The Government Is Shut Down, But the IRS Still Collected $21.7 Billion in Taxes


‘Tis the season for a government shutdown, but it looks like the IRS’s elves had no problem working over the holidays to keep collecting your money.

President Donald Trump and Congress are currently locked in a stalemate over the funding of the much-touted border wall. As the two sides point fingers at each other, the federal government has come to a screeching halt … at least partially.

“About a quarter of the government is shut down, with about 420,000 federal employees working without pay, while another 380,000 are furloughed,” Fox News explained on Thursday.

So-called “non essential” government services and employees are supposed to be on hiatus. (Hey, if they’re non essential, why not just keep them shut down? But we digress.)

One department that is apparently still working overtime is the IRS. While many Americans were gathering in front of the tree on Christmas Eve, the federal government was busy collecting billions of dollars in taxes — and that’s just on one single day.

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“(T)he U.S. Treasury collected approximately $21.672 billion in taxes on Christmas Eve, the first business day of the partial federal ‘shutdown’ that began at midnight last Friday,” CNS News reported.

“Those Christmas Eve tax collections brought total federal tax revenues for fiscal 2019, which began on Oct. 1, to approximately $666.482 billion,” the outlet continued.

Here’s the kicker: The entire reason the government — but of course not the IRS — is shut down is because Congress refuses to allocate $5.7 billion for the proposed border wall.

Yes, that’s right. While dragging its feet over a fairly small $5.7 billion border security measure, the federal government had absolutely no problem taking in almost four times that amount … in just the first day since the shutdown.

Should Congress fund the $5.7 billion requested for the wall?

“On Friday, Dec. 21, the last day before the partial government shutdown, the Treasury collected approximately $10.876 billion in tax revenues, according to the Treasury statement for that day,” CNS News pointed out.

“That brought total tax collections for fiscal 2019 to approximately $644.811 billion–at the beginning of the partial shutdown,” the outlet stated.

But remember, we just can’t afford $5.7 billion to secure the border. Never mind that this is chump change — or is that Trump change? — in terms of annual spending.

If the words “government shutdown” conjure images of vacant federal buildings and empty streets, think again. It’s hard to ignore the impression that much of the shutdown is for show, considering that the same government had no problem reaching into your wallet over the Christmas holiday.

“Even though Congress has not yet passed an appropriations law to fund the Treasury Department in fiscal year 2019, the department has continued operating with ‘essential’ workers showing up and doing their jobs—including on Christmas Eve,” CNS said.

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“As a result, the federal government not only collected that $21.672 billion in taxes on Christmas Eve, according to the Daily Treasury Statement, but it also spent $8.789 billion,” the outlet continued. Remember, that was in a single day.

No wonder public approval of Congress is near record lows. The gap between what politicians say and what they do seems to be widening.

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Benjamin Arie is an independent journalist and writer. He has personally covered everything ranging from local crime to the U.S. president as a reporter in Michigan before focusing on national politics. Ben frequently travels to Latin America and has spent years living in Mexico.