When Pendejo-elect Donald Trump picked Carl's Jr. burger boy Andy Puzder to be his labor secretary earlier this month, America inched closer to Idiocracy! In the 2006 satire, corporations dominate the dumb, and the president's cabinet members mindlessly utter “Brought to you by Carl's Jr.!” in the Oval Office. But all jokes aside, Puzder poises a threat to worker rights as dangerous as an order of “EXTRA BIG ASS FRIES” will be to American arteries.
The Carl's Jr. and Hardee's parent company CEO has already come out against a $15-an-hour minimum wage on a recent radio interview with the horrible Hugh Hewitt. An op-ed in the Orange County Register found a way to applaud the Puzder pick as someone who will somehow bring about wage growth. If you believe the Trumpbros, not only are you getting a businessman, but you're getting a good, God-fearing man.
But a better, more revealing look into his views comes courtesy of a December 2009 interview stored in Cal State Fullerton's Center for Oral and Public History (COPH). Allison Varzally spoke with Puzder at Carl Karcher Enterprises in Carpinteria for COPH's Southern California Food Culture and Visionaries project. The burger honcho talked about saving Karcher from bankruptcy back in the 1990s, when Karcher was infamously canned from the company he started, and the close friendship he shared with the franchise founder in Orange County. “We were best friends,” Puzder said in the interview. “It was a wonderful relationship.” The two attended morning mass at Anaheim's St. Boniface Catholic Church, and Karcher invited the Puzder family to gatherings at their San Clemente and Anaheim homes.
But where the burger talk reviewed by the Weekly gets…um, juicy is when Puzder is asked about how California has changed and what new challenges faced Carl's. He took the opportunity to bring it back to Karcher's humble hot dog cart beginnings on the corner of Florence and Central in South LA, for which Puzder has no love.
“I don't even know if I'd walk there now,” Puzder said in the interview. “Margaret [Carl's wife] would run the hot dog cart and their young daughter…Anne would sleep in the car. You wouldn't do that now.” This from the head of a company that challenged eaters to “Man Up!” and take on the Western X-tra Bacon Thickburger!
Trump's labor man also had choice words for Carl's Jr.'s home state. “I think the big change in California, it's really become a kind of socialist state,” Puzder opined. “You can't be a capitalist in this state, and Carl was at heart a capitalist who created a company that to this day bears his initials.” The would-be Labor Secretary complained about regulations and overtime laws, claiming workers are overprotected.
“Have you ever been to a fast food restaurant and the employees are sitting and you're wondering, 'Why are they sitting?'” Puzder asked. “They are on what is called a mandatory break [emphasis his].” He shared a laugh with the interviewer, saying the so-called nanny state is why Carl's Jr. doesn't open up any new restaurants in California anymore.
South Central fears and regulation whining aside, Puzder raises a deeper question than why workers are sitting. Just how is he going to “Make America Great Again” when he fucked up the greatness that was the Western Bacon Cheeseburger? Under Puzder's helm, what was once a tangy titan has devolved into a miserable mess of a spongy patty, flaccid bacon strips and crusty onion rings sloppily slapped together with a cheap smattering of barbecue sauce.
And now for Idiocracy as prophecy: a worker-free Carl's Jr. kiosk!
Gabriel San Román is from Anacrime. He’s a journalist, subversive historian and the tallest Mexican in OC. He also once stood falsely accused of writing articles on Turkish politics in exchange for free food from DönerG’s!