It’s time for real innovation in U.S. labor law

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Over the next few days, I am sure there will be a fair amount of ink spilled over Andy Puzder, President-elect Donald Trump’s designate to be secretary of the U.S. Labor Department From what I have read—and I don’t know the man—he seems like a good choice.

He does have a significant road ahead of him. Our labor laws need significant updates to better protect workers while facilitating new business models.

I think he may be up to the job, because I do know that Puzder is an innovator. And I know it for sure. He is a man who spearheaded the invention that I think may be the greatest achievement of the fast-food industry in modern history: the Philly Cheesesteak Thickburger. This sandwich product is an epic American innovation similar in magnitude to the practical electrical lightbulb, the Apollo program, internet protocols and the Pumpecapple Piecake. For those who have not already experienced its greatness, Puzder’s company invented the idea of using meat as a topping for meat. His company’s fantastic invention consists of a one-third pound burger with a full cheesesteak as a topping.

Someone capable of this level of innovation also ought to be open to other new idea, such as the concept of labor law waivers that I’ve helped the great labor leader Andy Stern to develop. We outlined the concept for The Washington Examiner a few months ago and have a longer article on it coming out soon in National Affairs. As we describe:

Federal lawmakers should [authorize] waivers from federal labor laws, similar to those granted under sections 1115 and 1119 of the Social Security Act, which allow state experiments with Medicaid, Medicare and other benefits programs. In effect, Congress should clear the way for wide-ranging experiments with new business models, responsibilities and roles for unions, employers, government and workers alike.

An innovator capable of creating the Philly Cheesesteak Thickburger should eat up this idea for true policy innovation.

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