Former CKE Restaurants CEO Andy Puzder believes that Democratic Presidential Candidate Senator Bernie Sanders’ fight against Walmart is a waste of his time and rather than proposing policies that kill economic growth, he should focus on encouraging it.
“If Bernie Sanders really wants to see wages go up, if people really want to see wages increase to a market level that is high enough for people to do all the things that Bernie Sanders claims they should be, he should be out there encouraging economic growth”, he said on Making Money with Charles Payne on Wednesday
“Economic growth is driving wages today far more effectively than any minimum wage bill that has ever been passed by the federal government. You have got not only 10 straight months of 3 percent, plus nine straight months of 3 percent plus GDP growth," he said. "But for people in retail and for people in restaurants and hotels it has been 4 percent for 8 to 10 months. We’re really seeing the kind of wage growth you would like to see from economic growth. All these proposals, Sanders’ proposals, they are just going to kill the growth.”
Sanders attended Walmart’s annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday where he called the retailer out for underpaying its employees. He believes that the federal minimum wage should be increased to $15 an hour and supports a bill passed by House Democrats last month that could make that a reality by 2024.
Puzder, however, believes that the legislation is unnecessary and will be irrelevant by the time it takes effect.
“I think $15 an hour is rapidly becoming superfluous. It will clearly be superfluous by 2024 when the bill the Democrats are proposing would take effect,” he said. “If the economy keeps growing, if we follow President Trump’s capitalist free market policies, the economy continues to grow, wages will go up without Bernie Sanders.”
He adds that Walmart will have to increase its wages to remain competitive regardless of whether or not the government intervenes with a national minimum wage.
“It's competing with employees with Amazon, it's competing with Costco, it's competing with Target...if they want the best employees, if they want employees that can really service their customers, they are going to have to increase their wages whether or not the government does anything because as I said they’re competing with these other companies, these other brands that pay a higher wage” he said.
Walmart CEO Doug McMillon told shareholders Wednesday that the company’s minimum wage is currently at $11 per hour, just $2 behind competitors Amazon and Target.