Beyond Tom Perez: Why do we need a Labor Department?

The Baltimore Sunla-apphoto-labor-secretary-jpg-20130310

Well, America survived.

Yes, it’s true, the United States was able to withstand two months without a labor secretary. The previous secretary, Hilda Solis, stepped down on Jan. 22. That thud you heard was no one noticing. No one noticed because, like most of the federal government, the Department of Labor has become an enormous bureaucracy machine with a life of its own that functions in spite of — and in the absence of — any individual secretary.

Nevertheless, President Barack Obama has anointed her successor, one Thomas Perez, formerly head of the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, and presently chief of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.