So why is the Richardson appointment a promotion? Because he has one of the most important jobs in the Cabinet. Look at what he is expected to achieve (from the Commerce Department's website):
"The historic mission of the Department is "to foster, promote, and develop the foreign and domestic commerce" of the United States. This has evolved, as a result of legislative and administrative additions, to encompass broadly the responsibility to foster, serve, and promote the Nation's economic development and technological advancement. The Department fulfills this mission by:
a. Participating with other Government agencies in the creation of national policy, through the President's Cabinet and its subdivisions.
b. Promoting and assisting international trade.
c. Strengthening the international economic position of the United States.
d. Promoting progressive domestic business policies and growth.
e. Improving comprehension and uses of the physical environment and its oceanic life.
f. Ensuring effective use and growth of the Nation's scientific and technical resources.
g. Acquiring, analyzing, and disseminating information regarding the Nation and the economy to help achieve increased social and economic benefit.
h. Assisting states, communities, and individuals with economic progress."
What's the reality?
- The US has been in a recession for a year and faces the real possibility of depression. The world is in a global slump
- For the ten months of this year, 1.2 million jobs have been lost. An unconfirmed estimated 250,000 additional were lost in November
- Much global hostility towards the US does actually stem from the way other countries were "encouraged" to adopt globalization.
- All the states are in dire need of budgetary support as a result of the economic and financial crisis.
- One of the major industries in the US - the automobile industry - is on the brink of collapse and is seeking budgetary support from the Government
- The Government has significant involvement in the private sector (the banks, for example) and I expect this will increase in the short run out of necessity.
Why is Bill Richardson uniquely suited to this post?
- He is a former congressman - a useful experience to persuade Congress to adopt groundbreaking legislation related to a green economy and green jobs
- He will be a former Governor - a useful experience to bridge the understanding between the States and Federal Government to achieve progress where real cooperation is needed for policies that are efficient and produce results
- He has held portfolio responsibility for Energy - a useful experience to find that required balance for sustainable development; to understand the complexities and nuances that must be overcome with respect to global political and commercial interests to advance and achieve progress on an affordable green agenda.
- He has held responsibility as a UN Ambassador - a useful experience for that much needed diplomacy in trade negotiations which if effective can reduce tensions between the US and the rest of the world, improve the image of the US, and importantly evolve a more sustainable globalization model
- His Latino background provides an innate understanding of some of the more challenging economy related governance aspects in US history (as it relates to immigration reform, for example); and will be - in my opinion - particularly useful in finding a new path for small business development which has historically been the source of job growth in the US
Bill Richardson, in my view, has not been demoted. If he achieves a green agenda, win-win trade reform, and a sustainable growth path with sustainable jobs for a sustainable planet, Bill Richardson will be one of the most important people in this Administration, and the world.