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1997-10-06 18:07:05


AMERICAN SPECTATOR Warns of a Computer Catastrophe



THE AMERICAN SPECTATOR's Web page (Sept. 30 - Oct. 6) brings up Clinton's Millennium Project. The author warns of the looming breakdown in government services and calls Clinton to take stronger action.

This is a conservative mainstream publication.

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As the day changes from December 31, 1999 to January 1, 2000, thousands of government computers will be in confusion, since the older systems used by government agencies were built with internal calendars that only go up to 1999, and then roll back to 1900. Obviously, this will severely cripple hundreds of systems that pay government benefits and administer programs that require date of birth information, or anything else that is year-dependent.

For a president who likes to talk about the 21st Century so much, Clinton seems unwilling to do anything to prevent the computer catastrophe the new century will bring. Despite numerous warnings from the Government Accounting Office projecting doom if the federal government doesn't solve the problem, the president barely touched on the year 2000 problem in his millennium speech. And what he did say -- "I want to assure the American people that the federal government... is taking steps to prevent any interruption in government services" -- was light on details and hardly reassuring.


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