Jul 11, 2016

Social Security Subcommittee Schedules Hearing

      From a press release:
Today, House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Chairman Sam Johnson (R-TX) announced that the Subcommittee will hold a hearing entitled “Modernizing Social Security’s Information Technology Infrastructure” on Thursday, July 14, at 10:00 ...
Upon announcing the hearing, Chairman Johnson said:
... “What makes no sense is that, despite the importance of this information, Social Security relies on technology so outdated it is not even taught in computer science classes.
“For years, I’ve sounded the alarm on the dangers of Social Security’s outdated and aging IT. I look forward to hearing Social Security’s plan to update its IT for the 21st century – a plan we have been asking to see for far too long. ...
     Republican lawmakers like to talk about Social Security's technology problems. It's a good way of deflecting attention away from Social Security's staffing problems which are 100% the result of inadequate funding. Also, Republican lawmakers want to make very sure that if Social Security gets any additional funding that most of it goes to contractors instead of hiring additional staff. The technology problems are certainly real but so are the staffing problems. Throwing money at the technology problems will help but it won't be quick and it won't be easy. Throwing money at the staffing problems will definitely work and work fairly quickly and easily.
     By the way, there are two reasons why Social Security can't come up with a long term IT plan. First, technology is changing so fast that any long term plan will be outmoded long before it can be implemented. Second, the agency has a hard time with even medium range IT planning because it has no idea what funding level to expect in coming years.


Anonymous said...

It would be ludicrous for Congress to throw any money to SSA to upgrade its IT after the recent boondoggle and loss of $300 million in the disability case processing system.

My recollection is Colvin and top Agency officials chose to sit on the McKenzie investigative report which detailed the utter failure and waste of money in 2014 until AFTER she was confirmed as the SSA Commissioner.

Word about this COVER UP among Colvin and top Agency officials was leaked to Congress, and this led to a criminal investigation, no confirmation for Colvin and no renomination by Obama for Colvin to be SSA Commissioner.

I do not think the criminal investigation into this and other COVER UPS of wrongdoing is even over, which I suspect is the primary reason Colvin refuses to leave, despite Eanes' confirmation as Deputy SSA Commissioner. Top officials complicit in the cover up and wrongdoing want Colvin to remain in top spot to protect them.

Congress would be I'll advised to throw any money for IT to be handled by these "Keystone Cop" top Agency officials.

Inasmuch as most of the IT workers in the field offices have no IT background and have simply been promoted through the ranks from the old receptionist/phone answering position on up, it seems to me IT work for the Agency should be fully contracted out.

Anonymous said...

Here we go again with Johnson's comment about COBOL. I wonder if the Subcommittee will also once more recommend that SSA address the IT issues by hiring more Asians.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, that's it. Hire some Indians and get rid of COBOL. Two things the Chairman has stated in the past. Old Sam has got to go! He lost it years ago. When it comes to computer technology, you are better off talking to a five year old than Sam Johnson.

Anonymous said...

What does COBOL stand for?

Anonymous said...

Common Business Oriented Language. It's used everywhere because it works and it won't be going away any time soon. Old does not necessarily equate bad and new versions of COBOL continue to come out for a reason.

Anonymous said...

Don't blame Colvin on the $300 Million DCPS boondoggle. That was a Michael J. Astrue creation, fueled by inept government contractors and DDS administrators who viciously fight to maintain their archaic fiefdoms and systems.

Anonymous said...

@ 6:07AM,

I do not think anyone specifically blames Colvin for the $300 million dollar boondoggle because the mess was initiated under the Bush Administration and Astrue.

The upset with Colvin and top Agency officials has to do with their sitting and covering up the McKenzie investigative report in 2014, which detailed what a boondoggle and waste of money the system was, because they feared if Congress knew of these findings, Colvin would not be confirmed SSA Commissioner. So, it's the cover up, significant lengths taken to maintain the cover up, and the propensity of Colvin and top Agency officials to cover up misconduct and wrongdoing discovered in other situations within the Agency.