Our view: On the Fed board, Moore would be less

USA TODAY US Edition - - NEWS - — By Dan Car­ney for the Ed­i­to­rial Board

As many ob­servers have noted, there is a re­al­ity tele­vi­sion qual­ity to Don­ald Trump’s pres­i­dency.

The most ob­vi­ous el­e­ment of this has been his plas­ter­ing of him­self across TV and other me­dia, and cast­ing each day as a new episode of The Trump Show in which he van­quishes ri­vals. But an­other is his ten­dency to ap­point ca­ble com­men­ta­tors to key po­si­tions, seem­ingly un­aware that some­one’s abil­ity to spout opin­ions does not make up for an ab­sence of core com­pe­ten­cies.

The lat­est in this trend is Stephen Moore, a pun­dit and po­lit­i­cal op­er­a­tive whom Trump in­tends to nom­i­nate to the Fed­eral Re­serve Board of Gover­nors.

Moore made his name as an ed­i­to­rial writer for The

Wall Street Jour­nal and a fre­quent com­men­ta­tor on var­i­ous con­ser­va­tive or pro-busi­ness tele­vi­sion shows. He also co-founded the Club for Growth, a group that backs far-right can­di­dates chal­leng­ing Repub­li­can in­cum­bents thought to be too mod­er­ate. And, not sur­pris­ingly, he was an early and con­sis­tent de­fender of Trump.

We think we can speak from ex­pe­ri­ence when we say that be­ing an ed­i­to­rial writer is a no­ble calling, but it doesn't nec­es­sar­ily qual­ify some­one to man­age Amer­ica’s mon­e­tary pol­icy or deal with a cri­sis like the 2008 fi­nan­cial crash.

As a Fed gov­er­nor, Moore would be in a se­lect group of seven peo­ple who de­cide what kind of re­serves banks need to main­tain. He would also likely serve on the Fed’s Open Mar­ket Com­mit­tee, the pow­er­ful panel that sets short-term in­ter­est rates.

Fed gover­nors, as well as the pres­i­dents of 12 re­gional Fed banks, typ­i­cally have Ph.D.s in eco­nom­ics and years of ex­pe­ri­ence as bank reg­u­la­tors. Or they are high-level busi­ness ex­ec­u­tives, prefer­ably in fi­nance, with real-world ex­pe­ri­ence in how com­pa­nies are af­fected by Fed pol­icy.

Moore falls into nei­ther of these cat­e­gories. He is a pun­dit and politico who, like many of his kind pop­ping up on tele­vi­sion or in print, com­ments on the Fed from time to time.

He has a his­tory of in­flam­ma­tory re­marks, bad pre­dic­tions and inat­ten­tion to de­tail in deal­ing with eco­nomic sta­tis­tics.

He is a bit like Peter Bergman, the 1980s soap opera ac­tor who made a good liv­ing pitch­ing cough syrup with the line “I’m not a doc­tor, but I play one on TV” — as if that some­how qual­i­fied him to make med­i­cal rec­om­men­da­tions.

Moore is way too po­lit­i­cal for a job that is sup­posed to be in­de­pen­dent and fact-based, one that re­quires sen­si­tive, com­plex de­ci­sion-mak­ing. In re­cent months, he has been par­rot­ing Trump’s line that the Fed shouldn’t raise rates and has closely al­lied him­self with Repub­li­can tax-cut­ting plans.

Moore is also laden with per­sonal bag­gage. In 2012, he was held in con­tempt of court for not pay­ing $300,000 in spousal and child sup­port.

Two years later, the IRS ac­cused him of try­ing to claim too much of his pay­ments to his ex-wife. The agency says it is still owed more than $75,000 in back taxes and penal­ties.

All this adds up to one sim­ple fact: Stephen Moore should not be con­firmed as a Fed gov­er­nor. In fact, he should not even be nom­i­nated.

Stephen Moore HER­ITAGE.ORG

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