Now that the buyout of General Motors and Chrysler has all but completed, what happens to the Car Czar? IBD Editorials notes that Ron Bloom, who replaced original car czar Steve Rattner, will quietly move into a new position of manufacturing czar. They question Obama’s judgment in having a union boss dictate to management how to make manufacturing profitable:
The question naturally arises: Do we really need a factory guru, especially one whose expertise is in advising labor unions — the cause of much of the U.S. steel and car industries’ woes?
The obvious answer is no. This is just another attempt to revive the long-discredited idea of industrial policy — the notion that markets are inefficient and unfair, and the economy can best be managed by government “experts.”
In the case of manufacturing, it isn’t as sick as we’ve been led to believe. In fact, total value added by the nation’s factories in 2008 hit a record $1.64 trillion for a gain of 21% since 2003.
And despite talk of the U.S. losing its industrial might, we still make up 25% of the world’s manufacturing value added — nearly 2 1/2 times China’s output, U.N. data show.
It’s a good question, but a better one is this: what authority does the federal government have to set up commissars for private industry at all? This question becomes even more urgent when these “czars” have no accountability to or oversight from Congress, whether they choose to exercise it or not. Obama has more czars than Cabinet members now, and none of them required any confirmation from the Senate or answer to anyone but the President.
Glenn Reynolds has a new video outlining the number of czars in this administration. It’s eye-opening, to say the least. Be sure to watch it all by clicking on the org chart below.