While the Democrats, progressives (do I repeat myself?), and various #NeverTrump types rend garments over each rumor about the new administration, it’s fun to dig into the weeds and see what’s most promising for the less hysterical among us.
If you’re weary of eight years of capitulation to Big Labor and its role as a perpetual organizer of civil unrest, then there is room for guarded optimism, as you looked towards a Trump presidency.
The first ray of sunshine, although it’s still purely speculative, is the possibility that CKE Restaurants CEO Andrew Puzder might head up the Labor Department.
President-elect Donald Trump is reportedly considering fast-food CEO Andrew Puzder for Labor Secretary.
Citing a transition officer who was not allowed to speak publicly about the process, The New York Times reported that the CEO of CKE Restaurants, a supporter of Trump’s campaign, is “gaining steam as a candidate to become the secretary of labor.”
CKE Restaurants is the parent company of burger chains Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s.
Puzder has been an outspoken critic of President Obama’s controversial rule expanding overtime pay, claiming it will force employers to offset costs by making cuts elsewhere.
The rule, which mandates overtime pay to most salaried workers who earn less than $47,476 annually, is temporarily on hold by Texas court order while businesses and a group of 21 state attorneys challenge the dramatic increase in court.
The salary cut-off for overtime pay now stands at $23,660.
In an op-ed that ran in Forbes in May, Puzder said the rule adds to the “extensive regulatory maze the Obama Administration has imposed on employers.”
“One can only wonder when the advocates of progressive economics will realize that, despite their best efforts, you cannot regulate your way to economic prosperity,” he wrote.
Two terms’ worth of interference in business by a president who doesn’t understand the real working world yet piles on regulations with a casual disregard for reality have wrought havoc. Ask anyone in the coal industry.
The overtime pay mandate is the companion piece to the ongoing fight for a higher federally mandated minimum wage, both of which work primarily to keep people in jobs where they’re underpaid. Both mandates do long-term damage to employees and employers, but, what the heck, they sound helpful when a frothing progressive shouts about them at an Occupy rally or Democratic primary debate.
It will be difficult to roll back all of the regulatory horror the Obama era unleashed, but it will be important for the Trump administration to be diligent about at least attempting to do so from day one.
Far more promising because it doesn’t involve speculation are the opinions of the incoming chair of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, who openly questions whether Big Labor has outlived its usefulness:
The incoming chair of the congressional panel that oversees labor issues on Monday questioned the need for unions and said she wants to repeal various Obama administration labor policies.
Organized labor has “sort of lost its reason for being” because of the many laws in place to protect workers, said Representative Virginia Foxx, a 73-year-old Republican from North Carolina who will become chair of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce in January, in a telephone interview with Reuters.
Labor unions have already been wary about how they will fare under the incoming administration of President-elect Donald Trump, with Republicans poised to control the presidency and both chambers of Congress.
AFL-CIO spokesman Eric Hauser pushed back against Foxx’s comments, saying that a thriving labor movement and strong union presence has never been more important in light of the economic tumult in the United States.
This is a conversation many of us have been having for years. To hear leftists tell the story we’re only days away of being awash in child labor sweat shops, if unions aren’t powerful. Every scare tactic Democrats use to keep their voters in line is rooted in a story about the Republicans rolling things back to some point between the late 19th century and 1963.
Private labor unions have been shrinking for years, and public sector unions only stay strong because they’re the primary business in huge non-right-to-work states like California. Labor does well when people don’t have any choice about whether to be in the union.
I’m not advocating for a full-scale assault on labor unions, but it would be nice to have policy crafted that isn’t dictated by their whims. It will be refreshing to have people in place who treat unions as merely other players in the game rather than giving them revered status based on a function they had a century ago.