DST a menace to society

By From page A4 | March 14, 2014

We blame Richard Nixon. The president who brought us the Endangered Species Act, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Drug Enforcement Administration, wage and price controls as well as Daylight Saving Time. He also darned near brought us a health care law similar to Obamacare. He used the IRS to crack down on companies that wouldn’t go along with his wage and price controls. The IRS was used by Nixon to get back at his political enemies, but that was pioneered by President Franklin Roosevelt and seems to be continued by President Barack Obama.

The ESA is deleterious and the growth of the federal bureaucracy achieved by Nixon still plagues us. Wage and price controls are long defunct, but Daylight Saving Time remains a menace to society.

It serves no purpose. It forces those in the northern latitudes to send our kids out in the dark to wait for the school bus. It robs us of an early sunrise in favor of a later sunset, too early in the season to barbecue — too cold, too many mosquitoes.

The brainchild of a 19th century New Zealander, it was instituted by Germany in 1916 to save on coal during World War I. After the U.S. entered the war, it went to Daylight Saving Time in 1918.  We have time zones courtesy of the railroads, but they didn’t like DST and neither did the farmers, since the change made it difficult for them to get to sleep early. President Woodrow Wilson tried to keep DST after the war, but Congress passed a law going back to standard time. After Wilson vetoed that, Congress overrode his veto. Where are we to find such courageous souls today?

In World War II, Roosevelt instituted year-round Daylight Saving Time, calling it “War Time.”

After that it became somewhat of a patchwork of states until Nixon in 1974 signed the Emergency Daylight Saving Time Energy Conservation Act. That was in response to the 1973 Arab oil embargo. Every administration since has tried and failed at energy independence. Energy independence is but a year or two away, thanks to private property owners in the Marcellus Shale and the Bakken Shale formations, the former of which is producing prodigious amounts of natural gas and the latter producing oil. Added to the Eagle Ford Formation in Texas, we are on our way to energy independence, no thanks to Daylight Saving Time.

A year after the Nixonian DST legislation, the U.S. Department of Transportation concluded that DST might reduce electricity consumption 1 percent. Two years later the National Bureau of Standards determined there were no significant savings from DST.

A 2007 survey in Japan found that Daylight Saving Time produced a 0.15 percent increase in electricity consumption for cooling. Indiana found that Daylight Saving Time caused electricity use to go up 1-4 percent in the afternoon in the summer and heating costs to rise in the fall.

Arizona, Michigan and Hawaii were exempted from DST in 1966. We’re not sure how Michigan got out of it, but Hawaii is so much closer to the equator that its days and nights are equal year-round. Those traveling from California to Arizona during Daylight Saving Time don’t have to change their clocks because Arizona is in the Mountain Time Zone and does not adhere to Daylight Saving Time.

Florida wishes it was exempted.

A Rasmussen Poll found that only 37 percent favored Daylight Saving Time. Despite this, Present George W. Bush signed a bill by then Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., extending DST four weeks, which is why we all had to wake up in the dark this week.

It’s time to stop messing with our lives and totally eliminate Daylight Saving Time. It doesn’t save anything and it’s a menace to society.

Mountain Democrat

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