February 23, 2009

Hope! Change! Hypocrisy! (Vol. 232,872,912,019)

Why is it I am not surprised that the "Task Force" designed to save the Ossified Car Makers isn't too hot on driving the cars they are supposed to save?

At least two task force members don't own a car, and there are still two open slots on the 10-member panel that will be filled by the secretaries of labor and commerce, who have not yet been appointed.

The co-chairs of the task force -- Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner and White House National Economic Council Director Lawrence Summers -- both own foreign automobiles.

Geithner owns a 2008 Acura TSX, registered in New York. He once owned a 1999 Honda Accord and a 2002 Acura MDX, according to public records.

Geithner is the president's designee for purposes of enforcing loan agreements with GM and Chrysler and must approve or reject any proposed transactions by either company that would cost $100 million or more.

His maternal grandfather, Charles Moore, was a vice president at Ford Motor Co. from 1952-63, according to Peter Geithner, the secretary's father. But Geithner wasn't very interested in cars growing up -- in part because he graduated from high school in Asia, his father said.

Summers owns a 1995 Mazda Protege that's registered in Massachusetts. He previously owned a 1996 Ford Taurus GL.

What other task force members drive:

• 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.

• Energy Secretary Steven Chu doesn't own a car, his wife, Jean Fetter, said in a telephone interview on Sunday. Cabinet officials are typically transported to and from work by security officials in government vehicles.

• Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson owns a 2008 Toyota Prius and a Honda Odyssey minivan, she said Sunday. "It's great," she said of her Prius.

• Vehicle information was not available for Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood or Christine Romer, head of the Council of Economic Advisers.

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