Because of a backlog on processing foodstamp applications, the Legislative Budget Board (LBB) recently "approved hiring up to 250 of the 650 workers and directed the commission to immediately fill 400 vacant jobs." Well enough. It’s too much for now to go into whys and hows the Health and Human Services Commission inched its way into this problem. But the hectoring by a federal official, as reported by the Austin American Statesman today, is unwarranted.
Predictably, the top federal bureaucrat in Texas for the U.S. Department of Agriculture urges HHSC to hire another bureaucrat to break through the backlog — in the Statesman’s words, hire a food stamp czar.
The Obama Administration’s infatuation with czars and czarinas is troubling and reveals an underlying philosophical problem of the Administration: that state and federal officials ought to be conferred with unchecked power and authority.
Just last month, CNN reported that the Administration has over 30 czars: "The czars cover issues from AIDS and health care to Middle East peace."
These are unaccountable bureaucrats who answer to no one but the Czar himself — President Obama. Czars don’t solve problems. They simply demand that others solve problems (health care, for instance), while enjoying all the trappings of power (trips on Air Force One to Copenhagen to visit the IOC).
Bureaucratic problems are only solved through process reform, improved management structures and accountability at all levels of an agency, not by making it more top-heavy. Once again, the state should tell the feds to take a hike.