Marco Rubio

The Senate Unanimously Voted To Make Daylight Saving Time Permanent, a Great Idea

Daylight Saving Time should either be abolished or made permanent. Changing the clocks twice a year is madness.


In a rare example of Congress doing something that isn't totally useless or foolish, the Senate voted Tuesday to make Daylight Saving Time permanent. Impressively, the vote was unanimous.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R–Fla.), one of the bill's cosponsors, hailed its passage as a step in the right direction.

"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 in a statement. "And one has to ask themselves after a while, 'Why do we keep doing it? Why are we doing this?' "

Why, indeed.

Twice a year, the government requires Americans to change the time on their clocks: In the fall we gain an hour, and in the spring we lose an hour. This ritual dates back to World War I, and its stated purpose was to encourage people to conserve energy. The thinking was that creating an extra hour of light during the evenings would lessen the need for electricity.

Regardless of the merits of that goal, changing the time twice a year has extreme downsides that far outweigh any benefit from gaining or losing light. As the Cato Institute's Scott Lincicome explained in his definitive takedown of the system, there are myriad reasons to oppose 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 wrote.

Lincicome favors abolishing Daylight Saving 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.