A bill recently passed the Senate that would make Daylight Savings Time (DST) permanent, observed year around. It would do away with Standard Time. This is not the first time Congress has flirted with making DST year around. On December 14, 1973 Congress voted to make DST year around for two years. President Nixon signed the bill on December 15. The United States also tried year around DST during World War II. Supposedly people hated it.
Daylight Savings Time began this year on Sunday, March 13, 2022. It’s a pain for the first week because Americans lose an average of one hour of sleep per night until they adjust to the time change. It has its advantages in terms of an extra hour of daylight on Summer evenings, however. Where I live in Texas it stays light until around 9:30 p.m. in late June. Where I grew up in Western Kansas, just across the border from the Mountain Time Zone, it stayed light outside until nearly 10:00 p.m. in Summer. Yet, there is a trade-off. If you gain an hour of daylight in the evening, you lose it in the morning. When does this make the most difference? During Winter months when there are fewer hours of daylight to distribute between morning and evening.
Supposedly, getting up an hour earlier in the winter darkness proved deadly for some school children walking to school (ok, as an aside, kids no longer walk to school). It apparently proved gloomy for other people who had to get up in the dark and stormy night and get ready for work.
While 79 percent of Americans approved of the change in December 1973, approval had dropped to 42 percent three months later, the New York Times reported.
A week after President Nixon resigned in 1974, Senator Bob Dole (R-KS) introduced an amendment to end the experiment. A similar bill passed the House and President Gerald Ford signed it. The experiment lasted less than a year.
What do you think? Would you rather have an extra hour of sunlight in the morning or the evening? I vote for evening.
Source: The US Tried Permanent Daylight Saving Time in the ’70s. People Hated It
7 thoughts on “The US Tried Permanent Daylight Saving Time in the ’70s (and the ‘40s)”
In Galen Institute’s newsletter, Grace-Marie Turner had this to say about permanent Daylight Savings, “Let’s put this bad idea back to sleep.” She added:
George Mason University Economics Prof. Charles Blahous did a little research and observes that permanent daylight-savings time would mean sunrise in:
Omaha: 8:49 AM.
Minneapolis: 8:51 AM
Salt Lake City: 8:51 AM
Detroit: 9:01 AM
Indianapolis: 9:06 AM
It all boils down to whether you want your wintertime daylight in the morning when you get up or after you get off work. Parents with kids disliked sending their kids to school in the dark, whereas I prefer to have an hour of daylight after get work.
Here is what Tyler Cowen at Marginal Revolution has to say about it:
Over at the New York Times, Peter Coy mentions something that I’ve always wondered about. Why do we assume the government should be in charge of when we get up in the morning, go to bed at night and when schools and business open? Can’t business and schools decide the appropriate time to open? Here is what Peter had to say about it:
“There’s an unspoken assumption behind the recent move in Congress to put the United States on daylight saving time permanently. The assumption is that the vote about daylight saving time is important because the federal government decides when we wake up, when we go to school or work and when we go to bed.”
Apparently those concerned about kids waiting for the bus in the dark, in northern latitudes, don’t believe schools can adjust their schedules–though now that public schools have zero periods and serve breakfast before class kids are waiting for the bus in the dark during standard time.
The only thing worse than going to work before dawn is going to bed while it is still light out. That said, I think the farmers and construction workers and gardeners with their leaf blowers will start work at first light no matter what the clock tells them.
Changing the clocks seems to be a way to force everyone to behave more like the farmers. But sunrise changes by much more than an hour between summer and winter, and changes gradually so there is no need to spend a week trying to acclimate.
I favor year-round standard time, but even worldwide GMT would be an improvement.
Interesting to read everyone’s opinion on this subject.