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American Y2K bugs expected to hit the poor

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Considerable civil commotion could erupt as a result of bad Y2K planning which has placed social programmes for the poor at the end of the priorities list for many American states. Among the programmes least ready are unemployment insurance, food stamps, welfare, child support and child care, or, to put it another way, the programmess most heavily leaned on by the poorest citizens. "Clearly some [states] have cut it far too close," John Koskinen, the White House Y2K Czar, admitted. Many such Y2K computer glitches are anticipated among state governments, according to a federal government report on Y2K readiness. The report cited problems in Alabama, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Kentucky, Minnesota, North Dakota, Oklahoma and the District of Columbia. Alabama came in for especially heavy criticism in the report, but a state representative countered by saying that the federal government had published out of date information. US territories like Guam and the Virgin Islands are also thought to be hopelessly unprepared. While state spokespeople may balk, we think it should be fairly easy to spot the worst of the Y2K slackers. Just look for the states and municipalities that have budgeted the most over-time for their police forces, especially the riot-control units. ®

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