Andy Kuzder Loves Burgers and Bikinis - He May Have to Love a Good Fight
It is safe to say that every one of Trump’s appointees will have an entrenched bureaucracy looking to delay, disrupt, or deflect any policy goals they may have when they move into their new offices on January 20, 2017. Consider the Department of Labor and its recent appeal of a judgement that overturned their new overtime regulation. Consider that they did so on December 1st, 2016, with slightly more than 6 weeks left in the lame duck session, and with the transition now in full swing.
It's going to be an interesting issue for whoever is the new Secretary of Labor in Trump's administration. Outgoing Labor Secretary Tom Perez has built up a cultish claque of utopian policy-wonks at Labor it seems. Who believe there is only manna from heaven when you raise wages, and no reaping of what you sow. Studies aside that show that raising minimum wages - or overtime pay - does indeed influence business decisions on whether to hire or invest in productivity. One can argue how the benefits and the costs might shake out. But at Perez's Labor, they don't bother with those sorts of debates. Raising wages is all benefit and no cost, in their worldview.
But a debate on wages, specifically the minimum wage and overtime pay, is set to be part of the new legislative agenda of Trump's incoming administration. If it is indeed restaurant industry executive and burger-and-bikini booster - and proudly so - Andy Puzder as Labor Secretary, he has made his views on minimum wages, overtime, and employment rather clear. One wonders how the Perezites at Labor will react to a Puzder Labor Department. Pro-union groups will certainly commission hit pieces on Puzder and do their best to discredit him before he even begins to start his job.
But Michael Saltsman, writing in The Hill, makes a very interesting point. What Labor now needs is someone as aggressive as Tom Perez has been - especially in using his cabinet post to browbeat state and local governments - in order to tell the story from the other side: how to create jobs by not imposing costly wage regulations or mandates. And Andy Pudzer may be a good choice in that regard, because he has been rather unshy about expressing precisely the pro-growth point of view on wages and employment in the media. Should he be Trump's pick for Labor Secretary, he will have to continue to be quite unshy. Especially when unions and progressives send in the heavy hit artillery and try to pound his agenda to rubble.