It’s day 3 of the government shutdown and unfortunately it doesn’t look any better than day 1. Over 800,000 federal workers are still not getting paid, but members of Congress are still banking those hefty government paychecks. Many people like, author and CNN contributor Bob Greene , feel that not only is it a farce that bigwigs in Congress are still entitled to their pay, but American citizens should receive refunds of the taxes they’ve paid since the government is in shutdown status.
We pay federal income tax with one solitary and bedrock expectation: We are handing our money over so that the federal government will run. Some people may not like how the government operates; some may not care for a particular president or a particular member of Congress or a particular government program. We accept that, as we pay our taxes. We pay those taxes because we have to. We know that we don’t get to withhold those taxes just because we may dislike some of the people or programs the taxes are funding. But when we are told that the government has been shut down– that it has been closed for business — that’s different. We paid for that service. We had no choice. If we had paid for an airline ticket, and in the middle of our trip the airline informed us that one leg of our journey had been canceled, we would justifiably demand a refund. If we ordered an annual subscription to 52 weeks of a magazine, and then, a few months into it, the magazine told us that its new policy was to publish only 26 issues a year, we would, with good reason, ask for half of our money back. If we paid for a one-year membership in a health club, and the club announced that it would have to close for repairs for three months, we would expect a 25% refund. So … exactly when can we expect to see our refund checks from the federal government? We have paid for it to operate.
But don’t hold your breathe for that to happen.
While you’re sitting around waiting for Congress to get their shit together, there’s the matter of the Affordable Care Act. Now if you were able to actually get to the sign-up site, kudos to you. Almost 3 million people tried to sign onto the main federal website at HealthCare.gov, but it crashed and was slow moving. Administration officials said the crashes happened because people were enthused about being able to sign up. Critics on the other hand, of course they said it was just a sign of another failed government.
“Since midnight, 2.8 million people visited HealthCare.gov. We have received more than 81,000 calls so far,” Marilyn Tavenner, administrator of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, told reporters on an afternoon telephone briefing. “We are making improvements as we speak.”
President Barack Obama said the crashes were not completely unexpected. “Just a couple weeks ago Apple rolled out a new mobile operating system, and within days they found a glitch, so they fixed it,” Obama said. “I don’t remember anybody suggesting Apple should stop selling iPhones or iPads or threatening to shut down the company if they didn’t.”
Clutchettes, have you signed up for the Affordable Care Act?