• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Morning Bell: The Unaccountable Obama Czar State

    Yesterday the United States Department of the Treasury Special Master of Compensation Kenneth Feinberg announced a wage control scheme for the 175 executives of the seven companies that have received the most funds from the taxpayer funded Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). At first the Obama administration denied any involvement in Feinberg’s decision. Politico reports:

    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.

    But after yesterday’s announcement that the Federal Reserve released its own plan to control how banks compensate their employees, the New York Times reported:

    The announcement was choreographed to coincide with the decision by the Obama administration this week to cut the pay of many high earners at the seven companies that received the most taxpayer help. Both decisions were announced amid growing public outrage over large pay packages at many of those companies.

    So which is it? Are the new wage control schemes launched by the Pay Czar and the Fed the acts of independent experts, or are they the closely controlled policy decisions of the Obama White House?

    The answer to that question goes to the core of the very real constitutional problems that the proliferation of czars in the Obama administration creates. Obama appointed Feinberg to be his pay czar without any input from the American people and without any approval from Congress. Heritage fellow Matthew Spalding explained the problem in his recent testimony to Congress:

    The issue is not whether the proliferation of “czars” amounts to a usurpation of power by the executive branch. Rather, the fundamental issue is how the rise of modern administrative government has put us in an unsolvable dilemma: whether policy should be made by technical experts, insulated from public accountability and control, or whether policy should be made by our elected representatives in Congress and the executive branch. The rise of government by bureaucrats–due to the delegation of power from Congress to administrative agencies, combined with the removal of those agencies from the President’s control–has given rise to efforts by Presidents from both parties to get the bureaucratic state under control through various mechanisms. The rise of “czars” in the current administration is just another manifestation–albeit, an unfortunate one–of this phenomenon.

    Quick Hits:

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    59 Responses to Morning Bell: The Unaccountable Obama Czar State

    1. Eddina Symns, Hutchi says:

      News this morning:

      According to Politico, the White House attack on administration critics is worrying moderate Democrats.

      It should! About time more Democrats woke

      up to what is being done to each and everyone

      of us.

      Now, if they'll just have the guts to fight it !!!

    2. Bill, Forney, TX says:

      I noticed that the top guys at Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac were not on the list of executives whose pay was being set by the Obama czar. Weren't they also bailed out by taxpayers? Weren't they at the heart of the whole collapse of the financial sector? Aren't they well-connected with the Dems and Obama?

    3. scott, minneapolis says:

      throw the bums out. Obama has become (or always was) the emperor with no clothes.

    4. Patricia Theryoung, says:

      I'm thoroughly outraged at this Administration. As you know, this is just another way of the Government to take control. I know for a fact that Bank of American tried to give back the money but the Administration wouldn't let them…. they've been planning this take over! It's interesting to me that the Senate and Congress got an increase in their salaries. Shame on them…. they should remember that they work for us.

    5. Herb Hawkins, Pittsb says:

      Wife & I will attend Tim Murphey's "town hall meeting" tomorrow, 0930, Thomas Jefferson H.S.

      Will be grateful for any "question guidance/recommendations" you may offer.

      Heritage was cc'd on my 12 July ltr to Murphy where I registered my fears.

      Thx.

      HHH

    6. R B HIBBS, SAN DIEGO says:

      Heritage,

      Two days ago heard a commentator say the federal defunding of ACORN was temporary,and that federal funding support of ACORN would start again. Belive he said November 1st. Have not seen this anywhere else. Fact or fiction?

    7. Melissa Dallas,TX says:

      I second the Fannie/Freddie thing. Where are their salary parameters? This white house breaks new ground each day in corruption and greed.

    8. LibertyVoice, Tennes says:

      Barack Obama, and the majority in Congress are Communists. So there is no surprise here. My questions are; where is the Supreme Court in all this?? Are they all communists too?? What happened to the checks and balances that are built into our Constitution, and why are they not being implemented during this outrageous takeover of our government with the complete disregard for our Constitution??

