President Trump’s most recent declared choice for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board has withdrawn his name for consideration. Stephen Moore, a Reagan-era economist and fierce central bank critic, who was “all in” a week ago, is now all out. He’s following in the retreating footsteps of another potential nominee, former presidential candidate Herman Cain, and he’s headed away from the critical glare of the Senate spotlight.
Mr. Moore, in a statement to Trump, gave the reason for his about face: “The unrelenting attacks on my character have become untenable for me and my family and 3 more months of this would be too hard on us.”
Moore’s seemingly elitist coastal attitude and past commentary, arguably derisive towards women, came back to bite him in the pants of his three-piece suit.
A Record Remembered
In spite of Moore’s economic credentials – founding the conservative group Club for Growth and a strong advocacy for deregulation and trickle-down economics — his personality, past questionable acts, and outspoken views on a variety of issues had Republican senators waffling on a future confirmation vote.
In a nutshell Moore’s ascendancy to the Federal Reserve Board was thwarted by a handful of now career derailing missteps:
- 1994 – Moore attacked the Violence Against Women Act, calling it the “the most objectionable pork” in a crime prevention bill.
- March 2002 – Moore pens a scathing rebuke to the NCAA for allowing a woman to referee a men’s college basketball game. “How outrageous is this? Is there no area in life where men can take vacation from women?”
- 2014 – Moore alluded that women earning more than men would be “disruptive to family stability.”
- 2014 – During a forum at the Heartland Institute, Moore labeled Cleveland and Cincinnati as “armpits of America.” “If you live in the Midwest, where else do you want to live besides Chicago, right?”
It appears 2014 was quite a banner year. And to add a few extra reasons for Senate Republicans to shy away from supporting the president’s pal, Moore was involved in a dispute with the IRS over $75,000 and refusing to pay $300,000 in child support and alimony. Yes, Mr. Moore was out before he was in. And that might just be a great thing.
The Right Stuff
The Fed is responsible for maintaining an even keel economy — raising interest rates to cool down a hot financial boon or cutting them to stimulate a sluggish recovery. Unless one is completely off the grid, the Fed is a vital cog in every American’s wheel. This group determines just how much it’s going to cost for using a credit card or for securing a loan for a vehicle or a home. A strong and impartial board is imperative.
The Fed needs an expert on monetary policy and bank regulation – the two main areas of purview where Moore admitted he was not up to snuff. So where is the next candidate able to pass muster for President Trump?
Former Federal Reserve board Michael Gapen – now the chief U.S. economist for Barclays Investment Bank, imparted his advice:
“The failure of the two potential nominees to gain traction, I think, suggests there’s a strong bipartisan support for continued independence of the Fed and Fed policy because the fact that senators came back and said this doesn’t seem quite right, gives you an indication that there are places where you can inject politics and places where you would prefer it not to go.”
President Trump will have to forgo his loyalty clause and bring someone to the table that will do what’s best for the nation, fortified by acumen and legitimate monetary policy credentials, and not for earning political stripes. If that’s at all possible.
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