Department of Labor

Close Them Down!

Donald Trump's picks to head the Department of Labor and Small Business Administration may be good, but the bureaucracies shouldn't exist in the first place.

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Donald Trump is appointing good people—Andy Puzder, for example, Trump's nominee for labor secretary.

When Puzder took over Carl's Jr. and Hardee's restaurants, they were deep in debt. Four years later, they were profitable. I bet his 70,000 workers are happy about that.
"What did you do that your predecessor didn't?" I asked Puzder. His answer sounded a little like Trump.

"They were entrenched. … My second memo as CEO was: Next person that answers a question with 'because we've always done it that way' will be fired."

Sounds ruthless. No wonder he opposes the minimum wage! But wait: He got his start scooping ice cream at Baskin-Robbins.

"Minimum wage, dollar an hour… I learned about customer service, about inventory. That was a good start, a good step on that ladder."

Puzder painted houses and mowed lawns as a teenager, jobs that today's minimum wage and employment regulations sometimes make illegal. People think those rules are compassionate, but not Puzder.

"I have a 16-year-old son, and I really love him," he told me, but "there's no way in the world I'd pay that kid $12 an hour to do something. We're losing a generation of people because we've eliminated jobs that those people normally filled. How do you pay somebody $15 an hour to scoop ice cream? How good could you be at scooping ice cream? It's just not a job where you could compensate somebody like that."

The media hate businessmen who say things like that. A Washington Post headline: "Ayn Rand acolyte Donald Trump stacks his cabinet with fellow objectivists." This is absurd. Trump likes capitalism, but he's no objectivist. Objectivists have firm principles.

The Post article smears Puzder as a cruel Ayn Rand fan who "wants to automate fast-food jobs." But Puzder doesn't want to automate. He just states an obvious truth: A higher minimum wage leads employers to replace some workers with machines. Fast-food companies were already installing touch screens. A $15 minimum wage speeds that process.

If reporters were actually compassionate, they would oppose the endless regulations they routinely champion. People can't gain the experience needed to earn higher wages if they aren't allowed to be hired in the first place.

"We have restaurants in 33 countries and 45 states," says Puzder, describing how hard it is to get permits to open restaurants. "In Texas, it's 60 days. In LA, it takes 280. I can open a restaurant faster in Siberia than I can in California."

Remember when it was Russia that opposed capitalism?

"The permitting is ridiculous," says Puzder. "They make us put in stoplights and curb cuts and plant trees two blocks away. Everybody on the planet wants input. You've got to get approvals from the city, the county, the state, satisfy federal regulatory requirements."

As a result, "You can't grow, can't build restaurants, can't build a new Wal-Mart, that new office building if you can't use the land, if you can't get through the regulatory process."

Trump nominating someone who sees that problem is encouraging. I hope he surrounds himself with other people who love free markets, not just power.

Another possibly good Trump appointee is Linda McMahon, his nominee to head the Small Business Administration. McMahon almost defeated Connecticut's clueless socialist Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D) in the 2010 Senate race. She calls herself a fiscal conservative, so I wish she'd won.

But I hesitate to support her, since I once sued her and her husband for allegedly telling one of their giant actors to beat me up because I pointed out that WWF wresting is fake. Really. Google "Stossel wrestler" and you'll see what I mean.

But my main objection to both nominations is that we don't need either agency! The SBA is wasteful cronyism. Federal bureaucrats have no clue which small businesses deserve funding.

Likewise, workers don't need a Department of Labor to set one-size-fits-all labor policies. Let competition set the rules. Employers and workers will make the choices and contracts that work best for each of them.

I hope Andy Puzder and Linda McMahon take over the SBA and Labor Department, then immediately shut them down.

COPYRIGHT 2016 BY JFS PRODUCTIONS INC.

NEXT: Brickbat: Provocative Clothing

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  1. It’s nice to know that the mere thought of the existence of Ayn Rand is still driving modern progressives batshit insane.

    Is it funnier that they’re still obsessively arguing with a woman who’s been gone for decades, or that they keep losing?

    Trolling the internet with stuff you wrote before it existed, that’s some god-tier shitposting there. Obviously, I approve.

    If only they had common-sense immigration reforms to keep dangerous radicalized terrorists like her out of America…

    Also, would. Well, in the back seat of my time machine, if you know what I mean, and if you do, please explain it to me.

