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