Donald Trump

Trump's Two Good Cabinet Choices

Labor and State nominees are worth attention.

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Andrew Puzder
Ringo Chiu/ZUMAPRESS/Newscom

Judging from the reaction to some of Donald Trump's Cabinet choices, there are two types of businesspeople Democrats distrust: those who behave as you would expect businesspeople to behave and those who don't. Neither Andrew Puzder nor Rex Tillerson has found many champions in the opposition party.

Puzder, chosen to head the Department of Labor, is head of CKE Restaurants, parent company of the Hardee's and Carl's Jr. fast-food chains. In that job, he has learned a lot about hiring and managing employees—the "labor" that is the focus of the department's activities.

For some reason, it comes as a shock to many people that Trump would nominate someone who opposes big increases in the minimum wage. "Instead of creating a living wage," Puzder wrote last year, "the fight for dramatic minimum-wage increases could leave millions with no wage at all."

This happens to be standard economic theory. No less a liberal authority than Nobel laureate Paul Krugman, in 1998, mocked those "who very much want to believe that the price of labor—unlike that of gasoline, or of Manhattan apartments—can be set based on considerations of justice, not supply and demand."

Puzder deserves credit for creating jobs: CKE and its franchisees employ some 90,000 people. Not surprisingly, he doesn't like government dictates that raise his outlets' costs and reduce their profitability. He is candid about the advantages of machines, which, he has pointed out, never show up late or file lawsuits.

His background gives him a different perspective than a labor activist would offer. But union champions rarely join Republican Cabinets. Unlike some Trump appointees—I'm looking at you, Ben Carson—Puzder won't need a crash course on the issues his department handles.

Nor is he hostile to compromise. Based on an interview in March, the Los Angeles Times reported that "he's not against a minimum wage higher than today's federal level of $7.25 an hour, or even to indexing the minimum to inflation."

Puzder could mitigate some of Trump's worst impulses. During the presidential campaign, he argued that "every candidate should support a path to legal status—short of citizenship—for illegal immigrants."

Tillerson, picked for secretary of state, is not a cartoon version of the Texas oilman. As president of the Boy Scouts of America, he pushed to allow gay troop leaders. Exxon Mobil has donated to Planned Parenthood. The right-wing Family Research Council warns that Tillerson "may be the greatest ally liberals have in the Cabinet for their abortion and LGBT agendas."

Most notably, he endorsed a carbon tax to combat global warming—and Exxon Mobil has lobbied Congress to pass one. Having someone with that viewpoint in the most important foreign policy job could be helpful to the planet.

Critics think he will put the interests of big oil above those of the American public. But CEOs are not free agents. They are used to serving the interests of shareholders while catering to customers.

As head of Exxon Mobil, Tillerson profited from high oil prices. But had he gone to Ford, he would have acquired a new preference for cheap fuel. There's no obvious reason that Tillerson can't similarly shift his allegiance to serving the public interest (to the extent his boss allows).

Besides, his background invites merciless scrutiny of any decision that affects his old industry. He can expect to be held to a tougher standard on such matters than anyone else would be.

Tillerson came to the president-elect's attention at the suggestion of Robert Gates, who served ably as defense secretary under George W. Bush and Barack Obama and endorsed Hillary Clinton. Gates' recommendation ought to carry bipartisan weight, even if his consulting firm has done work for Exxon Mobil.

Tillerson hasn't been a diplomat, something he has in common with John Kerry, Clinton and Condoleezza Rice. But like diplomats, he has spent a lot of time working with (and around) regimes he didn't necessarily approve of.

Gates says he is "a hard-eyed realist." Those who fear he's too fond of Vladimir Putin can take heart that Dick Cheney, no starry-eyed appeaser, has endorsed Tillerson.

Business executives can bring assets that make for better government. These two offer relevant experience and seasoned judgment, which may be scarce in the Trump administration.

