December 10th, 2008
01:01 PM ET

'Car Czar' the answer to Detroit's problems?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

There's a deal, at least, in principle, for a $14 billion auto industry bailout with strings attached.

The Big 3 have three months to restructure under the watchful eyes, presumably, of a government "car czar." So that's it… a few billion dollars and government interference and Detroit will be just fine, right?

This car czar, to be appointed by the President, will write the guidelines for the $14 billion loans. The appointee will also set the terms for the loans and oversee the restructuring of the auto makers who take the money. There will supposedly be a report to Congress every 15 days.

In short, this person will have extraordinary power.

The deal is a short-term solution that is supposed to give GM and Chrysler enough cash to avoid filing for bankruptcy, at least until President-elect Barack Obama takes over and can negotiate a long-term solution. Ford apparently has enough cash on hand and won't need a loan, at least not yet.

If the government does as good a job with this as it's done with overseeing the $700 billion bailout, well… you get the idea.

Some are calling the arrangement "Bankruptcy Light"... saying it avoids the dangers of bankruptcy that scare consumers away from buying products, in this case cars.

Here’s my question to you: Is a government "Car Czar" the answer to Detroit's problems?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Nancy from Grand Ledge, Michigan writes:
The government is rarely the answer to a problem. More often, they are the cause of the problem. If our country provided health care like other civilized countries do, then our carmakers would be a lot more competitive. A car czar sounds like too much power given to one person.

Werner writes:
For those of us living at ground zero of the economic terrorism, the large GM complex in Lordstown, Ohio, this is a matter of life or death for our entire community. Republican Senators who refuse to release the $14 billion loan should be charged with treason to America. After all, it was a Republican President (Lincoln) who once said that "all which harms labor is treason to America."

John from Alabama writes:
Jack: Someone needs to oversee how the American Auto Industry spends the money they receive from the federal government. We are loaning this money and a repay plan with interest should be part of the deal. These loans should be made very public and Congress and the new President should keep their feet to the fire. Car Czar might not be a bad idea.

Jenna from Roseville, California writes:
Did the drug czar take care of America's drug problems?

Don writes:
How about Bob Barr? I like it: Car Czar Bob Barr. The reality is, we would be better off with Rosanne Barr.

George writes:
Hold your fire. Car czar? Yes, or at least maybe, if it's a retired bankruptcy judge. Nobody else. Then, in March, Toyota buys GM and we get our money back.

Billy from New Orleans, Louisiana writes:
It is if it helps bail out the Detroit Lions.

Filed under: Auto Industry
soundoff (100 Responses)
  1. Katiec Pekin, IL

    I don't know. The government has not done such a good job in running our nation so have doubts about their ability to help an
    industry survive. There has to be guidelines and oversight but
    how much government interference is questionable.
    Question, why are they not and appears will not put stipulations
    on the billions we have given the financial companies?

    December 10, 2008 at 1:59 pm |
  2. Ray Kinserlow

    The taxpayers deserve something from Detroit. Control is all they have left to offer.

    Ray Kinserlow
    Lubbock, Texas

    December 10, 2008 at 2:06 pm |
  3. Bizz, Quarryville, Pennsylvania

    I think a Car Czar is only made up for the sole purpose of selling a loan approval to the public. They need to make the public think that there's someone looking out for their money. Coming up with a Car Czar is a great idea but will not mean much in the way business is done.

    December 10, 2008 at 2:11 pm |
  4. carol in Oregon

    They don't need a car Czar. Every US citizen knows the reason they are broke is... to high salaries and bonuses for CEO's. The workers are worth their hire.

    December 10, 2008 at 2:11 pm |
  5. Marie Ontario

    The title of a car czar is just a cover for the week kneed Senators who want to keep their rear ends covered. It isn't likely any of them have any idea of what it takes to run one of these automobile manufacturer's businesses.

    What I get a kick out of is the Republican's insisting on the UAW taking wage cuts for their members. Since when does Congress dictate what someone should be paid for the work they are doing as none of them could likely do one of these assembly jobs.

    If hourly-rated workers need to take a decrease in wages because of the economy and the business's finances then I would suggest Congress take a helfty wage decrease as well since the U.S. is just as broke as the automobile manufacturers.

    December 10, 2008 at 2:11 pm |
  6. mac from traverse city Michigan

    Only if the "car czar" pops out of a lamp when you rub it and grants wishes. We don't need another another political hack we need Congress to lay out the terms and benchmarks that the industry must meet to qualify for the loan and if they don't meet the terms or meet the benchmarks deny or foreclose on the loan period.

    December 10, 2008 at 2:12 pm |
  7. Lee in TN

    maybe the answer is to start over with a new .clean slate of CEO's and other top office people who actually care about the working people under
    them. And then, give these people someone "Who is going to do the right thing ",and make sure that the books are transparent.

