I can't believe how naive you people are.
Vacation days/sick time/whatever PTO are there to get you to take the job. You're not supposed to actually USE them.
Employers don't like being reminded that their workers are human beings and not machines. Human beings whine about being exhausted and stressed out and never seeing their families and blah blah blah whine whine whine. No, they should go work harder.
In most companies I've worked at, your yearly performance/compensation review is conducted by your manager and possibly their supervisor. Performance review is a highly subjective thing. You can try to remove as much bias as you want, but at the end of the day, your manager is judging your performance based on his/her own impression or opinion.
Now, let's say Alice and Bob have the same position, they're both Widget Polishers II. Alice takes all her vacation time and most of her personal days, as you all believe she should. When she is not in the office, her co-workers have to pick up the slack. Suddenly instead of having to polish 1000 widgets a day, now her co-workers have to polish 1250. Her co-workers are annoyed and stressed out, their job performance suffers, and things are generally bad because she DARED to take her vacation time. Alice's boss makes a note of how often she's out and causing trouble for the rest of the team.
Bob, on the other hand, knows how these things work. He never misses work, even when he's throwing up in the bathroom every 15 minutes. He doesn't take vacation, he even might forego company holidays. Bob's boss knows he can count on him to be there and do his job.
Who do you think gets the better performance review? Hint: Not Alice. Alice will find herself resented by her co-workers, her boss will be annoyed he has to put up with surly workers, and her performance numbers will suffer. If she takes all her vacation days and all her sick days, that's 22,000 widgets she didn't polish that year. Bob, on the other hand, polished 25,000 more widgets than Alice did because he didn't take any of his vacation time or personal days, and worked overtime for no extra pay because he's a "team player".
Yeah, don't take vacation days, not if you ever want a performance review above "meets expectations" and the 1.5% raise that goes with it. In the USA, you are, with only a few exceptions, not guaranteed any paid time off, period. A few localities/states have passed mandatory sick leave laws, and you have never heard such howling from employers. They whine about it raising unemployment because now, instead of paying someone for 40 hours and getting 40 hours' work, they're paying for 40 hours and only getting 32 hours' work. Lots of people find that to be personally offensive - why should you get paid if you're not working? If you ever try to tell them about "exhaustion" and "recharging" and "time with one's family", they say that they understand the need for time off, but in reality, you're punished for taking it.
Oh, and don't forget that nearly everyone in the USA who is not part of a collective bargaining agreement is considered an "at-will" employee. You can be fired at any time for no reason without notice or any severance pay. When your boss can snap his fingers and put you on the curb, you're not in a great position to demand what you've been promised.