Herman Cain withdraws nomination; time for Stephen Moore to do the same

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Donald Trump has been trying to capture the Federal Reserve Board by appointing his political cronies to the board to do his bidding. This is a threat to the stability of the world’s financial system.

Today, Herman “9-9-9” Cain withdrew his name from consideration for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board, a development President Donald Trump announced via tweet on Monday.

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Vox.com reports, It’s official: Herman Cain is not going to be on the Fed:

It’s an abrupt turnaround for the former Republican presidential candidate and Godfather’s Pizza executive who said just last week that he didn’t intend to drop out, despite growing Republican opposition.

In the end, it appears pushback from Senate Republicans, who expressed concerns about his politicized approach to policy and past allegations of sexual misconduct, was enough to take him out of contention. Trump had yet to officially nominate Cain for a seat on the Federal Reserve but floated the idea earlier this month.

Despite everything congressional Republicans have put up with from Trump’s nominees, Cain was apparently a step too far.

Thank God for that. But If Republicans can’t stomach Herman Cain for the Fed, how on earth can they tolerate Stephen Moore?

In the end, it doesn’t look as though President Trump is going to get the partisan cheerleader he wanted on the Federal Reserve. The one, that is, who didn’t have any relevant qualifications, who had supported the discredited idea that is the gold standard and who had faced numerous questions about his personal life …

Come to think of it, that dismal list of attributes is somehow not specific enough to tell you which of Trump’s Fed picks we’re talking about here. That’s because, while Herman Cain’s nomination looks as if it’s getting quashed — [today it’s official] — the description above would have applied equally well to Trump’s other recent Fed selection, Stephen Moore.

Note: Moore advised the Trump campaign, championed the GOP tax bill, and published his ode to Trump’s greatness in Trumponomics.

That’s clear enough if you compare the two. Cain was a pizza executive turned presidential candidate who, despite his impressive-sounding-but-mostly-ceremonial job as chairman of the Kansas City Fed’s Board of Directors, had no experience either making monetary policy, studying it or working in financial markets. Moore, meanwhile, is an anti-tax polemicist who has a long history of getting his facts wrong and answering any question about the Fed by saying that he’s “not an expert on monetary policy.”

Cain was so worried about nonexistent inflation during Barack Obama’s presidency that he wanted to constrain the Fed’s ability to cut interest rates by forcing it to increase them whenever frequently buoyant gold prices rose; Moore, despite his apparent inability to remember doing so, also advocated that we return to the gold standard out of an economically unsound (and politically convenient) fear that slightly falling prices under Obama would soon turn into out-of-control increases.

Cain has faced four accusations of sexual harassment from his time as a business leader; Moore, for his part, has admitted to emotionally abusing his ex-wife, was found in contempt of court in 2013 for failing to pay her $330,000 in alimony and child support and is reportedly still settling with the IRS more than $75,000 it says he owes in taxes.

Not to mention maybe their most important similarity: They both seem to judge monetary policy not by the business cycle but, rather, by the political one. How else to explain the fact that they argued for higher interest rates when unemployment was high under a Democrat, before abruptly deciding that what the economy really needed was lower interest rates when unemployment was low under a Republican?

As far as Republican senators are concerned, though, none of this might matter as much as what, to them, could be the biggest difference between the two: Cain, unlike Moore, founded a pro-Trump super PAC that called some of those senators “traitors.” Which, together with the fact that they might not want to oppose both of Trump’s picks, is why there’s a very good chance that Moore could get confirmed when Cain could not.

Moore didn’t establish a super PAC, but Stephen Moore’s Fed bid is haunted by past attacks on GOP establishment:

As president of the conservative Club for Growth in 2004, Moore directed $260,000 in contributions to Cain and endorsed him in an open Senate race against then-Rep. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), according to Federal Election Commission records. Moore also leveled harsh attacks on Isakson, who nevertheless won the primary and was reelected to a third Senate term in 2016.

