• Motown Meltdown: President Obama Kills the Car Czar

    Tomorrow's the deadline for General Motors and Chrysler to tell the government how, exactly, they're going to jiggle the whatsit and get their businesses back on the road to solvency.

    We've been awaiting the appointment of a federal "car czar" who'd oversee the restructuring in light of the automakers' $17.4 billion bailout, but now the entire process has hit a speed bump

    The Obama administration will not name a "car czar" to help oversee the auto industry's restructuring and will instead create an inter-agency task force to deal with the issue, according to senior administration officials.

    This task force will be overseen by everyone's favorite Handsome Tax Elf Tim Geithner, with help from his buddy Larry Summers and an investment banker or some other guy who can do math (better than Handsome Tax Elf Geithner). And this is all just terrible, for obvious reasons.

    The hiatus, in which the industry awaited the car czar, slowed progress in restructuring talks between automakers, bondholders and the United Auto Workers union, according to people familiar with the matter. Without someone firmly in charge, the various stakeholders have not felt compelled to come to the bargaining table, these people said.

    And really, what else could compel them to sit down and figure out a restructuring plan? The economic fate of an American city, a massive and massively symbolic domestic industry, thousands of jobs, that $17.4 billion IOU?


    If there's no rhymey government figurehead, there's really no point.

    Tags: Auto Industry, Barack Obama, Detroit, Lawrence Summers, Timothy Geithner


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