    9. Jonathan Seid, Willi says:

      My reading of the US Constitution enlightens me to believe that some of these actions by this administration are un-constitutional. Why isn't the ACLU challenging the administration? An inquiring mind wants to know.

    10. johnnie pleasant---- says:

      i think it's time someone stepped in to control the pay situation, these banks were taking taxpayer and paying outrageous salaries to people who helped cause this situation we have today, should have happened asooner !!!!!

    11. Ken Jarvis - Las Veg says:

      There is a BIG Crack in the

      HF Morning Bell.

    12. Michael Ringbom, Val says:

      How many czars have been hired, for what purpose and how large are their staffs? Is this the gains in the unemployment numbers the White house has been trumpeting?

    13. Richard Cancemi, Arl says:

      The "Left" is killing the Country,and has been at it for a long time.

      I don't defend the obscenely high salaries of executives; however, that is a problem that belongs to shareholders to address.

      Greed blinded these executives and they allowed the Government to become a share holder!

      When you lie down with dogs, you come up with fleas!

    14. Ginny Rebyak, Bear, says:

      As a private citizen I was happy to read Matthew Spalding's testimony before the US Senate Committee on the Judiciary regarding the czars. Is is reassuring that scholars and experts on Constitutional Law are looking out for the country and it's citizens. Americans see a huge abuse of authority originating from the WH with few checks and balances. It seems to many of us that the executive branch has stretched the limits of the law and circumvented the Constitution. Kudos to Mr. Spalding for addressing this serious issue and hopefully members of Congress, both political parties, will address the issue of accountability and legality of the executive branch and the apparent powers of policy many of the czars have. Many of them seem to have bypassed Senate congressional hearings knowingly or unknowingly for approval.

    15. Richard Cancemi, Arl says:

      The Obama (Raum Emmanuel), White House Gang is circumventing the Constitution, and all things American, every day, in every way.

      When will the "Right" unite and stand up to these "gangsters from Chicago"?

      It has been said that, "Nero fiddled while Rome burned".

      Conservatives have to stop 'fiddling'! and put out the 'fire' in Washington, before it gets completely out of control.

    16. Charles E. Brown - L says:

      Their desire for an “Open Society” is nothing  more than an attempt to undermine the rule of law and our unity of faith and freedom as expressed in our founding documents and in the American Character. It has been and remains a defining feature of our statecraft from the beginning of this nation. Barbara Boxer is a prime example of the elitist mentality that permeates Congress and the Executive branch of government today. Where are the voices and the towering intellects of the likes of Daniel Webster, Thomas Hart Benton, Edmund G. Ross of Kansas. Men of character who were faced with challenges that required sacrifice. Instead we have the likes of Boxer and John Kerry, Charles Schumer and others too numerous to name. It is Time to Take a Stand and say enough is enough.    

      The Obama Czar State is just another form of tyranny. The American people are showing their outrage with Congress and others who are in powerful positions in the Executive branch and think that they can shove this kind of garbage down our throats. The time has come for open rebellion against these people.

    17. Cheryl, New York says:

      Whatever is going on in the White House and coming out of the White House — OBAMA is fully aware of. Controlling executive salaries — I am against it. If they can control their salaries –they will EVENTUALLY control OUR salaries — which is the next step. Government NEVER should have bailed them out in the first place…but this was a plan — a plan called CONTROL. Our country is going down the tubes with this administration … ALL RADICALLY TO THE LEFT — BIG TIME. I wouldn't call it SOCIALISM but MARXISM!! AMERICA, WAKE UP!!

      P.S. I agree with Bill from Texas.

    18. Normca says:

      This is clearly an abuse of power by Obama. Either he wants to back away from it and say the Nazi pay chief did it on his own. Oh but wait; the Nazi is an appointee without that power. But that makes Obama look like he is not totally in charge – can't have that. Former President Nixon, as wrong as he was, must be turning over in his grave. All of us, no matter what pay we earn, should be looking at this and say; 3.5 years left – can he get to my pay. Or my boss's pay, which would affect me. And Fannie May guys got their bonuses multiple times in the past year. The retribution president pick winners and losers. The government started the housing collapse with the Community Reinvestment Act, which is looking for a come back. That would be Barnie, the Frank and Chris Country Wide Dodd. Lets reduce their perks. Better yet; you democrats; vote them out of office.