    1. I pointed out to a group of progs once that Ayn Rand had some universally applicable good advice about self esteem, and was informed by one of them that Rand was the worst person of the entire 20th century. I guess i’d never heard about how she’d murdered more people than Hitler, Stalin, or Mao.

      1. Yes, but Hitler, Stalin and Mao also built ROADDDZZZZ.

        Ayn Rand doesn’t even have that going for her. Clearly the most deplorable and evil.

    2. I get the image of liberals taking their children camping, and while sitting around the campfire, telling horror stories of the witch Ayn Rand and those beastly ogres, the Koch Brothers.

      1. I would talk about working for the 90 cent Indiana minimum wages and then buying over three gallons of gasoline with on hour of work after the IRS and Indiana took their tax withholdings. In the 60s, I worked part-time and during the summer after minimum wage and paid income tax to Indiana after the IRS.

        The big government tax and spend 60s with tax rates up to 90% were great years for workers. When a business pays 60% of profits in taxes, paying a kid to work part-time cost only 40% of the minimum wage because the IRS paid 60 cents of every dollar in wages in reduced tax liability.

    3. What makes Ayn Rand’s rejection of socialism even more infuriating to lefties is that she and her family lived the tyranny of socialism/communism firsthand in what would be the USSR.

      Its pretty hard for lefties who have never lived anywhere but the USA to argue for socialism against someone who has lived under socialism.

      1. That wasn’t real socialism, we’ll get it right this time!

        /progs

        1. TOP MEN!!!!!!

          ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGHHHHHH!!!!1

      2. “Ayn Rand took Social Security! All her arguments against socialism are destroyed!”

        When you can’t beat someone in the arena of ideas, attack them personally.

        1. I love how the left like to say ‘Just wait until they take your SS and Medicare, then you’ll suddenly turn into a socialist!’. Um, no, dummies. That stuff come out of my paycheck. Just give me my money back and shut it down, I’ll be perfectly happy.

          1. Can’t, they already spent it.

            1. I’ll settle for them to stop stealing it from me.

    4. This comment went downhill pretty fast.

  2. This article reminded me Stossel once got the taste slapped out of him by a wrestler. It was a funny clip, though made less so since I think he actually got hurt by it.

    1. I never thought it was funny. I thought that nut should have gone to jail for that.

      1. He didn’t?! Wow.

        1. Stossel did make a nice chunk of change off WWE for it I believe.

          1. $425K according to the youtube video. Dave Schultz was 1000% insanely intense. Wrestling wasn’t FAKE to him. That said, he really did smack the everliving shit out of Stossel. Drove him off.

            I would’ve thought that journos would’ve learned asking wrestlers that question is a bad idea.

  3. “A Washington Post headline: “Ayn Rand acolyte Donald Trump stacks his cabinet with fellow objectivists.””

    These folks think the “fake news” stuff is about providing it.

  4. But I hesitate to support her, since I once sued her and her husband for allegedly telling one of their giant actors to beat me up because I pointed out that WWF wresting is fake.

    LIBERTARIANS WANT THIS TO BE COMMONPLACE.

    1. Does Stossel getting beat up Dr. D qualify as “fake news”?

      1. No, the Nooze! is real, but D’s “Doctorate” is more FAKE! than than teats on a bull (and about as useful).

        1. Watch the video. The beating is NOT fake.

  5. Please, take all four years. I want to savor the demise and elimination of the bloated administrations.
    Remember, some things must be destroyed from the inside.
    Viva Francisco!

    1. You’re doing it wrong. Fast track the shit out of it. Two years to total, locks-on-doors shutdown at the utmost.
      Crippling debilitation within 2 yrs. with eventual collapse assured before the first term of the next presidency is my final offer. We’ve got lots of windows to shutter and if you can’t get it done in that time frame, we need to be looking for someone who can.

  6. I hope Andy Puzder and Linda McMahon take over the SBA and Labor Department, then immediately shut them down.

    The best we can hope for is they sit in their offices twiddling their thumbs for four years.

    1. You are exactly right btw.
      Once these power drunks get into office, what are the odds that they eliminate and shut down huge swaths of the government bureaucracy?

      The media propagandists will be at odds with Trump at all times and he will cave to the seduction of getting elected for a second term.

      We can only hope for absolute gridlock because all government functions to do is increase its own size. Trump admits he is growing to grow the worst parts of government:
      Stimulus, military spending, increase the debt.
      Why is everyone assuming that he is going to be great when he says he plans to do what Bush and Obama did?