    December 10, 2008 at 2:13 pm |
  8. Robby

    No the price of the cars the big 3 are trying to sell. When theirs run up to 45,000 you think I can buy a luxury car that starts here and get a better deal. Even the lower priced of the big 3 costs too much

    December 10, 2008 at 2:13 pm |
  9. Richard McKinney, Texas

    I don't think so. What will one man or woman see that all these executives from 3 separate companies and all the politicians that decided on their fate saw in DC that a Czar will? I mean come on. This Czar concept is just a scapegoat for when all these billions fail to mend.
    They have no plan no direction and can not compete in the global market. They are losing money while other foreign vehicle manufactures are making money right here in America. That should tell you something in and of itself.

    December 10, 2008 at 2:15 pm |
  10. Bob D, Morristown, NJ

    My take is that the "Car Czar" will play the role of a banker or receiver representing entities that were owed large sums by the borrower. The role would be to evaluate plans and progress on those plans for repaying the debt in question, and pulling the plug on the loans if things do not look feasible or kosher.

    I think an ideal Czar would be Lee Iacocca. He knows how to turn failing auto companies around. He hsan't always been right, but he knows enough to change course when he isn't.

    December 10, 2008 at 2:16 pm |
  11. Dennis North Carolina

    First, We should of had a banking/ wall street czar to report to congress on the seven hundred billion dollars we put in play in this industry. A car czar should be in place to report to congress because there will be a lot more money involved before the problem in this industry is solved.

    December 10, 2008 at 2:18 pm |
  12. Larry from Georgetown, Texas

    No Jack, a car czar is not the answer. Chapter 11 would set things on their ear and then they can get rid of the unions, fire the high paid CEO's, hire some people that will apply the same principles that the Japanese and Germans use to make cars for less and ones that don't require maintenance every few months, oh by the way get good gas mileage which would mean they wouldn't be so tied to the oil companies.

    December 10, 2008 at 2:20 pm |
  13. Judie from St. Augustine, Fl.

    "A Czar isany person exercising great authority or power in a particular field." Isn't that what got Detroit into the mess it's in now? A bunch of Czars ran the auto industry into the ground, so now the government wants to put another Czar in to do what? The answer to Detroit's problems is they need to attract new and viable industries and start rebuilding their economy with something that works. There are enough autos between the repossessions, unsold masses of stock and used vehicles to last us for at least 10 years. So we really do not need new cars we need to use what we have before we make more. .

    St. Augustine, Fl

    December 10, 2008 at 2:20 pm |
  14. Howard

    NO! I want my money looked after and though; when it is used wrong men to be prosecuted to get it back or get my pound of flesh.

    Joshua Tree, Ca

    December 10, 2008 at 2:20 pm |
  15. Patrick in Hampstead, Maryland

    Jack –

    A government sponsored Czar with no affiliation to the Auto Industry but with a strong technical and buisness background is long overdue. Someone needs to establish why Toyota and Honda make better cars than GM, Ford and Chrysler. Americans love comfort but they cant stand the mechanical problems associated with many American cars. The days of making a fortune on spare parts and maintenance are over.

    December 10, 2008 at 2:22 pm |
  16. Lonnie Codere

    Please ask someone along the way of the auto bailout when are they going to limit the Lawyer compensation. Seems every one from the top on down is expected to take a pay cut. I'll bet the legal fees aren't part of that conversation. What ever way it goes you can bet the legal fees will follow.

    December 10, 2008 at 2:23 pm |
  17. roger dowdle lockhart, tx

    The idea of somebody who is highly competent overseeing the current situation regarding the auto industry has merit. The big problem is that it would be somebody appointed by congress, and given their track record regarding honesty, judgement, and competance, there is little chance of the oversight leading to a successful result!

    December 10, 2008 at 2:24 pm |
  18. Daniel Ambrose

    Well the government to my opinion had to do something. Now there'll be no excuse if they belly up.

    Daniel Ambrose,
    Atlanta, GA

    December 10, 2008 at 2:25 pm |
  19. Louis Ruchser

    a Car Czar is not the answer! We all know what to Czar in Russia. What's needed is the unions should take over these companies and run them as a cooperatives mutually owned by all.

    December 10, 2008 at 2:25 pm |
  20. John, Fort Collins, CO

    Given the clear lack of responsible leadership within any of the Big Three organizations, it makes sense to have a capable outside manager oversee their operations to ensure they have a viable restructuring plan. With billions of taxpayer dollars and millions of jobs at stake, this is too important to be left unattended. It would be great to have someone like Mitt Romney, who has extensive business experience, fill the role.

    December 10, 2008 at 2:26 pm |
  21. Anj in CA

    There's no single answer. They need to manufacture cars people want to buy–reliable and attractive. They need to get rid of legacy obligations to be competitive. The UAW has to acquiesce to cutbacks in their compensation/benefits packages. Potential car buyers need to be able to get financing. If a Car Czar can make all this happen, great.

