By on February 23, 2009

Instead of digging into the murky finances of federal teat sucker and Chrysler owner Cerberus, The Detroit News has focused its investigative expertise on the automotive lifestyles of the Presidential Automotive Task Force. I’m not sure exactly how this counts as “gotcha” journalism—and neither is author David Shepardson. “The vehicles owned by the Obama administration’s auto team could reflect one reason why Detroit’s Big Three automakers are in trouble: The list includes few new American cars.” Care to expand on that thought David, or just fan the flames of anti-DC hatred simmering in the automotive heart of Bailout Nation? Thought so. Sherpardson reveals that the ratio of domestic owning to foreign driving members is two to eighteen. Shock! Of course, “information was not available on all of the officials, and records for some states were not complete.” Never mind. ‘Cause in this particular witch hunt, if you EVER owned a foreign car you’re named and shamed, I shit you not.

• Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag owns a 2008 Honda Odyssey and a 2004 Volvo S60. He previously owned a 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee and 1982 Datsun.

• Carol Browner, the White House climate czar, said earlier this month at the Washington Auto Show that she doesn’t own an automobile. Public records show she once owned a 1999 Saab 9-5 SE.

• Austan Goolsbee, staff director and chief economist for the White House Economic Recovery Advisory Board, owns a 2004 Toyota Highlander.

• Joan DeBoer, the chief of staff to LaHood, said in an interview Sunday she drives a 2008 Lexus RX 350. She doesn’t consider herself “a car buff” and views her car as a way to get around town.

• Heather Zichal, deputy director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change, owns a Volvo C30, according to public records and officials.

• Gene Sperling, counsel to the Treasury Secretary, owns a 2003 Lincoln LS, and previously owned a 1993 Saturn SL2.

• Edward B. Montgomery, senior adviser to the Labor Department, owns a 1991 Harley-Davidson and previously owned a 1990 Ford Taurus L station wagon, public records show.

• Lisa Heinzerling, senior climate policy counsel to the head of the EPA, owns a 1998 Subaru Legacy Outback station wagon, according to her husband.

• Diana Farrell, the deputy National Economic Council director, doesn’t own a vehicle. Her husband, Scott Pearson, owns a 1985 Peugeot 505 S.

• Dan Utech, senior adviser to the Energy Secretary, owns a 2003 M[INI] Cooper S two-door hatchback.

• Rick Wade, a senior adviser at the Commerce Department, owns a 1998 Chevrolet Cavalier and previously owned a 1998 Toyota Corolla.

• Jared Bernstein, Vice President Joe Biden’s chief economist, owns a 2005 Honda Odyssey.

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66 Comments on “DetN Shock Horror! Auto Task Force Owns Foreign Cars!...”


  • avatar
    ca36gtp

    They apparently aren’t good at paying taxes either, so not only are they not actually BUYING domestic cars, they aren’t paying their share of the bailout either.

    Meanwhile, the proletariat bears the burden of their abuses of power.

    Under any other circumstances, this would be a stupid article. But these twits have taken hypocrisy to such a level, I hope every single little thing they do is dissected and examined to point out every little ‘f*ck you’ to the public they dish out.

  • avatar
    mikeolan

    Looks to me like none of these people know cars from their rectum. Interesting one of them actually owns a Volvo C30! That’s a neat little underappreciated car.

  • avatar
    RetardedSparks

    “Heather Zichal… owns a Volvo C30”

    Oh, she bought the other one!
    I like that girl already….

  • avatar
    tigeraid

    Diana Farrell, the deputy National Economic Council director, doesn’t own a vehicle. Her husband, Scott Pearson, owns a 1985 Peugeot 505 S.

    Er… That would give him valid reason to hate foreign cars…

  • avatar
    toxicroach

    Yeah these crazy Washington Elites, with their 10 year old Subarus and and Cavaliers…

  • avatar
    tigeraid

    er, her, I mean.

  • avatar
    63CorvairSpyder

    Saw this on Drudge this morning…..My first thoughts; about half of the people deciding the future of the US car industry are driving beaters … Carol Browner isn’t a “car buff”, but she buys a RX350, why not a Malibu, an Escape or a Yukon?….I guess they’re not “elitist” enough for her.

