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Category: Government

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(Links to documents appear after the summary.)

Civil government as we know it will be in shambles before 2001 rolls around. The ability of governments above the local level to extract wealth from those under their jurisdiction will be reduced dramatically. Their ability to monitor people will also be reduced. Government will be placed on a starvation diet by the Millennium Bug. While they will no doubt issue executive orders, declare martial law, and all the other things governments do in a crisis, they will be hampered by one crucial fact: bankrupt banks. If governments can't write checks, they cannot maintain their sovereignty. They are creatures of the banks as surely as the banks are creatures of the government. The symbiotic relationship of government-licensed banks and debt-addicted governments is about to end. Both institutions are today completely dependent on reliable computers.

Governments write checks. Taxpayers and investors in government debt write checks to governments. On this bank-enabled two-way relationship hangs the modern world's political order. This relationship will end by the middle of the year 2000. Maybe sooner.

All of the industrial world's tax collectors rely on computers to "follow the money." The state rests on "voluntary compliance" of taxpayers. Taxpayers pay "voluntarily" because they know that their monetary income can be traced by tax collectors who use computers. They fear the tax collector because they fear the tax collector's computer.

This fear will end by the middle of the year 2000. Maybe sooner.

The ability of the state to buy votes, assuage consciences, hire armies, and throw the fear of man into other men today rests on the existence of computers. This ability will end, all over the industrialized world, in the year 2000.

Every government will deny this up until 1999. "We will still be able to get you after 1999. Pay no attention to the little man behind the curtain."

What happened to the Soviet Union in 1991 will happen to all Western governments no later than 2000. The governments' moral claim on the public's obedience -- legitimacy -- will end the day that the banks close. If the government can't send monthly checks to granny for two months in a row, the moral claims of the welfare state die.

The day that granny moves in with sonny and his wife because the government can't make good on its promises, the West's political order will go through a revolution comparable to what Mr. Gorbachev experienced.

The West's politicians haven't a clue as to what is coming. Like Dilbert's boss, they don't worry about the details of programming. (Much as I enjoy reading "Dilbert," that cartoon strip faces a major problem: It won't be funny after 1999.)

All politicians should get an interlibrary loan copy of Roberto Vacca's THE COMING DARK AGE (1974). The section on the ultimate traffic jam is quite good, especially when you think of Los Angeles without synchronized traffic lights.

But if they really want to know what's coming, they should read P. A. Sorokin's THE CRISIS OF OUR AGE (1941) and MAN AND SOCIETY IN CALAMITY (1942). Sorokin founded Harvard's sociology department. They don't read Sorokin at Harvard any more, or anywhere else. They should.

Any modern government that cannot write a check or cash a check is no longer in business. If it can't pay its army or its mailmen, it's doomed. If the tax collector can't send out notices of deficiency, or if the recipient's bank is closed, it's "Game Over."

(Other categories: "Military," "Stock Market.")

