Obama Appoints Auto Task Force Instead of Car Czar

By Alan Stewart Carl | Related entries in Cars, Economy, Obama Appointments

The Obama Administration has announced the Car Czar is out and an automobile task force is in. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and National Economic Council Director Lawrence Summers will oversee a new panel charged with overseeing the government bailout of GM and Chrysler.

This move comes a day before the two car companies are scheduled to submit restructuring plans to the government. Presumably, this task force will be involved in approving the plans and monitoring the companies’ progress.

Whether the task force is a better idea than a car czar all depends on how Geithner and Summers prioritize their new responsibility. With the hundreds of billions in government money spiraling through the economy, the money wrapped up in the auto bailout may not get the administration’s full attention. Then again, a single czar is easy to marginalize and, if Obama couldn’t find the right person for the job, a multi-official task force seems the better option.

The failure of GM and Chrysler would significantly add to the nation’s growing unemployment rate. For this reason alone, I suspect the new task force to take their responsibility seriously and do what they can to make sure the billions in bailout money is not squandered. The question is: can such squandering be avoided, no matter the diligence of government overseers? Even with the massive loans, there is no guarantee GM and Chrysler can survive. Time will tell if we’ve used taxpayer wisely or if we’ve thrown good money after bad.


This entry was posted on Monday, February 16th, 2009 and is filed under Cars, Economy, Obama Appointments. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

9 Responses to “Obama Appoints Auto Task Force Instead of Car Czar”

  1. Doug Mataconis Says:

    No, the question is what makes anyone think that a government committee is in any respect capable of running the auto industry

  2. mw Says:

    So, I guess we conclude that an Automobile Politburo is an improvement over an Automobile Czar.

    To answer some of the other questions Alan raised:

    Yes, billions in bailout money given to these walking dead companies have been squandered.

    No, squandering billions more cannot be avoided in our current One Party Rule government.

    Yes, we will throw billions more of good money after bad.

    Happy to help.

    On another note – Ford has still not taken any government bailout money.

    Buy a Ford.

  3. Mark Labertew Says:

    The Obama Administration has announced the Car Czar is out and an automobile task force is in. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and National Economic Council Director Lawrence Summers will oversee a new panel charged with overseeing the government bailout of GM and Chrysler.

    This move comes a day before the two car companies are scheduled to submit restructuring plans to the government. Presumably, this task force will be involved in approving the plans and monitoring the companies’ progress.

    Whether the task force is a better idea than a car czar all depends on how Geithner and Summers prioritize their new responsibility. With the hundreds of billions in government money spiraling through the economy, the money wrapped up in the auto bailout may not get the administration’s full attention. Then again, a single czar is easy to marginalize and, if Obama couldn’t find the right person for the job, a multi-official task force seems the better option.

    The failure of GM and Chrysler would significantly add to the nation’s growing unemployment rate. For this reason alone, I suspect the new task force to take their responsibility seriously and do what they can to make sure the billions in bailout money is not squandered. The question is: can such squandering be avoided, no matter the diligence of government overseers? Even with the massive loans, there is no guarantee GM and Chrysler can survive. Time will tell if we’ve used taxpayer wisely or if we’ve thrown good money after bad.

  4. michael reynolds Says:

    Doug:
    Well, the businesspeople have gone bankrupt and are now begging to be saved by government. So I’m not sure knee-jerk skepticism about government is appropriate. I think conservative dogma on the magic of the marketplace has taken a huge hit. It’s the marketplace begging government for help, not the other way around. Bottom line: we’d better hope government can function effectively. We don’t seem to have another option.

  5. Doug Mataconis Says:

    Michael,

    You’re right the Big Three Dinosaurs are failing

    The answer is to say no to the incessant pleas for taxpayer dollars to prop them up.

    Let them go through Bankruptcy Court

  6. Booker Rising Says:

    Obama Appoints Auto Task Force Instead Of Car Czar…

    Alan Stewart Carl, a moderate blogger, opines: “The Obama Administration has announced the Car Czar is out and an automobile task force is in. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and National Economic Council Director Lawrence Summers will oversee a ….

  7. michael reynolds Says:

    Doug:

    At any other time I’d agree: let GM go belly up. But in an environment where they might end up liquidating rather than reorganizing, and with the employment picture already dire, I think we have to step in and essentially take over.

    The good news is I think we each get free undercoating and a set of floor mats.

  8. Mark Labertew Says:

    Whether the task force is a better idea than a car czar all depends on how Geithner and Summers prioritize their new responsibility. With the hundreds of billions in government money spiraling through the economy, the money wrapped up in the auto bailout may not get the administration’s full attention. Then again, a single czar is easy to marginalize and, if Obama couldn’t find the right person for the job, a multi-official task force seems the better option.

  9. Mark Labertew Says:

    Mark Labertew is Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer. Mark brings to BioNovix a background of profitable leadership in dynamic domestic and international enterprises. Mark has lead profitable companies, spanning diverse industries, from start-up through growth into multi-million dollar businesses, and has structured, negotiated and consummated high dollar corporate transactions and financings. Most recently serving as COO of Suntech Manufacturing in Tempe, AZ, an international manufacturer with 9 worldwide locations, Mark held full P&L accountability for every aspect of operations, visions, strategic planning and directions, finance, business development, sales and marketing, technology and R&D. Previously, he helped grow an IT startup from $0 to $30+ million in annual revenues as President and CEO of Tracker International and delivered triple digit ROI to stakeholders. Mark holds a Bachelor of Science in Financial Accounting from Metropolitan State College in Denver, CO. When the Board of Directors and Mark believe timing is right, a second person will come in and be CEO and/or CFO, but for now the strength of management and financial determinations being under the control of a CPA is best.

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