Saturday, September 5, 2009

Have we gone too far with all these Czars?

I think so, sure I think it’s awesome that Baskin Robbins has 32 flavors of Ice Cream but do we really need 32 Czars? According to some sources that is exactly how many we have in the Obama administration. This means we have more czars than Imperial Russia. So what is a Czar anyway? According to Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary a Czar is “one having great power or authority”, in government they are appointments of a few special officers to play a constructive role in a given administration. But the problem is they are not subjected to Senate confirmation and congressional oversight and pose a grave threat to our system of checks and balances. I found the next two quotes on another blog.

“Even Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd (W.Va.) was fearful enough to pen a letter to President Obama in February highlighting his concerns with the administration’s tactics. The Constitution mandates that the Senate confirm Cabinet-level department heads and other appointees in positions of authority — known as “principal officers.” This gives Congress — elected by the people — the power to compel executive decision-makers to testify and be held accountable by someone other than the president. It also ensures that key appointees cannot claim executive privilege when subpoenaed to come before Congress.”

“The biggest problems that we’re facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all. And that’s what I intend to reverse when I’m president of the United States.” — Sen. Barack Obama, March 31, 2008

“To say President Obama failed to follow through on this promise is an understatement. By appointing a virtual army of “czars” — each wholly unaccountable to Congress yet tasked with spearheading major policy efforts for the White House — in his first six months, the president has embarked on an end-run around the legislative branch of historic proportions.”

So what kind of Czars are out there you say? Here are just a few examples. The administration has a Mideast peace czar (not to be confused with the Mideast policy czar), a Sudan czar and a Guantanamo closure czar. Then there’s the green jobs czar, sometimes in conflict with the energy czar, who talks to the technology czar, who sometimes crosses paths with the urban affairs czar. We mustn’t forget the Great Lakes czar or the WMD czar, who no doubt works hand in hand with the terrorism czar. The stimulus accountability czar is going through a rough time right now, as is the TARP czar — but thankfully they have to answer to the government performance czar. And seemingly everyone falls under the auspices of the information czar. In a government full of duplicative bureaucracies, adding more layers with overlapping responsibilities hardly seems the way to go.

The car czar, who stepped down this month amid controversy over his former firm’s role in a scandal, had been managing government’s recent takeover of a huge swath of the domestic auto industry and making decisions for auto companies. The pay czar — also known in White House circles as the “special master for compensation” — has the power to reject or accept any current and future compensation for the top 100 earners at companies that received, in some cases under pressure, money from the Troubled Assets Relief Program. In the coming months he will decide the fate of $235 million in pending retention bonuses at AIG. And the health czar, meanwhile, has become as influential as perhaps anyone in the Obama administration, spearheading White House negotiations with doctors, hospitals and other health providers. She will play a key role in determining which medicines, treatments and cures are deemed necessary for the public.

You know I could of sworn we had cabinet heads (secretaries if you will) to cover all these areas. I think I want to become a czar. Maybe a video game czar, I can get a fat paycheck, have a staff and determine if some of these games are worth 60$ or not. Or I can be a college football czar and make it illegal for top ten teams to play against community colleges. An example would be #1 Florida playing Charleston Southern. Really? I thought preseason was over. So what kind of czar would you like to be?