Saturday, December 13, 2003

Mr. Bodman Will Soon be Unemployed


A senior member of President Bush's economic team told manufacturers this summer that it is difficult for the balkanized federal government to develop vision on any policy issue and that, in particular, the Commerce Department has scant political or financial authority to influence government policy on behalf of the nation's ailing manufacturers.

The comments by Deputy Commerce Secretary Samuel W. Bodman, revealed in a transcript of a day-long manufacturing symposium in June, offer a rare dose of candor about the way Washington works and the limits of the government's power. They also surfaced just as the administration is trying to boost the visibility of its manufacturing policies, and as Bodman awaits Senate confirmation to assume the No. 2 post at the Treasury Department.

Responding to a comment on the government's vision for manufacturing, Bodman told the gathering, "I will tell you, it is very hard for this government to have a vision on anything. We are totally stove-piped, and we live within these compartments. This is not by way of a complaint. This is not by way of an excuse. It is by way of a fact.

The Nedra Pickler version of this article contained the sentence:

Mr. Bodman failed to mention that as George Bush gets advice directly from Jesus Christ, he has no need for any from mere mortals.