      1. Why is everyone assuming that he is going to be great when he says he plans to do what Bush and Obama did?

        1. We don’t assume he’s so great, the expectations were so low that even modestly good appointments seem great in comparison.

        2. He isn’t promising to do what Bush and Obama did, just the opposite (sorta). “No more nation building.” and “Close gitmo, get out of conflicts in the ME.” were what we were told and were the opposite of what we got. Trump says, “Hell yeah, waterboard the shit out of people.” and the freaks in the shadows who would actually do the waterboarding step up to say, “I dunno if that’s such a good idea.”

        3. There’s every evidence, from his appointments that something between conflicted self-interest, brutal efficiency, and gridlock is the idea. More or just as importantly, you must concede that electing Trump and the picks he’s made represents something definitively different from what Bush, Clinton, and Obama have done. Certainly not incoherent or Earth-shattering “He appointed Joe The Plumber.” type appointments but certainly not just simply tapping the next bureaucrat in line.

        I do agree that now that the tears have dried there is (beginning to be too) much cheerleading going on.

        1. I certainly applaud the fact that he is putting businessmen at the helm of bureaucracies.

          My point is simply that:
          1. it seems unlikely that he is not corrupted by the power and his own ego.
          2. he has aid he likes stimulus, wants to spend on the military(which we need absolutely none of) and he has not said much that promises to reduce the crippling debt.

          I agree that he is better than any alternative at this point and hope that an entrepreneur knows that war is bad for the economy and that thriving business is better for all.

  7. “Minimum wage, dollar an hour… I learned about customer service, about inventory. That was a good start, a good step on that ladder.”

    Look, you can’t have people like that running things. You need someone who’s either been in politics or academia their entire life.

    1. You can’t have people with actual experience in charge. That makes them biased and selfish. The less experience someone has and the farther removed they are from the consequences of their decisions, the better the results will be. This is because they have good intentions and aren’t personally invested in the outcome. There is nothing that cannot be made better with the magic of good intentions.

      1. How did he live on that non-living wage?

      2. Which totally explains this quote from the piece, and I mean that in all sincerity:

        If reporters were actually compassionate, they would oppose the endless regulations they routinely champion.
        Reporters aren’t being “compassionate,” they just don’t know any better since none of them is running an actual business and dealing with regulations. The ironic thing is some of them working in big cities where unions are rampant know all too well how inane rules created retarded situations. But living in the echo chamber means you never hear someone explain why the prevailing point of view is lacking.

        1. People have this idea that unregulated means no rules. After all, how can rules exist if not from government? Without any rules, then businesses kill customers and employees alike in their rapacious quest for immoral profits. This is accepted as fact, and anyone who disagrees licks the corporate boot that holds them down.

          1. This is accepted as fact, and anyone who disagrees licks the corporate boot that holds them down.

            And if you can conclusively establish that you don’t lick the boot (I’d gladly pay another internet provider more money for better or less money for the same service) you’re some manner of crazy anarchist.

  8. Labor and the SBA are small potatoes. I hope they are neutered and eventually euthanized. The bigger fish are Energy, Commerce, the EPA and FDA. I am excited that Trump is appointing their nemesis in every case.

    1. You forgot Education (at least I hope you did).

    2. DEA should be the first to go.

      1. Along with the ATF.

        1. “Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives” is a good name for a big box store.

          1. The building they’re in should be converted into that. They can turn DEA headquarters into bar that also serves cannabis.

    3. Trump knew all along they were malignant departments actively acting against the actual interest of the people.

  9. Thank goodness we still have two or three real honest-to-goodness libertarians like Stossel left to occasionally contribute around here.

    1. Stossel is disliked by quite a few lefties because he lived among them and then switched to being a Libertarian. That is like treachery to those people.

      I have just never heard of a Libertarian switching to socialism.

      1. I have just never heard of a Libertarian switching to socialism.

        Salon is full of articles like “How I Finally Quit Libertarianism”. Of course there isn’t a bit of truth to them but still.

        1. Well, they think that ‘left libertarian’ is actually a thing. That explains it.

        2. They run those every couple of months, it seems like. Not a single one of the authors shows any signs of knowing what “libertarian” actually means.

          I have actually known a few people who have made the switch. They were usually not serious or even curious about major libertarian issues in the first place, beyond maybe pot legalization or criminal justice reform. Sad!

