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2016 National Meeting Keynote

Andrew Puzder, CEO CKE Restaurants

"Free market capitalism has allowed us to build the single greatest engine of growth and shared prosperity that the world has ever known.  Free enterprise enables all of us to both “dream big” and to fulfill those dreams."


Andrew Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants, Inc., delivered the Luncheon Keynote Address for the 2016 National Meeting. In addition to outlining the reasons he continues to believe in Adam Smith's ideals of the free market, he talked about several policy areas where public action can help free market capitalism and where government has been hindering it.

Government Stimulus

"Over the last 7 years this very visible fist has been particularly destructive.  We’ve seen $800 billion in so called government “stimulus” spending putting money in the hands of businesses and individuals that the government selected. Now, that is, something the government does very poorly.  Think about Solyndra and Fisker.  The promised economic growth never materialized.  GDP has stagnated at about around 2%."


"While investment in infrastructure is both a proper function of government and necessary, at best it’s a temporary driver of growth. Businesses obviously need roads and bridges to get goods to market and people obviously need them to get to their jobs...But you don’t build roads and bridges to create jobs. You build roads and bridges because people have jobs and businesses need to get goods to market."


"We’ve also seen the effects of the Dodd-Frank legislation intended to regulate the financial sector but resulting in massive closures of community banks, unable to afford the costs of compliance.  Those are the very banks that small businesses depend upon for growth.  And the economy, in turn, depends on those small businesses for its growth."


"Obamacare, where do I start? Still unpopular with its mandates and penalties oppressing business growth, is rapidly entering a death spiral as the economic assumptions upon which it was based collapse...The brutal truth is that the American economy has experienced a discouragingly anemic recovery since the Great Recession ended."

Mr. Puzder concluded by returning to the promise of America under the free market system. "There’s never been a nation or an economic system that offered millions of people like my grandfather the opportunity to make a better life for themselves and for their families; that opened the door to success based solely based on the commitment to give an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay or where success was determined not by your birth but rather by your desire to work harder, longer or smarter than the next guy."

Please watch all of Andrew Puzder's address here:


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