Sharing of Information Most remember hearing about those individuals who put up such a fuss during 1990 when the Census Bureau sent some clearly desperate bean counters around asking questions. Radio talk shows had callers phone in and state why they didn't want to give up their family head count. “Don't want the information used by everyone, everyone knowin’ our business n’ such,” came the retort. “Paranoids,” the hosts growled back. Census Bureau bureaucrats blamed conspiracy blokes and went on the air with the reassurance that: “By law, we cannot give the information out to any agency or party, private or public, as it’s the Law,” they snorted, as the hosts sighed. You could hear the click of their respective eyeballs rolling around when the caller would retort, “Yeah, right buddy.” DOC09 Expand the Electronic Availability of Census Data To increase access to and use of census data, the Census Bureau should create a computerized census information center. (NPR pg. 135) But that is only a tiny piece of the new "Electronic Government" envisioned by Gore & Co. Of course this is considered the future, progress -- sounds like progressive -- so it must be okay, anyway it’s all inevitable in the new age of computers, right? That is probably correct. But let's be clear about the NPR report and Gore’s reinventing government. This is not about ashtray costs, regulations or waste or red tape. Almost half of the ideas for reform are about capital outlays or retained savings or borrowed funds to hookup every agency electronically on their dream of a super electronic (fiber optics, FTS 2000) highway by 2000. It will be more convenient -- laziness inspired -- to bank by phone, purchase via T.V., interactive this and hi-speed that. We’re to believe the U.S. cannot compete unless we mortgage our future for the Harvard MBA computer prospects. When every federal agency is on line with FTS 2000 and NPR recommendations, then the public will know why the push. Information Technology is pressed forward for every agency: Police, CIA, Customs, DEA, State, Labor and Commerce Departments. The Real Push The real effort had begun several years back with the passage of the Brooks Act. The act makes it mandatory that every federal agency be on line by the year 2000 with completely re-installed (from copper wires) fiber-optics wired systems for phone, computer, etc. This includes the independent agency known as the Federal Reserve System and therefore the member banks as well. AT&T and Sprint are the prime contractors. The NPR report calls on the IRS to begin allowing people to pay their taxes with their credit card. All federal agencies are to begin using Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) to pay benefits or debts, collect funds owed or transfer payments. Whether it is a student loan, health care, SBA loan repayment, or VA, Social Security or Medicare, everyone will be on the EFT system by the year 2000. To upgrade the federal debt collection NPR recommends the practice of contracting out to private collection agencies. On page 114, the chapter heading: Action. Federal agencies will expand their use of electronic government. The IRS is introducing an efficient computer system, automating tax returns, and creating a wholly new work environment for its 115,000 full-time personnel. The IRS will also manage the creation of an integrated electronic system for financial filing, reporting, and tax payment by 1996. The system will serve federal, state, and local tax payers. It will allow the electronic filing of tax returns by individuals and companies, the electronic reporting of wages and withholding information, and other data required by all levels of government. It is called Electronic Data Interchange. Working with both Commerce and Labor Departments, everything filed, paid in or out, will be done via Electronic Funds Transfer. Today, December 1993, there are some 40 million Americans who have chosen to voluntarily use debit cards, in lieu of checks, M.O.'s, or cash, for all transactions. These same 40 million also pay their taxes and receive refunds via EFT. Over half of the retired military and active duty personnel, as well as Social Security recipients, also use EFT for their transfer payments. All military personnel in Hawaii are in a test program whereby every single one of them are solely on EFT. It is estimated that by the year 2000, 100 million Americans will voluntarily be on EFT with debit cards. The journal Information Week states that by 2000 we will be on our way to a cashless society. Involuntary participation in such an electronic system of EFT at the point of sale (POS) is never discussed in polite company. Neither is the prospect of a full field audit of every individual electronically by the IRS by the year 2000-2010 ever openly verbalized within the context of EFT/POS technology. The Commerce Departments mammoth three year study of 1988 for NTIA Telecom 2000 & FTS 2000 stated, the system, once on line in every agency, bank, and home would, bring about the futurist's dream of a cashless society. The debit card is a reality today. Today it is voluntary; 2010 or so, it may no longer be, it may have to be involuntary. It will happen, it is part of the new global economy... “get used to it,” Clinton stated during 1993. Many I fear will not; will not want in, will not participate. What may the future hold 2010-20? The homeless will be rounded up voluntarily (at first) for their own well being and housed on abandoned military bases. Why? Clinton really cared? Only the naive would choose to believe such a thing. The homeless have to be somewhere to receive their benefits electronically transferred. No more pan handling. No more illegal drug buys so users as well as dealers must suffer the same fate eventually. Illegals, the same. Everyone will have to pay and play. There are going to be some very unhappy people at first when the electronic funds transfer curtain drops one day -- probably over a four day bank holiday. Within a month drug users, tax protestors, criminals of the so-called underground economy, and a not insignificant number of Christian fundamentalists will see in it the book of revelations Mark of the Beast. With the end in sight, my guess is they will not be able to buy or sell as the bible school taught them and be terrified. Will some, many, or most rebel? Will civil disturbances erupt as people, on what they believe are solid grounds, revolt? What will the Bloods and Crips do? Not much speculation is needed to see that a sizable number will cause some kind of civil disturbance, or worse. Remember that not only is the average American completely ignorant of the above processes, but according to the latest (September 1993) Labor Department Study, some 70 million Americans can barely read, with over 45 million functionally illiterate. I’m not chastising, I’m just saying, these folks are not going to see any of these changes coming. Even if the T.V. and radio and newspapers go on and on about it, tens of thousands will be totally surprised. Some will even think a Communist Coup d'etat hit D.C. I do without reservation beleive, that that is what is generally behind the NPR linkage of the Military, CIA, and FEMA. The government will be prepared. Well prepared, if S.995 is any indication. All government’s prepare to protect itself, first, its citizens second. End Note I am often accused of being a pessimistic analyst. I am. I am not a cynic, the people are though, and all government is. But leaving with an upbeat positive note is the stuff of Clinton (both of them), not me. But I will leave you with one of Gore’s NPR recommendations and I hope it makes you feel better. ENV04 Increase Environmentally and Economically Beneficial Landscaping. Issue an Executive Order to require the use of environmentally beneficial landscaping techniques, including increased use of native species and reduced use of water and chemicals at federal facilities, where appropriate.