President's July 14th speech / Another point of view... : LUSENET : Millennium Salons : One Thread

A (printable) copy of the president's first y2k speech can be found at

Gregory Benesch found and sent the following response to that speech...

Spotlight Boston July 20, 1998

BT EXCLUSIVE: Clinton's Y2K plan 'too little, too late,' says expert

by Bill Burke/BusinessToday staff

President Clinton's proposed initiatives on the Year 2000 computer problem are coming too late to save the country from a major infrastructure collapse, according to an industry analyst.

Y2K Expert Michael P. Harden testified before the President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion in the spring, and warned congress then that the government's Y2K efforts would fall short. And just days after Clinton outlined a plan for the government to deal with the Y2K problem, Harden is saying that unless the White House steps-up its Y2K plan, most Federal agencies will miss the deadline.

The speech, Harden said, was more a disservice to the country than a help.

"Basically, he was telling people not to worry," said Harden, president and CEO of Century Technology Services, Inc. "And that will cause people not to prepare."

Clinton last week proposed legislation designed to protect Year 2000 whistle-blowers from liability claims, establish a Y2K job bank and contribute funds to the World Bank to help increase awareness of the year 2000 problem in developing countries.

Harden came down hard on the Clinton Administration, saying the speech was filled with platitudes designed to throw off critics for a few months.

"It's too little, too late," he said. "They were forced into it. They were finally in a situation where they had to say something."

As a result, Harden said that there will be a "fairly significant breakdown of the infrastructure across the country."

Like what?

Don't bother trying to take a flight as the Year 2000 approaches. According to Harden, airlines will be forced to shut down as non-compliance starts to affect operations, and nuclear plants will be shut down, affecting nearly 30 percent of all the power in the country.

"The government is so far behind as it is, how can you not take emergency action to take care of the problem?" he said.

But that's exactly what will happen if things don't change, he predicted. Emergency appropriations will be needed in 1999, nullifying any budgetary surplus, and sending the balanced budget "out the window."

Harden realizes that such predictions are likely to draw critics who will label him partisan or alarmist.

"Put it this way," he said. "When I started in this business, I was an optimist. The longer I'm in it, the more frightened I become."

That, and as the Millennium approaches, people are more willing to listen to analysts' predictions.

"When I talk to government programmers, they all believe - and it's pretty much unanimous - that they're not going to make it," Harden said.

-- Bill (, July 20, 1998


...oh yeah?

-- Gregory Benesch (, June 12, 2002.

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