After reading The Capitalist Comeback, by Andrew Puzder, I debated blogging about it. I’m still not sure what the exact angle is, but I decided to offer a few sound bites and leave it up to you.
Even though I spent the first 15 years of my professional career advising (financially, that is) local governments — where I experienced some really nasty politics at times — I was shocked by this book. To support his comments and views, Puzder provides more than 500 references to other books, articles, studies, and speeches to support his findings. (Editorial comment: As you know, I prefer authors who reference credible sources versus those with “just” strong personal opinions.)
Puzder was a successful commercial trial lawyer who joined the parent company of Hardee’s Restaurant. After five years, he became CEO — a job he successfully held for 16 years. President Trump nominated Puzder to serve as his Secretary of Labor but, after a long and contentious confirmation hearing process, he withdrew his name from consideration. What happened is very sad to me, although I’m sure it happens to members of both political parties. Based on the positions presented in his book, I think Puzder would have been a refreshing addition to the cabinet. (And, just so you’re not confused, he was actually in favor of increasing the minimum wage. You need to read the book to get more details on his position.)
Although he doesn’t say it this way, Puzder seems to believe that for over 100 years, the U.S. has been drifting away from its roots. Prior to the industrial revolution, most Americans were business owners. Many were farmers and the rest had businesses that provided products or services to the farmers, like blacksmiths. Daniel Pink refers to them as “free agents” in his book, Free Agent Nation. Puzder doesn’t get into this subject in his book, but Pink and others are excited that we once again seem to have more self-employed workers.
Probably to the surprise of many, Puzder is a champion of what he refers to as entry-level jobs. He’s also really focused on income inequality.
I guess I would say that if you want to hear a side of the story that’s rarely told, I would recommend reading Puzder’s book. I found him to be a guy who cares about his family, his business, his employees and, most of all, his country.