Are you one of the estimated 7 million Americans who did not get their federal tax return refund last year? As of October 11, 2021, millions of households still waiting on 2020 tax refunds as almost 7 million returns haven’t been processed. Getting in touch with the IRS is a nightmare for most people.
With this past Christmas marking the 30th anniversary of the collapse of the Soviet Union, upon the resignation of Mikhail Gorbachev, December 25, 1991, you may be wondering if America is a “failed state”?
“The pandemic, as well as the longstanding budget cuts, are the two big reasons for a larger-than-normal backlog,” Samantha Jacoby, senior tax legal analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, told Yahoo Money. “The IRS has been the subject of funding cuts for at least a decade, which likely made them less able to handle [the move to remote work] that they didn’t anticipate.”
In March, a Treasury watchdog warned that taxpayers may face delays in getting their refunds this season as the IRS is still dealing with last year’s backlog and faces difficulties hiring enough workers to process old and incoming returns.
A failed state
According to Wikipedia Failed state – Wikipedia, “A failed state is a political body that has disintegrated to a point where basic conditions and responsibilities of a sovereign government no longer function properly….”
Other characteristics include an “inability to provide public services,” and “to raise taxes…. When this happens, widespread corruption and criminality, the intervention of state and non-state actors, the appearance of refugees and the involuntary movement of populations, sharp economic decline, and military intervention from both within and without the state in question can occur.”
Is it fearmongering? Did millions really not receive their return?
On December 31, 2021, after not having received our joint return refund for roughly eight months, this writer checked the status Get Refund Status (irs.gov) one last time. The IRS website had a message that their site would be down until January 3, 2021. We are part of the 7 million who never received our refund. This is a first for our family, who have received their refund for decades without hindrance.
Are we worried that America is a failed state? No.
“God hates self-reliance,” wrote Martin Luther, in What Luther Says: An Anthology What Luther Says: An Anthology: Martin Luther, Ewald M. Plass: 9780570032298: Amazon.com: Books page 1345. With the aging population of American Christians, this grievous sin of self-reliance is a specially dangerous temptation, according to the reformer.
“But older saints are put to the test by other, graver, and more difficult perils, to wit, those great and high (sublima) sins agains the First Table [of the Ten Commandments]: trust in their own abilities, arrogance, a high opinion of their righteousness and wisdom. With these monsters saints must incessantly fight. There chiefly Abraham, Moses, Aaron, and David struggled to overcome and defeat presumption and pride.”
How to Overcome Temptation
How did Martin Luther say believers can overcome this temptation to be afraid if we are living in a failed, or close to failed, state?
- “In every temptation simple close your eyes, and follow the Word…” (Ibid, page 1347).
- “The most effective remedy for temptations is to draw your thoughts away from them…” (Ibid, page 1349.)
- “Satan may be overcome by contempt, but in faith, not presumption” (Ibid, page 402).
Contempt “in faith, not presumption” is as an example of resisting the devil, per James 4:7-8a: Therefore, submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”
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Kristen Collier has a BA in English Literature and is co-founder with her husband, and Roku developer, of Creative Motion Network, a cutting-edge, free indie Christian Roku channel. She is also co-founder and animator of Collier Animation Studio, producer of Benny the Barnacle (2021).