    19. duelles, Santa Fe, N says:

      The answer to the question posed goes back to the Heritage report on the Progressive movement. Thet want elites, well educated and connected cronies to set the standards for the hoi poloi.

      Well, I have my own standards, thank you very much. Each of us has their own line drawn in the sand. How much we take of these cretinous socialists will play out on an individual basis as time goes on. Our rage will grow and Obama et. al. will feel the heat of our convictions.

      If I'm wrong about my fellow Aericans, then I will count on the latest immigrant class who have lived with and escaped this type of tyranny to come and live in America.

    20. MrShorty, Arizona says:

      When will the Republicans in Congress stand up for our Constitution and just say NO. NO to everything the Obama Administration is doing contrary to the principles of our Constitution. Two cases in point.

      1) Every action, statement or comment made by one of Obama’s czars must be directly attributed to President Obama since he hired them without any input or approval by our Congress. The centralization of power in the Executive Branch far exceeds the written Constitution as well as its intent. What gives the czars the right to modify the pay structure of a private company. Just because we gave them money for some altruistic reason, they have no right to dictate the compensation. If the government owned the company, that would be a different matter, but they don’t own them. Say NO!

      2) Since every action that affects the revenue cycle within our government MUST be initiated in the House of Representatives, just say NO to all the schemes to put us further in debt and increase taxes.

      I’m a senior citizen on Social Security and I don’t NEED the $250. What I do NEED is a resurgence in my confidence that America is governed by politicians that believe in the Constitution and the greatness of a Country that leads the world in prosperity and individual freedoms. Everything the Obama Administration and the Congress have done in the last year has eroded that confidence. My heart goes out to the millions of people who have lost their jobs in this recession and the current policies and massive debt accumulation of the government is doing nothing to help the economy recover and get these people back to work.

      Since the government exacerbated this recession, they must step up to the plate and help the millions of people that their policies have put out of work. We need to extend the unemployment benefits to assist these people, but include a provision in the bill to reduce taxes for ALL people and business.

    21. Gene,Las Vegas says:

      Maybe we the people should institute a pay czar for elected officials as well. Right now we don't have any say as to how much they vote themselves a salary.

    22. Randy Dutton, CDR, U says:

      First let's limit the pay of ALL people whose organizations get any bailout money, research funding, earmarks, rebates, stipends, and tax credits. That would include university professors and presidents;

      trial lawyers; professional sports figures; actors and actresses; movie industry execs; consultants; lobbyists; and campaign staff. Let's set an example and only allow GE CEO Immelt $200,000 because GE Capital got BILLIONS of our money.

    23. Randy Dutton, CDR, U says:

      How many of you are helping conservative candidates run for election? They don't need platitudes, they need your time, your financial support, or even your candidacy. I ran for office last year. I'm helping several candidates now, including two running against a very liberal senator.

      If not now, when? If not you, who?

    24. Russell says:

      I believe if i were an executive, I'd take my talents to a non Government controled company.

    25. Leon, Durango, CO says:

      The list of the Obama Administration's crimes has grown so long, this new breach of contract law is just another Chicago style crime spree. What business do we have monitoring Afghani elections when our own President stole his? What right do we have to ask the Third World to follow the Rule Of Law when we have fascists running amok? Where is our FBI? Laws are being broken in plain sight and nothing is being done? Then somebody gets arrested for breaking into their own home, or get their lives ruined for driving with one drink (being slightly impaired). This is worse than we ever thought possible. Unbelievability is what has protected these criminals.

    26. ChuckL, NV says:

      How does the existence of the Czars bypass Article 2, Section 2 of the Constitution that requires the consent of Senate?

      Also "…; but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.

      What is the law that allows for these Czars and since they have not been approved by the Senate, can we deny them salaries, offices, and staffs?

