He's a member of the President's economic advisory team (h/t mjm1 in the comments of my earlier post on the subject). According to the Peoria Journal-Star:
Caterpillar Inc. Chairman Jim Owens...on Friday was named to a team of economic advisers who will advise President Barack Obama on ways to boost the economy and help the country out of the recession.
Owens was one of 16 business leaders named to the Economic Recovery Advisory Board, which will be headed by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker. Owens and the others were introduced at a ceremony at the White House on Friday, after which Owens was able to speak with the president for a few minutes. It’s unknown what they spoke about.
Or it was unknown, until President Obama bragged to the AP today that Owens allegedly promised to rehire "some" laid off Caterpillar workers if the "stimulus" bill Obama so desperately wants is passed into law -- a claim that made it into every top-of-the-hour news update I heard on the radio all day.
Convenient, isn't it, that a member of Obama's own economic board -- though the AP is not identifying him as such (surprise!) -- is allegedly endorsing his spending plan.
Speaking of that economic board: according to The American Spectator,
The 16-member Economic Recovery Advisory Board, which President Barack Obama announced late last week, was selected almost exclusively by Obama White House advisers, and features only two members that the board's chairman, former Fed chief Paul Volcker, was allowed to pick.
More troubling: one of Obama's personal selections has raised a red flag at the Department of Justice. Robert Wolf is chairman and chief executive of UBS Group Americas, an entity that, according to a DOJ source, is part of an ongoing federal criminal investigation.
There's nothing new under the sun, is there?