    This panel is scary. Where are the car people, the business minds? I wonder how many years of service this entire group has in the business world? I would guess very little. They’re probably mostly lawyers, academics and/or political cronies.

    I feel we are in for a very rough ride over the next 5-10 years.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    • Carol Browner, the White House climate czar, said earlier this month at the Washington Auto Show that she doesn’t own an automobile. Public records show she once owned a 1999 Saab 9-5 SE…

    Not at all surprising for a higher-level academic. Does she wear a tweed jacket with leather elbow patches as well (full disclosure: I have a 9-3 and a tweed jacket)

    • Heather Zichal, deputy director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change, owns a Volvo C30, according to public records and officials.

    Unbelievable! Someone actually bought a C30!

    • Edward B. Montgomery, senior adviser to the Labor Department, owns a 1991 Harley-Davidson and previously owned a 1990 Ford Taurus L station wagon, public records show.

    If you have to deal with organized labour, only a Panther is a better choice.

    • Rick Wade, a senior adviser at the Commerce Department, owns a 1998 Chevrolet Cavalier and previously owned a 1998 Toyota Corolla.

    That’s what I like to see, an accountant that knows how to save a buck or two. Of course, it means driving around in a Cavalier or Corolla for ten years, so there’s a certain sacrifice made.

    • Diana Farrell, the deputy National Economic Council director, doesn’t own a vehicle. Her husband, Scott Pearson, owns a 1985 Peugeot 505 S.

    Sound economic decision, there. Not. (disclosure: it’s still an interesting car, just not a cheap one to keep running)

    Joan DeBoer, the chief of staff to LaHood, said in an interview Sunday she drives a 2008 Lexus RX 350. She doesn’t consider herself “a car buff” and views her car as a way to get around town.

    Well, when you don’t care about your car but still want something reliable, comfortable and “nice”, you really can’t go wrong with the RX. It’s like buying a really, really nice dishwasher.

  • avatar
    RetardedSparks

    @63CorvairSpyder:
    Actually the thing I like about this panel is that they are NOT emotionally attached to cars. If they all had an old GTO, Austin Healy, or replica of the General Lee I’d be very afraid.
    The problem with every “car guy” is that they tend not to be able to see the forest for the trees. It is misty eyed nostalgia for dead brands, dead ways of working and ways of life that got Detroit in the fix they are in.
    I think Mullaly is being successful because he brought great business skills but none of the emotional baggage. The task for should be made of more people like him.

  • avatar
    creamy

    forget “The list includes few new American cars,” it’s more like “the list includes few new cars.” i find this wonderful.

    it’s great that they’re not all driving bimmers and benzes. my favorite: “Rick Wade, a senior adviser at the Commerce Department, owns a 1998 Chevrolet Cavalier”

  • avatar
    Orian

    Funny thing about those tax evaders – they’re all paid up now. Maybe Obama secretly worked for the IRS and was sent to flesh out the tax evaders?

    In all honesty why does it matter what people own/drive? I thought this was the United States of America where we were free to chose what we spend our money on. You know, that thing called capitalism? Based on my experiences with the Kia and the Pontiac my wife and I own I won’t be buying domestic again, at least not for a long long time until I see a lot of improvement in the product and the companies that produce them.

  • avatar
    ca36gtp

    In all honesty why does it matter what people own/drive? I thought this was the United States of America where we were free to chose what we spend our money on.

    They’re free to do what they want. You pay for what they tell you to, or you go to jail.

    Land of the Free.

  • avatar

    Yeah, because what GM and Chrysler need is the governance by cheerleaders that subscribe to their own myopia. THAT will help dig them out of the giant crater they’re in.

  • avatar
    MrDot

    Waving a bloody shirt about “foreign” cars like Volvos and Saabs is ridiculous. Isn’t the highlander made in Texas?

  • avatar
    Sabastian

    Why does the assumption exist that those in public office must drive American cars? Do the members of the FCC have to own American-made TV’s and radios? What!? Obama owns a Sony!? That’s un-American!

