FPI / May 16, 2019
It was just the latest example of the toxic political atmosphere pervading the nation these days. This time, the fabricated outrage of the Trump haters revolved around Stephen Moore, free market economist extraordinaire, founder of the acclaimed Club for Growth, and a key economic adviser to President Trump since the 2016 presidential campaign.
Moore, a WorldTribune columnist, was asked by the President to serve on the Federal Reserve Board, the central bank responsible for setting interest rates and determining the nation’s monetary policy. But after repeated attacks on his character and record, Moore soon pulled out, writing a letter to the president, saying, “the unrelenting attacks on my character have become untenable for me and my family.”
Moore discussed the behavior of those determined to destroy him, as well as his considerable influence on the president’s economic policies, in a wide-ranging interview for Liberty Nation Radio.
Tim: Now I want to focus on matters of substance, but let’s start with this whole ugly episode involving your nomination to the Federal Reserve. We know you were attacked for writing things considered sexist, that you said were just spoofs, but give us a fuller sense of the nature of these attacks on your character.
Stephen Moore: Well, Tim, let me start by saying it was great honor when the president offered to nominate me for the Federal Reserve Board. I was excited about it and, I wasn’t appointed to be the chairman, and most of the power in the Fed resides with the chairman. But, I thought it would be a cool experience. I thought that I could actually maybe have some impact on how the Fed determines the money supply and interest rates of this economy because it makes a big difference in terms of people’s jobs and people’s 401K plans and all of these things. I was a little skewed because I really didn’t think that people would pay a lot of attention to this. Can you name more than one Federal Reserve Board member? I bet most people listening to this show can’t. Probably I can’t mention more than one or two.
I thought it might be a little story in the Wall Street Journal today and then maybe during the confirmation hearing in front of the Senate in a few months. But what happened almost from the moment this was announced, Tim, and I’m not exaggerating, the knives were out for me, and it’s almost flattering actually that they were that afraid of me, that they just went completely ape over this and started attacking every element of… he doesn’t have the intellectual gravitas, he doesn’t have a PhD. All of these things. And by the way, the fact that I didn’t have a PhD in economics, I do have a master’s, I thought was kind of a qualification, not the disqualification, but because they have 300 PhD economists over there and they haven’t done such a great job.
I also hoped that this would be a great opportunity to use this as a platform to talk to the American people about what our monetary policy should be and what happened to … they realized in about three days that they weren’t going to be able to defeat me and my economic ideas because frankly, I helped put the president’s plan together, I have a pretty good track record. I’m not always right, but I’m right more than I’m wrong and certainly more right than the liberals who were attacking me. And so they started this character assassination. I don’t want to get too much into the details of it, but it was vicious, and it was going into my divorce documents and going into things I’ve written 20, 25 years ago, little Christmas letters, they would extract things which were spoofs.
They were things that we just, we’d have fun making fun of everyone and everything, including ourselves, but the left takes everything literally now. So they don’t understand what humor is. But by the way, I said some bad things that I regret saying, so I’m not blameless in this, but I think one lesson of this is that, if you’re someone, anyone with any kind of record, I’ve written 2,500 articles, probably 600 media appearances, hundreds and hundreds of speeches. You can go back and, I have skeletons in my closet.
I’ve said things that are flamboyant and politically incorrect. And they were able to build a case against me. It was so harsh that my wife almost literally said, “If you don’t drop out of this, I’m going to divorce you.” That’s how hard it was on us day after day after day. They had seven full-time investigative reporters looking into me.
Tim: Wow! I didn’t even realize the magnitude of it all. I mean, you’ve always been a policy guy, Steve, who mostly stood apart from politics. So let me ask you this. What did you learn from your exposure to the down and dirty side of politics circa 2019?
Stephen Moore: Well, I thought it was a little bit flattering. I think they were genuinely terrified of having me over at the Fed and that’s why they pulled out all the stops to prevent me from being there. They did not want my free market ideas at the Fed. And so it’s unfortunate because either way it would’ve only been one of nine or 10 or 11 or 12 voices over there. So you know, that they think that my powers of persuasion are so super human, Tim, that I was going to completely change everything that was done over at the Fed. And so I’m disappointed. I think that Donald Trump will find, because Herman Cain also had to drop out. And by the way, Herman would have been an excellent, excellent member of the Fed. I know Trump, by the way, I’ve got to say this about Donald Trump. The guy never backs down, even when some of the harsher stuff was coming out against me, he never called me and said, you should drop out. In fact, when I would suggest that, he said, “Are you kidding? No, get back in there and fight, fight, fight.” I love that about Donald Trump. He’s a loyal guy and I’ve come out with so much more respect for him by the way, because what I went through, Tim, was one tenth of what Donald Trump went through, in the assaults and he never backs down and he never gives up a fight. And so that … that meant a lot to me.
He wrote me a very nice note after the whole thing was over. But I can guarantee you, we will eventually put two people on that Federal Reserve that are free market oriented, believe in stable prices and believe that inflation is not caused by economic growth because Trump has created economic growth and the Fed is terrified that’s going to cause inflation. But when you produce more goods and services, the prices of things fall, they don’t rise.
FPI, Free Press International