    December 10, 2008 at 2:29 pm |
  22. B-Koi Vancouver Island, BC

    Were it that simple ! Too bad the Big Shots in the banking industry weren't given this blistering scrutiny. These guys are asking for a loan, NOT a bailout like the banks. the Czar ? Just another guy to gum up the works and tear apart if things go west again ! If the Congress could show that they can for once make a rational, informed , sane decision, then they may be able to convince the American public they have a right to believe in their Government again.

    December 10, 2008 at 2:31 pm |
  23. Carl

    I have never been a big fan of american cars.The reason?
    The interiors of these cars are horrendous and the fuel consumption is a disaster.A car czar wouldn´t
    change a damn thing.The change has to come from within.They can´t just build any car and expect people to just buy!
    Lest I forget,I have just german cars (a couple of them though),they are the best in the market.Way ahead of the americans and the japs.

    December 10, 2008 at 2:32 pm |
  24. Bill from Medford, NJ

    Who thought up this cockamamie "czar" stuff, anyway? Whenever we've had a "czar" to run a program, it's failed. (The Russians could have probably told us that.)

    Can't we just have an "administrator?" Surely that's a big enough umbrella term for all the graft and incompetence to follow.

    December 10, 2008 at 2:37 pm |
  25. Richard, Providence, RI

    Jack, yes, a Car Czar is needed to supervise the management teams and the spending of these bailout dollars but all of the money in the world will not turn around any of the Big 3 until the UAW is addressed. The mentality of the UAW workers who are simply production line grunts but, for some reason, think they are in a class above the rest of the American manufacturing workforce is the biggest obstacle the automakers face.
    The UAW states it is willing to 'consider' making contractual concessions but you know they will never give back enough to allow the manufacturers to sell a car at a reasonable price and to make a profit off of it. For many years the UAW did not care what kind of product quality rolled off of the assembly lines, all they cared about was their benefits and pensions and now the highest paid assembly line workers in the world need my help? I don't make as much as they do and let's face it, they wouldn't help me.

    December 10, 2008 at 2:37 pm |
  26. Tom Ft Lauderdale


    I think the car czar should be headed by Social Security and Medicare. The Welfare department is far to busy administrating the working poor

    December 10, 2008 at 2:37 pm |
  27. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Jack: The answer is NO. Given the propensity of people with power to abuse it - Governor Blagojevich being only the latest in a long line of "me first" political players - why should we trust a single person to oversee how taxpayer money will be spent by companies that have already demonstrated a narrow focus on short term profits and plumping the pillows of senior management? and given the need for domestic and international crisis management, financial, operational and marketing acumen, and the huge number and diversity of stakeholders in the auto industry, why on earth would we place all our bets on one person? and finally, why do we keep allowing both the term and the concept of a "czar" to creep into our language? Aside from sending all the wrong messages to the people who assume such posts, why on earth do journalists and pundits use a term that smells of autocracy?

    December 10, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  28. Eric from J.C. TN

    I don't think so. I think the answer is to let them go under. Poor strategy with our world's limited fuel resource has led to their demise. It's all still out there with there gas guzzuling suv's and big gas hogging trucks. It will take years for them to get into a fuel friendly line of cars and trucks. They are already beat by toyota and honda for years in advance. A bailout will do them no good, there going down and have lost total american support! Not to mention the unions have broke ther back with auto workers wages, it's absurd what a machine operator makes.

    December 10, 2008 at 2:41 pm |
  29. Stacy from Fairfax, VA

    That has to be stupidest name ever. There is no way someone called a "Car Czar" could possibly fix the mess we call the Auto Industry.
    I can hear the CEOs in Detroit snicker, "Hey, we really need to get our house in order, 'cuz the "Car Czar" is coming to town!"

    December 10, 2008 at 2:42 pm |
  30. Carolyn in Houston

    If our tax dollars are bailing out banks and car countries I strongly believe strict oversight should be mandatory. I don't want to see my hard earned tax dollars get squandered on some hair brained and useless projects, or end up in some CEO's back pocket or somehow mysteriously "lost."

    December 10, 2008 at 2:44 pm |
  31. John in Rohnert Park

    Sure a Car Czar is a great idea and I've got the perfect guy for the job! The current (and soon to be available) Governor of Illinois. He knows how to sell stuff !!!

    December 10, 2008 at 2:45 pm |
  32. Richard, Syracuse, NY

    the answer to Detroit's problem is us. Detroit made smaller cars, and we demanded SUV's. They made better gas mileage and we wanted bigger engines with bigger power to go faster. While Detroit is partially responsible for the mess, we are more at fault because we just wanted Bigger, Powerful Cars instead of using our heads.

