Monday, February 13, 2017

Fun With Your Clothes On: Meet Andrew Puzder, Anti-Labor Secretary In Waiting

<The Daily Beast:>
 <"I Want You...To Wear Scanty Outfits And
Help Me Make More In A Day Than You Make In A Year">

Andrew Puzder, Donald Trump's Labor Secretary nominee, epitomizes that old line: "If he didn't exist, you'd have to invent him." Bulging bottom line? Check. Defensive to criticism? Double-check. Ethically challenged? Triple-check. Hostility to those below him, or his department's mission? Quadruple check. Tin-eared to any notion that he, well, crosses a line or two? Quintuple get the idea. Supposedly, America will get its first in-depth look at him during his initial confirmation hearing on Thursday, one that's already been called off four times. We'll see how that one works out.

Although American CEOs, by and large, are hardly a warm and fuzzy bunch, Puzder's public posture suggests an extreme caricature of the tone-deaf prick at the top of the pyramid. His demeanor resembles that of a "Batman" TV villain like, say, Mr. Freeze, who can't fathom why nobody fancies being turned into a human Popsicle. Unlike his relentlessly manic colleagues -- like, say, Joker, Riddler, or Penguin -- Mr. Freeze, er, Puzder, doesn't exude the sense that he's actually enjoying himself.

Unless, of course, he's sticking it to the rest of us. Like most of his tribe, the CEO of CKE Restaurants -- the corporate daddy for the Carl's Jr. and Hardees restaurant chains -- sees nothing hypocritical letting taxpayers pick up the slack for his fast food empire, whether it's forcing his (largely part-time) army of underpaid workers to go on food stamps and Medicaid, while they forgo little things like health insurance, pensions, and savings. (For an analysis of how much this, ahem, slight inconsistency costs the taxpayer, read the National Employment Law Project link below.) But that doesn't stop him from putting his foot in his mouth, all the same.

Don't believe us? Take this Ramen Noodle Nation economy tour of Mr. Puzder's wackier, less nuanced statements, and judge them for himself. There's a saying in the business world that describes the situation perfectly: "Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior." For further snapshots of life in Puzder-land, read the links below, make up your own mind...and then, run like hell.

<I've got the world on a string, sittin' on a rainbow

Got the string around my finger
What a world, what a life, I'm in love!
I've got a song that I sing
I can make the rain go, anytime I move my finger
Lucky me, can't you see, I'm in love
Life is a beautiful thing, as long as I hold the string
I'd be a silly so and so, if I should ever let go>
"I've Got The World On A String"

1. Bye-Bye, Pesky Workers, Hello, Machines"They're always polite, they always upsell, they never take a vacation, they never show up late, there's never a slip-and-fall, or an age, sex, or race discrimination case." (Puzder to Business Insider on his dream of pursuing a totally automated restaurant) 

2. Closet Michael Moore Fans, Unite (It's Only Entertainment): "If you were buying products or going to movies based upon the politics of the people involved, well, I probably couldn't go to half the movies I go to."

3. Guess My Talent Tool Got A Little Polluted: 
"In fast food, you sort of compete for the best of the worst. In other words, you're not getting the Microsoft guys. At Hardee's we were getting the worst of the worst. Nobody wanted to work at Hardee's." (Puzder's summary of his talent search troubles in a speech at California State University, as reported in CNN Money)

4. It's Those Horny Young Guys, Stupid
 "I like our ads. I like beautiful women eating burgers in bikinis. I think it's very American." (Puzder's response to his infamous ad campaigns that featured scantily-clad women hosing themselves with water and riding mechanical bulls in peddling his burgers)

5. Lighten Up, Folks, It's Only A TV Commercial: "We believe in putting hot models in our commercials, because ugly ones don't sell burgers." (CKE's corporate rationale behind its advertising, as outlined in its press release)

6. Look, Parting With A Nickel Of My Bottom Line Would Only Hurt You: 
"This is the problem with Bernie Sanders, and Hillary Clinton, and progressives who push very hard to raise the minimum wage. Does it really help if Sally makes $3 more an hour if Suzie has no job?"

7. McJobs Are Just That...McJobs: 
 "I started out scooping ice cream at Baskin-Robbins at a dollar an hour. I learned a lot about inventory and customer service ... but there's no way in the world that scooping ice cream is worth $15 an hour, and no one ever intended it would ever be something that a person could support a family on. ... Those jobs just don't produce that kind of value like a construction job or a manufacturing job does." (Puzder reflecting, to the LA Times, on his rise to the top of the fast food heap 

8. Oh, That's Why You Want This Gig: "
I think it would be ... the most fun you could have with your clothes on." (Puzder's response to FOX Business in November, on whether he'd want a Cabinet position)

9. Scrooge McDuck Says (Stay Away From My Money Bins): "Low-skill jobs are important because that’s what gives you access to the high-level job. If you focus on redistributing income, you’re not going to create growth.”

10. Trust Me (I've Been Around The Block On This One)
"It sounds good to say we're going to give everybody a raise, but I don't think people think about the implications of that. If the business community doesn't speak up, the politicians who garner votes by making those claims and passing this legislation are just going to keep saying things that just aren't accurate. It's important to speak up, so I did."

UPDATE (1/15): Unhandy Andy withdrew his nomination today, apparently after a growing number of the Republican herd in the Senate couldn't stand the stench that never stopped swirling around him...proof positive, depending on your theological orientation, that a) there is a God, or b) if there is, His sense of the absurd is no less attuned than our own. However, we couldn't allow Unhandy Andy to exit the stage, without one posting more goofy quote to his credit (or discredit):

Oh, That's Why Apu Mans The 7-11 Counter 24/7: "They're very hard-working, dedicated, creative people that really appreciate the fact that they have a job. Whereas in other parts of the country, you often get people that are saying, 'I can't believe I have to work this job,' with the immigrant population, you have the 'thank God I have this job' kind of attitude." (Puzder, apparently waxing lyrical on why immigrants make ideal fast food employees -- versus those ungrateful, underpaid natives)

Links To Go (Hurry, Before Andy Hoses You Down):
National Employment Law Project:
Bilked: How Trump's Labor Secretary Pick
Costs Taxpayers $250 Million Per Year:

The Washington Post: Andrew Puzder
Will Be A Disaster For Workers: I Know He Was For Me:

U.S. News & World Report:
Andrew Puzder Won't Work For Women


  1. Trump has chosen such creeps, I wonder if he wants fellow narcissists in every position. I can just see them all having a narc battle. It's sickening. I am disgusted.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Whoops! Have to do this again, because a few keys a bit too early. Okay, take II:

    Well, that's the essence of it, isn't it? Trump chooses the people who make him feel comfortable, so that should give anybody pause.

    All of his choices seem to suffer from some type of ethical blockage (call it ethical constipation, if you like), but that's why I wanted to call attention to this guy -- who seems particularly odious (and suffers from a conception of women that seems stuck in the '50s, if not the '40s).

    Just imagine Don Draper, minus the cool clothes and sense of irony that made us watch him -- and, at times, sympathize with him, even when he bent rules to further his own purpose. Um, that's not the case here. Thanks for your comment. --The Reckoner