Moore’s history as an antagonist to the GOP establishment will be under close scrutiny if his nomination moves forward.

If you had “concerns” about Cain’s “qualifications,” as Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) said some Republicans did, then you should feel the same way about Moore. Or if you were worried about Cain’s “very controversial” idea of “wanting to return to the gold standard,” as Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) was, then you should also feel the same way about Moore (even if he has slightly modified his views to now support a similar commodity standard instead). And if you couldn’t support Cain because “character still does matter,” as Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) said, then, yes, you should feel the same way about Moore.

Above all, though, if you “would like to see nominees that are economists first and not partisans,” as Sen. Romney told Politico in an interview, then you should definitely feel the same way about Moore that you did about Cain.

Vox.com adds, “When asked about conservative economist Stephen Moore, another potential Fed nominee, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) simply laughed. “I hope the president will consider these nominations very carefully,” she told Vox. I’m not very enthused right now.”

The long knives are now out for Stephen Moore. CNN reports, Trump Fed pick Stephen Moore called it a ‘travesty’ that women ‘feel free’ to play sports with men:

One of President Donald Trump’s picks to serve on the Federal Reserve Board has written that women should be banned from refereeing, announcing or beer vending at men’s college basketball games, asking if there was any area in life “where men can take vacation from women.”

Stephen Moore, an economic commentator and former Trump campaign adviser, made those and similar comments in several columns reviewed by CNN’s KFile that were published on the website of the conservative National Review magazine in 2001, twice in 2002 and 2003.

In a 2000 column, Moore complained about his wife voting for Democrats, writing, “Women are sooo malleable! No wonder there’s a gender gap.” In another column in 2000, Moore criticized female athletes advocating for pay equality, writing that they wanted “equal pay for inferior work.”

Moore, who subsequently worked as a Wall Street Journal editorial board member, was at the time the president of the Club for Growth, a conservative political organization. He was a CNN contributor from 2017 until last month.

Moore told CNN’s KFile in an email, “This was a spoof. I have a sense of humor.”

It wasn’t a “spoof.” Stephen Moore has always been a right-wing polemicist bomb thrower, cut from the same cloth as Ann Coulter. His whole shtick is to be outrageous and offensive. He is a political hack, not a serious economist.

CNN earlier reported that Trump’s Fed pick Stephen Moore is a self-described ‘radical’ who said he’s not a ‘big believer in democracy’:

In speeches and radio interviews reviewed by CNN’s KFile, Moore advocated for eliminating the corporate and federal income taxes entirely, calling the 16th Amendment that created the income tax the “most evil” law passed in the 20th century.

Moore’s economic worldview envisions a slimmed down government and a rolled back social safety net. He has called for eliminating the Departments of Labor, Energy and Commerce, along with the IRS and the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. He has questioned the need for both the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Education. He has said there’s no need for a federal minimum wage, called for privatizing the “Ponzi scheme” of Social Security and said those on government assistance lost their dignity and meaning.

In other interviews and appearances, Moore repeatedly said he believed capitalism was more important than democracy.

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Moore has repeatedly called for a “radical” plan to grow the economy by getting rid of the corporate income tax and personal income tax.

“We have to eliminate the corporate income tax entirely in my opinion because it is just a millstone around the neck of this economy,” Moore said on a 2012 panel.

Speaking in 2015, Moore called for getting rid of the income tax and moving to a national sales tax.

Speaking on the Glenn Beck Program in 2007, a transcript of which is available on the Web Archive, Moore called the 16th amendment — which created the federal income tax — “the most the most evil act that has passed in 100 years.”

Moore has repeatedly said he believes capitalism is more important than democracy.

In an interview for Michael Moore’s 2009 film “Capitalism: A Love Story,” Moore said he wasn’t a big believer in democracy.