    December 10, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  33. Len of Colfax

    Jack, I am not sure that it is! If the government is going to help, there needs to be oversight, but I am not sure the “Car Czar” can truly help with some of the larger issues. The auto industry, like many other components of our society, has been driven by corporate as well as individual greed, status and “living for the moment”. The auto industry is the “base” but also a component of heavy industry which probably suffers from similar problems. This whole national component needs to develop an overall vision that involves some sort of balance between cooperation for the good of the entire country and corporate competition that is somewhat the basis of capitalism. I am not sure a “Car Czar” can do that. This is especially true when this country has so little faith in the person, Pres. Bush, who is probably going to
    appoint that individual.

    December 10, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  34. Gary Kime

    You can appoint all the csars you want but it still won't change this countries trade policies that ship good paying jobs out of this country and allow other countries to protect and subsidise their manufactuing,etc.

    December 10, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  35. Kay in WV

    No. It is simply another example of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid trying to avoid the responsibility of making decisions and actually providing oversight by congress as they are constitutionally required to do. Both Pelosi & Reid need to step down, the sooner the better.

    December 10, 2008 at 2:52 pm |
  36. David Lawver

    No, it will simply add a layer of bureaucracy. The real problem is with our Congress. They havte failed to represent the interests of American citizens for many years. They had their chance to impose higher fuel mileage standards with a realistic timeline and failed to do so. They are grandstanding on this issue to divert the attention of the public away from the real theft, which is the bailout of the banking industry. Congress is made up of many with law degrees. How is it that they would make a deal involving hundreds of billions of dollars without getting an ironclad contract spelling out how the money can be used. This car deal is small potatoes compared to the banking bailout. What a cheap trick to try to blame the auto workers for all of our problems. It's a farce. I would love to see the Senators and Congressmen taken to the woodshed like they have done to the CEOs.

    December 10, 2008 at 2:53 pm |
  37. Marsh

    Car Czar! Sounds like a another congressional joke!

    December 10, 2008 at 2:54 pm |
  38. Judy, Exeter, Calif,

    It depends on what his job description will be. I think it will help with the right guy. The problems are complex and will require a great deal of scrutiny. Will he have enough power over these knuckle-heads to bring the hammer down when necessary? Arnold Schwarzenegger would be my choice. He is a very shrewd businessman with the gumption needed for a position like this.

    December 10, 2008 at 2:55 pm |
  39. Dave from Veazie, ME

    That would depend on who the car czar is. If an outsider with fresh ideas and amazing leadership abilities is put in place to actually make the American car companies develop something innovative instead just figuring out how to cram a 3rd, 4th or 5th DVD player into their newest jumbo sized SUV that gets 2 miles to the gallon, then I think a car czar could help a lot. On the other hand, if chosen poorly I think the American tax payers will just see another $15 billion going down the drain.

    December 10, 2008 at 2:55 pm |
  40. Diane, Barneveld, NY

    Congress can't even run the govenment without going broke for years on end so how can they even suggest anything to the auto industry about what they need to do to run their business?

    December 10, 2008 at 2:55 pm |
  41. carl from nv

    where is Lee Iacocca ? he's 84 yrs now lives in L A....wish he could help..pls ck his web site ...

    December 10, 2008 at 2:56 pm |
  42. CJ in Atlanta, GA

    Jack, I am curious who is qualified to be the Car Czar. It will take both creativity and economic skill to get the big 3 back on track. These are skills that the big 3 management needs and lacks.

    December 10, 2008 at 2:56 pm |
  43. Terry in Hanover County

    It depends upon who appoints this Car Czar - Bush or Obama? If it's Obama, maybe it will work. If it's Bush - hell no because guaranteed it'll be another one of his bonehead rich friends making a mess of a quagmire that's speeding towards a black hole in outer space.

    December 10, 2008 at 2:57 pm |
  44. Ana

    Jack, Car Czar or no Car Czar, it will not make a difference for the Big 3. We the consumers are not buying their cars today; we're not going to buy their cars tomorrow. No one can afford this expense for the moment. We need reliable, fuel efficient, eco friendly and economical vehicles. I will continue to buy a Japanese car any day, which will last me 10 years vs. an American car that will last me 5 years. Toyota and Honda vehicles sell themselves. The day I see Toyota or Honda asking for Government assistance, I’ll buy a tricycle!

    Ana Massachusetts

    December 10, 2008 at 2:57 pm |
  45. Pat

    heard on the morning local news, that Portland Oregon has a few city owned Ford trucks that run on biofuel. But none are working right now, and Ford isn't honoring their warranties, and they are too expensive to fix. Aren't these guys the ones begging for money, yet they do not honor their hybrids? They will change, yeah, right !!!

    December 10, 2008 at 2:58 pm |
  46. Bryan from Colorado Springs, CO


    Thats all we need for the big three is another manager to oversee the other managers that can't do there job. And if that don't work maybe we can appoint another czar to oversee the czar that can't do his job.
    And if that doesn't work well you get my point.

