**Michael Hyatt** -- Unfounded Optimism --

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Unfounded Optimism

by Michael Hyatt

The new century is less than four weeks away. As we stand on the verge of the Year 2000, the vast majority of American citizens are totally convinced the Y2K computer problem has been solved. At this point, if even mild economic or social disruptions occur in January, most folks will be absolutely shocked, having been assured so often that such disruptions are impossible.

The Y2K awareness battle is over. It wasn't even close. Those of us who have attempted to educate consumers about this situation have been clobbered. If it had been a football game, the score would have been 63 to 7, with Coach Koskinen working his game plan to perfection.

Over the last several months, a relentless wave of spin control and outright disinformation from government bureaucrats and corporate executives have flooded the public with Y2K optimism. As a result, most people did not bother to research the issue and instead blindly accepted all the happy-faced PR pronouncements.

I truly hope and pray the Y2K optimists are correct. No one in their right mind would want to see our prosperous society shaken to its very foundations. But I'm afraid all the Y2K optimism is unfounded. Yes, much work has been done in the last few years. Many key technology systems have been upgraded or replaced and will operate properly in the Year 2000.

Many others, however, are far from ready.

Contrary to popular opinion, the Y2K problem has yet to be solved. The following summaries indicate the true status of various sectors of our economy and society:

Federal Government

If you read only the headlines, you would think every computer system in every federal office is all set for the Year 2000. But in the most recent report from the U.S. House Subcommittee on Government Management, Information and Technology, issued on Nov. 22, it was revealed that of 43 federal programs designated "high impact," 18 remain at risk of failure. The original compliance deadline for federal systems was Sept. 30, 1998. The deadline was moved to Dec. 31, 1998; then March 31, 1999; then Sept. 30, 1999. (Does anyone notice a pattern here?) Now, with mere weeks remaining until Jan. 1, many key systems are still not ready.

The Medicare program is also at risk. According to an October report, published by the American Medical Association, 98 percent of the nation's doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers had yet to test their computerized data exchanges with Medicare claim-processing centers. Of the handful that had tested, the failure rate of supposedly compliant computer systems was as high as 20 percent. Medicare officials have made it clear that no payments will be made on improperly filed claims. Since the vast majority of claims are filed electronically, Y2K glitches could create cash-flow nightmares for doctors and hospitals dependent on Medicare funds.

In October it was revealed that the Internal Revenue Service had not even completed Y2K inventories of the computer systems in many of its centers and offices. The basic inventory is the first step in the time-consuming process of repairing systems. IRS Commissioner Charles Rossotti said they planned to complete Y2K inventories of major centers by Dec. 31, 1999. (Great, but when do they plan to actually fix the computers?)

Local Government

Y2K-readiness at the state and local levels is much worse than at the federal level, according to most experts. The Center for Y2K and Society, based in Washington, D.C., released the results of a survey in November. Fifty-five communities in 28 states were polled, and as Executive Director Norman Dean explained, "It's clear there is a great deal that remains to be done, and we're running out of time." The survey found that most communities across the country, regardless of size, are under-prepared for Y2K. Also, sewage treatment plants and local utilities have not been independently audited in most locales, and less than half of the surveyed communities have plans to assist nursing homes in the event of disruptions.

In October, a widely respected computer consultant, James McCullough, described the city of Atlanta's Y2K situation: "In my professional opinion, Atlanta's Year 2000 Program is being poorly managed, months behind schedule, and is not taking the necessary actions to improve the chances of any real success." Upon learning of McCullough's statement, City Councilwoman Cathy Woolard remarked, "I suspected all along that we were in this kind of shape, but have not been able to confirm it. It's quite obvious that from the top down, nobody has a clue what they're doing."

In early November, it was discovered that 50 percent of the United States' 911 emergency networks were not Y2K-compliant. White House Y2K czar John Koskinen suggested that people keep handy the direct dial phone numbers of local fire, police, and ambulance services in the event 911 emergency systems fail.

Corporate America

A Cap Gemini survey in September found that 44 percent of major corporations did not expect to have all of their mission-critical systems ready by Dec. 31. This statistic floored me when I first learned of it. However, the handful of media outlets that bothered to report the story in September also said most corporate executives are optimistic that Y2K will not interrupt business activity, and as a result, few in the general public took notice.

