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Wanted: Experienced, Free-Market Secretary of Labor

BY HANNAH COX

December 1, 2016 3:07PM

It’s been a long eight years under Obama for those who advocate for free market principles, and for those who don’t-though they may be less aware of where the pinch in their pocketbook stems from. The Obama administration has pushed through a startling amount of regulations during the last eight years, regulations that hurt small businesses and entrepreneurs, stunt career growth, or eliminate jobs all together.

The Democrats may tout the current 4.9% unemployment rate as evidence of their success, but a quick look at the numbers quickly illustrates a different story. Only 62.7% of adult Americans are working, an alarming number not seen since the 1970s when women largely did not work outside the home. Of those roughly 92 million not working, at least 2.6 million have given up on finding a job completely. On top of that, wage growth is stagnant and long-term unemployment is still roughly double the number of normal times.

Whether liberals want to admit the abject failure of their economic policy or not, the American people spoke for them in the 2016 election cycle. Americans ranked the economy as their top concern and nominated a candidate who promised to repeal many of Obama’s harmful regulations and make jobs a priority. A key component to President-elect Trump fulfilling those promises will be his nominee for Labor Secretary.

Recent Tennessee transplant and CKE Restaurants CEO, Andy Puzder, is one name currently being floated for this position. Andy began his career scooping ice cream at Baskin Robbins for minimum wage as a teenager and worked a multitude of odd jobs to put himself through college and law school, all while supporting his family. He took over at CKE, which includes the Hardees and Carl’s Jr. restaurant chains, in 2000, and in the 16 years he has been there he’s turned the company around from one that was on the verge of bankruptcy, to one that has seen revenues increase by 3.6% and an expansion to more than 3,664 restaurants. Clearly, Andy Puzder knows a thing or two about job creation.

Puzder has come under fire recently from liberal publications decrying his potential appointment as one that would surely end the “fight for 15” debacle, cut the corporate tax rate, halt Obama’s overtime expansion order, curtail union power, and cut regulations. Some might not call this criticism.

The fight for 15 consists of a group of economically illiterate workers essentially negotiating themselves out of employment, the reasons for which you can read about here. Someone who both pulled themselves up by their bootstraps from a minimum wage job and who employees thousands of minimum wage workers surely realizes the importance of obtaining one’s first entry-level job and will want to protect the ability to use this as a springboard to a career. A minimum wage increase would obliterate those opportunities for millions of Americans, as would limiting the time an employee is able to work in a salaried position to advance their career.

Curtailing union power would be another obvious, excellent move. Unions have, in large part, led to the mass-exodus of labor in our country by mandating higher than market-demand wages and lobbying for excessive regulations on businesses. Those things coupled with an extraordinarily high-tax rate have naturally incentivized producers to move their operations elsewhere.

Cutting one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world and rolling back these draconian regulations would be an excellent incentive to bring jobs back to our country and would stimulate entrepreneurship and small business creation as well. Instead of worrying about tax havens, let’s be the tax haven.

Too many people assume that those with different economic stances are evil, failing to realize that those stances might stem from successful experience and the desire to extend opportunity to others. The left going after Andy Puzder is a perfect example of this backwards mentality. Let’s hope whoever Trump appoints to this position understands economics, has experience creating jobs, and values the importance of the free market.