Appoint Chesley B. Sullenberger III as US Economic Czar

J Philip Faranda January 16, 2009

Chesley Sullenberger is the pilot who saved all aboard yesterday’s Flight 1549, which you have no doubt seen and read about by now. The local news calls it the “Miracle on the Hudson” and I agree. The man  faced a freak occurrence, made a life or death decision, warned the people, exercised heroic skill, and then walked the sinking plane TWICE to make sure all were out.

And everyone was saved. This man is a hero.

Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, Hero

It is also worth noting that once he did his job, hundreds of others were able to do theirs well also. The NY Times called the rescue effort “an ad hoc flotilla of boats.” I get chills. So I extend my gratitude to NY Waterways, the Coast Guard, the NYPD, FDNY and the rest. But this is about Sully, who made the event possible. Without his clear thinking, excellent decision making, and perfect execution, it would have been just another unfortunate event.

I therefore am calling on President-Elect Obama to appoint Chesley Sullenberger to a new position of US Economy Czar, overseeing the Federal Reserve, the SEC, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and to answer directly to the President. Here are my reasons, and they are sound:

  • Mr. Sullenberger knows how to handle a crash better than the clowns we’ve had the past few recessions.
  • Mr Sullenberger told the passengers to brace themselves for a hard landing. How I wish Bush, Greenspan, Dodd and the other politicians would have had the guts to do the same. We would have been more prepared.
  • Mr. Sullenberger knows how to make a decision devoid of political consequences, with simply the best interests of all in mind.
  • He was the last man out of the plane. He made sure nobody was left behind.  That is the antithesis of all the corporate scoundrels who got tens of millions in golden parachute money after they ran their companies into the drink, leaving them to sink.  
  • “Sully” is all about safety. He is the founder of Safety Reliability Methods, Inc.

The USA is a meritocracy. We succeed when we put proven winners in charge and we fail where nepotism occurs. Chesley Sullenberger is clearly underutilized. I would love to see how this guy would handle some jerky loss mitigator who won’t approve a short sale, Bernard Madoff, and the rest of the crew who contribute to the mess. How would things have been different if he were in charge when Katrina occurred or when the sub-prime crisis hit? I say we’d all be better off. Move over Lenn Harley, you were my first choice until yesterday.

Thank you, Captain Sullenberger, for reminding us that there are heroes in our midst.

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