Should Obama Appoint an E-Commerce Czar?

Even though I'm the type of person who believes government is often more dangerous to the free trade of commerce and ideas than effective at regulating and encouraging optimal behavior, I must admit that I'm intrigued by the concept of a Federally appointed e-Commerce Czar who would have the pull to push through standards, increase operating efficiency, encourage trade and improve security in the physical supply chain. One noted supporter of this concept, Steve Keifer of GXS, believes that such a role could "bolster U.S. manufacturing competitiveness by improving supply chain efficiency" and help "facilitate supply chain financing programs for small businesses with cash-flow hurt by the economy, so these businesses could get paid faster." On top of this, Keifer also argues that such a Czar could also drive better security processes, enable environmental programs to reduce the nation's carbon footprint and even facilitate better and lower cost health care programs. All of this is well and good, but presumes one thing: that we have a manufacturing economy to get back on track, which, given the current state of demand, is optimistic at best. Perhaps a better use of government funds in the short term would be starting to pay down our debt and dropping this dangerous "buy American" rhetoric that will do nothing but continue damaging the image of the US in the world economy.

- Jason Busch

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