One part that's not staffed during the shutdown includes -- oh, you'd never guess, not ever -- the people who issue your tax-return check.
Yes, the Feds really, really want your money, on time and in full -- and they'll be keeping any extra you paid, thank you very much, until the Federal Government is running again.
Hating on the IRS is like hating sharks -- they're just doing what they're fitted for, after all. Like the shutdown, the Internal Revenue Service is a creation of Congress. Congressthings keep on getting paid when the fed.gov is shut down, and they do want to make sure those checks don't bounce.
* * *Various commentators on the Left and Right want me to be very alarmed about the shutdown. They want me to blame the Other Party and they want me to be angry that "Congress isn't doing its job." The thing is, Congress is fractious and argumentative by design. When they hit one of these impasses, they are doing their job, no matter how much I wish they'd just go home, or at least sit down and shut up. They do none of those things; they stay there, griping and sniping and edging towards some way to move onward, or at least around. They're not at all efficient about it -- this is the U. S. Congress, not a V-8 engine. Efficiency isn't the point. (In fact, I think a genuinely efficient government would be a very unpleasant thing to have. Certainly every government that has claimed to be achieving greater efficiency has been uniformly grim and nasty.)
Congress will muddle through. The military will get their back pay. If they can be patient, so can the rest of us.
Except, of course, for the tax-collecting portions of the IRS. They're more like the tides.