    27. Glenn, Arizona says:

      Pay of executives was not in the contracts between the U. S. and the borrowers. The bonuses and other compensation was part of the employment contracts between employees and the employers. Now, a third party, U. S. Government, is breaching those contracts. There is no evidence of any laws being broken. This is a breach of the U. S. Constitution.

      Heritage and other organizations such as Thomas More Law Center should sue and get this corrected ASAP.

    28. Mike - Athens, TX says:

      The framers of our Constituion did thier best to eliminate "KINGS". They are assuredly turning in their graves over what we've allowed to happen.

    29. Geo Wright Ponte Ved says:

      I would hope someone will be watching the executive turnover rate among those having their compensation package sculpted by Obama lackies, and publishing the managerial lose to these firms and where the executives went.

      I think it will be an interesting task.

    30. harv, Pa says:

      The government dosen't care about the people, or what they are doing to our industries, small business', and infrastructure let alone our standing in the world. They are striving for One World Order and are doing so with their agenda.Until someone or group stands up against this onslaught, we as a nation are doomed to repeat the history of the Roman Empire.

    31. Whicket Williams Kin says:

      We have been fat and Lazy since our fathers fought WWII so now we let these bums steal our country. I have been screaming at the top of my lungs for 8 years now, and ignorance and Apathy rules America. I hope and Pray that enough people wake up before election day 2010 to Vote Against every career politician whose seat is on the line We MUST unite, pick our own candidates, and eliminate the career politician as a class. The old Party Lie,"the other Guy did it" is wearing a bit thin

    32. Frank Wacaser, Kin says:

      Obama AND enablers (Soros) have been from the beginning, gradually changing the United States. You can look back and see the subtle but quick movements toward socialism. I cannot believe there are not a majority of Senators and Congressmen that cannot see this. They should be standing up for our freedom!

    33. Wm. J. &Mary E. says:

      While we are frightened about Obamacare etc. I'm more frightened by the upcoming Copenhagen Summit

      that Obama will attend. According to Lord Moncton,

      we will loose our country and constitution.Please

      tell us more about this. This is the most terrifing news yet. Mary

    34. Ron Derry NH says:

      Never under estimate the power of selfishness and greed on both sides of the isle and the Americans that benefit from government charity. Government discovered long ago WALLETS count more than principles, so the sacrificing of our constitution , our laws, value and safety means nothing to a man or women that feel they have earned the right to some one elses worth.

      Selfishness is bred to secure a mindless unthinking uncaring voting block that will react like sheep with rhetorical response to protect what they think they deserve. This is the miracle of coerced political power and favoritism by corrupting human sensibility into selfish creatures prepared to steal, rather than defend the rights of others.

      America seems to be about 47% there, to total self absorption into the state of ME, MYSELF and I.

      Obama is just providing the needed push over the edge into total state dependency and corruption of power from the people to the government that will extend debt to all for all time.

      Marxism here we come, one by one the liberties and decency we have today will fold away just like private schools, self education, earning your own pay scale by merit and self motivation and respect for the constitution and business law……IT WILL ALL be reduced to rubble by the great socialist movement of blind, ignorant dis-concerned for its resulting damage by naive, paid off silly Americans already on the take so to speak.

      We are unprotected as a people when we allow congress to subjugate us to their debt and their fascism. We will be forever stripped of our power to influence our representatives when there is no private sector. The Czars are basically a return to a feudal system, the Republic is dying, because those who have gained from the government are willing to allow their country die, in hopes their monetary gains will be strengthen by more government intervention lorded over the people and industry that actually turn the wheels of economic strength. No chance in history that it will but blind hope is as powerful as blind stupidity and fosters the same results.

      Ignorant beyond belief….but that is how wallet control works.

    35. JohnR, Michigan says:

      The only way I can explain Obama's bizarre and foolish actions these last few weeks is that he's in a panic. His numbers are tanking and he's thin skinned anyway. The result is a paranoid striking out against his "enemies" and burrowing even further into the radical Left rabbit hole. 2010 can't come soon enough for me.

    36. Ben C, Ann Arbor says:

      Ron Derry:

      Powerfull words – the premise being that once people realize they can live from the public trough by electing people who provide the public trough capitalism is dead.

