In Bloom

By August 23, 2009Economy, Labor Unions, Trade

More reporting, commentary on the possibility that President Obama will name Ron Bloom the White House’s manufacturing czar:

Detroit News, “Bloom to oversee U.S. manufacturing policy,” which reports the appointment as almost a done deal and then elicits a response from the White House.

“Ron Bloom is doing a great job on the auto task force. There are no plans to shut down or repurpose the auto task force and we expect Ron to continue to do a great job,” said Gannet Tseggai, a White House spokeswoman. “We don’t have any other announcement to make at this time.”

The unions are delighted with the prospect, since it would put a former United Steelworkers official in charge of industrial policy, and they’re hoping for industrial policy in the old ’60s, protectionist sense. For example, Tom Conway, a vice president at the Steelworkers:

“He really does get manufacturing and industrial America,” Conway said. “We’re hemorrhaging manufacturing jobs through trade deals out of balance. Ron knows that manufacturing companies need incentives to bring jobs back. People need a legitimate return on their investment but it also doesn’t have to be harsh and exploitative.”

Time magazine detects a hands-off approach from Bloom in his auto-czar role in a brief article, “Ron Bloom Monitors GM — And Eyes The Exit,” quoting him, “I don’t think the government should decide who should make axles and who should make steering wheels. That’s not a proper role.”

James Parks at the AFL-CIO blog comments, “Bloom in Line for Administration Manufacturing Post.”

And from Will Collins at the National Right to Work Foundation’s Freedom@Work blog, “Union Car Czar Poised to Dictate America’s Manufacturing Policy“: “The result of this personnel move seems likely to be more forced unionism, less American competitiveness, more job losses, and ultimately more bankruptcies and taxpayer-funded bailouts of corruptly run union pension plans.”

A thought: Having failed to put enough political muscle behind the Employee Free Choice Act to satisfy Big Labor, the White House offers Mr. Bloom as the consolation prize.

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