On Nov. 29, the results of the third "Y2K Experts Poll" was released. Gary Beach, the publisher of CIO magazine (and someone who testified with me before Congress), one of the sponsors of the poll, said, "One in five large companies is racing to finish by the end of December. Some are going to make it, some aren't. Even those finishing will not have enough time to adequately test and verify their work." Another survey sponsor, Dr. Ed Yardeni, said optimism about Y2K "is based more on hope and trust than fact." The survey found that two-thirds of major corporations are assessing the Y2K status of their critical suppliers simply by sending out form letter questionnaires.

A recent survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that only 35 percent of responding companies have made contingency plans if Y2K problems hit payroll programs. As a result, experts warn that some employees could find themselves without a paycheck when the Year 2000 arrives. "There are an awful lot of companies that haven't done a whole lot, and it's really going to affect them," said John Trahey, vice president at Millennium Payroll Services. "People's checks may not be there." (I can think of nothing that will mess up a company quicker than a bunch of unpaid, disgruntled employees.)

Small businesses in the United States are even less prepared for Y2K than larger corporations, according to industry analysts. Reportedly, upwards of 40 percent of all small businesses are completely ignoring the Y2K issue and have no plans to take any action to upgrade noncompliant computer systems. Small businesses employ 60 percent of American workers, and virtually all major corporations rely on small firms for critical supplies and materials.

With less than 20 working days to go until New Year's Day, this is the situation in the United States -- the undisputed world leader in Y2K preparedness.

Overseas, Y2K-readiness is much bleaker. The nations that provide half of our oil supply, such as Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, and Mexico, are struggling to upgrade technology systems in time. Major trading partners, like China and Indonesia, are already admitting that disruptions will be widespread. In an unprecedented move, American embassy personnel in Moscow are being allowed to come home before the end of the year because Russia is expected to be a technological basket case come January.

I'd love to say the Y2K optimism sweeping our land is justified -- but I can't. The plain facts about Y2K-readiness paint a much more somber picture. I'm afraid Y2K optimism is based mostly on wishful thinking. And I'm afraid millions of citizens will be shocked -- shocked! -- to discover early next year that politicians and business leaders have been lying to them about Y2K.


-- snooze button (alarmclock_2000@yahoo.com), December 07, 1999


Is this the same Michael Hyatt who has been wrong with EVERY SINGLE ONE of his previous prognostications?

"April 1, 1999. On this date, Canada, Japan, and the State of New York begin their fiscal year. This will, of course, include dates beyond Y2K. As a result, planning systems, especially budgets that have not been repaired will fail as they attempt to process Y2K dates. Since New York City is the media capitol of the world, problems there will grab headlines worldwide. Problems in Japan will remind everyone again of how interconnected our world is. The Japanese will also be forced to admit that there systems might not make it. I expect the stock market to react and begin (or continue) its downward spiral. Public confidence will continue to wane and the number of Y2K optimists will continue to dwindle.

July 1, 1999. On this date, forty-four U.S. states begin their fiscal years. The problems that began in New York will now spread exponentially across the country and around the world. The public will feel the global and pervasive nature of the Y2K Problem for the first time. This will be further exacerbated by the fact that many states have not had the resources to adequately address their Millennium Bug problems. Consequently, the failures will be real and widespread."

From the 12 Oct 1998 issue of Westergaard - Michael Hyatt

-- nottelling (not@telling.com), December 07, 1999.


As Michael said, the computers that weren't fixed will have problems.

How do you know they haven't? Did you know about all the other problems that many companies have had before you were told in the Media (or here). A great example is Social Security. 100% Compliant. 100% FALSE!

It's probably easier to hide fiscal problems than anything. Look how they screw with the numbers of the National Debt and inflation etc. The numbers are constantly revised - up or down. Who audits them?

Did the Chase screw up make the national media?

Oh, your right - Y2K is no big deal. Since it hasn't affected YOU, it's NO PROBLEM.

-- Gregg (g.abbott@starting-point.com), December 07, 1999.

Oh yeah, I don't think anyone would have believed the stupidity of the public. I guess your post, and attempt at deducing "since Michael was wrong about this, he's logically wrong about that" crap, is living proof of the standard IQ range.