After weeks of hearing about scary candidates for important jobs—Rudy Giuliani, Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich—Puzder and Tillerson come as a relief. Senate Democrats should rush to approve them before Trump can change his mind.

© Copyright 2016 by Creators Syndicate Inc.

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  1. Does someone really think that a carbon tax will help the planet?

    My suspicion is that like crazy complex banking regulations, they would help the huge corporate entities by setting the bar way too high for the smaller players to be able to afford to comply.

    And I also think they are just dumb. Next up…beef tax.

    1. The only thing theoretically better about a carbon tax is its simplicity. But I doubt all carbon is equal — some taxed carbon probably has more or less polluting effect than others. It doesn’t take into consideration what the carbon forms with or the processes that use it differently — consider gas (of various types), diesel (of various types), kerosene (of various types), but probably pretty similar in carbon content, and the vastly different engines which burn them differently. And what if the carbob is locked up in plastic or other long-lived chemicals?

      That’s not to mention the obvious pretense that a carbon tax would be revenue neutral or replace other taxes.

      It’s all a typical political sham.

    2. I don’t like the carbon tax concept. It’s ripe for regulatory capture and there’s no mechanism to ensure that the tax revenues fully offset whatever damage the carbon use is doing since no one can accurately quantify the cost of that damage. It feels like a bone thrown to the environmentalists, and I think it prematurely concedes the backbone of their argument, namely that catastrophic warming is in fact happening and is being caused by carbon emissions from human activity. And I’ll go a step further and say that if CAGW is really a thing and is as bad as its proponents say it is, there’s no acceptable level of carbon emission and a tax is inappropriate.

      1. The last sentence, I like it!

    3. ?Does someone really think that a carbon tax will help the planet?”

      Sure, the people who stand to rake in billions in crony bucks, and their useful idiot greenies.

    4. Coase is superior to Pigou.

      So, no.

    5. All I know is it will cost Canadians roughly – according to a report I read – $2400 per per person per year.

      Not worth it and definitely won’t save the planet.

    6. It looks good in economic textbooks. But anyone considering how it will work in practice, or anyone with the barest familiarity with public choice theory, ought to know that it would be a clusterfuck.

    7. I suspect that the only thing that will stop us from burning every bit of extractable fossil fuel will be a better technology.

      We should be making plans that take that reality into consideration.

      I’ve yet to see any climate model that includes the time after the last bit of fossil fuel has been combusted.

      1. That’s because just like the last rainforest, there won’t ever be one. As supplies dwindle, the cost goes up until almost every other alternative becomes viable.

    8. I think many like the carbon tax because it screws over everyone but the rich and reduces consumption, which the left as s rule hates, at least when it’s the masses consuming, not them.

  2. I’m not certain that a Dick Cheney endorsement calms my fears too, too much.

    1. If Cheney endorsed Jesus I would have to give strong consideration to changing religions.

    2. Don’cha know, he’s endorsed by Cheney and favors a Carbon Tax!! All them things libertariawhatsists like.

  3. Hmmm …. lotta mixed signals there. Chapman seems to want to cherry pick what’s naughty and what’s nice.

  4. Trump’s strategy is to incite the muslims to violence and use that as an excuse to nuke them. The purpose is to reduce oil output to raise prices for Russia and the US. If you didn’t know then you weren’t paying attention.

    “Bomb the hell out of them!”
    “Islam is a cancer!”
    “Nation building is a disaster!”
    “Torture and much worse, folks – we gotta do it!”
    “I will take care of ISIS quickly!”
    “Take their oil!”

    (And the Trumpkins cheer.)

    1. Not bad for a rookie.

      1. Other than that of course, I think he’s great.

        1. So John is an fbi troll? Somehow, not all that surprised.

          But dajjal, come on, buddy. Dial back the crazy a bit and it’s easier for people to hear you.

          1. It’s shreek.

          2. Don’t blame me – that was mostly Tulpa and shreek.

          3. “But dajjal, come on, buddy. Dial back the crazy a bit and it’s easier for people to hear you.”

