin) is the prevailing accomplishment. America is building the same kind of resentment that exists in the middle east for the majority that does not excel at making money.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  170. Peggy

    What it means is simple. The American people do not pay enough attention during the primaries and end up re electing the do nothing group we have now. They aren't worried about keeping their jobs because the American people don't have what it takes to fire them. The French and the British know that they can be packing up if they don't pay attention to their governmental duties.
    Its really sad that we seem to just not care about our country anymore.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  171. Phil Y


    It is simple, CONGRESS DO NOT GET IT! This country is in trouble. How do we raise our debt limit 2.2 Trillion that should last until 2013 while they propose a trade off of a little over 2 trillion savings over 10 years. THIS DOES NOT ADD UP! Then they have the nerve to go on vacation while the Transportation Secretary had to scream to get them to pass legislation to get people back to work. If it was me, I would keep congress in Washington until they find a way to make some serious cuts that will stop the bleeding. Like savings of 2 Trillion a year. This way we will actually cut the deficit by 1 trillion a year. It is obvious that we will have to raise taxes and cut entitlements. I do not like it but we have to start really paying the bills. Whatever it takes to cut the deficit. There is one thing for sure, they will be forced to do something within a few years because they will run out of options to kick the can down the road.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  172. Stan Mullin

    British and French do not work harder than our government. I worked in a Congressional office and be assured, each elected official and their staffs worked long hours during the budget debate. Vacation is not vacatin for those on the House side. They spend their 5 weeks fundraising and trust me, those dinners and receptions are a huge headache but necessary until such time as we have publicly financed elections. If our Congress is required to stay in D.C. the districts would complain that their elected officials are not "in touch" with their district needs. Besides, what is Congress going to do to help stabilize the financial markets? The banks, investment banks, Fed, Treasury and securities dealers are the only parties that can make a material difference. We don't have the riots that have compelled the British to return to the House of Lords and Commons and it's been pretty obvious that David Cameron, the police were very slow to get home and respond, dosting the lives and businesses of many, unecessarily. The U.S. financial condition pales in comparison to that of France and it's risk obligations to the E.U. and the likely collapse of the E.U. and Euro.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  173. Rick McDaniel

    It means our government is not concerned about the country, in any way, and they are especially unconcerned, about our people.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  174. mahamet

    Mr Caffertly,
    It means simply that the British and specially the French have better POLITIQUE then the American, If you know what I mean.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  175. Frank

    It means we are a selfish society, who were so angry that they "lost thier country to a man of ethnic background" so much that our only interest aws to make sure he was amassive failure.
    Just one thing if the President fails so does the country< thus here we are. We forget we ELECTED all of these new House and Senate reps who said their number one job was to make the President a one term Prez or a failure. where are you Media, you don't need a memory you have footage and recordings. Help remind our shourt sighted country!

    August 11, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  176. Clif

    Work ethic,,,,,,,,,,,lol American politicians set their own hours, set their own pay,, set their own medical benifits and retirement progarams and steal the general population blind while feeding those who care not to work or just want to steal and cheat their way throught life in this land of plenty. Where the heck hav e we gone wrong?????

    August 11, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  177. Gigi Oregon

    It means we the people have allowed our elected leaders to use fear tactics to put us in a third world mentality. We have no one to blame except ourselves for believing the elitist society that has led us by the nose for 2000-08 plus years. Ninety Five against five percent should be able to take our country back.

    Tell Obama you are with him and get a backbone or you or your children will be in the streets one way or another...

    August 11, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  178. John L

    Our government has gotten fat, lazy and stupid. Our so called leadership has become the three monkies, see no, hear no, speak no. They are so far disconecnected from the true American people it is disgusting.
    I think it is time we take America back and fire them all. They seem to have the misconception that we work for them. We will see what happens in November.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  179. giuseppe

    We are in worst shape than europe....What happend to the land of the free..Someone let me know because i need to go and find it...

    August 11, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  180. Jeff M

    The British and French just do not understand politics Jack. One can do nothing and still get vacations and raises while the rest of the Americans are unemployed, concerned about tomorrow and the future possible about getting a vacation or retiring in their lifetime. No president today or in the future will succeed with the size of government today, it continues to grow and will not stop until America fails in this world. People in Washington will not be hurt personally in any decision made or in the future.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  181. Steve

    The American political system is broken. The members and leaders of all houses and branches have become completely polarized. Im Canadian. I love the USA, I holiday as often as possible in the Pacific Northwest.
    Unfortunately your two party politcal system has led to a Hatfield & McCoys feud – and the American people are currently stuck with ineffective leadership – not just in the White House – but at every level.
    Please fix it...

