Cleveland Native Andy Puzder Has Withdrawn His Nomination for Labor Secretary

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Andy Puzder has withdrawn his nomination for the labor secretary job, amid a flurry of criticism leveled against his stances on, well, labor (and immigration and domestic abuse and wages and all that). At least 12 Republican senators had publicly denounced his nomination.

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Originally published Feb. 6

Here's The Atlantic today, reminding us all Andy Puzder, CEO of an outfit that runs something called "Carl's Jr.," is languishing among the otherwise frenzied and trippy Cabinet appointment hearings in Washington. Puzder was tapped two months ago for the Labor Secretary gig. (See original story below.)

"The fast-food executive, who runs the parent company of Carl’s Jr. and Hardees," Russell Berman writes, "has submitted none of the paperwork required by the Senate committee overseeing his confirmation. As a result, the panel’s Republican chairman, Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, has delayed Puzder’s confirmation hearing four times, and now his testimony has been put off indefinitely."

In a circus, it's hard to single out the most impressive clown. Puzder would do well to follow Betsy DeVos' lead and simply start dribbling nonsense into the nearest microphone.

That said, the Senate has yet to block a nomination set forth by President Donald Trump. It may take a while, but Americans should probably start bracing for subliminal Thickburger® advertising being slipped into their tax returns.

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Originally published Dec. 9, 2016

Andy Puzder, the CEO of Carl's Jr and Hardee's fast food restaurants, has been picked by President-elect Donald Trump to head up the Department of Labor. It's a telling choice, because the Cleveland native has been fairly outspoken on the subject of jobs in America lately.

His statements from a March 2016 interview have been coursing through the news cycle this week, and with good reason: Puzder (if approved by the Senate) could very well transform the employment landscape of the U.S. If times seem tough for the service economy worker right now, then the future looks like a nightmare zone for anyone who's not a machine.

We're talking about automation, which is an inevitable technological advance in all arenas of modern, developed nations. On the subject of automated machines replacing employees at the thousands of locations he oversees, Puzder salivates thusly: “They’re 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."

There is no doubt on his long record in business: Puzder does not support the American worker.

It's unclear if he'd prefer a fembot in place of Kim Kardashian in his commercials, though we doubt it. "I like beautiful women eating burgers in bikinis. I think it's very American," he told Entrepreneur magazine.

(Our sister paper in St. Louis went back to a 1989 cover story, which sussed out accusations of abuse by his first wife — accusations which were walked back in a Nov. 30, 2016, letter, right around the time Trump and his transition team were kicking the tires on Puzder's cred.)

One does hope, however, that as our American economy vaults toward the void of an automated service industry, we take the time as a society to chart a course that benefits both consumers and the workforce. Puzder may hold the reins to that conversation and others.

“The point is simple: The feds can mandate a higher wage, but some jobs don’t produce enough economic value to bear the increase,” Puzder has said.

There's already state-sponsored backlash to the notion of hiking minimum wages. The Department of Labor would surely follow suit under Puzder. It'll be a show worth watching next season.

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