“Capitalism is a lot more important than democracy,” Moore said. “I’m not even a big believer in democracy. I always say that democracy can be two wolves and a sheep deciding on what to have for dinner. Look, I’m in favor of people having the right to vote and things like that. But there are a lot of countries that have the right to vote that are still poor. Democracy doesn’t always lead to a good economy or even a good political system.”

* * *

Moore has repeatedly expressed a desire to rollback the social safety net in the country, including Social Security, which he has called “the soft underbelly of the welfare state” and frequently said is “a Bernie Madoff-style Ponzi scheme that will eventually sink into insolvency unless reformed.” Moore told CNN’s KFile he believes in letting young people put their retirement savings in 401K accounts on a voluntary basis instead of Social Security and that wouldn’t cut benefits to those already on it.

Speaking at an event in 2014, Moore said those on government assistance —- “the dole” —- were depleted of dignity or meaning in their lives.

“You know, we have too many people dependent on government and the cost isn’t so much of what it costs our fisc — you know, the fiscal situation, it’s really expensive. The cost, it just depletes people of their dignity and their meaning in life,” he said. “I mean, there’s nothing worse than being on the dole, right?” … The welfare state hurts the very people it has supposed to have helped. No one should go hungry or homeless or without basic health care, but there is abetted (sic) way than handouts.”

Medicaid, Moore said in February 2018, was a “dumbass” system.

Moore told CNN’s KFile he stood by his comments on Medicaid, saying he’d instead give “the poor a medical savings account and let them buy health care in the open market.”

And a federal minimum wage, Moore said last year at a Heritage Foundation event, is not necessary.

“You don’t need a federal minimum wage. You need, you need pro-growth policies that will cause companies to raise the ratio.”

Moore told CNN’s KFile he doesn’t want to abolish the minimum wage.

Outside of the realm of economics, the Fed nominee spent the past year cozying up with nefarious far-right creatures, raising questions over whether it’s all part of the MAGA grift or something more sinister. Why Is Stephen Moore Hanging Out with the Alt-Right?

Last fall, however, Moore started cropping up at some … interesting … speaking engagements. In September, he spoke at the Phyllis Schlafly 47th “Eagle Council” co-hosted by the Gateway Pundit; his fellow speakers included Mike Cernovich, Stefan Molyneux, Pamela Geller, Joe Arpaio, and Laura Loomer. This is the same gathering that bestowed on Rep. Steve King the “Phyllis Schlafly Award for Excellence in Leadership” months before King defended white supremacy in a  New York Times interview and promptly lost all of his House committee assignments. The conference also honored several far-right European nationalists, including one representative for the People’s Alternative for Deutschland (whose members have marched with Neo-Nazis and advocated for Germany going “180 degrees” in its Holocaust memorial policies).

I contacted Moore to ask about his attendance at the gathering.

“I love, love Phyllis Schlafly,” he said.

Shortly after the Eagle Council, Moore’s name appeared alongside Milo Yiannopoulos and Loomer at the American Priority Conference (which included a Qanon “expert” panel, before the session was delisted). Moore backed out of the event (I asked him about that but he declined to comment), but he later gave an interview to Jacob Wohl. The Q&A was briefly featured on Wohl’s Medium page, and was scrubbed after the 21-year-old aficionado of hipster coffee shops was referred to the FBI for peddling false accusations against the special counsel.

In the Trump era, there is a pipeline laundering conspiracy theories, racism, and bad ideas into the heart of the party’s mainstream. The leading players are always changing, like a Game of Thrones for fascists, and those who push the GOP further right one day can be banished to the fringes the next. In this world, Moore has used his credentials at prestigious conservative institutions to bestow political capital on unsavory far-right characters, transforming into an “extreme nativist” himself.

If Herman Cain was the only thing protecting Stephen Moore’s nomination, that protection is now gone. Contact your senators and demand that they reject this right-wing polemicist for the Federal Reserve Board. Moore is unqualified, and unfit for government service.