The Federal Reserve plans to stock up on cash in case some nervous Americans want more of it in their pockets on the eve of the new millennium.
"We want to be able to meet increased demand from commerical banks should private consumers request more currency," said Clyde Farnsworth, director of Federal Reserve Bank operations and payments systems.
Many older computers read years by the last two digits when encountering dates. In the year 2000, many computers could read 00 to mean 1900, causing many systems to crash or lose important data. Thus, the concern that many Americans might worry whether credit cards or automated teller machines will still work after the new century dawns. Of course, if faced with such a New Year's bummer, many consumers would simply write more checks. But Federal Reserve officials want to make sure teller windows are well-supplied with cash, just in case people decide they want it.
The Federal Reserve's plan means the Treasury Department's Bureau of Engraving and Printing will print more currency over the next year and less currency than usual the year after that. "It just means we're printing the currency earlier than we normally would," said Farnsworth.
We're happy to hear somebody in Washington actually does have a plan for coping with the Y2K bug.