Wednesday, December 10, 2008

too many czars

i haven't felt the need to delve into obama's cabinet choices wonkery. i wouldn't have made all the same choices, but no one asked me. and, in any case, i don't want to be president. besides, i'm more concerned about what policies obama pushes when he's in office than the people he appoints right now so long as they're not overly awful.

but i am disappointed that obama is continuing with the czar craze. energy czar? why do we need a czar at all? don't we already have a cabinet-level position called secretary of energy? is there anything a special energy czar could do that the head of the department of energy couldn't? what are these special czar powers? and why can't we vest them in existing positions with the exact same jurisdiction instead of making up a whole new post?

and do these czars ever actually do anything? a year and a half ago bush appointed a war czar with great fanfare. has anyone seen douglas lute since then? has he done anything as czar? as i joked at the time of lute's appointment, bush had already appointed all kinds of czars. none of them solved anything, or even seemed to be making any meaningful contribution towards solving their respective problems. now it looks like bush will get to appoint a car czar before he leaves office. does anyone believe s/he will fix the auto industry's problems?

change i can believe in would be to put a moratorium on czars. that goes for tsars too.

UPDATE (12/11/08): hilzoy notes that the obama transition folks have come out as anti-czarists. hurray!