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    i agree with these guys

    you want people who are completely unattached with no emotional baggage

    you can’t have people who LOVE cars make decisions about life and death

    it’s just business, nothing more

    i’m also happier most of them drive old bombs and girls’ cars… obviously it’s not important to them so they’ll make decisions like they are trying to save a washing machine factory

  • avatar
    jpcavanaugh

    RetardedSparks :

    I think Mullaly is being successful because he brought great business skills but none of the emotional baggage.

    Mullaly brought something else to Ford: The Lexus he had been driving when he worked at Boeing. He kept it when he came. To me, this is one of the most encouraging things about this guy – he knows what a high-quality car feels like and has a point of reference when he drives the stuff his company makes. I hope he buys a new Lexus when his current one is ready to go.

  • avatar
    Airhen

    I’m no Obama supporter, but big deal what he and his leftists drive?

    Last fall I bought a Civic as a daily driver to add to my garage that includes two Jeeps. I had a UAW employee tell me that he held me responsible for their problems. No kidding!

    I responded that Honda has been making Civics for a long time now and the Big 2.8 and the UAW have yet to build a car that can compete in it’s class. Shouldn’t I as a consumer be able to buy the product I consider the best with my own earned money?!

  • avatar
    Stein X Leikanger

    63CorvairSpyder :
    February 23rd, 2009 at 10:10 am

    This panel is scary. Where are the car people, the business minds? I wonder how many years of service this entire group has in the business world? I would guess very little. They’re probably mostly lawyers, academics and/or political cronies.

    I feel we are in for a very rough ride over the next 5-10 years.

    Sorry, but can’t follow your logic.
    Warren Buffett lives in the small house he bought in the early 60s – what the hell does he know about making money.
    Kamprad, the owner of IKEA (yes, he owns the whole shebang), takes the bus in from the airport when he’s out traveling. What a business idiot he’s got to be.

    The problem is the asshats that bought company jets, enormous limos and a stable full of expensive cars —

    Just saying.

  • avatar
    tedward

    This article is fairly despicable from where I’m sitting. If the author is out to apply political pressure (and yes, he is) a man in his position shouldn’t attempt to disguise the fact. The opening of his story, “The vehicles owned by the Obama administration’s auto team could reflect one reason why Detroit’s Big Three automakers are in trouble: The list includes few new American cars.” has no bearing on the rest of the content in the article. No follow up, no fleshing out, nada. It’s there to cover a rather unsubtle excercise in yellow journalism. If he took that sentence out or sold the story as is to a political action committee there’d be no foul, but as it stands now this is a journalism fail.

  • avatar
    Nicholas Weaver

    2008 Odyssey: Made in Alabama

    2004 Volvo S60: Owned by Ford

    1999 Saab 9-5: Owned by GM

    2004 Highlander: Made in Indiana

    2008 RX-350: Made in Japan

    2003 Lincoln LS: Ford, made in America

    2003 Saturn: GM, made in America…

    And the list continues.

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    what good are “CAR BUSINESS” people right now?

    ‘car business people’ are what got the big 2.8 into this mess in the first place

  • avatar
    Richard Chen

    @Airhen: Obama had a Grand Cherokee and 300C before political correctness put him behind an Escape Hybrid. Biden’s vehicle of choice was the Amtrak Acela, but he has a vintage ‘Vette. IIRC the Clintons also have an Escape Hybrid. Don’t know about David Axelrod or the others.

  • avatar
    ScottMcG

    Let’s see…the people who think the domestic automakers can do no wrong are the same ones who think experience and expertise in business, labor relations, and manufacturing policy are no match for owning an Escalade?

    What a bunch of fools. The one common thread I see among these people is that they don’t believe in wasting their money on more car than they need. They could all go out and buy a brand new American car to make the clowns at the Detroit “News” happy, but what would that say about their ability to manage money?

    I’ll take smart people over dogmatic people to supervise the economic recovery…the dogma is what got them in this position to begin with.

  • avatar
    bluecon

    In Canada GM is asking for 7 billion taxpayer dollars and promising to retain 7,000 jobs. A cool one million per job. Only government people would consider that a viable business plan.

    Aybody have the numbers for the US bailouts? Likely they are also at least a million a job.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    2008 RX-350: Made in Japan

    Actually made in Canada.

