The Corner

The Fake News about Andy Puzder and the Minimum Wage

President-elect Trump has picked Andy Puzder, the CEO of CKE Restaurants (i.e. Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s) for labor secretary. Amusingly, the media coverage of his nomination has been dominated by . . . fake news. Several outlets have reported that Puzder opposes increasing the minimum wage. That’s not exactly true. For better or worse, his views on the minimum wage are more nuanced than the media suggests.

Many outlets covering Puzder’s prospective nomination claim he opposes raising the minimum wage. For example The Atlantic reports:

[Puzder] has been a vocal defender of Trump’s economic policies, such as his opposition to Obamacare and business regulations like a higher minimum wage. . . . Puzder has written about how raising the minimum wage, and offering paid leave and health insurance to employees hurts the restaurant industry. Efforts to increase the minimum wage, he argues, are bad for everyone because “businesses will have to figure out the best way to deal with the high labor costs, which will lead to price increases, more efficient labor management and automation . . . drastic increases will unfortunately hurt low-skilled workers who need entry-level jobs the most.”

The Atlantic and many other outlets, make it sound like Puzder opposes any increase in the minimum wage. Many on the right would cheer that position.

It’s also fake news

Puzder has publicly stated that he does not oppose raising the minimum wage, or indexing it to inflation. What he opposes is requiring starting wages of $15 an hour. As the Los Angeles Times reported earlier this year:

[Puzder] says he’s not against a minimum wage higher than today’s federal level of $7.25 an hour, or even to [sic] indexing the minimum to inflation. But he believes a jump to $15, even over a few years, inevitably will cost many low-wage workers their jobs.

Agree or disagree, little media coverage of Puzder’s nomination has accurately reported his views. Instead outlets such as Reuters have written headlines declaring “Trump picks opponent of higher minimum wage for Labor Department.”

The press recently has obsessed over “fake news.” The coverage of Puzder’s nomination shows many reporters should fact-check themselves first.

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