Time to Fall Back

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We’ve gone back to God’s time thank Him. The silliest thing I know of is daylight saving time. Why don’t they get up with me?

Harry Truman, October 2, 1947, letter to Bess Truman


As you “gain” an hour of sleep tomorrow, please recall the history of this bad idea.  Daylight Savings Time in the US was ushered in by Congress on March 19, 1918 with the Standard Time Act of 1918 as a temporary war measure, and, son of a gun, Daylight Savings Time was repealed by Congress in 1919, over the veto of President Wilson.  Daylight Savings Time came back with World War II.  From 1945-1966 local communities were left to determine whether to observe Daylight Savings Time which normally ran from April to September.  Congress in 1966 made Daylight Savings Time national with the Uniform Time Act, with Daylight Savings Time running from the last Sunday in April to the last Sunday in October.  In response to the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973, Congress started Daylight Savings Time in 1974 on January 6 and in 1975 on February 23.  Parents were real thrilled with their kids walking to school in the dark (that is when my 17 year old self realized that a great number of Congress Critters were idiots) and the start and stop dates for Daylight Savings Time went back to April and September in 1976.  Congress in 2005 tinkered with Daylight Savings Time again, setting it from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November.

It is arguable that Daylight Savings Time has never made sense, but it certainly does not today in a global economy and e-commerce 24-7.  Time to do away with this annoying anachronism.


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  1. I’m personally convinced that DST played a role in that tragic bus stop accident in which 3 children were killed and a 4th critically [?] injured in Indiana at the beginning of the week.

    If we don’t do away with it altogether, we should at least shorten it to April — September

  2. Personally, DST works for me.
    My son is home from college this week-end. He’s looking forward to an extra hour of sleep.

  3. I think it was around 1855 that Congress fixed a common date for federal elections at the first Tuesday after All Saints’ Day. That mid-19th century market days might not be the optimal time to hold an election inasmuch as for more than a century the modal commercial and industrial work week provided for Saturdays off has influenced Congress not at all. Henry Paulson was asked about his conduct in 2008 and replied, ‘Congress does nothing until there’s a crisis’. Which isn’t quite true: they’ll do something to please their donors (none of whom are pushing Standard Time or optimally scheduled elections).

  4. I forget where I saw this, but someone on a conservative website such as NRO or TownHall asserted a couple of years back that the “hospitality industry” is a major lobbying force behind DST. The theory attributed to the industry is that later sunsets during warmer weather make more money for them. I’d bet that particular industry also donates a lot to Members of Congress.

  5. I think DST makes perfect sense, but only from mid/late April to about mid-October. Without DST, dawn in central Illinois in mid-summer would be around 4 a.m. and dusk around 7:30 — way too early for most ordinary folks in both cases, who could use the extra hour of daylight while they’re still awake. However, starting DST too early in the year or ending it too late results in sunrise being ridiculously late (it should NOT still be dark at 7 a.m., thank you very much) without any corresponding useful extension of daylight. I favor keeping it but dialing it back to the start and end dates that it had prior to the early 1980s.

  6. Elaine, about five years ago, without any conscious effort on my part, I began to follow my late grandmother McClarey’s schedule of getting up at 4:00 AM and going to bed at 9:00 PM. I concede that would be an unrealistic schedule for most to follow!

  7. Why make everyone change their schedule– with all the additional danger* expense** and inconvenience involved– because it works for some people and some places? Why not let those individual places change their hours? “Summer” and “winter” hours are hardly unheard of, even with daylight savings.

    *Literally last week the sunrise finally got late enough that it wasn’t directly in the eyes for rush hour in El Paso– both morning and evening. Now it will be like that for the rest of the winter. And about the time that it changes… daylight savings will start again. At least for a chunk of the summer it’s not the case?
    There’s also a known spike in vehicle accidents. PRobably from lack of sleep.
    ** Like the joke going around says, ‘sorry you spent that extra hour resetting all the clocks around your house.’

  8. “Parents were real thrilled with their kids walking to school in the dark”
    Where I live, sunrise on the 6th January is around 8.55, so children would be walking to school in the dark anyway for a 9:00 o’clock start.
    Sunset is 16.02, so they would be walking home in the dark too, if their journey took more than half-an-hour.
    In Midsummer, without DST, sunrise would be at 3.30, meaning it would start getting light around 3:00 am. Sunset would be around 9:15 pm

  9. Speaking of changes in time, St Theresa of Avila died on the night of the 4th and 15th October 1582, owing tot he change to the Gregorian calendar

  10. Sunrise at 4AM and sunset at 8PM in June in the Eastern Time Zone…no thanks.
    Thanks to the return of “standard time”, I have almost no time after work to clean up the mountains of maple leaves in my yard that decided to fall just last week.

  11. Yeah. And frankly, if we are going to change the clocks depending on the season, I say we are doing it the wrong way. We might as well get up an hour earlier in the winter, in the hope of seeing a little sun when after work. It’s a real drag when I arrive at my indoor job before the sun has risen and by the time I leave, it has already set.

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