  • avatar

    The Detroit news and for that matter everyone in Michigan need to get out more and see what is actually happening in the rest of the country.

    I work in a union workplace and 50 percent of our members drive foreign cars. My shop steward drives a Hyundai and her husband use to be a Chrysler mechanic at a stealership.

    Earth calling Detroit your not going to find any 90 percent markets for Detroit autos outside of Michigan. You all squandered it years ago. The world does not revolve around you.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Last fall I bought a Civic as a daily driver to add to my garage that includes two Jeeps. I had a UAW employee tell me that he held me responsible for their problems. No kidding!

    I had a discussion with a colleague who recently bought a Ford Fusion. He had a “Hungry? Out of work? Eat your import!” sticker and was giving me mild grief over my Honda Fit.

    I’ll admit my Honda’s not remotely domestic content, but did enjoy pointing out that he does drive a Mexican-built car that uses a stretched version of a Japanese platform, and that we work for a company that supplies GM and Toyota but not Ford.

    Explaining that the “3” prefixing the VIN means “Mexico”, and watching his heart break, was both sad and, well, selfishly amusing.

  • avatar
    50merc

    ScottMcG: “The one common thread I see among these people is that they don’t believe in wasting their money on more car than they need.”

    Indeed; I’d go so far as to say that as a group they don’t even like cars. (Browner probably hates cars.) Well, I guess the good thing about this is they can be cold-blooded about America’s automotive heritage.

    This group is a snapshot of America’s elite political class, for good or ill. It reminds me of a transportation planner I knew in the 70’s. He owned one car, a classic MG. But it was purely an investment, kept in storage like Krugerrands in a bank vault. His attitude was that people should ride the bus, like he did.

  • avatar
    KatiePuckrik

    I still maintain that buying a car which is built domestically, isn’t a bad thing.

    I’d like to think that someone would buy the products, I make to support my job, like I do for them. I wish we had more domestic supporters in the UK. We wouldn’t be in so far in the crud as we are now.

    Having said that, this all comes with a caveat.

    It’s necessary to buy the car which fits your bill. (i.e if you’re looking for a small car and there isn’t one built domestically, then look further afield. Don’t buy a CUV just to support your country. No-one wins, then.)

  • avatar
    noreserve

    That group strikes me as a bit off-center in their vehicle ownership. I know it’s DC, but unless you live in the city proper, I don’t see how some of them deal without a vehicle.

    I find it interesting to see their choices, but I question the disclosure of previously owned vehicles. Who cares? And as for what they’re driving now, why hold them to a microscope? These were vehicles selected prior to their current appointments. People select vehicles for many different reasons. None of these reasons imply that they couldn’t make sound choices about the job at hand.

    I’m sick of self-righteous blowhards maligning others’ choice in vehicles. Talk to me when your Vue, HHR, or HEMI engine isn’t made in Mexico. Who cares if the profits “come back to the US” when you choose a country like that simply so you can pay the people $3/hr and avoid environmental responsibilities.

  • avatar
    63CorvairSpyder

    @Stein X:

    I don’t follow your reply. My comment re: the beaters, was meant to say, “these people really don’t care about cars”. Would you want people who weren’t doctors and interested in health care deciding the course of your cancer treatment?

    And as far as Buffet and Kamprad being “thrifty”, that’s great. I believe it that myself. I’m worth 1.5-2M and I drive a 2002 Buick Century……The point is, they are great business minds. Are there any on the panel? Why aren’t they on the panel(Presidential Automotive Task Force)? As I see it, the panel doesn’t have a thimble of business experience.

  • avatar
    Robert.Walter

    It would be interesting to see when the people who have the old cars bought them … I was just starting to wonder if they bought a 10 year old chevy to make a point… you can buy such a car for a pittance, and then when the News investigates you, you come up looking true-blue…

  • avatar
    GS650G

    Richard Chen :
    February 23rd, 2009 at 10:48 am

    @Airhen: Obama had a Grand Cherokee and 300C before political correctness put him behind an Escape Hybrid. Biden’s vehicle of choice was the Amtrak Acela, but he has a vintage ‘Vette. IIRC the Clintons also have an Escape Hybrid. Don’t know about David Axelrod or the others.
    Bidens’s real vehicle of choice was a helicopter, I’ve met the mechanic who maintained it.
    FTR Biden is NOT a nice friendly guy, more like a tyrant.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Carol Browner isn’t a “car buff”, but she buys a RX350, why not a Malibu, an Escape or a Yukon?

