Year 2000 Problem


. some duty to citizens to provide basic services in return for the payment of taxes. The failure to provide these services is seen as a breach of this implied contract.

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“(5) This also tells us that all of the information on who paid taxes for the last several years could be lost very easily. There would be no way to prove someone did or did not. This is just one of the major catastrophes that could happen.This is very scary and could truly ruin our nation’s economy and freedom that we have come to grow and love. I found some very interesting information in the on-line journal called The Scotsman.

“”The picture is a gloomy one,” said Stephen Horn, a US senator, warning of possible breakdowns in the Medicare payments system, electrical blackouts and telecommunications havoc. But John Koskinen, of the Year 2000 Council, said agencies were making strides and major systems would be ready for 2000 or on track to be so by the end of 1999. He said the real problem was with local governments, small companies and countries “that are at square one”. Horn has been putting out quarterly ratings of how 24 US federal agencies are coping with the Y2K problem.As in August, he gave the administration an overall “D” rating for its progress in fixing computers and telecommunications systems and drawing up contingency plans for breakdowns. The Defense Department, which has made 52 percent of its mission-critical systems ready for 2000, got a “D-” grade.

Marks of “F” went to the departments of Justice, Energy, Health and Human Services and State. He said State was only 36 per cent fixed and at this rate would not have its systems fixed until 2034. A State Department official said the 36 percent figure was accurate but the agencies were expecting substantial improvements in the next report and plan to be fully corrected for 2000 by next August.At Health and Human Services’ Health Care Financing Administration, which operates Medicare, only seven of 100 mission-critical systems are Y2K compliant, Horn said. “If HCFA does not accelerate its efforts dramatically, failure of Medicare’s systems is inevitable.

“”(6) I have included a pie graph of the grades received by the 24 major agencies. This is very shocking and really puts into perspective how slow the government is going in their effort to fix this potentially catastrophe. The question has arisen to the readiness of our nuclear weapons. This is a headline that I came across: US Nuclear Agency Fails Y2K Testing.This was obtained in the journal Australian Financial Review. A few of the highlights are as follows. “The agency that manages the US Government’s nuclear weapons stockpile is testing its most critical computers in the wake of Pentagon inspectors’ discovery that no one had verified whether key systems could withstand year 2000 problems.

The Defense Special Weapons Agency was not alone in certifying computers millennium-bug safe without independent testing, said the Pentagon’s Inspector-General’s Office, which found only 25 percent of the agency’s “mission critical” defense computer systems had been tested. The agency agreed with the audit findings, although the agency’s acting director, Mr. George Ullrich, said in a September 30 letter to the Inspector-General’s office that agency officials had been unaware that independent testing was needed to verify a system would not crash in 2000. Instead, agency officials believed “systems could be’self-certified’ with the aid of a check list”, Mr.Ullrich wrote, noting that Pentagon policy before April 1997 did not require testing. The Inspector General noted in a June 5 report that only 25 per cent of the 430 critical Pentagon computer systems that had been tested were certified as Y2K compliant. As a result, the report warned: “Systems may unexpectedly fail because they were classified as year 2000 compliant without adequate basis.

“(1) This really gives the government a good public relations view. They make it seem like people just shake dice or draw cards to see if something is Y2K compliant or not. If this doesnt demonstrate how lazy and inept some federal employees are then I dont know what does. If this isnt bad enough it goes on to illustrate that forty percent of the governments mission critical computers are run by these fools. “This has nothing to do with command and control of nuclear weapons.The Defense Special Weapons Agency –which was absorbed into a new Defense Threat Reduction Agency on October 1 has managed and tested the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile since 1947.

It also verifies arms control treaties and pacts. The Pentagon, which operates about 40 percent of computers that the US Government considers critical to carrying out the Government’s mission, has been trying for several years to ensure systems do not crash when the calendar turns from 1999 to 2000.”(1) One of the best articles that I came across was one in The Economist, which stated what anyone who knows anything about this problem feels.

“Such dire predictions thrive on the impossibility of saying with certainty how much is likely to go wrong. One of the many extraordinary aspects of the Year 2000 problem is the range of unknowns it reveals. Nobody really knows how widespread it is; how much of it will be fixed; and what it will cost to fix. The curious truth is that the carriers of the bugcomputer hardware, software and microchips, which account for so much of the productive power of modern economiesare measured and monitored far less carefully than the economys stock of machines, vehicles and buildings.”(2) Throughout this entire analysis of the governments efforts to ensure the readiness for the Y2K bug I have found out more about the government than I ever wanted to know.I have learned that they are the worst procrastinators this country has ever seen.

I have truly learned how inept the federal government really is. This is a program that could impact our society so strongly that it isnt even funny. They just stand around and ponder how they should approach these problems and try to wait until they are going to go broke financing a program that would have been half as expensive if they would have started planning earlier and more precisely.

“The United States accounts for around one-fifth of world output but one-third of its computer base.”(2) The government has to finally realize what a big concern this is for the entire world not just the US. If the US can get its problems fixed why cant everyone else.The government really has a chance to show everyone how well they work under pressure. Bibliography 1. Australian Financial Review, http://www.afr. 5.html, November 30,1998, Accessed on 12/01/98.

2. Cairncross, Frances, The millennium computer bug is totally predictable in its timing, but completely unpredictable in its effects. Its greatest danger, writes Frances Cairncross, lies in that uncertainty, “Year 2000 Journal”,, September 19,1998, Accessed on 11/02/98.3.

Deursen, Arie van. The Year/2000 Leap Year Problem: Get Ahead of It, But Dont Jump to Conclusions!, “The Economist”, -98/index survey.html, Oct. 26-Nov 2. Accessed on 11/02/98.

4. Houston Business Journal, http://www.amcity.

com/houston/stories/1996/09/09/e ditorial1.html?h=Year|2000, September 9, 1996, Accessed on 11/25/98. 5. Sampson, Vince, Year/2000 Legal Issues: The Public Sector, “The Economist”, http://www.economist.

com/editorial/freeforall/19-9 -98/index survey.html, Oct. 26-Nov.2, Accessed on 11/02/98.

6. The Scotsman Online Edition, 201.1.html, Accessed on 12/01/98.