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EDITORIAL: Advice from ‘armpit’ America: Keep Stephen Moore away from the Fed

Stephen Moore | Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

In Stephen Moore’s world, Midwestern cities like Cincinnati, Cleveland and St. Louis are “armpits.”

This from the man President Donald Trump would appoint to the board of the Federal Reserve.

Moore excludes Chicago from his harsh judgment, having grown up in suburban Winnetka, but we’ll take offense all the same on behalf of our fellow heartland cities. Moore’s “armpit” is somebody else’s proud town.

As Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, wrote to Moore last week: “You didn’t just insult Cleveland and Cincinnati — you dismissed millions of Americans who work and live in small towns and cities across the industrial heartland, and who have been looked down on and left behind by Washington and Wall Street for decades.”

But wait. Moore’s stupidity gets worse.

In Stephen Moore’s world, a woman should not make more money than her husband because, you know, it could be the ruin of the American family.

“What are the implications of a society in which women earn more than men?” Moore wrote in a 2014 column for National Review. “We don’t really know, but it could be disruptive to family stability. If men aren’t the breadwinners, will women regard them as economically expendable?”

This is from a man who has failed in his own family responsibilities. In 2013, he was held in contempt of court for failing to pay his former wife $300,000 in alimony and child support.

In Stephen Moore’s world, children should be working anyway, so maybe he can’t see the fairness in having to pay child support.

In a debate three years ago, Moore argued that the federal government should repeal laws prohibiting child labor. “I’m radical on this,” he said. “I’d get rid of a lot of these child labor laws. I want people starting to work at 11, 12.”

In Stephen Moore’s world, women are to be belittled. He has called the presence of a woman referee at a NCAA basketball game “an obscenity,” and he once mocked his wife for a vote she cast after watching a candidate’s commercial. “Women,” he wrote, “are sooo malleable!”

In Stephen Moore’s world, capitalism is essential. But democracy? Not so much.

“Capitalism is a lot more important than democracy,” he once told a documentary filmmaker. “I’m not even a big believer in democracy. I always say that democracy can be two wolves and a sheep deciding what to have for dinner.”

In Stephen Moore’s world, facts are flexible.

In 2014, he wrote such a factually dishonest opinion piece for the Kansas City Star that the editorial page editor later announced: “I won’t be running anything else from Stephen Moore.”

To make the argument in his op-ed that low-tax states create more jobs, Moore cited Bureau of Labor statistics from “the last five years.” But that proved to be a falsehood. The stats he cited were actually from the years of the Great Recession — 2007 to 2012 — when other obvious factors, beginning with the collapse of the housing market, swamped any effect tax rates might have had.

As we say, though, in Stephen Moore’s world, facts are flexible.

In an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal last year, Moore wrote that the Trump administration’s generous tax cut for corporations was already “paying for itself.” In truth, the tax cut was not, as anybody could easily determine. Corporate tax receipts were down 31% from the prior fiscal year.

Trump announced in March that he would nominate Moore to fill one of two vacant seats on the Federal Reserve of board of governors. Here’s hoping the White House, which has yet to file the paperwork, reconsiders.

It’s not just that Moore is loose with facts, fails to take seriously issues of gender equality, is hostile to labor protections and cool toward democracy. None of that would make him an outlier in the Trump administration.

He’s also not much of an economist, certainly not of the stature one might expect to find on the board of the Federal Reserve, which sets interest rates and other monetary policy.

Among Moore’s more cock-eyed views, he wants to peg the value of the U.S. dollar to the value of gold and believes that increasing interest rates leads to “deflation in the economy.” Most economists disagree with the first view, and almost all disagree with the second.

Trump tried to appoint Herman Cain, the former Republican presidential candidate, to the second vacant seat on the board of the Federal Reserve. The president backed off only when Republicans in the Senate, usually so compliant, let him know that Cain, utterly unqualified, could never be confirmed.

And now Trump is pushing Moore, an equally poor choice. In Moore, the president sees a right-wing political ideologue — not a top-notch economist — who likely would do his bidding.

Trump sure knows how to pick ’em.

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