Most of us do not agonize in our daily lives about Federal Reserve appointments. They come and go with little public intrigue. But there are a few reasons why President Trump’s nomination of Stephen Moore to the Federal Reserve Board should scare anyone, regardless of political persuasion, who follows the economy.
Moore, a noted partisan, is up for one of seven seats on the Board of Governors for a five or eleven-year term, depending on which seat he is nominated to fill. His proclivity for playing fast and loose with facts is well documented – his main consistency is that virtually all of his opinions are conveniently designed to help Republicans win elections. He nicknamed Trump’s tax cuts – which he helped design – “death to Democrats” because he thought they would punish several Democratic priorities and blue states generally. This anecdote is one of many that are beneath our central bank.
An influential technocratic institution, the Fed’s bedrock is its independence. Trump’s nomination of Jerome Powell for Chair was a relative bright spot in a presidency otherwise marred by controversial appointments. The Federal Reserve is an important crisis-manager in recessions, and its every move is watched by markets. For this reason, the Fed must operate, and appear to operate, independently.
It is also worth noting that members of the Board of Governors are typically nominees for Fed Chair. Having Moore presiding over interest rates to juice the economy under Trump and sabotage it under a Democratic president would be disastrous.
A laundry list of respected economists oppose his nomination.