The good people at Gallup perform a valuable public service by keeping track of what Americans consider the nation's most important problem. Five years ago, it was Iraq. Last summer, the economy weighed most heavily on the public mind. It still does this summer.
Or at least that is the view of the average men and women in the street. To their betters, however, the real problem facing the nation is something far different: Americans enjoy entirely too much freedom.
You can see this in the various proposals, which are legion, to take that freedom away. Late last month, there was a collective sigh of relief from the collectivist intelligentsia when the Supreme Court said Congress could force people to buy a consumer product. But within days, a writer for The Atlantic noted with a mixture of horror and dismay that the United States is "the only advanced country without a national vacation policy." He ginned up a handy infographic to illustrate the point.
Most Americans don't use all the vacation time they have now, but evidently federal mandates are needed nonetheless: The infographic quickly became a must-post item on approximately half the blogs in America. So did another infographic showing that the U.S. stands alone among advanced countries in the number of weeks of paid maternity leave it forces employers to provide (none).