RELIGION: Government waste

I don't know whether you've noticed this or not, but occasionally our federal government engages in practices that could be described as "inane."Take, for example, the tax code. Last I heard, it runs 2,652 pages. (And if you include supplemental statutes, regulations and caselaw, it rounds out to a nice, neat 70,000 pages.) It takes my wife -- the family CFO -- weeks to figure out our taxes, even using the latest tax-prep app. It shouldn't.

Speaking of money, the federal government spends money like a drunken sailor. Wait, that's not right. That's definitely an insult to drunks and sailors.

But the thing that chaps me more than anything else is the idea some of our enlightened leaders have that daylight can be "saved."

I crawled out of bed at 5 a.m. on the first Monday after daylight savings time began. I'm not a morning person, so getting up was doubly hard. In fact, if you had seen me stumbling around, you might have thought I was in a drunken stupor. I definitely felt "hung over" even though I've never been hung over in my life. (Honest.)

I prepped the coffee maker, made my breakfast then pushed the start button on the coffee maker and sat down to read the morning paper. Somewhere in the back of my mind was the feeling I had forgotten something, but I ignored it and ate my breakfast, soaking up the news and sports on my tablet.

I finished my breakfast, and went into the kitchen to get my coffee. Two steps into the kitchen I felt something wet beneath my bare feet.

Coffee.

And it was then I "remembered" what I had forgotten: to put a cup underneath the spigot when I turned the coffee maker on. And for the next 10 minutes it wasn't the news and sports I was soaking up, but the coffee that was all over the floor. And the whole time I was mopping up the coffee, I was mumbling not-so-very-nice things about the people responsible for Americans still having to change their clocks twice a year for no good reason.

According to multiple research studies, in the week following the "spring forward" clock change to daylight savings time there are upticks in the numbers of heart attacks, strokes, accidents of all kinds and "depressive episodes." It is clear that disrupting sleep cycles is detrimental to good health, which should be intuitive knowledge even without the research. And, of course, another good common-sense argument against the practice of time change.

But common sense seems to be in short supply in America these days. In 2022, a "Sunshine Protection Act,"which would have made daylight savings time permanent, passed the U.S. Senate. Unfortunately, the bill never made it out of the U.S. House of Representatives. I'm not sure why, but I am sure that if the bill had gotten through the House whoever voted for it would probably have been assured of re-election for the rest of their natural lives.

I read somewhere recently that similar bills have been introduced in both the House and the Senate. I'm hoping that congresspeople will see the "light" -- so to speak -- and put an end to this infernal biannual ritual and establish a clear path to either permanent daylight savings time or permanent standard time. I can see advantages to either choice, but not to what we've been doing for far too long. We need to pick a lane and stay in it.

Doug Chastain is a retired teacher and large-vehicle transportation specialist for the Siloam Springs School District. (OK, he drives a bus.) He is also a grass maintenance technician at Camp Siloam. (Yeah, he mows the lawn.) You can contact him at [email protected].