It’s time to stop changing the time

The Sunshine Protection Act was passed by the U.S. Senate with exemplary bipartisan support. It was approved in March without barbed political rhetoric, craven kowtowing to lobbyists or much of the usual congressional bloviating. The Senate action and the details of the bill were reported accurately by news media, even such outlets as Fox News that are not known for journalistic objectivity, and without being weaponized by QAnon and similar propagandizing social media platforms to inflame their audiences with solar conspiracy theories.

That’s it for the positive side of the Sunshine Protection Act. As for the negative side, besides its ridiculous name (Congress is protecting the sun?), the legislation is useless and more likely to make the lives of Americans worse than better.

The act, if it is also passed by the House of Representatives, would make daylight saving time a permanent year-round fixture in every state.

The chief sponsor of the Senate bill was Sen. Marco Rubio. He represents Florida, and perhaps calculated that the increased evening sunshine would be a boon to tourism in the Sunshine State. Starting the day in the dark long before sunrise would be less unpleasant in a state where winter mornings are warm.

In the northern latitudes, like the region inhabited by Ozaukee County, school children and workers would be rising hours before the winter sunrise. Students would wait for school buses in the cold dark of night. They would be in their classrooms long before the light of day made its appearance. Their parents, too, would travel to and start their workday in the dark.

The northwest areas of the time zones would be the most cruelly affected. In the parts of the Michigan Upper Peninsula, the sun would rise as late as 9:45 a.m.

The trade-off would be sunshine until late in the evening. That is not much of a gift to northern dwellers. In the icy lock of winter, what exactly would we do with the extra hours of daylight? Glance out of the window now and then to admire the winterscape while reading a book or watching TV in cozy homes?

Daylight saving time has been in use in some states since 1918 and was standardized for the U.S. in 1975. It has been studied for years with findings that are remarkably consistent: There is no benefit from resetting our clocks to comply with government-mandated time changes. The scientific consensus is that DST does not save energy and does not have economic benefit.

Allison Schrager, economist and senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, concluded: “There is no economic justification for DST.”

A 2009 study estimated that daylight saving time costs the U.S. $434 million in lost productivity every year.

The state of Indiana resisted daylight saving time until 2006. When it finally adopted the time change, residential electrical use increased 2% to 4%, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Scientific studies of the impact of light on sleep and health agree that daylight saving time, by limiting morning light, has adverse effects on health. Standard time is more closely in line with the rising and setting of the sun, which is what the human body and mind want. Daylight saving time is a human invention that is contrary to the solar time that has guided the evolution of man. One science writer described  it as “mandated jet lag.”

Health and emotional problems have been tied to the disruptive effect of the twice annual clock adjustment (last weekend to end daylight saving time and March 12, 2023 to restart it). The Sunshine Protection Act would eliminate that, but in the wrong way.

The right way is to make standard time the only time.


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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
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