    Here’s a wacky thought — she preferred the Lexus.

    It’s the job of the company to please the customer, not the other way around. If GM or Ford couldn’t figure out how to appeal to her and to millions of other car buyers, then that says something about GM and Ford.

  • avatar

    In a free society which practices capitalism it should not matter what sort of car anyone drives. Period. This is not the Soviet Union, where our “choices” are dictated. Any attempt to make it so, by either party or any faction reeks of hypocrisy.

    People choose what vehicle suits their needs, and if Detroit could have found the means to do so over the past few decades they wouldn’t be in the position of begging the government for OUR MONEY to save their asses.

    –chuck
    (and yes, Austan Goolsbee and I are related, though we’ve never met.)

  • avatar
    Geo. Levecque

    I also read this article in the Detroit papers this morning and I thought so what? In our own Globe and Mail there is a article about the head of the CAW Union here in Canada, he has no formal education, dropped out of School at 16 and went to work almost right away for Chrysler a job he got from his Father! He drives a Dodge Nitro, lucky for him, Consumer Reports said this vehicle was well below average in reliability! So not sure about the head of the UAW, that’s who use our Taxpayers money to milk the Citizens of both of our countries!

  • avatar
    bill h.

    noreserve:

    “That group strikes me as a bit off-center in their vehicle ownership. I know it’s DC, but unless you live in the city proper, I don’t see how some of them deal without a vehicle.”

    I haven’t checked where they live, but many folks in the inner suburbs of DC (both Virginia and Maryland) can do without multiple vehicles, given the mass transit that is available. Plus, parking hassles, space etc. may be a factor. Lots of empty-nesters and the like are moving closer into town in recent years.

  • avatar
    able

    How is this even news?

    Now, if they all have corvettes and challengers, we’d know it was over for Detroit. It seems like normal people driving their cars. And most people drive their cars a long time.

    When you come begging to get your ass saved, it’s just poor form to complain that you don’t like who you’re begging from.

    And, score, a C30.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    I’m glad this article was written, although the focus should have been on what experience these folks have at running a business. Have any of them managed a budget? Project? Have any of them hired or fired anyone? Negotiated with unions?

    This is more fluff piece at this point, but should be followed up with something more relevant to their new jobs.

    But then, that would mean accountability, and we can’t have that, can we?

  • avatar
    Aeroelastic

    63CorvairSpyder :

    And as far as Buffet and Kamprad being “thrifty”, that’s great. I believe it that myself. I’m worth 1.5-2M and I drive a 2002 Buick Century……The point is, they are great business minds. Are there any on the panel?

    I’d be very interested to read an article about the business backgrounds of the panel members. However, The Detroit News chose not to write that article, but instead to write about something irrelevent. Honestly, I don’t care if they all drive fanboats and unicycles.

    It’s a stupid article, trying to lead the reader to a conclusion.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    jpcavanaugh: “Mullaly brought something else to Ford: The Lexus he had been driving when he worked at Boeing. He kept it when he came. To me, this is one of the most encouraging things about this guy – he knows what a high-quality car feels like and has a point of reference when he drives the stuff his company makes. I hope he buys a new Lexus when his current one is ready to go.”

    I hope he doesn’t. When his current one is ready to go, I hope he feels a Lincoln is worthy.

    And I hope it will really be worthy and not just a show of support for the troops at Ford.

  • avatar
    ihatetrees

    TTAC’s crack investigative team needs to one up the DetN.

    Is there any high elected official who drives a Cayman S?

    If so, find ’em ASAP. The B&B can pull out all lobbying stops and make ’em car czar.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    noreserve: “That group strikes me as a bit off-center in their vehicle ownership. I know it’s DC, but unless you live in the city proper, I don’t see how some of them deal without a vehicle.”

