New article on Senator Bennett and Y2K : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

"Can't tell precisely where Y2K bug will bite, Bennett says",1249,100005630,00.html?

-- Linkmeister (, June 08, 1999


Bennett sez "Venezuela apparently is on top of things."


Thanks fer the link, linkdude.

-- Don (, June 08, 1999.

Can't tell precisely where Y2K bug will bite, Bennett says

By Leo Tyson Dirr

Deseret News staff writer

Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah, doesn't want to sound Clintonesque when people ask if the world will be all right when the Y2K bug hits. But it's the best he can do.

"It depends on what your definition of all right is," Bennett told a group of 130 information technology professionals Monday. The professionals from more than 30 states listened to what Bennett has learned as the chairman of the Senate Special Committee on the Year 2000 Technology Problem.

Most people in the United States thought the weather in May was "all right," Bennett said. Except the people in Oklahoma.

"We can give you a weather report in May, but we can't tell you what is going to happen in your specific community.

"You may live in the technological equivalent of Oklahoma in May," Bennett said.

The area least likely to be "all right" is the health-care industry, Bennett said. The senator estimates 50 percent to 60 percent of hospitals are not prepared for the imminent computer problems.

However, the problem is not as serious as it seems, Bennett said, because not all hospitals take in the same number of patients. The hospitals that care for the majority of patients are more likely to be Y2K secure, he said.

Bennett said financial institutions are probably the best prepared. But, he said, he is surer of banks in the United States than other parts of the world. Bennett recommends people evaluate closely portfolios with investments in overseas stocks.

Bennett listed eight areas of priority in preparing for Y2K:

* Power grids.

* Telecommunications.

* Transportation (air and ground).

* Financial systems.

* Government (federal, state, local).

* General business activities.

* Litigation (estimates predict more than $1 trillion in judgments).

* Health care.

Even if the United States does all it can to prepare in those areas, outside factors will determine if the country is "all right," Bennett said.

"What will happen to the American economy if Venezuela does not solve its year 2000 problem?" Bennett asked.

Venezuela is the No. 1 exporter of oil to the United States, Bennett said. He said Venezuela apparently is on top of things. He is more concerned with Saudi Arabia, the United States' third biggest oil foreign oil supplier, he said.

Eastern Europe, with predominantly older technology, is also a concern, Bennett said.

After going through each of his eight listed priorities and giving mostly reassuring testimony that preventive measures have been taken (with a few caveats), Bennett urged people not to take his word for it.

"Look to your own bank, your own city, your own power company," he told the group at the Salt Lake Hilton, 150 W. 500 South.

Once, after Bennett presented the same speech elsewhere, a man with a concerned look on his face approached him.

"I'm the mayor," the man said.

"Well, you're going to be getting a lot of phone calls," Bennett said.

Bennett has learned three things from his work on the Y2K committee: (1) Computers are ubiquitous, (2) everyone is connected everywhere and (3) there's no retreat to a pre-computer lifestyle.

"The technological revolution is upon us," Bennett said. "It has us. And we have only one choice. And that's to go forward. We cannot go backward."


-- Linkmeister (, June 08, 1999.

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