"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." -- Theodore Roosevelt

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Czars Not Answering to Obama?

Check out this article from Politico by Eamon Javers (h/t Anne Leary at Backyard Conservative).

"It will go down in history as one of Barack Obama’s signature decisions on the economy, a dramatic move to slash corporate pay at bailed-out banks and automakers.
But on Wednesday night, administration officials said that the president of the United States didn’t have all that much to do with a decision that will, in many ways, come to define his relationship with Wall Street.

"In fact, sources within the administration say the decision to cap corporate pay was Kenneth Feinberg’s, and his alone. A senior administration official tells POLITICO that Obama did not sign off on the pay master's decision. Feinberg didn’t even brief the White House on it, the official said, but he briefed Treasury officials instead.

"'Decisions were his,' says the official. Treasury, in turn, briefed White House staff on the 'shape and general direction' of the Feinberg decision last week, but didn't offer extensive detail. The president did not have to approve Feinberg’s plan.

"Feinberg, a Washington attorney who was appointed to the unsalaried position as Treasury’s special master for corporate pay in June, has wide latitude to act independently of the administration. His personal credibility is one reason why he was given so much authority – Feinberg also acted as the mediator who decided how much each life lost in the Sept. 11 attacks was worth.


"Meanwhile, one critic of the plan said the news of Feinberg’s decision may undermine a program that Obama traveled to Landover, Md., to announce on the same day. Obama went to the headquarters of a small company to tout his proposal to let small banks into the TARP program, as a part of the effort to get small business lending going again.

"But Camden Fine, president of the Independent Community Bankers of America who attended the event with Obama, says the pay master’s decision could doom the idea. That's because community bankers will be loath to take TARP funds if they think Feinberg will set their pay.

"'They’ll say, "I’m not going to touch the TARP, or the government's going to come down on my pay,"' Fine said."

So let's recap. Feinberg, a presidential appointee, is now declaring that the federal government will set pay scale for banking execs-- and the decision was his alone. So now we have political appointees clear of any oversight or approval by elected officials dictating intrusive policy of the private sector?

Well, if Obama can't be bothered to be briefed by his czars, who do they answer to? And with people like Kevin Jennings, Mark Lloyd, Anita Dunn, Ron Bloom, and fired truther Van Jones all taken on as czars (all circumventing any form of Congressional approval), one would think they shouldn't have a blank check to enact federal policy. Yet who knows the the extent of their authority and independence in this hard to pin down Obama administration?

Transparency indeed...

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm.

    Behind closed-doors jobs with multi-billion dollar budgets, enforced by the power of the federal government, unrestricted by the Constitution, federal, state, or local laws or regulations; with no one to report to (except maybe George Soros, Bertha Lewis, the King of Saudi Arabia, Vladimir Putin, and the ghosts of Marx, Mao, and Lenin).

    I guess oversight and supervision is only for taxpayers.