    August 11, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  182. Ken - Las Vegas NV

    Jack it's pretty obvious with what's been happening in Britain the past few days. I don't condone the violence but the English and French are prone to be more vocal than Americans. The American public have become pretty spineless since the 60's and 70's. It' overdue that the public votes out the career politicians and gets best government that money can buy out of Washington. Hopefully while Congress is on vacation they are filling out job applications. Got e feeling they will need them.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  183. H. D.

    Given the divisions and animosity recently displayed by Congress, a break might be for the best right now–sort of a "time out."
    Many members return to their states and actually meet with and listen to their constituents. My own Senators, Democrat Tom Harkin and Republican Chuck Grassley, both do an excellent job traveling around the state and getting in touch with those whom they represent–probably why they have both been in office so long. Don't we want our representatives to escape the bubble of Washington and visit the real world?

    August 11, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  184. Nick Easton

    It means that we the people are idiots. We talk the talk about how dysfuntional our government is. We complain in public and at home, but when it comes time to walk the walk, we elect the same bums back into office.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  185. laura

    Its simple. The French govt and British govt. care about their people, Ours doesn't. As long as we pay taxes and pay them. No one in the Senate or House or White Hose cares what happens. We're on our own American.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  186. Suzy

    You don't know that they are working harder. Isn't it true that PRESIDENT Obama has a full working office at Martha's Vineyard. I'm sure he does. And after what we saw with the congress and the debtceiling debate the president can work better without them.

    Please Refer to our President as President Obama not Mr. Obama. He is the President and deserves due respect.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  187. Josie

    I wish I could take a five week vacation.....I wish the American people would wake up and really see what Washington is all about....Vote these self-centered people out of office.....they are going home to talk to their stockbrokers and accountants to see what kind of money they can make in this crazy market. Who cares about us lower class people who have to work EVERYDAY to make a living! .....and it is the American people footing the bill for Obama's vacation....let's take back OUR country!!!

    August 11, 2011 at 5:25 pm |

    Hope they enjoy their vacations. I will sit here and watch my retirement saving go up and down. This is a crisis, their own words, and THEY have all left the building!!! This President blames everyone but himself. We expect more from our elected officials!!!!!! Don't you feel special Jack? Axelrod heard your commentary and I don't think he liked it!

    August 11, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  189. Sam Kincaid

    Our elected officials are disconnected elitists that we, unfortunately put in office. Maybe this is a good thing, that we can finally see what Washington is about and now change it. On the debt crisis, if I was maxed for years on my credit card, no one is going to raise my limit, why would anyone extend that to the government? And if I screwed up my job this royally, better believe my boss would cancel my vacation and hold me accountable!

    August 11, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  190. Randy

    I feel no pity for these two oligarch poodles having to cut their vacations short to deal with problems them and their banker buddies started. As for our bought and paid for clowns...the longer they stay away the less harm they can do. Your real question should be about the crumbling of democracy under this leach infested thing called capitalism.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  191. Henry in Maryland

    It means the British and French have a parliamentary system. The Prime Minister is the leader of the party controlling the Parliament, What the PM suggests will likely be enacted. Here we have divided Government. The Congress came back early from their July 4th recess, and spent a month of blowing hot air [what they actually blew cannot be repeated in TV I'm afraid] before raising the debt ceiling at the last possible minute. I agree with what Obama said today. Members of the Congress should stay home and listen to the people who want them to work cooperatively and find compromise positions to create jobs. I'm afraid we need to wait until after the 2012 election when, WITH LUCK, the people will vote for real leaders who will work together for the common rather than the partisan good.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  192. KD in WA

    Jack, your premise "that British & French govts work harder than America’s” is faulty. During the “break” the Congress goes back to its people and listens to what they have to say about how they performed during the previous year. This is not the time to bring them back to the “dysfunctional DC-bubble” for more bickering.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  193. Renee Peoria,Ill

    Are you suggesting we emulate European govts now? Do you have any idea how many cries of socialism that'll bring from the screaming childrens – uh, I mean, the tea party? You forget, Jack, name calling is far more important here in America than actually getting things done. The tea party has proven that. The Republicans are backing them. And the Democrats are giving in, again. That's how we do things in America today. But actually work on solving our problems? Don't make me laugh.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  194. Phil Hearing


    The U.S. President and Congress unfortunantely don't know how to solve the countries problems. We need leaders with experience to run our country and leaders with the vision to solve our problems. At least the British and the French will stay home and try, while our leaders choose to run and play.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  195. Jennie

    Congress must be reading from the same book, “Bonjour Laziness” – however in our case they are revealing secrets in the art of incompetence…

    Jennie in West Virginia

    August 11, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  196. Linda Watkins

    I think the president has (since day one) had the worst political advisers for governing. One of whom was just on CNN.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  197. laura

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Its simple. The French govt and British govt. care about their people, Ours doesn't. As long as we pay taxes and pay them. No one in the Senate or House or White House cares what happens. We're on our own American.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  198. CarlyFreedom

    It means that their people still have more control over their government, or atleast their government care's enough to make it appear like they are doing SOMETHING. Our government is past the point of caring what we think whether it's the tax cuts for the wealthy, or drawing down the military in Afghanistan. Again and again the congress votes down the majority will of the people and what happens, nothing! It's time American learn to stand up and protest for American made poducts and human need over human greed!