      Sadly, I agree.

    37. Dennis A. Social Cir says:

      This is all a matter of power and control, obama and his czars have no business telling anyone what their salary will be. I have not seen any of them take a pay cut, much less tell what their salary is. The czars are all pawns to obama and will never tell what their pay is, they all are a waste of my money. Just anothert step in the "hope and change" that the silver tongue and the liberal media are shoving down our throats.

    38. Wallyblu, Zion, IL says:

      Just think about it.

      If they keep cutting the income of all the top earning individuals, there goes their tax the rich plan.

    39. BT, Port Allen, LA says:

      RB Hibbs…regarding the re funding of ACORN. I believe it was starting up again the end of November. Whether the beginning or end of November…I guess that was just a slap on the wrist for them to have to wait a month+ to start receiving money again.

    40. BT, Port Allen, LA says:

      I've been thinking about this government run health care. I know all the figures being thrown around so far have been about health costs, but has the cost of implementing this program, all the employees it would take to oversee this in each state/county/city, been calculated?

    41. Pingback: The Chicago Way Is Not America’s Way

    42. Ellen K. King New says:

      Its' time for the revolution. The founding fathers would not have waited this long!

    43. Pingback: Morning Bell: The Unaccountable Obama Czar State » The Foundry : PlanetTalk.net - Learn the truth , no more lies

    44. duelles, Santa Fe, N says:

      Dear Mr Obama:

      I know you have minions and lackies monitor site ssuch as the Heritage Foundation. DO you now see the resentment for you your anti American, progressive, Marxist crap.

      Mr. POTUS we are hating your programs. Do what the country wants not what you read in some socialist manual years ago.

      You, Sir, are an anathma. You defy logic and economic sensibility.

      We will bring you down. . . Hard!! And it will you that has failed and that is you legacy>

      Regards:

      Duelles

    45. Publius Huldah, Cook says:

      The most frightening thing about this is that the Heritage fellow, Matthew Spalding, seems to think that the "constitutional issue" is whether "policy" should be made by technical experts or elected representatives.

      You guys don't have a clue about The Constitution! Ours is a constitution of enumerated powers – See

      http://publiushuldah.wordpress.com/2009/09/08/con

      NO ONE in the federal government has constitutional authority over "pay"! James Madison explained over and over in The Federalist Papers that ours is a Constitution of Enumerated Powers, and the powers delegated to Congress are few and far between. See article published at

      http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/1611

      PLEASE, GUYS! You have stacks of Constitutions! Read one of your copies!

    46. Lynn B. DeSpain says:

      It is wrong for the Federal government to set anyone's wages in the Private sector. It is a horror for Obama to ask for an unlimited TARP fund! How is that to be accounted?

      These are not America.

    47. R. Cox, North Caroli says:

      They impeached Nixon, but not this clown?

      Sorry, sometimes you just have to put your political ambitions aside and man up. It's time for the process to begin.

      Implement the Articles of Impeachment!

      You don't get to play President of the United States and discard her Constitution, which you swore to uphold.

      Impeach, Impeach Impeach!!!

    48. John from El Cajon, says:

      This what happens when our nation puts God in the closet. Maybe with hardtimes ahead we will call upon his name again. We brought this all on ourselves. Most people have had it so good, that they don't need God. God still runs this universe whether you beleive it or not. He has not lost control. Pride and arrogants goes before a fall. How far do we have to fall is the real question.

    49. Chris, Western Wi. says:

      Now is the time to fire this "so called" president. Incompetence is one darn good reason to impeach this empty suit. I want politicians of this country to start the process of impeachment proceedings for removal of this mindless twit from our White House.

    50. jerry morishige mari says:

      How much are czars getting paid ? Americans have to insist that all czars must go or at the very least be vetted.

    51. Leon, Durango, CO says:

      It all sounds like the Communist joke, the one where Joe Stalin brays "Amerika will suicide! Ha! Ha! Ha!"