          1. Switch from left leaning libertarian isn’t that hard. NAP to GAP: Gentler Aggression Principle.

            1. It’s hard sometimes not to come to that conclusion regarding minarchy, too. “We’ve established what you are, now we’re just haggling over price.”

              1. Have to admit you’d rather have the guy with only the top knuckle inside over the guy who wants the whole fist in.

                1. Yeah, but once one knuckle is in it’s pretty easy for the guy to say, “Well, maybe another knuckle…”

                2. The euphemisms aren’t really euphemisms at all anymore are they.

              2. You’re a little provocateur, X.

                1. You sound like my high school guidance counselor, MJG.

  10. Next person that answers a question with ‘because we’ve always done it that way’ will be fired.

    I can think of worse things than seeing the Labor Dept’s budget being consumed by litigation from AFSCME.

  11. Trump nominating someone who sees that problem is encouraging. I hope he surrounds himself with other people who love free markets, not just power.

    Encouraging, yes, but I ain’t breaking out the champagne just yet. There’s a long history of government reformers going native and winding up defending the very positions they’re supposed to be attacking. It takes a lot of determination to see your job as putting yourself out of a job and keeping that goal first and foremost in your mind.

    1. The nice thing about guys like Puzder is that he certainly doesn’t need the job. Doesn’t mean he can’t go native, but might make it less likely.

    2. Our best hope is probably if Thiel can have a lot of influence on Trump. As far as I know, he’s the only libertarian who’s anyway near Trump.

      1. While the big business types and libertarians don’t always agree, they certainly share the opinion that regulations have gotten out of control. The business guys may not have the ideological drive to end those Agencies, but they will lead a deregulation effort and, recognizing the massive waste and bloat in their departments, try to downsize them.

        1. Depending on what business guys you’re talking about. A lot of big corps take advantage of regulations that cripple their smaller competitors. Those entities are all for more regulations. It’s the cronyism that needs to end.

          1. People think small business and big business are natural allies but they aren’t. The latter usually teams up with the government to squish SME’s.

            1. Big Business is a symptom of Big Government, not somehow its opposite. I’ve gotten sick of having to explain that to prog-types.

              1. Very well put!

          2. Hyperion – I agree. Hopefully the new Cabinet are the the screw small business types.

            But I think regulations have gone beyond even that. The past few years, even the big business are looking at all the regulation and saying “holy shit, this is going to cost a fortune and cripple my business for no good purpose.”

      2. Thiel can be one of the most influential advisors ever. All of DC and Trump obviously have no idea about technology and its potential.
        Thiel might be able bring the IT world into the sane discussion of small government and capitalism

  12. How about Trump sets up a “blue ribbon commission” to decide what agencies to abolish?

    1. Can you imagine what it would do to the left if even one of these massive bureaucracies got shut down? Even a mention of a budget cut sends them into hysterics about children and women starving in the streets, anarchy, and the end times.

      1. That’s why any meaningful cuts in government are all talk. Cuts will require people losing their jobs, their power, and of course there are the handouts.

      2. Think of the horror of actually closing down the Dept of Agriculture. Sending all those office drones back out into the farms to work. It would be like The Killing Fields 2: Electric Bugaloo.

        1. The propaganda spin for the next 4 years is going to be awesome, hilarious, scary, and incredibly frustrating.

          The worst part is that the media are collectively such dedicated marxists that we can count on not one bit of reliable information for the rest of our lives.

          The praise of “Castro’s humanity” come s to mind. They are not even trying to mask their marxist ideology which does not bode well for young people trying to learn.

          And it pisses me off that spell check capitalizes Marxism but not capitalism.

          1. Marx was a guy, thus the proper noun. Capital was never a guy, unless you think capitalism has something to do with DC’s NHL team.

            1. True that. and it is proper English to do so.

              I say that marxism should not be capitalized however out of principal since marxism would never have inspired or nurtured something as smart as spell check that knows what I am thinking almost 72% of the time.

              Can you imagine if the internet were invented under marxist utopia?

  13. When Puzder took over Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s restaurants, they were deep in debt. Four years later, they were profitable. I bet his 70,000 workers are happy about that.

    Nonsense. He stole those profits from the workers. It’s not fair for the investors owners and executives to get rich off the sweat and toil of the people out there actually making the sandwiches.

