During his meeting with President Bush on Monday, President-elect Barack Obama reportedly raised the idea of appointing an "auto czar" to oversee emergency federal aid to automakers, exact tough corporate reforms and ensure taxpayers earn a return on any investment in the auto industry, the Detroit News reports.
No word yet on who the auto czar would be. But apparently, Obama has three auto advisers: Economic Adviser Jason Furman, Georgetown University Law Professor Dan Tarullo and former Clinton Treasury Official Joshua Steiner. Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm and former Michigan Congressman David Bonior also are reportedly advising Obama on the auto industry.
So what would an auto czar do? An auto czar would be a point person for federal agencies that deal with automakers, such as the Treasury, the Labor and Transportation departments, and the Environmental Protection Agency, said David Cole, chairman of the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor. A czar could also represent taxpayers and explain how the government could reap a profit on any federal loans.