Czars are a terrible idea.

The old adage used to be that not everyone could be a chief. But in the Obama administration, everyone can be a czar. Each week, it seems, the president announces yet another one. Historically, there was only ever one omnipotent czar at a time. Obama’s czars, in contrast, have neither autonomy nor clear authority and seem only to erode the statutory responsibilities of Senate-confirmed Cabinet members…

For Cabinet members, the arrival of yet another czar competing for the president’s attention reduces their influence. Perhaps even more important, the rapid proliferation of direct reports to the president is impossible to manage effectively.

Accountability in the federal government is challenging enough, but with czars and czarinas popping up all over the place, it is increasingly difficult to know who is in charge, and you can bet the turf wars are ferocious. Too many strong-willed people with duplicative responsibilities and no clear direct line of responsibility are a recipe for confusion.