            This ass shows up, posts lies, admits to doing so and then whines when no one believes him.
            Giving hi9m attention is the same as feeding cockroaches, except they’re smarter.

            1. “It’s all lies. Lies, I tell ya!”

              1. Hate to tell ya, man, but that sentence really doesn’t sound that paranoid when applied to a guy who literally decided to name himself “Deceiver”.

                I’m curious, did you know your name meant “liar” when you chose it or did you only know it’s meaning as “antichrist” and wanted to go with an edgy name?? I mean, if you KNEW it’s meaning as “Deceiver” you’d hardly react the way you do when people accuse you of lying… I mean your own name choice is calling yourself a liar, so why care that others do so??

          4. So John is an fbi troll?

            Wait, what?

    2. Trump’s strategy is to incite the muslims to violence and use that as an excuse to nuke them.

      Right because you need to “incite” Muslims before they get violent. They’re practitioners of the religion of peace after all!

      1. +1 Danish cartoon

    3. Says “Dajjal”, at the very least.

      Sorry, man, but as a good Allah-fearing guy I just don’t trust the word of the fucking antichrist.

  5. Exxon Mobil has donated to Planned Parenthood.

    That’s some Prog virtue signalling right there.

    1. That’s their version of God.

  6. “No less a liberal authority than Nobel laureate Paul Krugman, in 1998, mocked those “who very much want to believe that the price of labor?unlike that of gasoline, or of Manhattan apartments?can be set based on considerations of justice, not supply and demand.””

    No fair quoting Krugman. Even he doesn’t believe the shit that comes out of his own mouth.

    1. Wasn’t 1998 before he started making the rounds to all the liberal elite shows? If so, it might be actual economic theory rather than him sitting in and speaking whatever drivel he was instructed to spit.

    2. Krugman is losing his mind:

      End of the Republic

      “Many people are reacting to the rise of Trumpism and nativist movements in Europe by reading history ? specifically, the history of the 1930s. And they are right to do so”

      1. Krugman – and his ilk on the left – is one of those faux-intellectuals who never cared to read about a part of history until it matters to them and then suddenly they become ‘experts’ in the analogies they draw from them to fit a contemporary narrative.

        It’s so naked in its ignorance and cynicism it’s a depressing marvel to behold. How anyone can take his gibberish seriously is beyond me.

        Conscience of a liberal?

        Try shrill disingenuous shill. In other words, progressive.

        1. Krugman – and his ilk on the left – is one of those faux-intellectuals who never cared to read about a part of history until it matters to them and then suddenly they become ‘experts’ in the analogies they draw from them to fit a contemporary narrative.

          ^This^

          Either “Lately I’ve been reading a lot about the ancient world.” is an absolutely terrible seque (and Krugman a terrible writer) or Krugman didn’t learn about the Roman Empire in grade school history classes and Sunday school like the rest of us. Probably both.

          Even then I’d bet large sums of money his ‘understanding’ of his readings only go skin deep. That, in his mind, inventing a time machine and keeping 20/20 vision are mere trifles in fixing that history and applying the lessons they failed to learn in Rome, whatever they may be, will automatically right our course. Nevermind that the best minds of Rome where frantically scrambling to keep egos from taking power and over-reach from tearing it apart and that, if the FF couldn’t conceive of someone with the power of Trump and craft a living document to stop him, the Romans must be an absolutely abysmal last hope.

          1. That’s the part about the FF I find amusing about progressives who yap on about Rome. Aside from possessing a shocking superficial grasp of it, the complexities of Roman history was not lost on the FF who at least held a substantial understanding of its legacy. The example of Rome as a guide for them is not one to be dismissed outright.

            On one hand, they loathe the parts of history that don’t fit their views scoffing it off as being ‘a different time’ but sure love to cite it when it agrees with the parts of that narrative they want to espouse.

            Essentially, they pick and choose the parts they prefer as if they’re picking lice from hair.

