NPR logo Czar Talk: Obama Adds Another; Is That A Problem?

Czar Talk: Obama Adds Another; Is That A Problem?

The news that President Barack Obama is today going to give a Treasury Department official the authority to reject executive pay packages at companies that get federal assistance has predictably got the media referring to that person as the government's "pay czar."

And since Obama is already using more of the so-called czars to consolidate power in the White House than other presidents, watch for his critics to again take aim at what one — Fox News' Glenn Beck — refers to as this White House's bid for "unprecedented power with virtually no oversight."

Beck, by the way, has been keeping a running tally of Obama's "czars." He puts the current number at 16.

David Rothkopf at Foreign Policy counts at least 18.

All this czar talk reminds us that it's generally acknowledged that the first person to be a so-called White House czar was William Simon, who was referred to — by the media — at the energy czar during the 1973-74 oil crisis.

Question for discussion: Is Obama putting too much power in the hands of officials who don't need Senate confirmation?