guest commentary: A Message to the Federal Reserve

It's a fact: the government is printing an extra 50 gazillion dollars or so to stick in the banks sometime between now and the Year 2000. This is to prevent us Y2K-fearing-folk from running to the banks, taking out too much money, and burying it in a jar in the back yard (better known as depositing it in the Bank of Mason).

Come on, are we that paranoid? Will we really go nutso over this millennium thing, just because we did lose our heads over O.J. and a few Stanley Cup celebrations?

We're relatively calm folk; give us some credit. We handled Dow 10K. We got over Lewinsky. So here's a message to the Federal Reserve: this "let’s-put-a-whole-bunch-of-cash-under-everyone's-mattress" is a really dumb idea and I'm dead set against it.

That's because if nice people like you and me know about all this money, so will someone else: the bad guys. The burglars. The folks who are about to have a home invasion sensation. They can't wait for this to happen. Because if we Y2K-crazy suburbanites lose our heads, where will we stash all the cash?

Not in the bank, that's where it came from. And not in some empty box of detergent above the dryer, ‘cause that's where I hid my wife's anniversary present and she found it in about 15 seconds.

So where then? In the toaster? That's no good. Stuffed behind the stereo? They'll probably steal that too, though mine's so old I'm not sure it was ever Y2K compliant. I'm telling you, if the Fed follows-through with this hairbrained policy, we'll be sitting ducks. We'll have a break-and-enter bonanza. We'll have nothing but trouble (assuming we have enough armored cars to get $50 gazillion bucks from the Mint to our local ATM's in the first place).

Look, maybe this Y2K stuff is a bunch of hooey. Maybe every CPU the world-over will roll-over just fine, except one cranky cash register at some fast food place somewhere (which is no big deal since it happens to me all the time anyway, and I have to wait an hour and a half while some pimply teenager tries to calculate the change for $17 out of a twenty).

Mr. Clinton, or anyone else who just might be President around midnight December 31st, please put a stop to this. This is a really bad idea. Because the crime rate is about to go through the roof. And do I want to be one of those out-of-shape, unarmed, cowering-in-the-bedroom good guys, with my life's savings of $860 hidden under my cat-dish? Please, on Year 2000 that's the last person I'd want to be (except for maybe my insurance agent - now he's really got something to worry about).

Mike Cohn is a computer consultant and lives in a nicely furnished home Atlanta. No, make it Macon. Yeah, look for him there.

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