            I stand by my assertion progressives are ignorant.

            1. I stand by my assertion progressives are ignorant.

              That’s an understatement. You’re too kind.

            2. Look at what the Founders did. As much as they could, they took what worked from the Republic and discarded what didn’t. And introduced novel political and philosophy ideas to boot.

      2. Oh, god. The comparisons to 1930s Europe are just utterly retarded. The only similarity is a populist leader who draws big crowds.

        1. And that Trump wants to systematically kill all gays, Muslims, and Mexicans.

          1. I see someone never got his TDS inoculation.

            1. Check your sarcasm detector.

          2. And I have no idea where the hell people are getting the idea that Trump has any problem with the gays.

    3. Former Enron adviser Paul Krugman

  7. To me,the picks at EPA and Education look pretty good. Hell,even Perry at energy[?] would be a upgrade. I assume Chapman’s not happy with those

    1. I hate the word ‘energy’ when,mostly,their talking about fuel.

      1. Isn’t the point of fuel to store energy in a stable form? Seems like a good enough name.

  8. So….. they’re the two “good” cabinet choices BECAUSE OF the progressive views they hold?

    Is this a libertarian blog?

    1. It’s a cosmotarian blog. The commentariat are libertarians.

      1. Well, some of us are. Like maybe three or four.

        1. I’m quite certain it’s more than 3 or 4.

        2. Bullshit. There is one libertarian and like 1000 communists.

          Fuck off, commies!

      2. “Cosmotarian” is, of course, defined as whatever Reason is.

        1. More like an ostensible libertarian that tends to operate off of progressive assumptions about society and human nature.

          1. Nice to see someone at least offering a definition (for real, no snark).

    2. Chapman is guest prog used to up the comments and make the other writes look great.

    3. Forget it dude, it’s Chapman-Town.

    4. Dude, have you ever read a Chapman column before?

  9. How are my little anarcho-frankentrumpkensteins doing this fine morning?

    1. Looking up ways to incite peaceful Muslims to violence so we can hurry up and get this Middle Eastern nuclear annihilation behind us once and for all.

      1. Excellent work, my little anarcho-frankentrumpkenstein.

        *drums fingers and cackles*

  10. A carbon tax would affect the marginal yield in oil production. But I have no dog in that fight.

    1. A carbon tax will increase the cost of energy for the poor and working class, while lining the pockets of Elon Musk. Rich white liberals will not be effected. That’s why it’s gospel in the new Democratic Party

  11. “For some reason, it comes as a shock to many people that Trump would nominate someone who opposes big increases in the minimum wage.”

    Remember back when you were but a sprout and this elected guy made noises about ‘draining the swamp’ but then went on to appoint a couple of generals. Remember how the press then screamed he ‘wasn’t draining the swamp’?
    Later, during your maturity, the same guy appointed a couple of people who had never sucked the public teat before and then of course the press applauded him for ‘draining the swamp’, right?

    1. The first step is to dehumanize them. For example, compare them (unfavorably) to cockroaches. The next step is:

      1. The first step is to dehumanize them.

        Just like with Marijuana! Don’t use slighting insults on the internet, next thing you know, you’ll be operating gas chambers and shooting babies just to get your fix.

        *smiles*Thanks, dajjal, lesson learned!*thumb’s up*

  12. Fire Steve Chapman.

    From a ‘libertarian’ perspective the education secretary pick is a 1000 times better than both of these picks. I’m really only upset by two or three of Trump’s picks. The rest have been pretty good, but the education pick tops them all. School vouchers!

  13. Chapman failed to mention that Tillerson is a big supporter of free trade.

    http://econlog.econlib.org/arc…..son_a.html

    So this is a possible sign that Trump isn’t all that serious about his protectionist bullshit. We shall see.