      Look at public policy over the last fifty years, with the Income Tax we 'suicided' our capital formation. Obama just suicided in the cultural clash we call the Cold War, we went communist of our own choosing (AIG, GM, long list of 'means of production). Obama is the living proof the Soviets WON THE COLD WAR! Joe knew the plan.

      "Where is my Cold War Damage Report?" That is what I wondered when they said we won. Obama had free publicity, illegal campaign contributions of good will and air time from ABC, NBC, CBS, MSMBC, and sometimes CNN — that is a crime in America. The word "INFLUENCE" is a super loaded legal term, like paying off a Judge, or paying off a Congressman. Hell! Obama paid off, is paying off and will pay off his special interests. But this is all very clearly illegal, thousands of precedents. Buying elections is, was and should be illegal, and thanks to John McCain's 'surrender Campaign Finance Reform' we have indisputably seen it. The cost of Presidential elections looks in graph like Everest!

      The CZARS are illegal! Where is the Supreme Court? Where is the Judiciary Committee? Ask Ann Coulter, a Constitutional expert. Easy to see. Just this little group of Bloggers can see what? Twenty of Obama's High Crimes and High Misdemeanors! If it is so easy for us to see, that means OUR GOVERNMENT IS NOT OUR OWN! See? A Defense Department that is not our own proves it is not our own. Our Republican Congressmen can go after the Defense Department for not defending us. Senate Committees can ask "You let the Communists take over everything! You did that knowing! How can you call yourselves a defense department? You are cowards! You surrendered our Country knowing this conspiracy was afoot! Are you a Defense Department or are you traitors?"

      CIA? They have to be traitors or they would have stopped it. Yes, our CIA failed. No, not failed trying, they surrendered the fight.

      Oh sure! The danger to look for is Right Wing Extremists! ABSURD! Joe Stalin is still laughing.

    52. Beach Bum Daytona Be says:

      Why not use the same logic for Congress's compensation?

    53. Shelly Shellenberger says:

      John and wife (and daughter), if you want your daughter to live in a world without danger to her and her country; I think our military policies should be adhered to. We have been safe for the last 60 years because of the courageous men, women, and homosexuals who fight to keep us from harm. If the lions are going to lay down with the lambs, then I want US to be the LIONS!

    54. Shelly Shellenberger says:

      What do you mean by "moderation"?

    55. Suzanne, Florida says:

      DITHER………..VP Cheney had it right. As a Navy widow my heart bleds for the brave young soldiers wondering what is going on in Washington. This reminds me of "The Last Battalion." Even (surprise) NATO is willing to increase deployments but the WH? March to November just isn't enough time to figure out whether your far left will support any decision you might make. After all, who cares about the troops…….

      As for all the rest, in my opinion this has been on the drawing board for at least 30 years until the perfect candidate was discovered.

      God help our country.

    56. paul collins.the vil says:

      Obama is delibertly trying to destroy our country.

      healthcare is only te tip of the iceberg.If he signs the copenhagen treaty,and congress ratifys it we will be turning our sovernty over to the UN.

      There is a process to form the NAU[north american union]combining the U.S.,canada and mexico.

      This was verified in a town hall meeting.As for impeachment,it could never happen with the present congress.Only by electing the right people in 2010 will it be possible.

      u

    57. Suzanne, Florida says:

      Is it possible to GROUND Air Force One for just one week? Obama is wearing out his welcome with this wonderful toy. Does the White House really believe that we cannot survive without a daily dose of Obamanews? I for one am exhausted with hearing and or seeing him on every news outlet Sunday through Saturday……..week after week, month after month.

    58. Ken St Louis says:

      In order to provide healthcare to everybody, wither they have ever worked, or paid in to social security, or done anything constructive, Mr ObUma is going to take a way Medicare from the people who have worked all there lives to build America. Also, cap & trade is just cover for a big new tax on energy, hidden by phony info/data on global warming that doesn't exist. Then they can take that $ and piss it away on all their supporters, and the hell with working proeductive people! ObUma hates America!

    59. Pingback: Nancy Pelosi: “Are You Serious”? « Lighthouse Patriot Journal

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×