Puzder: Trump Election Represents 'Better Day' for Economy

The election of Donald Trump and the Republican Party gaining majorities in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate represents “a new day and a new attitude” for efforts to reverse government regulations that hurt businesses, according to Andrew Puzder. One of Trump’s key supporters and economic advisors during the campaign, Puzder spoke Nov. 15 during the Restaurant Finance & Development Conference in Las Vegas.

“President-Elect Trump has called for an immediate halt to all new federal regulations and a very thorough agency-level review of previous regulations to see which need to be scrapped,” he said. A member of the IFA Board of Directors, Puzder is CEO of Carpinteria, Calif.-based CKE Restaurants, which operates and franchises a number of quick-service brands, including Carl’s Jr., Hardees, Green Burrito and Red Burrito.

“We’ve reached the point where overregulation is doing meaningful damage to our businesses,” he said, describing three factors that are reducing profitability — higher labor costs, increased health care costs and policies designed to achieve political and social goals, instead of economic growth. Increased labor costs reduce margins, health care costs take money out of consumers’ pockets, and overregulation results in anemic economic growth, Puzder explained. “There are always unintended consequences because you can’t mandate the benefits of economic growth without actual economic growth,” he said.

Puzder specifically pointed to the recession experienced in the restaurant industry, with data from an August 2016 National Restaurant Association survey showing that more than 60 percent of restaurant operators identified government regulations, labor costs and the economy as the top three problems facing their businesses. “The weight of government coercion has become so heavy, it’s no longer possible to ignore nor is it something we can reasonably overcome by simply working around the latest government roadblocks as we have in the past,” he said. “The obvious solution is to implement policies that encourage economic growth, which leads to the creation of good paying jobs.”

How will Trump accomplish this? Puzder outlined four areas that will lead to private sector growth: improvements to tax, regulatory, energy and trade policies. Lower taxes under Trump’s plan would result in an increase of the economy by 7 to 8 percent, according to the non-partisan Tax Foundation. Fixing the Affordable Care Act, addressing overtime and minimum wage issues, and rolling back other U.S. Department of Labor regulations are also on the President-elect’s agenda. In addition, Trump intends to examine energy and trade policies that would be more beneficial to business growth, Puzder continued.

“This will make attempts to use the force of government to coerce, compel or mandate the benefits of economic growth unnecessary, which is a real positive because those policies don’t work. You can only produce the benefits of economic growth with economic growth — which is exactly what we’re going to do.”