    August 11, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  199. Gary Smith

    What an insulting and condescending question. Both those countries still have AAA ratings, income distributions that don't resemble those in the third world, universal health care and higher life expectancy and lower infant mortaity. Wise up.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  200. tonie from OK

    It means they are lazy and overpaid and worry more about their own jobs and free health care we pay for them.

    Obama should call them all back.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  201. H. D. Iowa

    August 11th, 2011 5:24 pm ET
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Given the divisions and animosity recently displayed by Congress, a break might be for the best right now–sort of a "time out."
    Many members return to their states and actually meet with and listen to their constituents. My own Senators, Democrat Tom Harkin and Republican Chuck Grassley, both do an excellent job traveling around the state and getting in touch with those whom they represent–probably why they have both been in office so long. Don't we want our representatives to escape the bubble of Washington and visit the real world?

    August 11, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  202. Steve

    The way this government is performing, we all should be happy that Obama and Cpngress are on vacation. Since they seem to be screwing everything up when they're in Washington maybe the country will be better off when they're out of town. Hopefully those out of touch, stubborn and selfish "leaders" are out stimulating the economy with all the money they accumulated at the expense of the Amkerican people.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  203. L Wellington

    I think just because of the bickering on the part of both parties they should be called back to pass some of the proposals that the President said he was waiting to sign and in addition start docking their pay for not doing their jobs. Its the american way and I don't see why congress is any different.
    I truely believe the President is entitled to a vacation with his family, but congress is not!

    August 11, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  204. Cliff Krajewski (Michigan)

    If people in our congress were 'working' in the private sector, they would have been fired long ago!

    August 11, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  205. Mac

    The do nothing congress has done nothing this year. Why return
    and do more nothing?

    Great Falls MT

    August 11, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  206. Sean

    I guess it goes to show you that the UK and French governments actually have a modicum of respect for the people that elected them into office, mainly because they aren't as complacent and apathetic as we are. The people over there are not afraid of their governments, just look at the massive protests that occurred in both countries several months ago. Here, when our government puts its lack of interest in representing us on full display, few seem to really care.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  207. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Our Government works harder at making a mess of things and with the results that have come out of Washington lately, I personally don't want them to work at all.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  208. Karl in Flint

    The US worker has the highest work ethic in the world, when they have a job and the US Congress couldn't spell work ethic if they had to, which they never have.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  209. Lisa from Chicago

    Jack, The last thing Americans need is to bring these lazy rich congress back to make noise. The President needs to bring inteligent people to help him bost the economy rather than the Tea party congress. By the way, Brits and the Frenchs are really lazy than Americans.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  210. Nancy

    The British and French governments seem to keep on task until they come to a solutin to their poblem at hand.

    American politicians, on the ther hand, seem to frequenlty "go on vacation" under stress. Sadly those vacations never seem to "clear their minds" but rather "cloud their minds" with self-absorbed issues.

    Obama and our politicians seem emotionally detached to the US people –indifferent to the reality of the financial, unemployment and failing infa-structure leading up to a crisis at hand.
    Sadly they miss the message they are sending which is that of "abandonment of the very consituents they pledge to serve"– they fail to see the millions of strugglling US citizens getting more and more frustrated while they (the wealthy) lol in the sun pondering a
    "sensible solution" to serve up as more lip service.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  211. andyz Lynn, MA

    It means that they do not have as many contributions as our politicians. How else can our politicians afford to stay on vacation almost half a year. The US Congress; the best government money can buy and they stay bought.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  212. Sharon from Wisconsin

    We are becoming so negative in everything that touches our lives. Sure, I understand – politclcal unrest,unemployment, housing prices, droughts, all the bad stuff we asked to deal with daily basis – process through our minds and morals. It's a tough row to hoe. But in all the gardening I've been through in my years on this earth; a tough row is always made easier by a partner hoieng the row net to you. That is what we are missing. Everyone will conglomerate on something negative. It's time to get together on something positive.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  213. Ralph Nelson

    It means you have a Republican House of Representatives (obstructionists) and a Senate run by Harry Reid who insists 60 votes for an important finjance bill is democracy (Where is this in the U.S. Constitution?). Tell them to not come back from vacation. All they do is ruin things.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  214. Gene WV

    It means that if our Congress came back from vacation and worked any harder than they do, we would be in worse shape than we are now.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
  215. Kim in PA.

