09 June 2009

Why Does America Have Czars?

It seems strange that a president of a democratic republic would appoint people who are given the title "Czar". But that's what we now have in Washington D.C.

The Barack Obama administration has appointed a Pay Czar, a Border Czar, a Cyber Czar, a Drug Czar, a Car Czar, a Great Lakes Czar, an Energy Czar, an Urban Czar, an Infotech Czar, a Faith-Based Czar, a Health Reform Czar, a TARP Czar, a Stimulus Accountability Czar, a Non-Proliferation Czar, A Terrorism Czar, a Regulatory Czar, and a Guantanamo Closure Czar.

There are also several Special Envoys who have not been given the title "Czar", probably because Obama can't appoint someone to be Middle East Czar, or Persian Gulf Czar. That wouldn't sound right.

I'm not a constitutional scholar, nor am I a lawyer. But I have read the Constitution and didn't find any mention of Czar. I thought one of the reasons why we have a constitution is so we will never have a Czar. Is it even constitutional for a president to appoint cabinet level people who are unaccountable?

The Czars in the Obama administration are accountable to no one except the President. There are no checks and balances, no vetting, no Congressional hearings leading up to an appointment, as is the case with all Cabinet level positions. The Czars are free-rangers. They do as the President directs, and report only to him.

Appointing Czars is a bad idea. It can lead to circumventing the checks and balances established in the Constitution, and to consolidating too much power in the office of the President. The opportunity for abuse is large.

This is America. We have never had, and never should have, any kind of Czar.

EDIT: This Just In! More Czars!


  1. Background history of the term in American politics here

  2. Well I would just guess that the teachers who indoctrinated him in Communism when he was a kid in Indonesia must have been Russians.

    We are just lucky he doesn't call them Mullahs.

  3. This tends to happen when a bureaucracy gets too large to be overseen by one leader. The leader wants to cut through the organizational mess and be able to make quick decisions, so they create new positions and give them lots of authority.

    The first few czars prove very useful, but as more and more get added new problems arise. When one of the czars makes a mistake, the leader gets blamed, so the leader tries putting restrictions and oversights on the czars. Areas without czars get neglected, so the leader keeps having to create new ones. Eventually an entire new layer of bureaucracy has been added and the czars actually make the problems worse.

    I wouldn't be surprised to see super-czars created to oversee the czars, and for the Executive branch to become less and less able to do anything, well, until the Chinese decide to cut the funding.


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