    December 10, 2008 at 3:01 pm |
  47. bob, oshawa, ontario

    Jack, no because if the auto industry had a car czar, then why not the large financial institutions that currently received government bailouts without any guarantees that they would act any more prudent than they have in the past? It would then be a matter of time before government or the state took over control of the key elements in the free market system or the commanding heights, a term coined, I believe, by Lenin. Granting money to the beleaguered auto industry has already set a precedent that many smaller businesses in some form of financial trouble have seen as a green light to also ask the government for money. Where does it stop? It would be ironic that the U.S. were to become the new symbol of a socialist state.

    December 10, 2008 at 3:01 pm |
  48. barbara in Tacoma

    Let me get this straight, Bush and fellow republicans want a car -czar, but the banking industry had no over sight, in fact one of them wshen out and bought a bank in China and nobody said a thing. The republicans fighting this bill are the ones that got us to this point. One Senator named Vittner said they got it ass backwards, I guess he wouldknow about that.

    December 10, 2008 at 3:03 pm |
  49. mitchell

    no. it's the same as the housing bubble. they build too many, they pay too much to build them, then they charge too much for anyone to buy them.

    December 10, 2008 at 3:04 pm |
  50. Bruce in OR

    Until credit opens up so that buyers will come out and buy new vehicles, you could have the "tooth fairy" in place and it wouldn't make any difference. The banks freeing up TARP funds would be a nice start. Buyers could finance, dealers could floor inventory.

    Selling enough cars to keep the plants in production would ease all the cash flow problems of the industry. When the money stopped, there were way too many plants slowly grinding to a halt. Cash flow people, it's all about cash flow.

    December 10, 2008 at 3:06 pm |
  51. NANCY , Grand Ledge MI

    The government is rarely the answer to a problem! More often, they are the cause of the problem. If our country provided health care like other civilized countries do, then our carmakers would be a lot more competetive! Acar czar sounds like too much power given to one person. It sounds too much like the policies of the last eight years, and look where they have gotten us!

    December 10, 2008 at 3:06 pm |
  52. Frank from Peterborough

    The answer to the problem is simple the unions should be organizing the non union automakers paying poverty wages not bring down the middle class incomes.

    If you had a Car Csar from the Republicans all they would want to do is destroy the union as that is their answer to everything.

    Until government gets it through their heads you need a strong middle class that can purchase other goods and services then the economy will never get better. If no one is buying then a lot of other business's are going to go under.

    December 10, 2008 at 3:09 pm |
  53. John

    Jack: Someone needs to oversee how the American Auto Industry spends the money they recieve from the federal government. We are loaning this money an a repay plan with interest should be part of the deal. These loans should be made very public and congress and the new president should keep thier feet to the fire. Car Czar might not be a bad idea.


    December 10, 2008 at 3:09 pm |
  54. JIM

    A car Czar will make it worse. There are no politicians that know anything about the automobile business. A Car Czar will only ruin the big 3. The Czar will try to force the auto companies to make hybrids that the public won't buy. Even sales of the Toyota Prius have dropped by 34%. The car companies have to give the car buyers what they want.. Not what Nancy Pelosi wants to dictate what they drive!!!!!!

    December 10, 2008 at 3:11 pm |
  55. Willow, Iowa

    Jack, a car czar might be the answer to our problems in Detroit, OR it could just be a car czar would be another inflated bonus ridden salary we have to pay. If he does nothing but sit behind his desk, and draw his pay, we don't want him. If all he is is a rubber stamp, give the rubber stamp to a bondsman and let him stamp away. We need someone with control and good ideas for the auto industry.

    December 10, 2008 at 3:13 pm |
  56. Robert Ohio

    The bottom line is that there are not too many people that can pay 25,000 dollars for a car or truck let alone 55,000 dollars for a big suv.
    The only way to fix the problems the big three have is for them to make cheaper fuel efficient vehicles. People are losing their jobs all over the place, and if you don't have money coming in then you can't buy a car right? So sure why not add another government position pay the person six figures to watch the collapse of the auto industry, and while the hard working american manufacturer watches his job go byby or his retirement and healthcare go byby, this car czar can live it up and maybe grab a million bucks for himself. Why not? Hard working people are use to having very little, while giving what they do have to the government. Makes perfect sense, it is the way it has been for a long time..

    December 10, 2008 at 3:13 pm |
  57. Bruce, Georgia

    I don't trust anything that involves the Bush Adminstration - So I'll say it again– impeach Bush and Cheney immediately.

    Pass a constitutional admendment if necessary and get Obama on the job as soon as possible - we do have a crisis don't we and maybe it's our turn to ask for some support from the other side like they asked us for to unite for the Iraqi War.

    December 10, 2008 at 3:15 pm |
  58. David,San Bernardino,CA.

    The obvious answer is to get rid of the "car guys" and let the UAW run the car companies. They can't do any worse.

    December 10, 2008 at 3:15 pm |
  59. Ted O. (Canada)

    No, I think it should be a "Car Czarina", The 3 stooges that now run the big three have created this mess, & it might take a woman to clean it up!

