When Trump nominated Stephen Moore to fill a position on the board of the Federal Reserve he picked his usual caliber of candidate —  one lacking in character. The Guardian (UK) newspaper obtained court records from Virginia which showed Moore owed his ex-wife $300,000 in alimony and child support.

When Moore continued to welsh on his obligations, the court ordered the sale of his house to pay his ex-wife. However, the court canceled the sale when she agreed to forgo one-third of what she was owed. And that would have been that — except the IRA claims that Moore owes them $75,000 in taxes.

Moore denies the claim and says it stems from “confusion over tax deductions relating to his child support and alimony payments”.  Being confused over taxes is not a great qualification for a position overseeing the nation’s money supply. 

Moore is also a hypocrite. On the one hand, he has been a vocal supporter of marriage — saying that intact families are a key to economic growth and marriage instills a “culture of virtue”. On the other hand, while married, Moore set up two accounts and had an affair with two women.

Moore is also close with Paul Erickson — the two of them founded a controversial attack group during the 2008 campaign. And Erickson’s girlfriend is Maria Butina, the infamous Russian agent sent to infiltrate conservative circles. (it’s a small world.) 

But immorality is no bar to a job in Trump World – and neither is inability. Moore is the economic co-architect, along with Arthur Laffer, of Reagan’s deficit-exploding, supply-side, tax cut plan. This ‘theory’ maintained that tax cuts for the rich would create wealth that would trickle down to the average citizen.

All it did was lead to ever-widening income inequality and an explosion of the National Debt. Unfortunately, this economic stupidity will not die — George Bush Sr. called it ‘voodoo economics’, it would be better named ‘zombie economics’. George Bush Jr. tried it and blew up the economy. Now Trump has tried it and the cracks are starting to show.

Leading conservative economists are dismayed by Moore’s nomination. William D. Cohen in Vanity Fair identifies two. Greg Mankiw, a Harvard professor who was chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers under Bush, wrote in a blog post  “He does not have the intellectual gravitas for this important job” — adding “It is time for senators to do their job. Mr. Moore should not be confirmed”. And Bruce Barlett, another G.O.P. economist, tweeted that Moore knows “absolutely nothing about the Federal Reserve or monetary policy.”  

Moore has no Ph.D. or equivalent. But he does have a doctorate in ass-kissing, and that is Trump’s favorite qualification. As Cohen wrote: “Moore is a true believer, and that’s what Trump seems to need around him these days. Moore once—seriously—suggested that Trump deserved the 2018 Nobel Prize in Economics and, again seriously, said he thought Trump looked like ‘a football player, in incredible, great shape’.” Oh please. 

Along with Laffer, Moore also authored a 2018 book “Trumpanomics” which lauded Trump’s economic chops. In it, they claimed that Trump’s 2017 tax plan would raise GDP growth to as much as 6% without increasing deficits. A claim derided as “snake-oil economics” by Mankiw.  

Moore has had problems with facts before. In a 2014 Kansas City Star op-ed he argued that job growth was better in low-tax states. His data was found to be flawed. He submitted more data – also faulty. Finally, Miriam Pepper, editorial page editor for the Star had had enough, announcing: “I won’t be running anything else from Stephen Moore”.

Moore has inflicted himself on other presidential candidates. He was Herman Cain’s economic advisor, and his lasting contribution to that short-lived campaign was Cain’s laughable 9-9-9 tax plan.

But Moore has GOP support. Alabama Senator, Richard Shelby, who has lived through every Republican recession since the Great Depression thinks that Moore’s intellectual limitations are Jim Dandy. His take? “I’ve always said they could use diversity, you don’t need to be a Nobel laureate or University of Chicago professor.” 

Republicans, like autocrats everywhere, think that knowing things is deeply suspect. 

Even Moore acknowledges he isn’t up for the job, saying on the news of his nomination “I’m kind of new to this game, frankly, so I’m going to be on a steep learning curve myself about how the Fed operates, how the Federal Reserve makes it decisions, and this is a real, exciting opportunity for me”

Let’s note that if Moore’s confirmed he’ll be in the position for 14 years. Trump will be gone, but his legacy of incompetence will be around for a long time.


Tariffs Are a Regressive Tax that Penalizes the Poor.

November 29, 2018

But who’s paying the $3 tariff? Whoever is buying widgets — in this case, the American consumer. Increasing the price of widgets by $3 is the equivalent of adding a 20% sales tax. However, that revenue would only come from Chinese widget sales. The Treasury would get no direct benefit from increased American widget sales.

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The Symphony of the Seas, the USS Ford, and a Tale of Political Piracy.

November 29, 2018

The Symphony of the Seas is the world’s largest cruise ship. It is 1,188 ft long, 215 wide and has a gross tonnage of 228,081. It can carry almost 9,000 passengers and crew. It cost $1.35 billion. But it is not the world’s most expensive ship. The most expensive is the aircraft carrier, USS Gerald Ford. This largest-ever naval ship is 1,106 […]

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Twelve Things Conservatives Believe About Liberals That Are Just Not True.

October 27, 2018

The conservative echo chamber resonates with claims made about what liberals believe and stand for. As you might expect, there is no factual basis for what they say. Let’s analyze their top dozen mischaracterizations: 1. Liberals want open borders, where anyone, for any reason, can come to America at any time. Liberals do not believe […]

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The Increase in Minimum Wage & Hourly Pay Compared to Average CEO Pay.

August 15, 2018

The chart above tracks the growth of the average hourly wage of the American worker. It seems to show an overall steady and solid increase. But it is an optical illusion. The scale on the right starts at $22.00 and ends at $22.80. If it started at $0.00 the columns would appear to be about the […]

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The Two Americas – Rarely the Twain Shall Meet.

July 30, 2015

“History is written by the rich, and so the poor get blamed for everything” ― Jeffrey D. Sachs Martin Luther King talked of ‘two Americas’. Two Americas divided by wealth and opportunity. And it isn’t only that the rich can buy more stuff than the poor. They can also buy better criminal justice and political results. Rob […]

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What’s the Worst That Could Happen? How to Make a Choice.

July 29, 2015

“The essence of the independent mind lies not in what it thinks, but in how it thinks” ― Christopher Hitchens. Will an increase in the minimum wage lead to economic Armageddon and mass firings – or will it lift millions out of poverty? Many have an opinion and luckily there are ‘experts’ they can cite […]

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The Military/Industrial Complex and the Culture of Dependency.

March 30, 2015

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist” ― Dwight D. Eisenhower. Tom Kennedy, Wes Bush, and Greg Hayes are names not familiar to most Americans, but those government […]

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Are We Mom, the Flag, and Apple Pie – Or More Like the Guy at Applebee’s in the Wife Beater.

December 11, 2014

“America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.” ― Alexis de Tocqueville. We consider ourselves to be a decent people. Our heroes are stalwart sorts – who can be relied upon to the right thing. Cary Cooper, John Wayne and the Marlboro Man. We […]

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