Monday, March 10, 2014

Daylight "Central Planning" Time Bandits!

“How was your weekend?” a colleague of mine asked me today. 

“Fine. Yours?”  I replied.

“It was wonderful,” she said. “I so enjoyed having that extra hour Sunday evening.”

“What extra hour was that?”  I asked. 

“You know.  Daylight Savings Time,” she said.

“No one got an extra hour yesterday.” I said.

“What?” She responded.  “Daylight Savings Time. An extra hour in the evening.”

“Did the sun shine for an hour longer on Sunday that it did on Saturday?”  I asked.

“Well, no . . .”

“Then what are you talking about?  There is no extra hour!”

“You are saying the extra hour isn’t real. . .” She said.

“Of course it isn’t real.” I said.  She looked sad.

“You want it to be real, that extra free hour of time in your day, don’t you?” I asked.

“Yes.” She smiled. “I do.  And, whatever. . .  It feels real to me!” 


This whole conversation made my brain cramp.  What would happen, I asked myself, if the government suddenly ordered every private company, public agency, every church, almost everybody in the USA to go to work one hour earlier?  Put this way, surely there would be riots in the street.  People would scream. Somebody would occupy something!  Experts would appear on cable TV shouting, “How dare this intrusive, out-of-control ginormous, central planning, Soviet style government infringe on our freedom!”  Surely people would rebel if such an order were given.  I can hear it now, a deep, sinister, Big Brotherly voice, “All citizens will report for work one hour early beginning today.” Creepy! Put like this, I believe that there would be massive resistance.

But the central planners in Washington know how to spin things so that Big Brother sounds more like a kindly grandfather.  They do a little legislative sleight of hand and call their central plan to change time “Daylight Savings Time” and tout imagined benefits.  Then, presto, everybody in the entire country goes to work an hour earlier whistling all the way and saying stupid things like, “l love having an extra hour in my day golly gee!”

To make it worse, no one I know has any idea why the central planners in Washington, D.C. change the time.  I did an unofficial poll with colleagues and friends.  Some of the responses,
  • “I think it was done for the farmers.  So they would have an extra hour of daylight for farming.”
  • “I think it was done for the school children so they could get on the bus earlier.”
  • “I think it was done so people could get more recreation time in the evenings after work.”
  • “I think it makes manufacturing more efficient.”
  • “I think Ben Franklin did it.”  And, so on and on goes the apologetic jibber jabber.

How quick we are to accept and justify central planning!  I suppose that setting everyone’s clock forward or backward reaps a benefit for some people somewhere somehow but what about the companies and the workers who don’t want to start working an hour earlier today at the whim of a central planning Time Tsar? Why don’t they speak up?

For that matter, what about people who don’t want to go to and pay for government monopoly schools. Why don’t they protest against the central planners? What about the government monopoly retirement insurance program known as Social Security. Why don’t more people speak out against the waste and the nearly one-hundred trillion dollars in unfunded Social Security and Medicare liabilities?  Where are the protesters? What about the dollar killing Federal Reserve for heavens sake?  Central planning on steroids that!

Speaking of Soviet style central planning, what about people who want to choose their own health insurance and their own health care providers but are now forced to participate in the new, one-size-fits-all government run “AHC” health insurance/health care monopoly (aka Obama Care)? Not enough time to complain? Come on! Use that extra hour to resist the time bandits!

Mark VanSchuyver