    I know a few people areound here who are 1-car suburban families and a couple people who have no car at all. Of course, (#cars >= #of drivers in the household) is more then norm.

    Cars cost a ton of money, especially to insure with teens in the house, and unless you’re lucky enough to have the scratch for a hobby car, cars are mostly just a chore and a cash drain without any entertainment giveback.

    Yeah, I know we’re supposed to be enthusiasts, here, but sitting in traffic on the freeway, I care a lot more about reliablity, radio, MPG and HVAC than I do about 0-60 times and lateral G’s.

    If I didn’t need a car for routine personal transportation, I’d be free to buy something way more fun than a Sienna.

  • avatar

    ScottMcG :
    February 23rd, 2009 at 10:50 am

    Let’s see…the people who think the domestic automakers can do no wrong are the same ones who think experience and expertise in business, labor relations, and manufacturing policy are no match for owning an Escalade?

    Actually, the list above includes people who appear to have experience as politicians and bureaucrats but I see little evidence of any expertise in business, labor relations or manufacturing.

    If this was a task force about the semiconductor or software industries would you be as happy with a lack of expertise on those industries, both consumer and technical?

    One of GM’s primary problems is a bureaucratic corporate culture that gives accountants and money people, not engineers and designers, the last word. That penny pinching culture gave us the Oldsmobile diesel and a host of other decisions that ultimately harmed their brands.

    The presidential task force on the domestic auto industry is just taking GM’s bureaucratic culture and giving it overseers representing an even more bureaucratic culture, the federal government.

    Obviously a well run business needs accountants and business managers, but whether they are bookkeepers, engineers or production workers, they should all be passionate about the product.

    Other than the guy with the old Harley and the spouse with a Peugeot, the people on the task force appear to prefer appliancemobiles. While there’s some wisdom in having dispassionate oversight, there’s also something to be said for having expertise and interest in the subject under oversight.

  • avatar
    geeber

    psharjinian: That’s what I like to see, an accountant that knows how to save a buck or two. Of course, it means driving around in a Cavalier or Corolla for ten years, so there’s a certain sacrifice made.

    I understand the value of thrift, but driving around in a late 1980s Cavalier is taking it a bit too far. You only live once, and I would want to spend as little of my time here as possible in any Cavalier. A late model Civic – or even a late model Focus – would hardly break the bank for this guy, and provide a MUCH nicer driving experience. And would be safer and cleaner, too.

  • avatar
    tedward

    I don’t really see why everyone is taking away a message that these people aren’t into their cars. Looking at the list I don’t see much that I would choose, but I do see cars that can be bought by enthusiasts.

    1999 Saab 9-5 SE: I drive these all the time, awful to steer, annoying dash lights, but really, really fast on boost with a nice sound. I see it as a pseudo-luxury European-ish mustang.

    Volvo C30: ok, not an fully enthusiastic car, but it has IRS, full discs and shares a chassis with the 3. Not many people want something small and go to volvo to browse, they knew it existed before they shopped.

    2003 Lincoln LS: probably a fun car (haven’t driven one). RWD, probably not a stick but it could be. This thing was marketed as a performance contender…

    1991 Harley-Davidson: speaks for itself, loudly, while burping unburned gasoline. They cost way too much new to be bought casually, someone likes to drive.

    1985 Peugeot 505 S: oddball, it is difficult to end up owning one of these. There is no conceivable way that this car was purchased to be reliable transportation. I may think it’s nuts, but this car was bought by someone with a LOT of enthusiasm.

    2003 M[INI] Cooper S:!!!!!!!!! A car so above the price point in its class it’s discussed as if it dosen’t belong to one at all. Any test drive of this car, even straight stop and go, reveals engineering priorities that would make an ES owner piss themselves in fright. To top it off, even if you somehow manage to buy one as a non-enthusiast, you will invariably be driving like one inside 2 months.

    However, I have nothing positive to say about the 2008 Lexus RX 350: a car so indefensibly stupid that it’s owner should be spayed. This person’s taste in cars calls into question their political ability, clothing style, business acumen and genetic contribution to the human race. Fire this person, because even the Cavalier owner is making better decisions.