-- Gregg (g.abbott@starting-point.com), December 07, 1999.

Looks like the polly trolls are returning.

-- (brett@miklos.org), December 07, 1999.

I believe the example of the Deutche(sp) Bank glitch last week is a true indication of what we are about to see happen Jan 1,2000. It pisses me off that Deutche (sp) Bank can say it wasn't a Y2K problem. Why would they be installing new software at such a late date. What a joke.

I agree 100% with Hyatt's stuff. Can we argue these numbers that he uses?


-- John Friendly (taking@my money out.ooo), December 07, 1999.


Where did you see a prediction here? Mr. Hyatt simply stated information recently released by the same media that has produced the constant flow of excrement that you and the masses have been digesting.

If you trust the mass media and the government and all the don't- worry-be-happy crap they proclaim, why is it such a leap to accept what you've read here? The generic source is the same.

If you can legitimately dispute any of the items presented by Mr. Hyatt, please do so. We eagerly await the good news!



-- TA (sea_spur@yahoo.com), December 07, 1999.

Yes, Hyatt was wrong to get snookered into the pre Rollover dates game. Jo Anne Slaven NEVER claimed that these were show stoppers...on the contrary, she wrote that these "failures" were to be seen as a wakeup call for DGI and DWGI management to fix their accounting systems. The real test is just 15 (TASC corrected) Federal workdays away.

Since embedded systems don't exhibit the Jo Anne Effect, I am quite sure DGI and DWGI managements in .com,.gov,.org,.edu,.mil type outfits will be quite surprised in January '00.

No more happyface Bullsh*t! Let's get it on!!

-- K. Stevens (kstevens@ It's ALL going away in January.com), December 07, 1999.

So, let me get this staight. You will continue to support and agree with a guy who can barely spell his own name, and dispute the experts who have thus far been 100 per cent correct. And you wonder why peple laugh at you folks...

-- nottellin (not@telling.com), December 07, 1999.

The government's $40 million (now $50 million) Y2K Information Coordination Center begins 24-hour operation on December 28...


-- Linkmeister (link@librarian.edu), December 07, 1999.


We're waiting. Which part of the information at the top of this thread can you factually refute? Who are you're so called experts? Surely, you're not including Kosky.

You think we're not laughing at you? Wrong again.

-- TA (sea_spur@yahoo.com), December 07, 1999.

I hain't never paid fer a palm readin' 'cause I hain't never seen nobody who could see into the future. Hyatt cain't see into the future. Neither Ed Y(a) nor Ed Y(o) can see into the future. Nor can nottellin see into the future. Never did buy any of the expert "predicshuns" fer the future.

Whut I read is the PAST, and the PRESENT. Go back and read whut Hyatt SEZ!! Go ahaid and disregard the future parts and look at the PAST parts and draw yore OWN conclusions. I have ands they AIN'T PRETTY!

Night train

-- jes a tired ol footballer (nighttr@in.lane), December 07, 1999.

It would be amusing if the reality were not so pathetic. What kind of collective thought process in our society can allow the numbers of compliance statements that are being released now on a daily basis that "our systems are now tested and compliant". Is it not laughable to think that countries the likes of Tunesia, Poland and Turkey are arriving at the same stage of the project as countries with the resources of the United States and Canada. Now more than ever the reality of the situation has emerged. That compliance or failure are not nearly as important at this stage as not being the first to go down or bear the stigma of lagging behind the imaginary group of "winners". Because nobody can state clearly the consequences, if we can fake it until we know for sure, then maybe we can avoid the consequences altogether.

-- punger (punger2@aol.com), December 07, 1999.

Well said, Punger. That is the most accurate short description of what has happened I've read in a while. Thanks.

-- TA (sea_spur@yahoo.com), December 07, 1999.

I'm printing out the Hyatt article to give friends and family in a last ditch attempt to make them face facts. Thanks snooze button.

-- Pearlie Sweetcake (storestuff@home.now), December 07, 1999.


Sorry I didn't include the URL earlier:

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/bluesky_hyatt/19991207_xcmhy_unfounded_.s html


-- snooze button (alarmclock_2000@yahoo.com), December 07, 1999.

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