A young woman was looking for an entry level position in the workforce when she saw there was an opening for a teller at her local bank. The ad said that the bank was looking for a personable, customer service-oriented person with an aptitude for math. She thought to herself, “That’s me.” So she called the bank to set up an interview.
The day she was to meet with Human Resources she dressed in her most professional outfit and arrived at the bank thirty minutes early. The HR receptionist told her that punctuality was very important and that she would be sure to let Mr. Henderson, the head of HR know that she was early for her appointment.
When she met with Ms. Steadman, the Assistant Director of HR, she smiled, gave great eye contact and was extremely polite. Ms. Steadman decided that she had just the personality that they hoped their tellers exhibited towards the bank’s customers. She decided that if this young woman passed the math accuracy test, she would definitely offer her the position.
Ms. Steadman reached in her drawer and pulled out a stack of one dollar bills which were wrapped and had $100 stamped on the band. She gave this to the applicant and asked her to verify the number of bills in the stack and told her that she would time her to see how long this took her to accomplish.
The young lady smiled and said, “I’ll give it my best shot.”
Ms. Steadman pulled out a stop watch and told her to begin.
The applicant began quickly riffling through the pile, as though she had been counting money all her life. But before she completed the task, she suddenly put down the stack and announced, “I’m done.”
Ms. Steadman looked and her and said, “But you didn’t count all the bills.”
The young woman responded, “Well, I got up to eighty and it was right so far – so I figured that it was right the rest of the way.”
The young woman did not get the teller’s position.
It’s a pity this young woman didn’t have a background in computer programming as she could easily have qualified to help code the www.healthcare.gov website. After the stunning disaster that rolled out for the American public on October 1st, we were told that the problems with the website would be “fixed” by November 30th. That has now been changed to “substantially fixed for the majority of all Americans (80%) by that date. That’s a little like saying that former Public Enemy #1, John Dillinger, was a law abiding citizen since he didn’t spend at least 80% of his time robbing banks.
Yesterday’s Congressional hearing with the developers of the website brought several more stunning revelations. The first was that the security threshold is extremely low – subjecting anyone who is courageous enough to use it to having her or his identity and financial information compromised. The second is that even if a person finds a plan that is appropriate and can afford to purchase it, the “back office” end of the program which will allow for payment has yet to be built. So none of those 106,000 “customers” who enrolled in the first month can actually pay for their insurance.
As you know, I’m less than a booster for this Ponzi scheme. But as much as I dislike it, I’m beginning to feel a little embarrassed for the administration. If you had a comedy writer on peyote writing this script, I doubt he could come up with a scenario of such incompetence as we are seeing reveal itself each day.
As I always try to take lemons and turn them into lemonade, I do see a few bright spots on the horizon. First, I think that Life Lock, which alerts customers to fraudulent financial activity in their accounts will be doing a land office business. Second, should a hacker get past them, Experian, which has been advertising extensively to consumers to check their credit reports, should also see a surge in new enrollees.
Now if we could only pass a bill that would allow government subsidies for the annual enrollment fees for these two services, life in America would be Utopia.