It was Ronald Reagan who once observed that “Nothing lasts longer than a temporary government program,” and there’s one finally about to be ended you won’t believe still exists.Remember the Y2K scare back in the year 1999? Everyone feared that once the year turned to 2000, all the computers the world depended on would malfunction. Before the new year, government systems prepared themselves for this change. In the private sector, an entire industry developed on preparing businesses for the new millennia.
As you’re all aware reading this in 2017, nothing did happen when our calendars were turned to the year 2000. So that’s it, right? We all laugh off how stupid the fear was, and be glad we at least got the movie “Office Space” out of it all.Apparently, not for the federal government, which is still preparing to fight the Y2K bug nearly two decades after it turned out to be nonexistent.
As Bloomberg reported, seventeen years after the Year 2000 bug came and went, the federal government will finally stop preparing for it.
The Trump administration announced Thursday that it would eliminate dozens of paperwork requirements for federal agencies, including an obscure rule that requires them to continue providing updates on their preparedness for a bug that afflicted some computers at the turn of the century. As another example, the Pentagon will be freed from a requirement that it file a report every time a small business vendor is paid, a task that consumed some 1,200 man-hours every year.“We’re looking for stuff everyone agrees is a complete waste of time,” Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told reporters at the White House. He likened the move to the government “cleaning out our closets.”
Deregulation is a major ambition of President Donald Trump’s agenda; as one example, he has signed more laws rolling back his predecessor’s regulations than the combined total of the three previous presidents since the process was established by the 1999 Congressional Review Act.
Seven of the more than 50 paperwork requirements the White House eliminated on Thursday dealt with the Y2K bug, according to a memo OMB released. Officials at the agency estimate the changes could save tens of thousands of man-hours across the federal government.Mulvaney said he hopes that by publicly eliminating the rules, departments and agencies will be inspired to review their own policies and procedures to reduce inefficiencies. “Many agencies have forgotten how to deregulate,” he said. “It’s been so long since somebody asked them to look backwards.”
The effort isn’t intended to reduce the federal workforce, Mulvaney said, but should free up employees for more productive tasks. He said his agency would begin a second review of requirements imposed by presidential executive orders and by Congress, with the hope of identifying more that could be eliminated.
The Office of Management and Budget informed us in a memo that “these policies are now obsolete and outdated, as the Federal government was successfully unaffected by any service interruptions.” When do you think they realized they were outdated?[Note: This post was written by Matt Palumbo. He is a co-author of the new book A Paradoxical Alliance: Islam and the Left, and can be found on Twitter @MattPalumbo12]