HomeOpinionColumn: More political theater from government

Column: More political theater from government



National headlines are blaring “catastrophe,” “economic implosion” and “financial doom” as the window nears to resolve the pending debt ceiling issue; but don’t be fooled, this is just the same tired script that gets trotted out on stage every couple of years.

The curtain opens on Treasury Secretary Janet “Listen To Me!” Yellen prophesying the impending disaster.

“The world has never doubted that America will pay the principal and interest on its bonds. A default would crack open the foundations upon which our financial system is built,” Yellen emotes with practiced precision.

Next up is President Joe Biden’s Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre who, after fumbling feverishly to find the right page in the script, delivers her monologue on how the president has worked tirelessly, day and night, for the past five months to make sure the United States does not default on its loans.

Jean-Pierre then asserts her knowledge of the Constitution by claiming that the president can save the day by evoking the 14th Amendment. Critics pan her performance because it is obvious that she did not learn her lines beforehand and openly read from her highlighted script.

The critics fail to point out that the 14th Amendment says nothing about a requirement to pay off debts incurred by the United States. If fact, it says the opposite.

The amendment, which was ratified in 1868, gives Congress the ability to take out loans, but also includes this language: “Neither the United States nor any state shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.”

I am now waiting for someone to denounce the national debt as racist; wait, they probably already have.

During acts two and three, the two political parties take turns blaming each other for the looming disaster.

Republicans demand cuts to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, knowing that while the idea sounds good to their base, the sacred cow that is HUD will never be led to slaughter.

Every Republican administration since Richard Nixon has raised the debt ceiling, a fact Republicans would like the voters to forget. While the elephant party points the finger at the donkeys, they assume nobody remembers the Trump administration raising the debt ceiling four times with the former president being quoted as saying budget cuts should not be a part of the negotiations.

The donkeys are no better. According to the Illinois-based nonprofit American Transparency, Democrats promise to “tax the rich” to pay for farms that don’t exist and studies on how to turn monkeys transgender; yet they somehow forget to send the bill to Bill Gates.

The Democrats demand cuts to the military while the ink is barely dry on the Biden administration’s deal to give Ukraine billions more dollars in military equipment.

Neither side dare bring up budget cuts to the obsolete U.S. Postal Service out of fear of postal employees going, well, postal. The Department of Education, a clearly unconstitutional agency in violation of the 10th Amendment, never gets addressed because Congress knows the powerful teachers union will make the January 6, 2021 riot look like a genteel tea party.

Of course, there will be a climax, with the two sides battling up to and then missing the deadline, causing the government to “shut down.”

The government then shuts down alright. National parks are barricaded, and “non-essential” employees are furloughed, which means they will have to wait an extra week for their paychecks for the week they didn’t work.

Finally, after all the Sunday morning political shows have had a chance to put their own spin on the impending national collapse, the two parties will emerge with their starched shirts stained with sweat and breathlessly announce that the crisis has been averted.

There will be no budget cuts because that is not in the script.

While Congress has the power to adjust the debt ceiling, the Augusta government is forbidden by the Georgia Constitution to run deficits and is required to produce a budget that is at least balanced on paper.

That does not stop the Augusta Commission from engaging in its own theater;  however, Augusta’s version looks more like a clown review.

After yet another year of spending money like drunken sailors on leave, commissioners are now waking up to the hangover and they know that they will be forced to either cut services, raise taxes or do both.

The city is rife with duplication of “services” to the degree that departments are not sure what exactly they are responsible for. Almost every department has a public information officer, but those officers are not allowed to actually release information, so they refer all requests to the city’s main Public Information Office. Why should the taxpayers pay for a person in each department to sit behind a desk and play solitaire? 

Entire departments simply need to go.

Central Services “manages” 311, but 311 is its own department. The Central Services Department shares grass cutting duties with no less than three other departments or sub-departments, yet the grass rarely gets cut properly. No one would likely notice if Central Services were abolished.

The city has an entire Law Department with attorneys and paralegals, but almost all litigation is farmed out to General Counsel Wayne Brown’s friends in Atlanta. Imagine the cost savings if the Law Department were abolished and the city goes back to hiring a private, local firm for legal advice.

It appears that the city cannot properly fix a pothole without hiring a consultant. Parks and Recreation Director Maurice McDowell has a multimillion dollar consultant firm in place to tell him how to do his job, yet he still can’t manage to keep the plumbing at Diamond Lakes from backing up or the Boathouse from sliding into the river.

Code Enforcement doesn’t actually enforce codes, instead they simply show up and asks the code violator if they need a voucher to help them along. Moving code enforcement back under the purview of the Fire Department and Marshal’s Department would save the city millions of dollars.

Of course, none of this will be done.

Instead, the commission will pull out their scripts and learn their lines for the Tuesday matinees.

The commission will hold workshops and study sessions. When the deadline approaches, they will resort to publicly arguing and verbally attacking each other.

During this act, the most dangerous place to stand will be near a television camera as commissioners trample over each other to get in front of George Eskola.

The grande finale will end in a tax increase, but they will add a little sugar with the medicine by insisting that the tax increase is not a tax increase, but rather a “fee.”

All of this would be comical if we, the public, weren’t forced to buy tickets to this farce.

Comment Policy

The Augusta Press encourages and welcomes reader comments; however, we request this be done in a respectful manner, and we retain the discretion to determine which comments violate our comment policy. We also reserve the right to hide, remove and/or not allow your comments to be posted. 

The types of comments not allowed on our site include: 

  • Threats of harm or violence 
  • Profanity, obscenity, or vulgarity, including images of or links to such material 
  • Racist comments  
  • Victim shaming and/or blaming 
  • Name calling and/or personal attacks; 
  • Comments whose main purpose are to sell a product or promote commercial websites or services; 
  • Comments that infringe on copyrights; 
  • Spam comments, such as the same comment posted repeatedly on a profile. 


  1. Augusta has duplicate services? That can’t be…it was promised in the consolidation bill that would stop, that county residents would get free trash service, that county residents would see street sweepers cleaning up their streets and that their water bills would drop to almost nothing if they just consolidated with the city…of course none of that happened and the only thing that did happen is the county tax dollars all went downtown and the county no longer had good representation. Also? Don’t ever say the government spends money like a drunken sailor…drunken sailors run out of money and go back to their ships..governments just keep on spending…

  2. Makes one wonder if politicians remember that the worth of paper money was at one time tied to gold reserves or actual physical objects like land, crops, or manufactured products. Money today is a mutually agreed-on fantasy that allows the government to simply print more when they deem it necessary. Workers and management are not motivated to earn more income or profit by increasing efficiency or lowering costs. They increase wages and profits by reducing supply (i.e., going on strike or reducing production), or by raising prices or reducing product size or weight. ARC government should just adopt the Feds methods – tax everything, increase welfare handouts and government salaries, increase spending on essential and non-essential infrastructure and services, promote chaos and poverty to keep voters dependent on government, pretend there is a limitless source of money, and continue lying to voters about inflation, the budget, and debt default.

  3. The way the local and federal government handles our money reminds me of my little cousin’s words to me. When he was about six years old, he saw something he wanted. When I told him that I did not have the money to pay for this, he said “just write a check”. Reminds me of the mentality of these politicians that are in charge of taxpayers’ money. It doesn’t matter if you can afford anything, just write a check.

  4. The real crisis is for the Uni-Party is when June 1 passes and nothing serious changes. Their parlor trick will be exposed and we can see them for who they are. Treasury is hiding $60B left over from CoVid and quarterly corporate tax revenue will hit. If they can’t pay the bills with that, shut it down and fire them all!

Recent posts