President-Elect Donald Trump has selected CKE Restaurants (the parent company of Hardees and Carl’s Jr.) CEO Andrew Puzder to head the Labor Department and its 17,450 employees. Puzder, who got his start as a commercial trial lawyer in St. Louis has been the CEO of CKE since September of 2000.
In selecting Puzder, Trump has picked a fierce advocate for good economic sense. Puzder has been a critic of large increases to the minimum wage in the United States. His critique, founded in the economic realities of business, is centered on the fact that increases to the minimum wage disproportionately hurt small business and lead, directly, to job loss among low-skill workers (the exact type of workers that the minimum wage was trying to protect).
Since its passage, Puzder has also been a critic of the Obamacare mandate. Puzder holds to the belief that the mandates in Obamacare have forced small businesses, especially restaurants, into a form of recession. Rising premiums have forced blue collar workers to abandon their normal spending habits (that would include local small businesses and restaurants).
Through his time as CEO at CKE, Puzder has been a strong critic of creeping globalism in the corporate world. Puzder has been one of Trump’s economic advisors over the course of the latter’s campaign. He also was a contributor to Mitt Romney’s economic development plan and has been a commentator for the Wall Street Journal, the National Review, and other major publications.
During his time at CKE, Puzder took the company from serious financial problems to a point where it was purchased for over $1B. The company now generates an estimated $1.4B in annual revenue and is privately traded.
Certainly Mr. Puzder’s appointment is one that will anger the socialist left, but generally will be well-received from business interests and from the majority in Congress. Puzder’s appointment is another sign, as Trump has been demonstrating, that Trump is committed to making good on his economic message from the campaign. Along with Trump’s other appointments, Mr. Puzder is a sign that Trump wants to persuade businesses to keep jobs in the United States. Puzder’s noted opposition to raising the job-killing minimum wage will be a welcome development for business interests (and for workers who want to keep their jobs).
As Mr. Trump noted on the campaign trail, he was going to look outside the DC establishment for CEOs and effective businessmen to come to Washington to make real reforms. Certainly the appointment of Mr. Puzder to be Labor Secretary makes good on the promise.