Updated - Subject

21-Jan-97   Mainframe Readiness Falls Behind Schedule
30-Jan-97   Government-Recommended Criteria for Year 2000 Compliance
24-Feb-97   Treasury Department's Vulnerability
24-Feb-97   $2.3 Billion to Fix U.S. Gov't: Low-Ball Estimate
24-Feb-97   Year 2000 Compliance Survey, U.S. Gov. (1996): Bad News
24-Feb-97   Nebraska's Guidelines for Repairs: Frighteningly Complex
24-Feb-97   "Don't Expect Congress to Pay a Dime!"
24-Feb-97   One County's Programmer Fights for Its Survival
06-Mar-97   A Gigantic Problem, Says a Key Government Science Agency
19-Mar-97   The U.S. Government Has No Agreed-Upon Date Standard
25-Mar-97   State Governments' Bill: $40-60 Billion (Conservative)
08-Apr-97   North Carolina's Y2K Bill: From $7 Million to $300 Million
05-May-97   Oregon's y2k Site Warns: 1997 Is Very Late
28-May-97   Government Admits Truth: Its Computers May Shut Down
29-May-97   Sen. Moynihan's Y2K Bill
09-Jun-97   2/3 of the States Have Not Completed Stage One: 4/21/97
10-Jun-97   Texas Will Pay $65,000/year to Save the State
19-Jun-97   State Governments' Repair Cost (Salaries Only): $75 billion
25-Jun-97   G-7 Nations Propose a 2-Day Y2K Workshop in 1998 (Wow!)
26-Jun-97   Australia: "Yes, We Have Committees!"
27-Jun-97   California's White Paper Describes a Gigantic Challenge
02-Jul-97   Federal Government: Way Behind
08-Jul-97   Partially Compliant (Sort of), Say 7 States
11-Jul-97   If This Is the Good News, Kiss the Feds Goodbye
12-Jul-97   Assessment Deadline Missed: Treasury, Defense
14-Jul-97   Reduce Welfare AND Fix the Millennium Bug, Too!!!
16-Jul-97   Where Gov't Agencies SAY They Are in the Y2K Process
16-Jul-97   NOW READ THIS!!! The Good News Is Really Bad, Says GAO
16-Jul-97   71% of Mission-Critical Systems Are Unrepaired
28-Jul-97   California: Nowhere Near Compliant
06-Aug-97   U.S. Treasury: No Checks Accepted (1999)
11-Aug-97   GAO Warns of Major High Risk Areas
12-Aug-97   States Fear the Feds' Computers
12-Aug-97   National Science Foundation: Get Compliant, or Else!
14-Aug-97   North Platte, Nebraska: Will Dick Brich Make It?
16-Aug-97   The Clintons on the Year 2000: Bug-Free!
20-Aug-97   White House Public Relations Letter on Y2K
22-Aug-97   Small County Takes an Estimated $6 Million Hit
25-Aug-97   Bureaucrats Admit That Y2K Won't Be Fixed: Chaos Looms
25-Aug-97   Society Could Be Dismantled, Warns Expert
27-Aug-97   New York Governor Issues Y2K Executive Order
03-Sep-97   Canada Sets Up a Y2K Committee: Will Report Next June
03-Sep-97   North Platte, Nebraska: Nip and Tuck
17-Sep-97   OMB Report: Government Is Falling Behind
17-Sep-97   New York's Governor Says, Fix It Now!
19-Sep-97   Congressman Horn's Mid-Term Grades: Poor
19-Sep-97   Lunacy: Deadline Date is November, 1999
20-Sep-97   Over Half of the U.S. Systems Reported as Repaired Weren't
24-Sep-97   Los Angeles Schools: An Extra $30 to $52 Million
25-Sep-97   Britain's Lapsed Y2K Bill -- Victim of an Election Year
01-Oct-97   Key Problem: Coordinating the Solutions
01-Oct-97   Minnesota: 83m Lines of Code, 50 Languages
01-Oct-97   U.S. Postal Service Is Not Compliant
06-Oct-97   AMERICAN SPECTATOR Warns of a Computer Catastrophe
06-Oct-97   Connecticut's Web Page: A Few Missing Items
06-Oct-97   Connecticut: When Is the Deadline for Starting Code Repair?
08-Oct-97   Canadian Government: Breakdown of Services Possible
10-Oct-97   How Is YOUR State Doing? A Comparison
13-Oct-97   California's Governor Issues Y2K Executive Order
22-Oct-97   Will Florida Make It?
22-Oct-97   Will Jacksonville, Florida, Make It?
22-Oct-97   Britain's Solution: Turn Unemployed Youths into Programmers
22-Oct-97   Yes, Virginia, There is a Y2K Problem: An Extra $50 Million
22-Oct-97   New Software Is Always Buggy: Another Time Constraint
22-Oct-97   Nevada Law: You Can't Sue Nevada Over Y2K
24-Oct-97   Canadian Government Cannot Fix All of Its Systems, Says Official
24-Oct-97   50% of US Agencies Will Not Complete Their Repairs
24-Oct-97   At Last! Some Good News!
27-Oct-97   Canada: Way Behind
30-Oct-97   Britain's Local Governments Are Way Behind
