Tax Refunds?

Bob Greene, in his inimitable way, cheekily points to the problems in DC by suggesting tax refunds:

On the one side of the federal government shutdown are the people whose job it is to run that government: the Congress and the White House. Democrats, Republicans, conservatives, liberals — no one forced any of them to take those jobs. They wanted them. Then ran for them. They got them.

On the other side — at least in a rational world, which this isn’t — is us. The taxpayers.

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.

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than forty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • Janet

    There is also a message going around FB that says Congress should be required to live like the rest of us…not be allowed to determine their own pay raises, no special retirement program, no special healthcare system, etc. Frankly, I think that is the way to go. Why should they continue to get paid when not in office?

  • Keith Schooley

    Well, except for the fact that it’s not really shut down, and that the part that’s still running still costs more than taxpayers are paying into it (hence the concern about the debt limit).

  • Kyle J

    This is the cheap way out. Blame all sides and wash your hands of it.

    This isn’t Congress vs. the people. Or even Republicans vs. Democrats. This is Republicans vs. Tea Partiers. If you put up a vote in the House right now to fully fund the governement, with no strings attached, it would pass. It’s all about the internal politics of the GOP caucus.


    If you’re going to (basically) say, “Why can’t we all just get along?”, you have to at least ackowledge who’s causing the not getting along.

  • Kyle J

    Even more to the point:


    Either you agree with the Tea Party that we’re on such an awful track that this shutdown is worth it, or you don’t.

  • labreuer

    It’s clever, except for the fact that all this ‘extra money’ comes at the expense of screwing over the people who were expecting to have it. I’m sure some are enjoying their furloughs, but many aren’t going to make all the payments they have because of this.

    The only people I would justifiably permanently deprive of pay for days the government is shut down are our lawmakers. I doubt that would happen.

  • Andrew Dowling

    The problem with the Tea Party is that all of their policies, including this shutdown, make the the debt problem WORSE. They use debt reduction as a nice political rallying cry but they don’t know the first thing about actually reducing it.