    Why call everyone back? Obviously, they don't do anything while they're in DC or in their own districts. Every single one of them should be voted out of office. What would they do without their pensions, health benefits for life and perks? Maybe they would have to find a real job and work for a living....guess they would have to get in line for those jobs behind Americans who want to work so we can feed our families.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
  216. andy Fairfax, VA

    Neither rain, nor sleet, nor summer recess, or fiscal disaster shall keep these elected legislators from their scheduled vacations.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
  217. Paulette in Dallas,PA

    They are ALL waiting for the rioting to start more over here Jack. No sense to them in staving it off or solving problems too prematurely.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
  218. John from Denver Co.

    Jack, whats the point? We call them back into session, what would happen? Do I even have to ask? They'll just yell at each other back and forth until nothing gets done. Let them have their ... Vacation. I don't know about you but I could use a long break too.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  219. Michael Roepke

    Jack, you want congress back in session? Why? Are there still some fat corporations in need of sweetheart tax loop-holes?

    August 11, 2011 at 5:38 pm |

    Surprised??? It just shows they have no desire to listen or care what we think. At least the other countries are cutting their vacations short... Tha'ts better than nothing. Wish most people had the luxury of a vacation!!!!!!

    August 11, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
  221. Mike Clinton

    The British and French have finally come to realization that hard work leads to a better life and lazy people will go hungry and without out. When a generation is not spoon fed they soon learn that mooching off parents does not lead to a good life.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
  222. richard in mn.

    Jack, I don't know where to start. It comes as no surprise to most of us. These people in Washington could not care less about the plight of most americans. They think that after they get to Washington it is their birthright to stay there. These two parties are destroying this country. The only way to get change is to get rid of all of them. They will not impose term limits on themselves so we will have to vote them out. I'm just concerned that most people will forget by next years election.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
  223. Barbara, New mexico

    We have no leadership. The President sits back & watches, as the congressional children point fingers. I'm suggesting to everyone I know that, at the next election, we all vote for anyone BUT the incumbent. We'll have a whole new group – they couldn't do any worse!

    August 11, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
  224. Diana Va

    It mean London a blaze and the French still grease the Guillotine in case they have to use it .Meaning that over there the governments are affraid of the people and not the other way around.People should be outraged that congress had to borrow $ 24 Billion Dollars in order to give a tax break to the 8000 riches famillies in the US .But fought to extend the unemployment pay for the working class that paid their salaries.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
  225. Ken - Las Vegas NV

    It seems that the elected officials in England and France seem to care more about the people that voted them in. Our elected officials act like they could give a rats backside about the public. They do care about their special interest groups and lobbyists. It's about time the American public votes out these clowns and gets the money out of Washington. The sequel – American Revolution II

    August 11, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
  226. Tom Bulger, Canandaigua

    Jack, the president bent over backwards to try and get some cooperation from the Republicans. Whether he is in the White House or on the Cape a No is still a No.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
  227. Sonny DeLuca

    Jack our Government is not a "government" per se. Long gone are the days of "We the People". In 1981 the first corporate president took office and it has remained so since. Until we can get average (non-millionare or millionare backed) people in higher office we will always be held at the whims of the super rich. The government should start with their own salaries and expense accounts to "balance" the budget. We should also make them pay for their own insurance and their rates should be based on the average percentage of income a person living under the poverty level would have to pay. What possible reason would these "corporate politicians" have to fix a system that is working well for their pocket books? People don't learn without consequences to their actions.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
  228. angela ferguson

    oh please- it means people are rioting on the streets of london and cameron has to deal with the malcontent of the masses....and all sarkozy cares about is getting back to france so the french people see him in town and not on the riviera when they lose their triple aaa rating.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
  229. Al

    In making this comparison it is important to remember the excellent example set by Coke R. Stevenson, the 35th Governor of Texas. When serving as Speaker of the House, he refused to break up a fist fight between two members of the Texas House. His reasoning was clear and direct. As long as they were fighting each other, they were not passing any laws and therefore not hurting anybody else in Texas. Productivity is just not the same as time spent at the job site.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
  230. Bob in Kansas City

    Why should congress work harder than the brits or french?....if they came back early some on the right would spend half the time trying to impeach Obama for something he had for breakfast.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
  231. Betty Doerr

    England and France are trying to catch up.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
  232. Ron Gilch

    Working hard is not the same as doing the hard work. When our pols take uncompromising stands that makes us look like a banana republic. Let them stay home.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:58 pm |