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The Bizarre Czar Bazaar

I made a mistake on the air yesterday that I would like to clarify. Obama did not appoint Jack Thompson as his video game czar. I was bamboozled by a source referring to a satirical article. I admit to falling for it and though I do feel pretty stupid for not checking into things deeper at the start, there are valid reasons for people believing that Obama would do such a thing. Here’s why:

1. Although paid for by you and I (six figures is what I have heard) to do their job, Czars are not always clearly labeled. The term Czar itself isn’t an official title either, it’s more of a moniker that we give to “special advisers” who have the goal of pushing Executive Branch Policy in a particular sphere (i.e. drug czar, transportation czar, green czar, e.t.c.).

2. More often than not, czar’s are not approved by anyone other than the president. Of Obama’s 38 Czars so far, only 5 were confirmed by the Senate.

3. Czar’s really started to bloom under the George W. Bush administration who trebled the previous czar record(33 czars, 5 confirmed by senate) , however, Obama has already out-czared the Bush administration in less than half of the allowed time. Which leads me to the question . . .

Why does the executive branch love czars?

It seems to me that the position of czar is quickly taking over the position that the traditional cabinet used to have, however Czars have a big advantage over cabinet members: they don’t have to be approved by the legislature. In my opinion, the executive branch is using this relatively new position (the first czar appeared in the 50s) to circumvent the checks and balances that were put in place to constrain it.

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