Under the Obama administration, the Department of Labor put out numerous regulations and abrupt policy changes that increased the cost of doing business in America and diminished job opportunities for American workers. People are hurting for change. President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for new Labor Secretary could bring that change.
Andrew Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants since the year 2000, has a solid record of business success. CKE Restaurants, which includes Hardee’s and Carle’s Jr. restaurant chains, owns or franchises over 3,250 restaurants nationwide, generates a reported $1.3 billion in annual revenue, and altogether employs more than 70,000 people. In fact, Puzder is widely credited for saving the Carl’s Jr. and Hardees likely bankruptcy.
But because Puzder comes from the business world instead of labor union politics and favors pro-market policies rather than heavy handed government mandates, many Democrats are set to oppose his nomination. Most recently, a number of Democrats are touting a dubious survey put out by Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC), a union front group, of past and current Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. employees. The problem with that is that because the union front group contacted survey participants via social media like Facebook, rather than at random, the people who chose to respond to the poll may be skewed towards the disgruntled or despondent.
As one pollster remarked to The Washington Examiner, "Ideally, what would have been good would be to get a list of people who worked at the restaurants" and then collect responses from a random selection of the workers.
Meanwhile, another organization, the Employment Policies Institute, also surveyed Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. employees – but this time with a more scientific approach. EPI contracted the survey research firm CorCom Inc., which used “data obtained from CKE franchisees representing over 300 stores around the country” to complete 242 telephone interviews with employees between January 6 and January 9 of this year. Employee names were randomized before calling. The result? Over 90 percent of employees agreed that they felt “safe and respected” in their work environment, including 93 percent of female employees. A similar majority, 92 percent, agreed that “Carl's Jr. and Hardee's are great places to work.”
But now it’s time to set aside false political controversies and deal with the problem of overregulation that’s strangling job creators. During the eight years of the Obama administration, the DOL imposed $55.7 billion in total finalized regulatory costs and added nearly 70 million in paperwork burden hours, according to Regulation Rodeo, a project of the American Action Forum.
The crushing weight of the red tape has created visible hardships on workers and business. Under the Obama administration, for the first time in 35 years, there is more American business deaths than business births. With small business as the primary driver of job creation, accounting for 60 percent of net new jobs, the decline in entrepreneurship inevitably makes jobs more scarce.
Many Americans have even given up looking for work. This is seen in the labor participation rate, with about 95 million Americans 16 and over not in the workforce. Most worrisome is the number of prime working age males, 25-54, not in the workplace: 7 million are no longer seeking employment, and another 2 million cannot find work.
We cannot allow that to continue. The U.S. economy and American workers need Washington regulators to allow businesses, entrepreneurs, and workers to have the freedom to pursue opportunities, innovate, and succeed. It’s time to give Andrew Puzder and the American people the chance to make change happen.
Trey Kovacs is a policy analyst specializing in labor policy for the Competitive Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C.
Trey Kovacs is a policy analyst specializing in labor policy for the Competitive Enterprise Institute.