Y2K and Government Planning

June 23, 1998

What will the first day of the year 2000 bring? More and more Americans are answering, "a major computer glitch." The year 2000 crisis (also known as the Y2K crisis) is imminent because computer programmers a few decades ago decided to drop the century digits off dates in order to save space on punch cards and in computer memory.

How bad will the glitch be? Well, that depends on who you talk to. Some seem to think this will be nothing but a minor headache. Others are preparing for the year 2000 like it would be Armageddon. In the midst of this cacophany have come some respected voices who predict very dire consequences if we don't act immediately.

The Center for Strategic Policy convened a panel of experts to address the Y2K problem. These weren't doom-and-gloom survivalists, but respected leaders in government or the computer industry. Let me quote from just one.

Peter de Jager is Special Advisor to the United Kingdom's Year 2000 Task Force and the Russian Task Force on Y2K. He declared: "If today were December 31, 1999 and our systems were in the . . . state they are in today, tomorrow our economy world-wide would stop. It wouldn't grind to a halt, it would snap to a halt. You would not have air travel, you would not have Federal Express, you would not have the postal service, you would not have hot water, you would not have power because systems are broken."

Is the Y2K problem a crisis? I would think so based upon the comments by Peter de Jager and many others who attended this conference. And yet the federal government earned a grade of F the other day for its inaction on the Y2K problem. The President and Congress need to do better if we are to avoid a crisis less than 19 months from now.

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

© 1998 Probe Ministries International