30-Oct-97   Electronic Funds Transfer, 1999: Blueprint for Disaster
30-Oct-97   Pennsylvania's Governor Sounds Emergency Warning
30-Oct-97   Pennsylvania: 21% of the Y2K Project is Finished
31-Oct-97   Singapore Government Funds Private Y2K Repairs
06-Nov-97   European Governments Will Not Meet Deadline, Says Gartner Group
08-Nov-97   European Agences: Near Paralysis on Y2K -- Doing Nothing
08-Nov-97   All Systems Must Be Both Y2K Compliant and Coordinated
20-Nov-97   Britain: 3 of 16 Departments Will Complete Audits on Schedule
20-Nov-97   West Virginia to Seek Legal Immunity: $500 Million in Law Suits Expected
22-Nov-97   New York: 0 of 81 Agencies Have Made an Inventory
24-Nov-97   Clinton Knows About Y2K, Says London Sunday Times
25-Nov-97   Killer Viruses in 2000: Will the CDC Be Compliant?
25-Nov-97   Texas: $400 Million Needed; Legislature Has Allocated $110 Million
01-Dec-97   Texas Government's Retention Problem: Programmers
01-Dec-97   British Government Forms New Committees, Seeks Reports
01-Dec-97   A Y2K Web Site for the British Government
04-Dec-97   Governments in the U.S. Are Way Behind, Summit Meeting Reveals
04-Dec-97   The Official Timetable
09-Dec-97   Michigan Claims 29% Compliance
15-Dec-97   Agency Completion Dates: 2000 to 2019
27-Dec-97   OMB's November Progress Report: Not Nearly Enough
27-Dec-97   State by State Comparison
29-Dec-97   British Agencies: Barely at Assessment Stage
06-Jan-98   New Zealand's Police Computer Starts Acting Up
06-Jan-98   Some Federal Agencies Will Not Make It: Continency Plans Needed
06-Jan-98   Will Federal Agencies Survive?
13-Jan-98   Georgia Has Barely Begun Its Repairs
13-Jan-98   New York State Faces a Crisis, Says Official
13-Jan-98   Will Repaired Systems Work Together? Hardly Anyone Is Asking
16-Jan-98   Australian Conference: Bad News All Around
16-Jan-98   Sally Katzen Quits as Y2K Flak
17-Jan-98   Australia's Auditor General Says Risks Are Huge
17-Jan-98   Over 50% of U.S. Agencies Will Not Make It, Says Report
20-Jan-98   Australia: It's None of the Public's Business!
23-Jan-98   Governments Will Not Meet Deadline, Say Experts
04-Feb-98   Y2K Expert Calls on Clinton to Draft Gore
04-Feb-98   56% of Texas State Agencies Refuse to Answer
05-Feb-98   Kappelman to Clinton: Global Emergency
05-Feb-98   Clinton Issues a Y2K Executive Order
10-Feb-98   Clinton's Happy Face Web Site on 2000
11-Feb-98   A Terminally Naive Government Official: "No Excuses for Failure!"
17-Feb-98   Y2K Will Be Discussed at May Summit. A Breakneck Pace!
18-Feb-98   Tennessee: 10+ Years of Work and It's 2/3rds Finished
20-Feb-98   17-Fold Increase in Estimated Cost for Repair: California
22-Feb-98   No Way to Fix US Gov't Computers, Warns Computer Specialist
22-Feb-98   Red China Understands Y2K's Threat to the West: A Link to My Web Site
23-Feb-98   Massachusetts: Way Behind
24-Feb-98   A Compliant County: 2 Mainframes
26-Feb-98   OMB Pushes Up Deadline to March, 1999
27-Feb-98   White House Computers Are in Chaos Now -- Pre-2000
02-Mar-98   Oregon's Governor Signs Executive Order
03-Mar-98   U.S. Mails: Nothing Specific, But Don't Worry
09-Mar-98   Local Governments: Half Have No Clue
09-Mar-98   Cong. Horn Hands Out Grades, Mostly Bad
09-Mar-98   Illinois: Not Even Close
09-Mar-98   US Treasury May Not Meet Deadline, Says Rubin
09-Mar-98   Why New York Won't Make It: Salaries
10-Mar-98   New York Faces a Disaster
10-Mar-98   Weymouth, MA Is a Typical Small Town: Way Behind
10-Mar-98   The Nations of the World: Some Bad, Some Worse
10-Mar-98   US Counties: Asleep at the Wheel
11-Mar-98   Australian Government Will Not Correct Everything, Says Y2K Expert
11-Mar-98   Al Gore Warns Cabinet: One of Them Will Be Held Responsible in 2000
11-Mar-98   National Weather Service Isn't Compliant
11-Mar-98   Public Utility Officials in Wales Seek Contingency Plans
11-Mar-98   Britain's Y2K Official Seeks National Contingency Plans
13-Mar-98   British Government Loses Momentum; Emergency Threatens, Says Guenier
20-Mar-98   Office of Management & Budget Report on Y2K
21-Mar-98   Australia: From Mid-1998 to Mid-1999
21-Mar-98   Canadian Government: No New Initiatives, Y2K Only
