Becky Fenger | June 10, 2009
Since I drive a General Motors product, I have more than a passing interest in Brian Deese. He's the 31-year-old kid who has been put in charge of dismantling GM. Considering that the GM bailout cost you and me $450,000 per day, this is heady territory.
As pointed out, Deese has had no formal business education, no formal economics education, no business experience, and no auto industry experience. He did once sleep in his car in a GM parking lot earlier in his "career." Does that count? He studied political science at Middlebury College in Vermont. While in college, he hosted a campus radio program called "Bedknobs and Beatniks.” (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)
Next Deese was drawn to The Center for Global Development, a liberal think tank, until he moved on to the Center for American Progress, which has been described as a Democrat marketing organization. It is run by John Podesta, former Bill Clinton Chief of Staff, and financed by the infamous George Soros. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)
A law degree at Yale was almost in his grasp when he left to work on Senator Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. The smartest woman in the world must have really been impressed, because she moved him quickly into the position of her top economic policy adviser. When Hillary's campaign fizzled out, Deese jumped to Barack Obama's campaign to act as deputy in the same position, then as an economic adviser on Obama's transition team. Those political science majors really pay off, don't they?
Kevin Williamson is the deputy managing editor for National Review. He says that Deese is a smart kid, but not qualified to be running General Motors. I have the same uneasiness. This is heightened by the fact that I have house plants almost as old as Deese.
The Automotive Task Force that Deese influences so heavily is hardly filled with auto experts, Williamson notes. One member was a New York Times reporter and then an investment banker. Another is a union representative, and then we have someone from Goldman Sachs. As Williamson sarcastically says: "Of course, nothing can get done in government without Goldman Sachs giving their stamp of approval." No one on the task force has experience manufacturing anything other than screw-ups. (And there is something wrong with that!)
It has been my considered opinion, along with many others, that one should not be in elected office with control over my wallet unless he has been in the private sector and forced to meet a payroll somewhere in his lifetime. The same goes for task forces and committees.
If you think that President Obama doesn't intend to run General Motors forever, you haven't heard his latest power play. When GM wanted to move its headquarters out of Detroit to Warren, Michigan, Obama picked up the phone, called the mayor of Detroit, and told him in no uncertain terms that it wasn't going to happen. Not a good sign.
Polls show that only one in five Americans support the auto company bailouts. Nor do they approve of using GM as a federal jobs program. But that is what's happening, said Williamson.
Commenting on this subject, Barry Goldwater, Jr. stated, "People who have contempt for business are now running businesses." No good can come of this, I would say.
The New York Times wrote on June 1 that Deese is "rewriting the rules of American Capitalism." I'm pained that he is getting us out of capitalism without his ever having been in it himself. The Wall Street Journal had a headline last month that read: "Don't just do something; Stand There!" That's the advice that the wet-behind-the-ears Deese should follow.
I don't want environmental extremists designing my automobiles. They will be terribly unsafe when coming up against anything but a bicycle. There is no way to force fuel standards upon consumers without moving toward paper mache vehicles, causing many more deaths on the road.
Of course, rabid environmentalists have never been too worried about human deaths when their green machine is in high gear. One of the sorriest developments out of their camp has been the World Health Organization's plan earlier last month to completely phase out the use of DDT insecticide to prevent the death of millions of people in the developing world, mostly children. It's just one more reason to be disgusted with the United Nations and their obscene, childish acts.