Y2K and Al Gore

June 22, 1998

As you may know, the year 2000 is going to usher in a major computer glitch known as the Y2K problem. Decades ago computer programmers dropped the century digits off the date in order to save space on punch cards and computer memory. So the year 2000 will look like the year 1900 to many mainframe computers.

The potential impact of the Y2K problem has been well documented, but the response from this administration has been puzzling. As the Washington Post asked recently, why is Vice-President Al Gore "low profile on a high-tech headache"? After all he has been the administration's point-man on the Internet and high tech applications. This time he seems AWOL. Here are a few possible explanations:

1. Confidence in government: The Vice President's spokesman said the other day "He's not avoiding the issue. . . . We have the right people in place, we have the right process in place and we do not expect major problems."

2. Timing: The Y2K czar on this problem recently said that "The Vice President has provided the support and leadership that we may need at this stage. It doesn't do us a lot of good just to have people talking."

3. Politics: Some observers note that the Y2K problem will explode just before the first primary. As one person put it Al Gore doesn't want the Y2K mess "to be Al's mess."

These may be reasonable explanations, but they aren't good reasons to avoid talking about the Y2K problem. The country needs leadership to direct computer programmers and to plan contingencies. There is no excuse for the Vice President avoiding this issue. It's a potential crisis without a leader.

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.

© 1998 Probe Ministries International