    1. You have nothing else to add, Hazel? Aren’t you supposed to call someone a racist sexist xenophobe by now?

      1. Lots of Trump’s supporters are racist, sexist, and/or xenophobes.
        Fact.

        1. Lots of Obama’s supporters are racist, sexist, and/or xenophobes.

          Same for Cankles, Bush, Kennedy, Truman, Jackson, etc…

          Your post had no information.

  14. Chapman is obviously just shilling for Trump.

  15. It will be interesting to see if good managerial skills and real-world knowledge can make for good secretaries, or if one needs to have experience with politics and Washington.

    1. Of course, we have to figure out what a good secretary looks like. Rolling back progressive policies > doing nothing > further entrenching progressive policies. Seems like we’re at least guaranteed the middle of the road.

  16. “Tillerson came to the president-elect’s attention at the suggestion of Robert Gates, who served ably as defense secretary under George W. Bush and Barack Obama and endorsed Hillary Clinton. Gates’ recommendation ought to carry bipartisan weight, even if his consulting firm has done work for Exxon Mobil.”

    Gates is the guy who, as much as anyone, is responsible for the thousands of needless American deaths in Afghanistan (not to mention the tens of thousands of needless Afghan deaths). Obama kept Gates on as SecDef as standard neoliberal ass-covering. Gates was determined to prove that he had been “right” on Afghanistan, which he wasn’t, and Obama gave him 90% of what he asked for. Then Gates blasted Obama in his memoirs for not giving him that last 10%. In his memoirs, Gates harps on how deeply he felt for the young men whom he sent off to their deaths. I would love to hear him say now whether he thought it was all worth it. Because it wasn’t.

    1. OK, the guy who recommended him is as much a war monger as Obo. Thanks.

    2. Sounds like Art Vandelay…are you a pretend architect?

  17. 2? What about the warrior monk, General Mattis?!

    1. The day of the warrior monks ended with the Boxer Rebellion.

  18. Most notably, he endorsed a carbon tax to combat global warming?and Exxon Mobil has lobbied Congress to pass one. Having someone with that viewpoint in the most important foreign policy job could be helpful to the planet.

    WTF is going on, did I accidentally wander into Vox?

    1. Forget it, it’s Chapman Town.

    2. SecState is going to effect DOE/EPA? I don’t think so. That’s like picking your doctor based on whether he likes Bob Ross’s work.

      1. To be fair, Bob Ross or GTFO.

        1. I feel calmer just saying his name: Bob Ross. Mindfulness in oil.

  19. Besides, his background invites merciless scrutiny of any decision that affects his old industry. He can expect to be held to a tougher standard on such matters than anyone else would be.

    There really is no tougher standard possible. Defy the wishes of the progressives and you are worse than hitler. Beyond that is just filling in the blanks in the boilerplate protests.

  20. Steve Chapman can take the carbon tax and stick it up his ass! Maybe he thinks we could begin taxing firewood for our wood burning stoves? We need another tax just like he needs another hole in his head ?. I think he should go first!

  21. “Most notably, he endorsed a carbon tax to combat global warming?and Exxon Mobil has lobbied Congress to pass one. Having someone with that viewpoint in the most important foreign policy job could be helpful to the planet.”

    Wait, what??

    *Checks Author*

    Ahhh.

  22. Chapman’s not even trying at this point.

  23. Puzder is a great pick. Why not Ben Carson? He grew up in poverty, mother worked multiple jobs to provide for her family. Real life experience!! Isn’t that the best experience for HUD? No, Steve – Mr. Establishment, let’s have another establishment hack lead another bloated agency with a bloated budget. Same ole same ole for Steve.

  24. my friend’s sister makes $79 /hour on the laptop . She has been out of a job for 10 months but last month her payment was $19847 just working on the laptop for a few hours…

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  25. upto I looked at the paycheck saying $9861 , I accept that my father in law was like they say trully bringing in money in their spare time online. . there best friend haz done this less than 8 months and a short time ago repayed the dept on there appartment and bourt a great Citro?n 2CV . see at this site

    ????????> http://www.homejobs7.com

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