* Gary Samore, WMD & Terrorism Czar. He “has had years of experience negotiating non-proliferation treaties and agreements with difficult countries like North Korea,” FOX News reports. That may be good, because at the rate things are going, he may need to move to North Korea.
Not all czars are necessarily bad. Take Cass Sunstein, who occupies the Reagan-created position of Regulatory Czar. A Harvard professor, Sunstein specializes in “law and behavioral economics.” The Wall Street Journal explains he “seeks to shape law and policy around the way research shows people actually behave.”
Sunstein’s avowed goal would be a refreshing change from government’s usual tactic: using law and policy to shape personal behavior. Examples include seatbelt laws, taxes on tobacco products and fuel-economy standards for cars.
Still, a better approach would be for the government to start reducing regulation. Washington imposes thousands of pages of regulations that cost Americans some $1.1 trillion a year. That’s almost as much as the government takes in each year through income taxes.
Yet it seems unlikely that Sunstein will cut back on federal regulations. The Bush administration paid lip service to that idea, but ended up slapping $30 billion in new regulatory costs on Americans, some $11 billion just in fiscal year 2007.
Here’s an idea: Instead of appointing more people to dictate how Americans live and how much they can be paid, how about reducing government intrusion in our lives by putting a “sunset date” on all regulations? After 10 years, for example, a regulation would automatically expire unless Congress or the administration explicitly renewed it.
The U.S. Constitution doesn’t provide for multiple czars. The administration should stop naming them -- before it determines it needs a Czar czar.
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