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Semi-Annual Debate: What About Daylight Savings Time Hell?

• Mish Shedlock - Money Maven

On Sunday, November 3, those on Daylight Savings Time need to adjust their clocks. Does this make any sense?

Hell to Pay

It's nice when you gain an hour of sleep. But it seems like hell when you lose one.

Only a Joke

Many don't know this but Benjamin Franklin proposed Daylight Savings Time as a Joke.

In case every news anchor on your television screen telling you to "spring forward" hasn't been enough of a reminder, Sunday marks the start of Daylight Saving Time, a bizarre routine in which most Americans' iPhones automatically steal an hour of sleep from them.

The act of moving the clock an hour forward in an effort to save time in the sun during the warmer months is almost always credited to Philadelphia's most famous son, Benjamin Franklin.

Here's the thing: when Franklin wrote to Paris about "diminishing the cost of light," he wasn't being serious. He was making a joke.

The letter Franklin wrote anonymously to Parisians about making better use of daylight was satirical. Per The History Channel:

By the time he was a 78-year-old American envoy in Paris in 1784, the man who espoused the virtues of "early to bed and early to rise" was not practicing what he preached. After being unpleasantly stirred from sleep at 6 a.m. by the summer sun, the founding father penned a satirical essay in which he calculated that Parisians, simply by waking up at dawn, could save the modern-day equivalent of $200 million through "the economy of using sunshine instead of candles."

Oh, and the best part? As History notes, Franklin wasn't even suggesting the idea of Daylight Saving Time. All he was doing was making fun of the French and suggesting they get out of bed earlier.

Joke or Not

Joke or not we are still stuck with the ritual.