Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Meet Obama's Czars

Barack Obama has pursued a radical change in the way our nation is governed in virtually every area. These changes have not only been in the area of policy -- such as the increase in the government's role on business, the pursuit of socialized medicine, and the restoration of the welfare state -- but in the way politics and governing are conducted. This includes the stated objective of moving the Census Bureau from the Commerce Department to the White House and the dramatic increase in what are called "Czars."

Czars are nothing new and have been seen by many Presidents over several decades. These individuals could be described as "super administrators" who work directly with the President and, in many previous Administrations, dictate policy to the various Departments. What is unique about the Obama's Czars is the number of them: 28. More than all previous Administrations combined and more than all the Czars of the Romanov family that covered a span of 300 years (18 over 3 centuries). The biggest concern is the lack of Congressional accountability that these Czars have.

One of President Barack Obama's most natural supporters, Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) has been one of the most critical when it comes to the issue of Czars, sending a press release back in February about writing to President Barack Obama expressing his concerns over the increasing appointments of White House 'Czars,' and the relationship between these new White House positions and their executive branch counterparts, noting that 'too often, I have seen these lines of authority and responsibility become tangled and blurred, sometimes purposely, to shield information and to obscure the decision-making process."

It appears that Obama is trying to get as much accomplished as fast as possible, with as little Congressional oversight as possible, and this is reflected in the large number of Czars he has chosen.

  • Herb Allison - TARP Czar (Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Financial Stability)

  • Alan Bersin - Border Czar (Assistant Secretary for International Affairs and Special Representative for Border Affairs)

  • Dennis Blair - Intelligence Czar (Director of National Intelligence)

  • John Brennan - Terrorism Czar (Deputy National Security Adviser for Homeland Security)

  • Carol Browner - Energy Czar (Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change)

  • Adolfo Carrion, Jr - Urban Affairs Czar (Director of the White House Office of Urban Affairs)

  • Ashton Carter - Weapons Czar (Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics)

  • Aneesh Chopra - Technology Czar (Chief Technology Officer)

  • Jeffrey Crowley - AIDS Czar (Director of the Office of National AIDS Policy)

  • Cameron Davis - Great Lakes Czar (Special advisor to the U.S. EPA overseeing its Great Lakes restoration plan)

  • Nancy-Ann DeParle - Health Czar (Director of the White House Office of Health Reform)

  • Earl Devaney -Stimulus Accountability Czar (Chair of the Recovery Act Transparency and Accountability Board)

  • Joshua DuBois - Faith-based Czar (Director of the Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships)

  • Kenneth Feinberg - Pay Czar (Special Master on executive pay)

  • Danny Fried Guantanamo Closure Czar Special envoy to oversee the closure of the detention center at Guantanamo Bay

  • J. Scott Gration - Sudan Czar (Special Envoy to Sudan)

  • Richard Holbrooke - Afghanistan Czar (Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan)

  • John Holdren - Science Czar (Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Co-Chair of the President’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology)

  • Van Jones - Green Jobs Czar (Special Adviser for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation at the White House Council on Environmental Quality)

  • Gil Kerlikowske - Drug Czar (Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy)

  • Vivek Kundra - Information Czar (Federal Chief Information Officer)

  • George Mitchell - Mideast Peace Czar (Special Envoy to the Middle East)

  • Ed Montgomery - Car Czar (Director of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers)

  • Dennis Ross - Mideast Policy Czar (Special Adviser for the Persian Gulf and Southwest Asia)

  • Gary Samore - WMD Czar (Coordinator for the Prevention of WMD Proliferation and Terrorism)

  • Todd Stern - Climate Czar (Special Envoy for Climate Change)

  • Cass Sunstein - Regulatory Czar (Director of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs)

  • Paul Volcker - Economic Czar (Chairman of the Economic Recovery Advisory Board)

Who are these Czars that are dictating policy in the Obama Administration? More to follow.

Kevin Price is Host of the Price of Business, the longest running show on AM 650 (M-F at 11 am) in Houston, Texas and on AOL Radio. His articles often appear in Chicago Sun Times, Reuters, USA Today, and other national media. Steve Moore of the Wall Street Journal calls Price the “best business talk show host in the country.” Find out why and visit his blog at www.BizPlusBlog.com and his show site at www.PriceofBusiness.com. You can also find Price on Strategy Room at FoxNews.com.

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