Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Obama's Love of Czars

UPDATE 6/15/09: I have just created the following page on Wikipedia in order to properly list each and every Czar in US History: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_Czars

Perhaps with the help of the Wikipedia Community we can actually fill in the answers to some of the questions below.

Is anyone else bothered by our government's recent trend in creating all of the new "czar" positions? Car Czar, Tech Czar, Energy Czar, etc. etc. How have we survived as a nation since 1776 without these czars? Why are they necessary now?

First: Let's look at the word "czar."

  1. also tsar or tzar (zär, tsär) A male monarch or emperor, especially one of the emperors who ruled Russia until the revolution of 1917.
  2. A person having great power; an autocrat: “the square-jawed, ruddy complacency of Jack Farrell, the czar of the Fifteenth Street police station” (Ernest Hemingway).
  3. Informal. An appointed official having special powers to regulate or supervise an activity: a racetrack czar; an energy czar.
Source: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. Answers.com 02 Jun. 2009. http://www.answers.com/topic/czar

According to a statement in the following article, Obama has "more czars than the Romanovs," who ruled Russia for three centuries. http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSTRE54S5U120090529

Several questions come to mind when I begin to think about all of these Czars:

Can anyone name all of Obama's Czars? How much does it pay to be a Czar? Can a Czar make more money than the President? What is the total combined annual Czar salary? What are the responsibilities of a czar in this government? What is the term limit for a Czar? Is a Czar considered a contractor? How are czar's held accountable for either good performance or bad performance? What happens to all of these Czars after Obama leaves office?

Here is my running list of Obama's Czars:

  1. Bank bailout (TARP) czar: Herb Allison
  2. Energy czar: Carol Browner
  3. Car czar: Steve Rattner (Other notables in the General Motors takeover and restructuring: Brian Deese and Lawrence Summers) COMPENSATION: Obama's Car Czar's 'pay-to-play' scheme
  4. Drug czar (position originally created under Nixon, renamed in 1988 to The Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy): Gil Kerlikowske
  5. Assistant Drug czar: Thomas McLellan
  6. U.S. border czar: Alan Bersin
  7. Urban czar: Adolfo Carrion, Jr.
  8. Regulatory czar: Cass Sunstein
  9. Iran czar: XXX
  10. Middle East czar: Mideast peace envoy George Mitchell
  11. Stimulus accountability czar: Earl Devaney
  12. Afghanistan/Pakistan (AfPak) czar: Richard Holbrooke
  13. Cyber-security czar: XXX
  14. Infotech czar: Vivek Kundra
  15. Faith-based czar: Joshua DuBois
  16. Health reform czar: Nancy-Ann DeParle
  17. Non-proliferation czar: Gary Samore
  18. Terrorism czar: John Brennan
  19. Regulatory czar: Cass Sunstein
  20. Drug czar: Gil Kerlikowske
  21. Guantanamo closure czar: Daniel Fried
  22. Persian Gulf/Southeast Asia czar: Dennis Ross
  23. Sudan czar: Sudan special envoy J. Scott Gration
  24. Climate czar: Todd Stern
  25. Intellegence czar: Dennis Blair
  26. Economic czar: Paul Volcker
  27. AIDs czar: XXX
  28. Green jobs czar: XXX
  29. Science/Weather czar: John Holdren
How many czars has America employed before the Obama administration?

Who was the first American czar? When did the media begin to use the term czar to describe high level positions in the American government?

Without a doubt, the Obama administration has fully achieved the democrat stereotype for Big Government. The only one that they have backwards is Tax and Spend. They are doing it in reverse: Spend and Tax.

I don't know about you, but I prefer to live in America. Let's drop this "czar" terminology.

Additional resources:
Presidency of Barack Obama
President Obama's People (photography: Nadav_Kander)

List of Sources:

Here's some more czar stuff:
Glenn Beck Reviews the 18 Czars that Obama has Appointed (May 31, 2009)


Anonymous said...

There seems to be a new one: WASHINGTON - The White House will appoint Kenneth Feinberg as a “special master” to oversee executive compensation at companies receiving large amounts of government aid, according to news reports.

Anonymous said...

Can you provide a newer list of czars?

Anonymous said...

Can you provide a newer listing of czars and masters?

JN Kish said...

I've transferred the list to the following page on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_Czars
Obama is naming them faster than I can list them. It is my hope that the Wikipedia community will help me fill in the blanks and update the list. If you have a wikipedia account (free), you can add new info there. What I am really interested in is how much it pays to be a czar. This info is very hard to come by using online sources only. Any help is appreciated.