Daylight Savings Time: A small example of how “progressives” use government to control our lives, waste our money, & do more harm than good.

March 12, 2017

           Yesterday, sunrise was just about 6 hours A.M. (Short for “Ante Meridian”, Latin for Before High Noon).    The sun set yesterday at about 6 P.M. (Short for Post Meridian (Latin for After Mid-Day).   Yesterday 12:00 Noon was really High Noon.  The sun was directly overhead with six hours of sunlight behind us, and six hours of sunlight ahead of us. 

   Today, we moved our clocks ahead one hour.   So today, the sun rose at about 7A.M., set at about 7 P.M., with “high noon” being at 1 P.M.  Why?  

  This is a small, but typical example of how “progressives” use government to control our lives and waste our money.  And how they promise to make our lives better–while doing more harm than good.

       We have Daylight Savings Time because back in 1905, an Englishman named  William Willett liked to ride his horse in the summer sunshine before breakfast.     But as a “Progressive” with lots of clout in the Liberal Party, he was upset that most people slept through that early sunshine.   So he led a political campaign to start Daylight Savings Time.   He wanted government to force everyone else to get up an hour earlier like he did.

Progressives in the United States soon lobbied for Daylight Savings Time to save electric lighting costs and promote physical fitness.   Most Americans, especially tied to railroads, opposed it because it achieved nothing, and messed up their schedules, and caused unnecessary and expensive chaos twice each year.    But starting in 1913, “Progressive” Democrats like Woodrow Wilson, and “Progressive” Republicans like Teddy Roosevelt denounced “greedy” railroad owners for putting profits ahead of a plan to make Americans healthier.

When “Progressives” could not get Congress to enact Daylight Savings Time, Democratic President Woodrow Wilson rammed through Daylight Savings Time as an “emergency” war measure in 1918 during World War One. We have had it off and on ever since.

       Daylight Savings Time, of course does not save any daylight.    The  daylight “given” to us by the government in the evening is “taken” away from us in the morning.   Farmers and school children often have to walk and go to school in the dark.  Numerous studies show zero economic benefit to changing our clocks twice a year.    We may use a little less electricity for lights on summer evenings, but we use a lot more during that time  for air conditioning.

           The “progressive” idea that government laws can “save” daylight is silly, annoying, and expensive.    But is not as harmful as other “progressive” ideas to change natural law or human behavior.

              For example, “progressives” claim that government laws, taxing, and spending can “save” or “create” jobs.   However, government cannot do this, just like it can’t “save” or “create” daylight.     Every dollar spent by the government to “save” or “create” a job in one place is taken out of the economy through borrowing or taxes to take a dollar out of the economy, and destroy a job somewhere else.

  This is more obvious here in Atlantic City than anywhere else.    In 2010, state government gave hundreds of millions of dollars of loans and tax breaks to “create” jobs for the Revel Casino, and ended up causing three other casinos to close–and then the Revel itself closed.   State government claimed to “save” jobs by allowing more than two thirds of all Atlantic City properties –all Atlantic Casinos and 110 Tanger Outlet and Bass Pro Shop stores and restaurants- to pay P.I.L.O.T. (Peanuts In Lieu of Taxes) instead of normal.   But this simply is simply killing jobs in the rest of the city and county.

                Besides killing jobs elsewhere, government programs to “save” and “create” jobs also poison our politics and create a pay-to-play business culture.  In a free market, business succeeds by selling good products and services for fair prices.   In a free market, business leaders demand low taxes and lows that are simple and easy to follow.   In New Jersey’s pay-to-play, crony-capitalist political and business culture, business leaders demand complicated laws that give them low taxes and special deals that are paid for by everyone else.

Few people know that because our daily newspaper rarely  runs stories showing how many jobs are killed by high property taxes, high income taxes,  high business taxes, the  7% sales tax, high tolls and airport parking fees, our 12% hotel tax, casino parking and luxury tax fees, high electric bills, etc.

The front pages of our daily newspaper tell  us of the new shops and restaurants built by tax breaks and taxpayer loans at the Walk in Atlantic City.   There is rarely a mention of the countless stores and restaurants  in Brigantine, Somers Point, and in the half empty malls of Egg Harbor Township  killed by the taxes that pay for these deals.

     Whenever you hear any politician propose government grants, loans, or tax breaks to “save” or “create” jobs, remember that this is as silly as a politician promising to “save” or “create” daylight by having us move our clocks ahead one hour. 

The Governor, all 40 State Senators, and all 80 State Assembly members are up for election.   The Primary Elections are June 6.  The filing deadline for candidates is April 2.  Will any candidates step forward and campaign on the idea that only liberty—low taxes and fair and equal treatment for all—can create prosperity?

Seth Grossman, Executive Director

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