    December 10, 2008 at 3:15 pm |
  60. Fletcher Long Beach CA

    The only two things that will help Detroit at this point is to finally find out WHO the American public really is and WHAT it is that they really want from their car. The big 3 are so big that they cant even see that the majority of American buyers don't want what they are selling. That is why Honda and Toyota have been cleaning up in repeat customers. I heard in a college class that Toyota's business model was two words "Beat GM", well here it is.

    December 10, 2008 at 3:17 pm |
  61. Howard M. Bolingbrook IL

    Having a car czar may help, but concessions from the unions (especially legacies) and a changes in upper management, GM in particular is more important.

    December 10, 2008 at 3:50 pm |
  62. Lloyd

    Government needs to finance our future, we're in the 21st century. Cut the bloated Big 3 dinosaurs loose to fend for themselves! It's not like congress would loan all the low income citizens money to buy new alternative fuel vehicles.

    December 10, 2008 at 3:51 pm |
  63. Mike, Syracuse NY

    You mean just like the drug czar ended drug use, and the energy czar solved our energy problems? Is that the kind of czar you had in mind?

    December 10, 2008 at 3:53 pm |
  64. John from collinsville, Illinois

    We have George W. Bush he's good at selling our country on a stupid war!

    December 10, 2008 at 3:55 pm |
  65. jyll from TEXAS

    I don't think the government should be bailing out these guys in the frist place...it should be the profitable oil companys...not us the taxpayers.

    December 10, 2008 at 3:56 pm |
  66. Bella, Janesville WI

    Sure, let's hire more people for this sinking ship! And hey; the next time I can't pay bills on time, I want the goverment to hire someone to step in and do it for me. Have we lost our minds, Jack?

    December 10, 2008 at 3:57 pm |
  67. Kevin Lunenburg MA.

    How's that drug czar working out?

    December 10, 2008 at 3:58 pm |
  68. L. Mccullough

    CAR CZAR–How stupid. It is just another high paid government official for taxpayers to support. It falls into the catagory of HOMELAND SECURITY CZAR–he who hasn't accomplished a thing in 8 years.

    December 10, 2008 at 3:59 pm |
  69. Jerry Alpharetta, GA

    If any group needs a Czar to keep it on track it is Congress. They give away $700 billion with very little thought about control or direction. Now they are fighting the so called "Big Three" and are urging major shake ups in organizational structures and creating a very laughable governmental oversight by loaning less than the amount of pork contained in the $700 billion bail out. Congress keeps demonstrating how much they deserve their historically low approval ratings.

    December 10, 2008 at 4:00 pm |
  70. jeff

    Simple Jack i havent been able to buy a new car since 1981. There are plenty of used out there. But i need a job to buy one.

    December 10, 2008 at 4:00 pm |
  71. Michael watching from Canada


    I worked as an engineer in the auto industry for almost ten years. The automakers are completely adverse to a commitment to long term research and development of new technology. Their late introduction of hybrids to the market exemplifies their reluctance to develop alternative fuel vehicles. Only when this mindset, this lack of LONG TERM commitment to developing new technology has changed will there be the answer to Detroit's problems.

    December 10, 2008 at 4:04 pm |
  72. Roland

    It's not the fear of bankruptcy that scares consumers away from buying American cars anymore. It's the fact that they are just plain poorly-made crappy junk that does not last. Congress could bail out the American auto makers and tell me they are giving me a free American car for the next 5 years, all I have to do is pay the maintenance and I would not take them up on it.

    St. George, UT

    December 10, 2008 at 4:04 pm |
  73. Bill from Michigan

    What about a governing Czar? Our government is the one that deregulated the banking industry and took away the oversight that caused this meltdown. It is the government that is responsible for a tax system, healthcare system, retirement system, and reckless trade laws that has put not only the auto industry at a huge disadvantage, but all American manufacturers. At least Rick Wagoner was man enough to admit mistakes. Our Congress and Senate should do the same and and give up their perks and work for 1 dollar a year until a Czar sees that our government is properly managed and all taxpayer money is paid back.

    December 10, 2008 at 4:05 pm |
  74. Jay in Atlanta

    The only thing Car Czar has going for it is that it rhymes. This is about money, unions, energy, bad management and international competition...not about cars. With fuel swinging from two to five bucks and back, Americans want something useful they can count on. If Detroit made a plug-in electric, they'd recover quickly without begging for taxpayer loans. They had thirty years to come up with something and failed. This is Chrysler's second time asking for public assistance, and this time it's owned by money men, not by car people. What's a Car Czar going to do? Tell us what we already know?

    December 10, 2008 at 4:05 pm |
  75. Steve, Rotterdam New York

    No, and neither is the money. These are global companies who can't compete globally. If they fail, take the 14 billion and re-train the workers to upgrade our schools, build new bridges and pave new roads. We cannot and must not pass this debt on to our grandchildren.

