The term czar has come to mean a presidential crony appointee who was never vetted by the Senate and who exercises sweeping regulatory authority without congressional oversight. President Obama has appointed at least 35 czars. They are paid by the U.S. taxpayers, but they were never interrogated and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. The latest Obama czar is Donald Berwick, who will have vast authority over Medicare and Medicaid. Czar Berwick's bureaucracy will have a budget that is larger than the Defense Department. Obama gave Berwick a recess appointment in order to avoid a Senate hearing and keep Berwick's damaging statements out of the news.
But let's not lose sight of what the established agencies are doing and the vastly increased regulations they are issuing. The Obamacare law created 160 new agencies and boards with regulatory power. The Department of Health and Human Services just published 864 pages of regulations to govern electronic medical records. The financial reform bill will require at least 243 new regulations by 11 federal agencies.
Obama's Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu, brags that under his leadership, the Department of Energy has "accelerated the pace" of regulation. over all sorts of home appliances. Look out! The energy police are invading our homes. One new regulation issued by the Department of Energy dictates that gas fireplaces cannot use more than 9,000 BTUs per hour, which is about one-tenth of what current gas logs require. This new rule will wipe out the gas fireplace industry, and the gas log in my home would become illegal. Another Department of Energy regulation bans showerheads from delivering any more than an anemic 2.5 gallons per minute. This rule will destroy upscale showers and hand-held sprays used by the disabled and elderly like the one I use.
Obama wasn't kidding when he promised to "fundamentally transform the United States." He has figured out how to bypass Congress and rule us by czars and a tsunami of regulations.
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