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Is Ed Montgomery the new car czar?

There doesn't seem to be anything in his resume or job title that would indicate Edward Montgomery, President Obama's new director of recovery for auto communities and workers, will be dictating corporate policy for General Motors or other car companies. He's a "people" economist, not an industrial technocrat, focusing on workers, community economic development etc. From the Web site at the University of Maryland, where he is dean of the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences:

Economist Peter Morici, Montgomery's colleague at Maryland, probably knows a lot more about the car business than he does. But that hasn't stopped people from predicting Montgomery will be calling the shots for GM. From Scott Calvert's story on Montgomery in today's Baltimore Sun:

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Nothing was said about this yesterday. Obama said Montgomery would help "create new manufacturing jobs and new businesses where they're needed most - in your communities. And he will also lead an effort to identify new initiatives we may need to help support your communities going forward."

But everything is fluid in the administration's mighty morphin' bailout/stimulus plan. Not much more than a year ago Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson was saying no taxpayer money would be used to ameliorate the mortgage crisis. Now we're at -- what? -- trillions and counting. Montgomery may yet be the car czar.

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