Tuesday 15 October 2019

Economists worried about choice of 'propagandist' for top job at Fed

President Trump listens to a question as he speaks to reporters at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, yesterday. Photo: Reuters
President Trump listens to a question as he speaks to reporters at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, yesterday. Photo: Reuters

Josh Boak and Zeke Miller

US President Donald Trump's latest pick to help lead the Federal Reserve has received a rocky reception - with top economists raising several red flags about whether Stephen Moore is qualified to be a governor of the world's most influential central bank.

Mr Moore is a former Trump campaign adviser who helped design the 2017 tax cuts and the co-authored 'Trumponomics'. The economists say Mr Moore poses the distinct risk of injecting politics into an institution that strives to remain free of political influence when setting short-term interest rates that can determine the path of employment, inflation and overall growth.

"He's merely a propagandist," said Menzie Chinn, an economist at the University of Wisconsin. "He makes egregious mistakes in fact and theory."

Even a prominent Republican economist criticised the choice of Mr Moore.

"Steve is a perfectly amiable guy, but he does not have the intellectual gravitas for this important job," said Harvard University economist Greg Mankiw, a former chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers for George W Bush. "It is time for senators to do their job. Mr Moore should not be confirmed."

Still, other prominent conservative voices are rallying to Mr Moore. 'The Wall Street Journal', for which Mr Moore was once an editorial writer, endorsed him in an editorial, asserting that the "remarkable cascade of derision and condescension" from academic economists on Mr Moore's nomination is itself evidence he should be a Fed governor.

Mr Moore said at a 2015 event for conservative group FreedomWorks that "we have got to get rid of the Federal Reserve and move towards a gold standard in this country".

Mr Moore claimed to be baffled by the criticism, saying in a radio interview on the 'Capitol Hill Show' any attacks come from a "minority" of economists who likely object to his loyalty to Mr Trump.

"I think some are just Trump haters," he said.

Irish Independent

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