Andy Puzder, Abandoning California

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

President Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Labor, Andy Puzder, is being scrutinized for his finances and his business record. There are real questions about his ethics and how he has treated workers.

But there can be little debate about his record as a California: he was a traitor to the Golden State.

Puzder was a Missouri lawyer when he came to Orange County to help Carl Karcher run the company founded in Anaheim. California was a fine place to grow and expand the company; our state helped make him a wealthy man.

But Puzder became a constant critic of California’s governance, especially its regulation of business. There is plenty to criticize about how California regulates and governs, but Puzder didn’t stick to the facts. He painted the state as an implacable foe of business. And he sometimes stooped to degrading workers, suggesting he’d rather have robots as servers than actual humans.

Rather than reckon with California’s problems, he abandoned the state – leaving behind the Carpinteria headquarters (Puzder abandoned Anaheim in 2000) and relocating to Tennessee. He also became an advisor to Donald Trump, who has never missed a chance to slur California and its people.

Puzder’s nomination has been held up by problems with disclosure. It appears now he will survive and make it into the cabinet. A turn in a high government post will be new for him, and it’s hard to know exactly how he’ll respond. But given his record in California, America shouldn’t count on his loyalty.

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