Former CEO of CKE Restaurants Andrew Puzder discusses withdrawing his bid for labor secretary in the Trump administration, and why the $15 minimum wage destroys opportunities for low-skilled workers.
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When the minimum wage goes to $15 an hour “you kill jobs,” says Andrew Puzder—”businesses close, businesses reduce staff and automate, and businesses reduce the hours of the employees they have.”
But “what you can’t measure, which is really what hurts economic growth…is the number of restaurants that don’t open.”
Puzder is best known as the former head of CKE Restaurants, the parent company of fast fast-food chains Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. When he was named CEO in 2000, the company was on the verge of bankruptcy. Puzder focused his attention on improving the customer experience, improving the food quality, simplifying the menu, and emphasizing good service. Ten years later, CKE had quadrupled in value.
Puzder is known for his free-market views on labor issues, and in 2010, he co-authored Job Creation: How It Really Works and Why Government Doesn’t Understand It.
Last year, Donald Trump nominated Puzder as U.S. Secretary of Labor, but his confirmation was broadly contested by progressive groups, and he ultimately withdrew.
Puzder was born in 1950 and grew up in a working-class family in northeastern Ohio. He dropped out of Kent State to do what every Cleveland area Baby Boomer kid dreamed of—playing in a rock and roll band.
Reason’s Nick Gillespie sat down with Puzder at FreedomFest 2017, the annual libertarian conference in Las Vegas.