March 16, 2022

Daylight Saving Time

“The Senate unanimously approved a measure Tuesday that would make daylight saving time permanent across the United States next year. The bipartisan bill, named the Sunshine Protection Act, would ensure Americans would no longer have to change their clocks twice a year.” AP News

Many on both sides agree that clocks should not be changed twice a year, regardless of whether the switch is to standard or daylight time:

“Although saving energy was often put out as a reason to have Daylight Saving Time, the energy saved isn't much -- if anything at all. Instead, the lobbying effort for Daylight Saving Time came mostly from different sectors of the economy. In the mid-20th century, lobby groups for the recreational sports industry (think driving ranges) wanted more customers to come out after a day at the office. It's easier to do so when there is more light at the end of the day. But the movie industry didn't like Daylight Saving Time. You're less likely to go to a movie when it's bright outside. Despite the myth, farmers didn't like it either because it made it difficult to get their food to the market in the morning… It just depends on who you are and what you want. You can make an argument either way.”
Harry Enten, CNN

“Recent polls show that 63% of Americans want to get rid of altering the clock altogether… The reason for the changing clock has lost its significance. Studies have shown that there is little in the way of energy savings from flipping the clock, nor is there a bump in economic activity… The Uniform Time Act in 1966 established start and end dates for Daylight Saving Time. When you consider that America is a continental country with four time zones in the contiguous United States, some kind of standardization is necessary.”
Rick Moran, PJ Media

“Sleep scientists continually advocate that, for optimal health, people should stick to the same sleep schedule every night, going to bed and waking at the same hours each day. When we shift clocks forward one hour in the spring, many of us will lose that hour of sleep. In the days after daylight saving time starts, our biological clocks are a little bit off. It’s like the whole country has been given an hour of jet lag

“One hour of lost sleep sounds like a small change, but we humans are fragile, sensitive animals. Jet lag can mess with our metabolism; extreme versions of it can contribute to diabetes or obesity. But in the short term, jet lag dulls our mental edge… Being an hour off schedule means our bodies are not prepared for our actions at any time of the day.”
Brian Resnick, Vox

“Any change to our ‘body clock,’ can result in severe health problems such as a higher incidence of heart attacks. These negative health consequences were verified in a 2008 study conducted by the New England Journal of Medicine, which identified an increase in heart attacks in the three days following the implementation of daylight-saving time… In 2020, exhaustive research by professors at the University of Colorado at Boulder determined that there is a 6% increase in fatal automobile accidents in the week following the switch to daylight-saving time…

“[A 2009 study] noted that daylight-saving time led to not only a loss of sleep, but also additional workplace injuries. Along with heart attacks, accidents and workplace injuries, there is undoubtedly a loss of work productivity that also accompanies losing an hour of sleep. The deaths, injuries and lack of productivity are totally unnecessary.”
Jeff Crouere, Townhall

Other opinions below.

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From the Left

“The thing about moving to daylight saving time permanently, however, is that it does not actually create more sunlight. It would get dark an hour later in winter, sure. But it would also be very dark when people are waking up and going to work and school. In D.C., for example, sunrise under daylight saving time on Dec. 21 would be 8:23 a.m. It would be worse the farther west one is in a time zone. In Cleveland, the sunrise would be at 8:50 a.m. In Grand Rapids, Michigan, 9:11 a.m…

“And there’s good evidence to believe that people might not like a change to permanent DST once it’s implemented. For example: the previous time the United States did this exact thing, and people hated it… Shortly after [year-round DST] was implemented in 1974… people started going to work and school in the dark and polling support collapsed. It screwed up circadian rhythms! Everyone was losing it! It didn’t help with energy costs either. So the experiment wasn’t renewed…

“The White House didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. But Joe Biden was in Congress when they tried this the first time, so possibly he remembers the backlash that ensued, and can recognize that sometimes the status quo is the status quo for a reason. Or maybe there’s just more important stuff happening right now.”

Jim Newell, Slate

From the Right

Dated but Relevant: “We should scrap our current system of time zones and daylight savings in favor of worldwide adoption of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), also known as Greenwich Mean Time. This would mean that everyone’s watches around the world would be set at exactly the same time. The only difference they would notice, depending on where they are located, would be where the sun is in the sky at a particular hour. Thus midday would be as it is today in all parts of the world, when the sun reaches its highest point in the sky. What would be different under UTC is the time on your watch…

“Adoption of UTC would allow for a return to ‘true time’ — that is, solar time. With that, everyone around the world would rise with the sun in the morning and go to sleep when it’s dark at night according to their natural circadian rhythm, not some artificial time constraint. Social jet lag and its negative health effects would become a thing of the past…

“Pilots, for the obvious benefits of safety, already use UTC. Wall Street uses it, too — all global stock and commodity trades are stamped in UTC. And that’s not all. Virtually all modern technologies, including the Internet and GPS, have spontaneously adopted UTC. It’s time for the rest of us to do the same.”

Steve H. Hanke and Christopher Arena, National Review

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