    December 10, 2008 at 4:06 pm |
  76. David

    H no! Every time I hear ZAR I say when have any ZAR worked? Remember Drug ZAR how did that work.

    December 10, 2008 at 4:06 pm |
  77. Tony in Michigan

    No, lets call this what it really is- the GOP declaring war on the UAW. The Republicans dislike of labor unions is no secret and now they see the chance to really hit them hard. If all of this oversight is such a great idea why didn't we have lots of it included with the $700B banking deal? Why is $14B so much more important than $700B? All of this delaying and finger pointing is equally as true for the bankers' bailout but they got their money without half the resistance or restrictions. The Republicans should be ashamed because while they grand stand against the UAW and Detroit it's the middle class workers and their families who will pay the price.

    December 10, 2008 at 4:07 pm |
  78. gerry

    So where's the bail out czar? After providing AIG with 140 billion, it's now learned they still owe an additional 12 billion to Wall Street firms to cover credit swaps-something supposedly not covered by bailout money and which could put AIG into bankruptcy.

    December 10, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  79. Deb in Lancaster, PA

    Until the bailout loan is paid off, a car czar is absolutely necessary to protect the taxpayers' interest in this mess. Detroit needs someone to guide them...they certainly haven't shown any astute business acumen in the past 30 years, given that they have repeatedly ignored the public's needs and failed to see the handwriting on the ecological wall. Instead of the leaders they could have been, Detroit CEOs buried their heads in the sand.I want the American auto industry to survive, and this may just be the best hope. Incidentally, I also want the American steel industry to resurrect itself. As long as we can't build a tank without buying the steel from a foreign nation, we'll never be secure.

    December 10, 2008 at 4:35 pm |
  80. jerry


    the goverment is worried about throwing money away for the auto makers ????? how about the money that senator stevens will get for retirement. wasnt he convicted here just lately / why should he get his retirement money if he is a felon??

    December 10, 2008 at 4:41 pm |
  81. Denis Duffy

    Absolutely not! We do not need another Bush"loser" attempting to "save" anything.

    Pittsburgh, Pa.

    December 10, 2008 at 4:43 pm |
  82. Bill Summerfield Fl

    The answer to the car problem is simple-produce cars efficiently that get 45mpg and that the people can afford to buy. Management and workers must totally revamp the way they do business to make this possible. Cut salaries, wages and bonuses-what ever it takes to get competive. It's about the law of supply and demand, period!

    December 10, 2008 at 4:46 pm |
  83. Rodney WI

    How about a bailout czar? I still dont understand why the car companies have to beg for help, bet all of Bush and Paulsons banking buddies get bend over backwards, after hours service for there money. Probabaly dont even have to fill out the page after page after page of papework the rest of us do. I would hate to inconvienance those busy bankers. Not while there boats, planes and mistresses await.

    December 10, 2008 at 5:12 pm |
  84. Paul H from Los Angeles, CA

    A car czar? Har har! This idea is certainly not up to par, by far.

    December 10, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  85. Rick in PA

    Jack. Sure it will. Czars are pwerful...right? The drug Czar sure fixed our drup problems so why wouldn't this work?

    December 10, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  86. Zbig .

    If drug dealers have their czar, why car dealers can't have it?

    December 10, 2008 at 5:24 pm |
  87. David Baxter

    A quick and less expensive solution to the auto industry situation. Since the auto industry feels bankruptcy could drive auto buyers away, why not do the following. Have GM and Ford file for bankruptcy and immediately have Ford purchase what is left of GM (with government assistance and guarantees). This would probably be at 10cents on the dollar. Ford has proven they can build cars so have them continue to build the cars of both and the bankruptcy would eliminate the debt and commitments GM and Ford have. With the support of the government dollars, people would be confident enough to purchase.


    December 10, 2008 at 5:24 pm |
  88. Joe


    A government car Czar is not the solution to an ailing manufacturing industry anymore than Ivan the Terrible, was when he beheaded thousands of Russians.
    What worries me is why the Republicans are setting such stringent standards for the auto industry when they handed out our $700 Billion to the insurance and finance companies like it was the blood running from decapitated heads. It seems to me that the Republicans are either representing foreign car competition, because they have foreign owned plants in their states, or they are attempting to undermine the economy and Obama administration for their own political agenda.

    December 10, 2008 at 5:24 pm |
  89. Royal Fool in Washington DC

    Of course a "Car Czar" is the answer to Detroit's problems Jack. It's the governments magic solution to many things. Just toss a label on someone and voila, problem solve.

    Now if the government had instead called this person the "Car Emperor", there would no doubt be many people calling out the government that the "Car Emperor has no clothes." Can't have that. Plus the government shows how smart they are, Car Czar actually rhymes.

    December 10, 2008 at 5:25 pm |
  90. Karl from SF, CA

    Yes, but only if it’s someone with the knowledge and foresight to properly rebuild the industry in Detroit like Lee Iacocca did Chrysler. We, since it's our tax dollars, need a balanced program that will make it work for the company and its employees, suppliers and customers.

