Thursday, October 22, 2009

Czar or Master? It's Not the Name that is the Question

I enjoyed the comment by Chris regarding my last post about the power of the czars. Chris is so right when he stated the Keith Feinberg is the Special Master for Executive Compensation and it is his job to keep the bailed out bank executives in line. And Chris is so right when he says I wouldn't want bailout companies to place taxpayer money in the executive pockets. Agreed.

However, the term czar is used by mainstream media in referring to Mr. Feinberg and the presidential advisors. So, yes, they are commonly known as czars. Actually, Mr. Feingberg is quoted in an October 20, 2009 article and refers to himself as "pay czar", although he made it clear he doesn't like the term.

So, my question remains for czars in general. How many of them are supposed to be just advisors? To my knowledge, less than half of the advisors or czars were confirmed by Congress. How much power are they wielding? And why is it that these czars are now in the center of the executive branch and in the news? It seems to me that in the past, when they were talked about in the news, they were described as "presidential advisors" - no matter who the President was at the time.

Is it because I watch the news more now? Or is it because so many of them have pasts that appear, well, appear not so sunny? Just wondering...

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