In a Jam? Just Call a Czar!

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Who do you call after the nannies strike out? Make way for the Czars!

Does it feel like the only thing growing faster than our troubles is the demand for Czars? Dang, we should have done a better job funding Czar training programs.

Give me jobs! Give me efficiency! Give me higher wages! Give me higher profits! But not too high!

Back when I was an engineer with a job in the real world, whenever we screwed up someone would stop to check whether we got the problem statement right. Do you want it fast, cheap, or good? Pick two.

Give me better gas mileage! Give me desirable cars! Give me lower gas prices! But not too low!

Why live in the real world when you can live in Washington where you can just pass a law to get what you want? And if you can't actually pass a law, just bypass one. The body politic wants everything, and they want it now. Our duly elected representatives shall wish it so.

The only things more broken than Congress are the Detroit car companies.

They're out of money because their customers won't give them any and their employees, executives, and retirees have gobbled down so much they can barely waddle to the jobs bank.

But they need money, and they need it fast before the repo man arrives.

What better place to get some than from the people who print it? If it's good enough for crooked mortgage brokers and incompetent investment bankers, it's good enough for General Motors!

"Fetch me some Car Czars!" snaps the Red Queen. Jack Welch is apparently unqualified seeing as how he's not a "public sector" type who will deliver what Congress wants. Perhaps King Canute is available.

Where has my Climate Czar run off to? I'd better not catch her making whoopee with the Energy Czar.

Feeling depressed and confused, I consulted my handy pocket edition of the US Constitution. It talked a lot about the duties of the President and Congress, spelling out limits on their power. After looking really hard I couldn't locate the Czar amendment.

Did we really elect all these people? Have any of them actually read the constitution or were they one of the popular kids who got geeks to do their homework in return for getting them prom dates? Are they really planning to fob off poorly defined intractable problems that don't belong to them to vaguely empowered policy wonks whose reputations can only be squandered when this house of cards comes crashing down once the bills come due?

Is it enough to make you start smoking something overlooked by the Drug Czar?

Reality is a funny thing. Try as you might to banish it, it insists on biting you back.

The economy only grows when you pay someone to do something that delivers more value than it cost to make. If you pay someone $100 to make something that sells for $50, the economy shrinks. Do you think that equation changes if you multiply it by a trillion and launder the money through Washington?

Does it seem inconvenient that value can only be determined by customers who actually buy stuff? Or don't buy stuff, which seems to be what's happening to the Detroit car companies.

What a pity that every individual has his own ideas about what things are worth. Wouldn't the economy work better if value could be assigned by congressional committees or editorial boards?

That giant sucking sound coming from Washington swallowing our present and future income to "create jobs" according to the dictates of a parade of Czars may make for great theater. But it's hard to see how the economy will grow by spending $100 to make $50 stuff a trillion times.

Unless they pass laws telling us exactly what stuff we have to buy, when, from whom, and for how much.

Forget I said that. It might wake up the Wage and Price Control Czar.

Who do we call after the Czars fail? History usually serves up a choice between the Committee for Public Safety and the Man on a White Horse.

Imagine how much fun that's going to be.

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