    December 10, 2008 at 5:27 pm |
  91. Don Baltimore

    Car czar would only add another level of incompetence. Governments solution, when confronted with a problem , is to hire more managers. Private companies usually fire workers and increase managers' bonuses. Any solutions from our Congress is suspect.

    December 10, 2008 at 5:28 pm |
  92. g isenhower

    if the airlines didn't get any federal bailout, why should the auto industry? they cut costs, merged or failed and we are still flying where we need go.

    they should file chap 11 like any other business that has been run into the ground and all those greedy SOB's at the top that have gotten theirs first, get nothing!!!

    December 10, 2008 at 5:29 pm |
  93. Mike, Massachusetts

    The government currently believes in very minimal control so the car czar idea is a surprise. Especially after, banks got $700 billion dollars with very little control. And i don't think a car Czar will solve problems in Detroit especially with only $15 billion to do it with and they obviously need more. The best idea i've heard is auto industry nationalization because there you get full control and the auto industry which is so imperative to the economy. Besides that the plan would also prepare them for a "planned" bankruptcy but I don't believe that would help anything since especially since it still wouldn't guarantee the job security of people in the midwest and the protection of the unions which is just as important to many middle class families.

    December 10, 2008 at 5:29 pm |
  94. Joe

    A government car Czar is not the solution to an ailing manufacturing industry anymore than Ivan the Terrible, was when he beheaded thousands of Russians.
    What worries me is why the Republicans are setting such stringent standards for the auto industry when they handed out our $700 Billion to the insurance and finance companies like it was the blood running from decapitated heads. It seems to me that the Republicans are either representing foreign car competition, because they have foreign owned plants in their states, or they are attempting to undermine the economy and Obama administration for their own political agenda.
    Joe- Binghamton, NY

    December 10, 2008 at 5:29 pm |
  95. Harmony

    I don't think it's needed, especially being appointed by President Bush. How much power will the Czar have? How long will he be in his position? Will he leave after the credit markets are opened, and people can get credit for vehicles, the real culprit for this mess. But, please make sure if there is a Czar, he's not from the South, where the death of the union would be celebrated.

    December 10, 2008 at 5:30 pm |
  96. K.C. van Teijn

    I've yet to read the comments of your readers, but I cannot help to think that this mess the auto industry got themselves into is a reflection that maybe supply-side economics doesn't work. The auto industry built cars that made them money, not what the consumers wanted or needed, (which is demand-side economics). Capitalism allows people to profit, but is it O.K. for companies like Chevron to withhold the design of the 100 miles per gallon carburator not only from the auto industry but also from the public? If you're after profits, then you should be prepared to get burned. Don't go crying to "Big Brother" when you get hurt.

    December 10, 2008 at 5:30 pm |
  97. Bob

    Who knows what the answer is. I used to think American autos had a lot of problems until I owned a Volkswagon and Volvo. Volvo problems were off the charts. Maybe that's why there are Volvo Only repair shops.

    American cars seem well designed and constructed but are not fuel efficient – BAD PLANNING prob number 1 (by the way engineers – a 5 mpg increase is not a major improvement!)
    Has the US Government EVER fought to get a level playing field for the American auto industry when competing against foreign autos (both at home and abroad)? – prob number 2.
    Can the American autos be price competitive with unions providing the workforce – (Are unions still needed with all the workplace laws on the books?)? – prob number 3.

    Please solve these problems – I like the new Jeeps and Chevy Tahoe.

    Bob (Houston)

    December 10, 2008 at 5:31 pm |
  98. Lynn Brooks, Sioux Falls, SD

    What scares me is that this "Loan/Bailout" may all come to nothing because it will not pass in the Senate. Then...we will have another PANIC situation like we had with the banks and Wall Street...AND THEN the BIG 3 will yell and scream and Congress wil jump through their hoops and gift them all of our money...like Congress did with the banks!!!

    I don't want to see all the people associated with the auto industry lose their jobs (except the execs who ran the companies into the ground!), but I'm not sure this "Car Czar" is the right way to go either!

    Where is Lee Iaocca when we need him???

    December 10, 2008 at 5:31 pm |
  99. Ann from Atlanta, TX

    They don't need a "car czar". I can tell them what the main problem is. It is the COE's salary and bonus.

    December 10, 2008 at 5:32 pm |
  100. Charles Providence RI

    Car czar – car whore
    who needs one?
    Why don:t the Oil Companies loan the money to the Big 3. Without cars, demand for gas and oil products would be much lower. The Oil Companies mad record profits in the last few quaters,18+ billion for one of them in the last quater ( not the last year, the last quater). A loan is a loan to be repaid, With out cars, oil would be lsse of a force in the world economey.
    We wodbe better with a "Oily Car Czar"

    Mr Smith, Oily Car Czar
    Have Big 3, will grease palms.

    December 10, 2008 at 5:33 pm |