Political Editors / December 9, 2016

Trump Aims for Job Growth With Labor Choice

His latest pick is strong on the economy and regulation.

On Thursday, Donald Trump nominated Andrew Puzder, a fast food executive, for labor secretary. This latest pick has been met with a mixture of praise and grumbling from conservatives and and leftists alike, but for opposite reasons. In 2016, it’s natural for everyone to be unhappy.

First, the hang-up for conservatives is over Puzder’s views on illegal immigration. He’s been a strong advocate for “comprehensive immigration reform” — a nonstarter for most Trump supporters. His statements on immigration have more in common with Barack Obama than Trump, as he views it almost as a moral obligation for America to accept those seeking entry. In a 2013 Politico op-ed, he argued, “We should implement immigration reform not because of politics but because it’s the right thing to do. The current system is unfair and unworkable. It’s hurting legal immigrants who are unable to navigate it, undocumented workers who are lured to the country by the prospect of employment, then must live in the shadows — and honest business people who just want to operate their businesses consistent with the law.” Puzder will have little influence over immigration policy, but this pick nonetheless raises the obvious questions of whether Trump is softening his stance on illegal immigration.

From an economic stand point, however, Puzder is a solid pick, as he boasts an impressive pro-business resumé. He has been a strong critic of federally mandated minimum wage hikes, writing in a 2014 Wall Street Journal op-ed: “The feds can mandate a higher wage, but some jobs don’t produce enough economic value to bear the increase. If government could transform unskilled entry-level positions into middle-income jobs, the Soviet Union would be today’s dominant world economy. Spain and Greece would be thriving.” Puzder is also a strong supporter of deregulation, assailing ObamaCare’s “nanny state regulations.” He may be best described as broadly libertarian in his economic views. That libertarianism explains his penchant for racy burger ads featuring bikini-clad models — commercials most social conservatives find to be completely inappropriate.

Still, we’d say Puzder appears to be a decent pick, and his expertise will be welcome after eight years of Obamanomics yielding little but stagnation.

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