06-Apr-98   Ireland's Government Will Make It, Says Official
06-Apr-98   Executive Order: NSC to Take Over Government
07-Apr-98   Denial in Action: No Problem in Wyoming!
07-Apr-98   Massachusetts Discovers Y2K: $20 Million Bill
08-Apr-98   Expert Warns Congress: Not Enough Resources to Meet Deadline
15-Apr-98   Y2K Is Nearly Solved: U.S. Government Will Soon Form a Council
16-Apr-98   Shortage of Mainframe Programmers Hits U.S. Government
16-Apr-98   U.S. Senate Creates a Special Committee on Y2K
16-Apr-98   Australia: Not Finished With Y2K Audits Yet
17-Apr-98   British Parliamentary Science Committee Warns of Crisis
17-Apr-98   New York's Y2K Project Accomplishments: List Ends in Aug. '97
18-Apr-98   General Accounting Office Calls for Contingency Plans
20-Apr-98   New Zealand Government Report: A Wish List to Avoid a Disaster
20-Apr-98   New Zealand Government Report: How Bad a Crisis?
21-Apr-98   Georgia Budgets $91 Million. Not Enough, Says Expert
23-Apr-98   U.S. Department of Labor: Nowhere Near Compliant
23-Apr-98   Canadian Agencies Have to Sign Up a Single Y2K Repair Team
28-Apr-98   Huge Y2K Committee, Guaranteeing Failure
29-Apr-98   Intel's President Warns of a Looming Government Crisis
30-Apr-98   Toxic Catastrophe: A Y2K Water Utility Test
01-May-98   New York State Y2K Funding Is Cut
01-May-98   Senator Bennett Says It's Too Late to Fix Everything
01-May-98   Taiwan's Government: 280,000 Programs; Industry: 1,000,000
01-May-98   Going Under Down Under: Australia's Government
02-May-98   Australia's Civil Defense Prepares for Y2K
02-May-98   U.S. Civil Defense: R.I.P.
04-May-98   List of State Y2K Coordinators
06-May-98   Military Specialist Says Al Gore Is Not Facing the Y2K Reality
07-May-98   Senator Bennett Introduces S. 2000
07-May-98   One Government Agency's Solution to Y2K: Workshops
07-May-98   Monitoring the Titanic: The Games Bureaucrats Play
09-May-98   Senate Y2K Committee Will Study the Problem
11-May-98   To Prevent Public Panic, Y2K Czar Maintains a Happy Face
11-May-98   European Bureaucrats Meet for First Time to Discuss Y2K
12-May-98   Moynihan's Bill Reduces Supply of U.S. Programmers
12-May-98   U.S. Treasury Has Not Completed Assessment Phase. It's Over.
12-May-98   Treasury Insists It Can Make the Deadline
12-May-98   The Treasury's FMS: Key to the Survival of the Government
12-May-98   Why They Can't Go Back to Pen and Ink Systems
12-May-98   U.S. Governments: 15% Complete
13-May-98   Y2K Czar Describes Council's Role: Coordinating Goo
13-May-98   Rev. Koskinen and the Religion of Senior Management
13-May-98   16 Out of 68 State Agencies in Georgia Submit Y2K Plans
14-May-98   California Will Be Ready: 12/31/98, Says the State
14-May-98   Virginia Agencies Threatened by Y2K, Falling Behind
18-May-98   Utah Claims A Miracle: Y2K Fix for Under $10 Million
18-May-98   Indianapolis Schools Face Y2K Crisis
19-May-98   G-8 Summit Calls for a Y2K Conference
27-May-98   Wyoming: $1 Million of $13 Million Appropriated
27-May-98   Why Every Computerized Government Will Fail in 2000
28-May-98   Canadian Bureaucrats Predict Failures, Promise Continuity
28-May-98   Y2K Czar Admits: The Truth Might Create a Panic
28-May-98   Gore Is Avoiding Y2K
28-May-98   United Nations Responds to Y2K: Committees Formed
29-May-98   New Zealand's Solution: Set Up a Committee
29-May-98   The Euro: Government Mandates Will Backfire
31-May-98   Systems at Risk: Kappelman's List
02-Jun-98   New Zealand Report Warns of Breakdown in Services
02-Jun-98   European Commission Forms a Committee
02-Jun-98   South Africa Parrots Party Line: Small Government at Risk
03-Jun-98   Congressman Horn Hands out an "F" to the U.S. Government
05-Jun-98   Quebec May Have to Write Checks by Hand
08-Jun-98   Indianapolis: $10 Million, and Few Programmers
08-Jun-98   Japanese Official Says Not to Worry.
08-Jun-98   Canada's Technology Czar Quits
08-Jun-98   TIME Warns: Government Computers Won't Make It
12-Jun-98   The Exodus of the Programmers
13-Jun-98   Y2K Czar Speak With Forked Tongue; Me No Trust


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