Is it me or is the US beginning to look like Russia? Never in our nation’s history have we had this many “czars”. We’ve had them in the past starting with the Drug Czar appointed by President Reagan and our last president had 4 czars. However, with this new administration, there are now more czars than cabinet secretaries. As of June 10, 2009 there were 21 czars and 15 cabinet secretaries. You know the Romanovs ruled Russia for three centuries and they didn’t have this many czars. Let’s remember that these czars answer to no one but the president.
Here’s what we have so far: a drug czar to combat the war on illegal drugs that continue to enter our country daily through our border with Mexico; an energy and environment czar to combat so-called “global warming” (I guess the Environment Protection Agency can’t do this); a homeland security czar (wait, didn’t we just create a new department a few years ago); an Urban czar to control the dispense of stimulus money (I thought Vice President Biden was in charge of that); instead of letting our Secretary of State handle foreign affairs with Iran, we now have an Iran czar; an economic czar (and how different is this from an economic advisor?); a car czar (who doesn’t know how to run a company) in charge of the then bailed out now bankrupt auto industry; a compensation czar to rail in the compensation of those greedy you know what’s on Wall Street; a climate and energy czar to battle so-called “global warming”; an Efficiency czar to reign in spending (yeah like that's going to happen in this administration); a Great Lakes czar to watch over the Great Lakes (cause the Interior secretary can’t do that); a cyber czar (to combat cyber terrorism); a border czar (guess border patrol can’t handle it); a health insurance czar (we already have insurance commissioners for each state to oversee this industry); a regulatory czar, a technology czar, government performance czar, WMD Policy czar, and the list goes on and on. Now the administration will tell you that the idea behind the czars is to have “one person ultimately responsible for an issue and avoid problems of overlapping bureaucracies” but isn't that what we cabinet secretaries for?
It's all a power grab by this president to take control away from individuals and states and put it in the hands of the federal government. First of all, the president does not have the authority to make such appointments as this oversteps the boundaries of the United States Constitution. All these czar appointments are frowned upon by Congress particularly Senator Robert Byrd (D-VA) who wrote a letter to the president stating "the rapid and easy accumulation of power by White House staff can threaten the Constitutional system of checks and balances." These czars have access to billions of dollars not to mention being paid salaries by the taxpayer and increasing the size of government. Norman Ornstein, political expert at the American Enterprise Institute said "you can imagine from the perspective of the Senate that you're dealing with people who do not have confirmation to go through and so are not accountable in the same way. I think that's what rankles some people in the Senate."
To all the president's czars – may you pan out better than the last real czar of Russia, Nicholas II. They killed him.