  • avatar
    200k-min

    Yeah, I know we’re supposed to be enthusiasts, here, but sitting in traffic on the freeway, I care a lot more about reliablity, radio, MPG and HVAC than I do about 0-60 times and lateral G’s.

    My thoughts exactly. And when I have enough scratch for another vehicle it’ll probably be one where utility will win over driving excitement. Thankfully I have friends that buy Bimmer’s, Mustangs, Corvettes and such so I get to “test drive” them without the monthly payments they painfully endure.

    What surprised me the most is that none of these highly paid Washington insiders are cruising around in the latest metal from Mercedes, BMW, Lexus, etc. While the politicians are happy to spend up the deficit bailing out every tom, dick and harry at the expense of future generations they obviously have enough economic sense to not piss away their personal income. Interesting concept, if only they could take that thought to work with them.

  • avatar
    npbheights

    @jpcavanaugh
    I get the feeling that Mullaly’s LS will probably outlive the company he works for (in it’s current form)

  • avatar
    Potemkin

    OK here’s a little common sense. You buy the brand your company makes. Who you work for is the one who puts food on your table and pays your mortgage so if you want to continue eating and have a roof over your head you don’t buy a competitors goods. If you work for GM you drive one of theirs. If you work for Intel your computer has their hardware, etc. So if you are employed by the government, which means you work for the taxpayers, where possible you buy what is made in your country, simple.
    “Yeah these crazy Washington Elites, with their 10 year old Subarus and and Cavaliers…”
    What, you actually believe these are the peoples daily drivers? These guys no doubt either have government vehicles assigned to them or have a car and driver at their disposal.
    It would be interesting to find out what ratio of foreign cars are in the government stable and maybe do a headcount of foreign cars in the Capitol government employee parking lots.

  • avatar
    George B

    I’d count Peter Orszag and Jared Bernstein in the “Domestic” column for owning Alabama built Honda Odyssey minivans. Typical American vehicle for a family with children.

    Anyone else notice the absence of pickup trucks or body-on-frame SUVs? Looks like the people on the task force are unfamiliar with the high profit high volume products of the manufacturers that plan to help.

  • avatar
    JuniorMint

    I think it’s raising my self-esteem to note that my car is ten years newer than many of those on this list.

    My favorite was the Chevy Cavalier. Really? It makes me picture our government officials delivering pizzas on the weekends. Neat!

  • avatar
    50merc

    From the article: “The Detroit News reviewed public records to discover what many of the task force and staff members drove, but information was not available on all of the officials, and records for some states were not complete.”

    Inasmuch as the News didn’t mention it, they apparently didn’t obtain information on cars that were leased, rather than purchased, nor about cars provided by employers as a perquisite. In some cases we’re left to wonder about spouse-owned vehicles.

    Say, anyone besides me wonder why the Vice President has a “chief economist”? (Or any economist on his staff.) How did the administration get the idea the Veep has responsibility for economic policy? John Adams, who knew what he was talking about, said it was the most inconsequential office designed by man.

  • avatar
    tedward

    50merc

    “How did the administration get the idea the Veep has responsibility for economic policy? John Adams, who knew what he was talking about, said it was the most inconsequential office designed by man.”

    …and it was, until Dick Cheney came along and said, “really? f__k John Adams, what does he know?” And thus it was written.

    I think Biden was just appointed to oversee some aspects of the stimulus spending (I’ve got political fatigue, can’t find links or bother to confirm).

  • avatar
    bomberpete

    Diana Farrell, the deputy National Economic Council director, doesn’t own a vehicle. Her husband, Scott Pearson, owns a 1985 Peugeot 505 S.

    Er… That would give him valid reason to hate foreign cars

    Er…no. As other Best & Brightest have pointed out, anyone who owns a 24-year-old Peugeot is doing so by choice, like Lieutenant Columbo.

  • avatar
    bomberpete

    Diana Farrell, the deputy National Economic Council director, doesn’t own a vehicle. Her husband, Scott Pearson, owns a 1985 Peugeot 505 S.

    Er… That would give him valid reason to hate foreign cars

    Er…no. As other Best & Brightest have pointed out, anyone who owns a 24-year-old Peugeot is doing so by choice, like Lieutenant Columbo.

