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Blaming Bush for Your Daylight Savings Time Grumps? Turns Out It’s Not All His Fault

In 2005, then-President George W. Bush signed into law a change to the day when we set back our clocks and lose an hour’s sleep. Part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the spring time change was moved back from April to the second Sunday in March, supposedly so Americans could save electricity and escape the winter doldrums sooner.

Yet, while Bush actually signed the bill into law, it was a Democrat, Senator Ed Markey, whose cheerful defense of the move was the force that got the time change through Congress.

“After this long, dreary winter, people are ready to go from polar to solar. Instead of most of the United States still being covered in snow, our evenings will be bathed in sunlight a little longer, and a little sooner than before,” Markey said in a press release obviously not written on a post-time change Monday after making a bleary-eyed commute in the dark. “In addition to the benefits of energy savings, fewer traffic fatalities, more recreation time and increased economic activity, Daylight Saving Time (DST) helps clear away the winter blues a little earlier.”

Markey also professed to have statistics on his side. “Government analysis has proven that extra sunshine provides more than just smiles. Daylight Saving Time saves consumers money and also curbs the nation’s energy consumption, which means lower energy bills, less pollution, and more reasons to enjoy the outdoors.”

Yet, research has since suggested that the electricity saved due to the time change is actually negligible. According to Adrienne Kandel’s findings in Scientific American, “extending daylight time had little to no effect on energy use in the state. The observed drop in energy use of 0.2 percent fell within the statistical margin of error of 1.5 percent.”

Experts also agree that the one-hour shift messes with our brains and our health, causing an uptick in suicides, less work productivity and heart attacks.

Markey, however, convinced Congress that losing an hour’s sleep in March was actually a good thing for the nation and may actually make Americans happier overall.  “We all just feel sunnier after we set the clocks ahead,” Markey said in defense of the earlier date for DST that was ultimately signed into law and took effect in 2007.

Photo Credit: Angela N.


About the author

Tamar is a New York based freelance writer and photographer whose work has appeared in over 15 publications. You can catch her work regularly on Issue Hawk, Latest, Jspace, and MediaGlobal.