Fix the calendar so Christmas is always on Sunday?
Steve Hanke and Richard Conn Henry of The Johns Hopkins University have proposed the latest in what will probably be a perpetual series of calendar reforms as long as men and women breathe. It's presented as a business-friendly calendar, eliminating uncertainty over which holidays fall on which days of the week and how many days are in a month and a fiscal quarter. It reminds me however of the French Republican Calendar of two centuries ago in its attempt to rationally boost efficiency and minimize religion and tradition.
Hanke and Henry would have twelve months with same names as those we use now. The year would have 364 days. The first two months of each quarter would have 30 days; the last, 31.The week would remain the same, with Sundays every seven days as a nod to the devout. However each date would share the same day of the week each and every year. Since Dec. 25 was on a Sunday this year, in their calendar it would always be on Sunday.
Why reform? One reason is that giving every fiscal quarter the same number of days would eliminate uncertainty about how much interest investments earn over short periods. From Hanke/Henry's article in Globe Asia.
The best example comes from calculating accrued interest between February 28th and March 1st in a non-leap year. A corporate bond accrues three days of interest, while a government bond accrues interest for only one day. The proposed permanent calendar — with a predictable 91-day quarterly pattern of two months of 30 days and a third month of 31 days — eliminates the need for artificial day count conventions.
The universe, of course, refuses to be put in such a square box. Like other reformers Hanke and Henry have to true up their calendar every few years to stay in sync with the seasons. The calendar we have now is 365 days with a leap-day every few years to catch up to elapsed and uncounted fractional days. They propose what looks like a leap-week every five or six years to keep their neat structure of weekly blocks intact.
They also want to eliminate time zones and put everybody on Greenwich Mean Time.