Czarist America

As I observed the recent debates and discussion relating to saving the US auto industry, I couldn’t help but cringe when learning about the notion of creating a “Car Czar” to oversee the Auto bailout. Now whether this is good, bad or indifferent as snowfall at an Alaskan turkey slaughterhouse is not the subject of discussion here. What I find unfathomable and downright creepy is the continued practice of placing our most vexing problems under the federalized umbrella of a newly crowned “Czar” and emboldening our king or queen with magical powers that absolve all others of responsibility.

Before discussing the policy implications though, just for a minute lets recall that the term “czar” originally refers to Russian emperors known in history as not always the nicest of guys. My ancestors in particularly, by virtue of their religious heritage, had the honor of serving as many a Czar’s personal punching bag.  

So you might be able to understand that placing Czar in front of someone’s name creates  fear that cossacks might bust up my home while the formerly friendly constable mournfully looks the other way. 

A Google search turned up the following past, present and possibly future federally appointed czars: drug, cybersecurity, copyright, car, intelligence, homeland security, child-porn (anti  – I think), energy, climate and Y2K. I am not saying these positions do not have real problems to solve. I will say that all too often Congress and/or the President create a “czarist” position to throw a warm, comforting  and tidy blanket on an out of control, dirty problem to keep citizens from offing themselves or others while at the same time illustrating to the world that the problem is being “resolved”.  What confuses me is the status of the folks we are already paying to perform these functions. Never do I see the mean, tough “Czar” dissolve or even reduce the failed or less than adequate agency or department. In fact, the best I can figure, these “czarist” roles create more turf to fight over and less time for dealing with the problems at hand.

So, first, no more fucking czars. Two, deal with our issues without creating new layers of bureaucracies and three, if we have to have a czar or two, he or she should be the kick ass take names sort. Just tell them never to trust anyone named Vladimir or Joe or Leon or…

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