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Down with the Czars!

Wednesday October 18th, 2017   •   Posted by K. Lloyd Billingsley at 10:24am PDT   •  

Rep. Tom Marino, Pennsylvania Republican, has withdrawn his name for consideration as President Trump’s drug czar. By some accounts, Marino backed legislation that restricted enforcement of opioid laws. Sen. Joe Manchin, West Virginia Democrat, who called for Marino’s withdrawal, said “we need a drug czar who has seen the devastating effects of the problem.” Actually, we don’t, and President Trump should consider whether we need a drug czar at all.

The federal government already deploys the Drug Enforcement Administration, with an annual budget of nearly $3 billion. So in effect, the DEA boss renders a drug czar redundant. Don’t forget the Food and Drug Administration, whose budget has ballooned to $5 billion. Plenty of drug czars in that massive bureaucracy, and in recent years czars have been surging all over the federal government.

President Obama appointed 45 czars, and as Judicial Watch noted, “Many of these ‘czars’ are unconfirmed by the Senate and are largely unaccountable to Congress. Further, their activities are often outside the reach of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), creating a veil of secrecy about their precise role in the administration.” As we noted, a day after Washington state allowed the sale of medical marijuana in the style of Colorado and California, drug czar Michael Botticelli sought to spend $25 billion in the war on drugs.

President George W. Bush deployed some 33 czars, including one for bird flu. Franklin Roosevelt appointed at least 11 czars, including one to deal with rubber. These actions imply that unelected appointees with the title of Russian kings can solve all problems. They can’t, but they do waste taxpayers’ money. President Trump, who wants to drain the swamp, should not appoint any drug czar and would be wise to eliminate all czars in government.

Meanwhile, a historical note. A century ago the Bolshevik Revolution was going on, but the Bolsheviks did not overthrow Czar Nicholas. He abdicated the throne and the Bolsheviks toppled the provisional government of Alexander Kerensky, the closest Russia ever came to liberal democracy.

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October 2017