“In a rare example of Congress doing something that isn’t totally useless or foolish, the Senate voted Tuesday to make Daylight Savings Time permanent. Impressively, the vote was unanimous,” notes journalist Robby Soave.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R–FL), one of the bill’s cosponsors, said good riddance to setting the clock forward and back every year.
“Just this past weekend, we all went through that biannual ritual of changing the clock back and forth, and the disruption that comes with it,” he said. “And one has to ask themselves after a while, ‘Why do we keep doing it? Why are we doing this?'”
Twice annually, the U.S. government requires its citizens to change the time on their clocks: In the fall, we “gain” an hour, while in the spring we “lose” an hour. This practice began in the First World War, when its intended purpose was to conserve energy. The idea was that an extra hour of light in the evening would reduce the need for electricity.
But it doesn’t seem to save energy. Moreover, changing the clock twice a year has serious costs. As economist Scott Lincicome explained in a lengthy analysis, there are many reasons not to do it: “For starters, the semiannual time change results in all sorts of maladies in the days thereafter: car crashes and pedestrian deaths; workplace injuries; heart attacks and strokes; depression; and ‘adverse medical events‘ because of ‘human error,'” he found.
As Soave notes,
Lincicome favors abolishing Daylight Savings Time entirely rather than making it permanent. This question will be a matter of personal preference for many: Some people would rather have brighter mornings and darker evenings, while others like darker mornings and brighter evenings. I’d certainly prefer the latter, and thus I hope that the House passes a version of the Senate’s bill and that President Joe Biden signs it.
But either way is much, much superior to what we have now. Changing the clocks twice a year does not conserve energy—it just makes people late (or early), throws off their sleeping schedules, causes depression and irate behavior, and leads to more accidents and deaths. Bravo to the Senate for striking an unexpected blow against pure insanity.