The Kid Who Dismantled GM


So imagine for a minute that you nail your first government job. 

An intern, maybe? A page at the House of Representatives? Nope, how about head of President Obama’s Auto Task Force, where your first assignment is figuring out how to dismantle General Motors?

Brian Deese is a 31-year-old law student at Yale who, from November 4 until February, was the only full-time member of the auto task force. Let me repeat: Thirty-one years old. Plus, he had never even set foot in an automotive manufacturing plant until he was given the role of redefining the American automotive industry.

I’m a big fan of Mr. Obama and trust that he’s looking out for the best interests of my country, but holy smokes, sir, a 31-year-old? I’m 32 and have a darned good feel for the auto industry (some readers may disagree), but would never trust myself as the guy to remake the auto industry. 

I may have some brilliant ideas here and there (again, some readers may disagree), but there’s a certain level of knowledge that a 31-year-old just can’t have without a few more years of experience. Wouldn’t you think Mr. Obama would have given a little more thought to the guy he put in charge of the auto task force? 

Granted, in the months since February, a far more experienced team has made most of the decisions, but Mr. Deese is still the guy filtering a lot of those choices, which led to yesterday’s bankruptcy filing.

Maybe Obama made the right choice and found an exceptionally talented young guy who learned the ropes quickly and made the best choices possible. Or maybe it was a blunder quickly rectified by inserting a more mature team around Deese.

Or maybe I’m just jealous that a kid a year younger than me is Obama’s automotive sidekick. Oh well, I guess I get to sit here and criticize everyone else while throwing out my ideas without the pressure of actually having to do anything. I guess that’s pretty good.

What do you think: Should Mr. Deese’s age have been a factor in getting appointed to his position?


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