    1. The skilled workers out there making sandwiches.

      Why, just the other day, a skilled worker gave me a shitty attitude while serving me a mashed, disgusting pile of shit while sucking her teeth.

  14. I can open a restaurant faster in Siberia than I can in California.

    [insert expostulation of feigned astonishment]

  15. “Minimum wage, dollar an hour… I learned about customer service, about inventory. That was a good start, a good step on that ladder.”

    I learned about customer service working in an family owned, Italian restaurant.

    There’s an important observation in there about the difference between academics and the rest of us.

    My physics professor was a really smart guy. If you wanted to understand the physics of throwing a football, describe the arc and all its component aspects, break it down to a mathematical function, etc., he could beat the pants off of Tom Brady.

    But he couldn’t complete a 20 yard pass in an NFL game to save his life.

    Meanwhile, Tom Brady couldn’t tell you the first thing about how physics works.

    That few academics could run an Italian restaurant or an ice cream shop successfully doesn’t mean they’re bad academics. It just means that being an academic is fundamentally different from being an entrepreneur. I suppose a lot of it is a matter of perspective.

    It’s like the difference between studying a colony of ants and being an ant. Ant colonies have been remarkably successful at surviving and adapting for millions of years–and one of the reasons for that is that they don’t have any academics trying to tell them what to do and how to do it. Each ant makes choices from its own perspective with the available information, and the colony thrives.

    1. “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise”.

      —-Proverbs 6:6

      1. Now this is what I come here for; poignant, yet pithy.

  16. But I hesitate to support her, since I once sued her and her husband for allegedly telling one of their giant actors to beat me up because I pointed out that WWF wresting is fake.

    What payout did you get out of that bitchslap, Stoss?

      1. That is a lot of mustache wax!

        1. Enough mustache wax to last Stossel, what, a month? Two?

    1. Sons a bitches!

    2. Dude, stop.

  17. Can I just restate my dislike of Ayn Rand? Age was a horrible author who had her characters go on rants that lasted two pages saying the same thing over and over, then have them repeat the whole speech next chapter.
    She was also not a nice person.

    1. I much prefer classic Heinlien for libertarian fiction.

      1. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is way better than Atlas Shrugged.

      2. …and a lot of Frank Herbert

  18. Can I just restate my dislike of Ayn Rand?

    I never got more than a few pages into any of her stuff. I was overwhelmed by dread and loathing at the thought of slogging through hundreds of pages of horrible writing.

    1. Ditto; one can be pro free market and expect others to equally assume responsibility for themselves without making a cult out of it. I agree with her in principle but her writing takes this to an extreme and is beyond proselytic.

  19. As much as I agree with the sentiment. I’m loathe to deride her in light of all the Twilight and 50 Shades fandom. For every person I can find who says Ayn Rand’s writing is angsty/rebellious post-adolescent garbage I can find one who is/was flabbergasted to discover Atticus Finch is racist. Frequently they’re the same person.

  20. Can we not add the US Department of Education to this list of bureaucracies to be shuttered? One of the most egregious examples of Federal overreach to plague the nation.

    1. Probably less work to just make a “keep” list and assume the rest can be closed.

      1. (THIS PAGE INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK)

    2. Done!

      But wait, DeVos first needs to transfer some public taxes to private hands. “Choice is good”

  21. As we could also say about Ag, Commerce, Energy, Ed, and a host of others.

  22. Spot on!! Good article, John.

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  24. Donald Drumpf’s picks to head the Department of Labor and Small Business Administration may be good, but the bureaucracies shouldn’t exist in the first place.So if they exist and fuck up, it is not his fault because they should not exist. If they do not fuck up, great choices.

    More reason.com BS peddling Republicanism as libertarianism.

    Stossel just endorsed Linda McMahon, people.

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  27. Three things I learned about the Small Business Administration when I opened my business and tried to use some of their services:

    1) Their definition is small is HUGE- 100’s of employees and millions of dollars. It has evolved to help large companies by deciding that big is small. If you’re truly a small business- let’s say 10 employees and less than a million in revenue- you’re SOL.

    2) They’re main service is getting you to get a very big loan- write a business plan, then to a bank to get turned down enough times that they’ll give you a loan. If you don’t want a loan, they don’t have much for you. They may give lip service to other programs but, no matter what I contacted them for, it all went back to the business proposal and then loan.

    3) Most SBA employees don’t know what they’re doing.

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