Vol. 3, Issue 10, April 5, 2005
Government Hoarding Time Acquired Through Daylight Savings
Lawmakers crafting energy legislation approved an amendment this week to extend daylight-saving time by two months, having it start on the last Sunday in March and end on the last Sunday in November. While the bill's sponsors, Representatives Fred Upton (R-MI) and Ed Markey (D-MA) claim the bill is intended to save energy costs, the real reason, according to some, is that the government is trying to hoard more hours and profit off them.
"The plain truth is that daylight savings is nothing but a scam," said Carlos Foster, of the activist group Take Back Our Time. "Sure, the government takes away an hour in the spring and returns it in the fall. But what about the interest earned on all those hours in the intervening months? Do you think the government isn't investing all that time while they've got it?"
TBOT alleges that the government speculates with the hours by day trading, earning millions in excess time during the summer months and pocketing the difference.
"Everyone knows about day traders, but people assume their time is safe in the government's hands because there aren't any hour traders," said Foster. "But anyone who thinks about it would realize that 24 hours can be exchanged for one day. With over 295 million hours collected during daylight savings - that's one per citizen - the government has almost 12.3 million days to speculate with."
Rep. Upton denies any wrongdoing on the government's part, saying that any time gained by the government is used "wisely and in the public interest."
"It is true that, in order to function, sometimes the nation's government needs a little extra time," admitted Upton. "But these are wholly altruistic uses - getting a little more time to pass the budget, for example, or allowing the President a little extra vacation time. He has a tough job, you know."
The government's alleged misappropriation of interest from daylight savings is a relatively new phenomenon. The idea of daylight saving was first conceived by Benjamin Franklin during his sojourn as an American delegate in Paris in 1784, in an essay entitled An Economical Project; it has primarily been advanced as an economical measure designed to save energy. It was first enforced uniformly in 1966, and later expanded in 1986.
"It's no coincidence that the Reagan administration moved the start of daylight savings from the end of April to the first Sunday in April," said Foster. "That's what really brought down the Soviet Union: our government was secretly stockpiling time and they'd run completely out. It was too big a psychological factor to overcome."
Upton assures citizens that in the event the government has any extra time left over, a refund will be issued to all Americans, possibly in the weeks just before the next presidential election.
"People are always happy to get an advance on their tax refund during election season; it puts them in the proper electoral mood," said Upton. "Just think how happy they'd be to get a whole weekend in the mail."