  • avatar
    Jesse

    @ Potemkin:

    Yeah, and if you work for McDonalds, you should never eat anywhere except McDonalds. In fact, shopping at the super market and cooking your own food would be really bad for McDonalds’ bottom line.

    Same goes for Walmart employees. All of you are NOT allowed to shop anywhere else!

  • avatar
    Geotpf

    psarhjinian :
    February 23rd, 2009 at 10:58 am

    2008 RX-350: Made in Japan

    Actually made in Canada.

    Well, to be precise, both are correct answers. Some are made in Japan, some are made in Ontario, Canada. (Only place outside of Japan where Lexuses are made. The Ontario government is rather proud of this; in fact, they are currently running ads in The Economist and other magazines trumping this fact-that is, our province is good enough for farking Lexus-it’s good enough for your company too.)

  • avatar
    gslippy

    I don’t care what they drive.

    I thought the thrust of the article is to poke at the “Buy American” chorus coming from the Administration, and the inconsistency of this list with that theme. Most of us agree that such a request is silly, untenable, and difficult to define.

    But I’m impressed that any 505s are still around.

  • avatar
    Luther

    Voters are too stupid to be free.

  • avatar
    Runfromcheney

    This is the reason why I hate living in Detroit. All of the media is busy digging up dirt, acting like anyone who doesn’t own a UAW product is immoral. They just don’t get that it is having your head up your ass like this is why GM and Chrysler are being kept alive by the government.

  • avatar
    mtypex

    Aren’t you just sick of it? The book with Chapter 11 is still open, why don’t we read that now, kids?

  • avatar
    John Horner

    “John Adams, who knew what he was talking about, said it was the most inconsequential office designed by man.”

    Things have changed a bit since Adams’ time. First, the country and the government are both orders of magnitude larger and more complex. Second, the VP is now elected on a ticket WITH the President, while in Adams time the VP was whoever got the second highest number of votes in the Electoral College.

    In modern times you would have to imagine Carter as Reagan’s VP or Kerry playing VP alongside GW Bush. In those circumstances, the VP would have almost no power.

    Today the scope of the VP’s actual responsibilities and influence depend largely upon how much power the President delegates to the VP and how much informal influence the VP has. Cheney seems to have set a high water mark for using both officially delegated and unofficially obtained power and influence.

    Adams was a brilliant man, but he was talking about an entirely different situation than today’s. Interestingly enough, in Adams’ day the VP did routinely preside over the business of the Senate. Eventually VPs tired of playing meeting co-ordinator when for the most part they didn’t get to vote. Today the VP rarely actually presides over the business of the Senate. An excellent history of the VP role is at:

    http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/Vice_President.htm

  • avatar
    vento97

    …and it was, until Dick Cheney came along and said, “really? f__k John Adams, what does he know?” And thus it was written.

    Kinda reminds me of this bumper sticker:

    “Dick Cheney —- before he d***s you…”

  • avatar
    50merc

    Mr. Horner, I appreciate your thoughtful and informative remarks. Posts like yours help make TTAC a great site, and are a refreshing change from commentary such as one would find on Democratic Underground.

    Actually, I do know a bit about the evolution of the office of Vice President. (I have a PhD in political science.) My jibe was directed to government’s tendency to grow over time. In the Veep’s case, it’s an example of “mission creep.” One of these days the office might get its own Council of Economic Advisors.

  • avatar
    Potemkin

    Jesse :
    Yes, you eat at Macdonalds if you want fast food and you work there and you shop at Walmart if you work there and can buy it there. Just common sense. If your employer closes you lose your job and then you can’t afford to either eat or buy. Those people who think they are insulated from the failures of domestic manufacturing need a wake up call. If the good manufacturing jobs go then so does the tax base both local, state and federal which leads to a downsized public service. People working in the construction, electronics, restaurants, etc, etc will all be impacted if there are no well paying manufacturing jobs left in the US and Canada. The only people who will be OK are the robber barons at the top who already off shore their millions. They’ll be drinking and laughing at how stupid we were to allow them to ship all our good jobs off shore.

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