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Politics, meet reality: A wonderful screwup
California Can't Perform Pay Cut Because of COBOL, linking to California state computers can't handle pay cut, controller says, which begins:
If Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger wants to issue minimum-wage checks to 200,000 state workers in less than a month, he may want to rehire any semi-retired computer programmers he terminated last week.

The massive pay cut would exhaust the state's antiquated payroll system, which is built on a Vietnam-era computer language so outdated that many college students don't even bother to learn it anymore.

Democratic state Controller John Chiang said Monday it would take at least six months to reconfigure the state's payroll system to issue blanket checks at the federal minimum wage of $6.55 per hour, though Schwarzenegger insists such a change should occur this month.
Further down:
"COBOL programmers are hard to come by these days," said Fred Forrer, the Sacramento-based CEO of MGT of America, a public-sector consulting firm. "It's certainly not a language that is taught. Oftentimes, you have to rely on retired annuitants to come back and help maintain the system until you're able to find a replacement."

Retired state employees who have returned to work part-time for the state were among thousands of workers laid off last week.

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This is, of course, arrant BS.

It's not all that difficult to find COBOL programmers in California. Active COBOL programmers.

Mind you, it's good to see the Governator hoist on his petard like that.

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