Government Inaction in Action

So, I’m trying to get an EIN (the business equivalent of a Social Security Number). Ostensibly you type your information into an online form on the IRS page, opt to have the letter delivered electronically, and a few minutes later you are registered.

Except that the process crashes to a halt with a “technical difficulty” whenever I hit [Submit], and it’s been consistently crashing the past two weeks that I’ve been trying… more or less daily… to file the damn paperwork. My increasingly snarky messages to the IRS help desk finally merited the following terse response:

We’re having technical difficulties with our online and phone applications right now. We apologize but we do not have a time line for when this issue will be resolved.

OK, first off, they need a comma after “We apologize…”, but…

No time line?

No time line?!

For goodness sakes, it’s a web form attached to a database. My hacker college room-mate could have hammered that out in the time it takes to open a cannister of chocolate-covered espresso beans (and that’s including dealing with security protocols).

What steams me most, though, is that, not only is there “no time line” for fixing the problem, but there is also apparently “no time line” for alerting users to the fact that the site is broken. I mean… I mean… I get that the bridge is broken and that they can’t fix it right now, but is it too much effort to put up a traffic cone to stop people from driving over the cliff again and again?

(OK… next post will be science or grant-writing, or scientific grant-writing… I promise.)