Andy Puzder could be President-elect Trump’s least controversial cabinet pick – on the right side of the aisle, at least.
Puzder is the CEO of Carl’s Jr., an outspoken critic of Obamacare because of its effect on business and employees, is firmly opposed to any increase in the minimum wage and, as a frequent guest on news shows, able to clearly communicate his positions. He was an economic advisor to both Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign and the Trump campaign.
In an interview with Business Insider, Puzder spoke about the benefits of going fully automated:
“They’re [robots] always polite, they always upsell, they never take a vacation, they never show up late, there’s never a slip-and-fall, or an age, sex, or race discrimination case.”
And about increases in the minimum wage:
“This is the problem with Bernie Sanders, and Hillary Clinton, and progressives who push very hard to raise the minimum wage. Does it really help if Sally makes $3 more an hour if Suzie has no job?”
On the “Fight for 15,” Puzder’s views are crystal clear.
“If your concern is creating entry-level jobs for young Americans, then a $15 minimum wage is something you should be protesting against.
“If your objective is to bolster and support the unions, and you’re not all that concerned about whether young people will have entry-level jobs, then you should be protesting in favor of a $15 minimum wage. I think most people are concerned about young people in this country and fewer people are concerned about Big Labor.”
As Labor Secretary, Puzder would undoubtedly roll back the Obama Administration’s new overtime rule. In a May op-ed at Forbes, he wrote:
“For most businesses it will be just another added regulatory cost they must look to offset. For their employees, it will be another barrier to the middle class rather than a springboard. One can only wonder when the advocates of progressive economics will realize that, despite their best efforts, you cannot regulate your way to economic prosperity.”
Michael Saltsman, in an op-ed at The Hill today, wrote that Trump should nominate someone who understands how to use the bully pulpit to counter the damage done by the current Secretary of Labor:
Perez has preached a false gospel on wage mandates, and it will take an equally aggressive successor who’s willing to speak out and show state and local legislators why he’s wrong. Restaurant CEO Andy Puzder, who’s been mentioned as a leading candidate for Labor secretary, has frequently made the case on television and in print about the real-world harm caused by wage and benefit mandates.
And about those ads featuring bikini babes scarfing down hamburgers, Puzder defends them, saying they were necessary to attract the chains’ target demographic – hungry young men.
“I like our ads. I like beautiful women eating burgers in bikinis. I think it’s very American. I used to hear, brands take on the personality of the CEO. And I rarely thought that was true, but I think this one, in this case, it kind of did take on my personality.”
Oh, and progressives are in a tizzy about his rumored appointment. That should make everyone on the right happy.
A graduate of Washington University School of Law, Puzder practiced law in St. Louis, where he was working when Carl’s Jr. founder Carl Karcher became a client. Puzder eventually became Karcher’s personal attorney, relocated to California, and when CKE (the parent company of Carl’s Jr.) acquired the struggling Hardee’s brand in the late 1990’s, Puzder was given the task of turning the brand around. In 2010 Puzder was named CEO of CKE, the position he holds today.