Brown: Daylight Wasting Time: Time to leave time alone


Columnist Aaron Brown explains why we don’t need Congress to tell us when to change the time on our clocks.

Aaron Brown

Daylight Savings Time is over. Or is it just beginning? Sometimes it’s hard to keep track of what’s what.

Across the United States, millions of people are having to waste their time re-setting their microwave clocks or double-checking the time to make sure it isn’t an hour off. Let’s not even get into the trouble with sleep patterns being knocked off course.

Why do we do this to ourselves?

Since the first World War, the States have gone through periods of having to change the way we tell time and not having to change clocks. Various cities and states have either opted in or opted out. The latest iteration of Daylight “Savings” was in George Bush’s Energy Policy Act of 2005, which extended the length of the time between “springing forward” and “falling back.”

Back when clocks were not connected to the internet, it was a great pain to change the clock time. You had to move furniture, twist knobs and simultaneously push the right combination of buttons. Nowadays, your refrigerator connects to a web server across the continent to automatically figure out what time it is. But with that technology comes an increased hassle for computer programmers.

If you have ever read up on circadian rhythms, you know that our bodies like to have patterns of behavior.

When we arbitrarily do our daily activities an hour off from normal, we unnecessarily stress our bodies and minds. This is especially true for older folks.

Elderly people have it tough enough as they struggle to survive in a body more susceptible to both malady and calamity. Then we force them to adapt to different schedules of sleep, meals and prescription drugs by shifting the clocks. 

Why do we change the clocks twice a year? Why did the U.S. Congress enact such a decree? If you ask a dozen people, you will hear a dozen different answers and guesses. We are all punishing ourselves for an unknown reason. The government doesn’t even need to put up cheesy billboards or play absurd ads on our phones to promote it. We just accept it as a fact of life.

It’s time to stop accepting stupidity. If Congress wants to go golfing before the sun goes down, they need to leave an hour earlier.

This isn’t just something my father made up to explain daylight savings time to me as a kid. When Congress held hearings in the 1980s, the golfing industry said prolonging the shifting of clocks was worth $200 million to them.

Some say we should make Daylight Savings Time permanent. I say this is practically the same thing as abolishing it forever, but just with extra red tape. After deciding to leave our clocks alone and let them do their job, we will all decide things based on the new reality of non-shifting time. If we want our business open earlier, we will choose to open earlier—without an act of Congress. If we want our employees to enjoy their sun-lit golfing, we will let them come in earlier and leave later—without an act of Congress. If we want to wake up earlier and enjoy an extra hour of darkness, we can be strange without an act of Congress.

We don’t need Congress to tell us what time it is. We don’t need to change our clocks every few months. We don’t need to make life difficult for parents of young children and for our elders. It’s time to bid adieu—or say good riddance—to Daylight Savings Time.