The intrepid Detroit News has tracked down the automobile registrations of the eight members of the Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry appointed last week to save the American automobile industry. The paper also checked out the auto info of the ten White House staffers assigned to help them in their tasks. And it turns out that sixteen of the eighteen are part of the problem rather than part of the solution. (And the two only get a pass because they don’t own cars.)
Starting at the top, with the two co-chairs, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, whose grandfather was a vice president of the Ford Motor Company, owns a 2008 Acura TSX. And National Economic Council (and former Treasury Secretary) Lawrence Summers owns a 1995 Mazda Protege.
Here’s what other task force policy aides drive:
• 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 Mini 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.