Puzder abused his workers and may have abused his wife, but the editorial board of the Journal does not trouble itself with such minor particularities. In an unsigned editorial that may endure as The Most Wall Street Journal Piece Ever, the paper insists that Puzder is a good American because he is a good capitalist and that he deserves to be in Trump’s cabinet so he can punish ... er, manage ... labor:
As an expert in labor management, he was ideal to reform a Labor Department that was run for eight years as a wholly owned subsidiary of the AFL-CIO. He would also have been a much-needed advocate for free markets in Mr. Trump’s senior economic councils. ... Mr. Puzder’s reward was to get caught in a cross-fire between the union left and the anti-immigration right. Unions rolled out a misinformation campaign broadcasting worker grievances at his Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s restaurants, though the number and nature were politically concocted and his corporate stores are business models.
Break out the sackcloth and ashes! Spare a thought, write a poem, cry a tear for Andy Puzder, business martyr.
But actually, don’t.
The Huffington Post’s Dave Jamieson has published a useful summary of Hardee’s business practices under Puzder. A few highlights: Managers altered timecards, charged employees to wear the required uniform, and violated child labor laws. An editorial in The Los Angeles Times notes that Puzder opposes an increased federal minimum wage, expanded overtime protections, and paid sick leave, and that he “disparaged his own employees as ‘the worst of the worst.’”
He has already made life substantially more difficult for some of America’s poorest workers and as labor secretary he would have impoverished even more. The withdrawal of his nomination is reason to celebrate—that the Journal is crying about it is just the cherry on top.