Stephen Moore

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Stephen Moore

Stephen Moore, also known as Steve Moore, has been employed by many conservative groups in various roles such as "Senior Fellow," "Visiting Scholar" and "Senior Economist." He founded the Club for Growth and has served on the Wall Street Journals editorial board. Moore is frequently referred to as an "economist" in the media, despite pushback from tenured professors of Economics due to his lack of a Ph.D. in the subject.[1] Moore was nominated to the Federal Reserve Board by President Trump in March 2019,[2] but withdrew his name "amid revelations about decades' worth of disparaging comments Moore has made about women."[3]

Moore has held positions with Herman Cain's 2012 presidential campaign, Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, the American Legislative Exchange Council,[4] the Searle Freedom Trust,[5] the Cato Institute,[6] Donors Capital Fund[7] and many others. He additionally has ties to the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity.

News and Controversies

Withdrawl from Fed Board Nomination

Moore wrote to Donald Trump: "I am respectfully asking that you withdraw my name from consideration. The unrelenting attacks on my character have become untenable for me and my family and 3 more months of this would be too hard on us" according to CNN.[8] The "unrelenting attack" referenced by Moore likely is a response to "decades' worth of disparaging comments Moore has made about women" uncovered by multiple news outlets, including CNN and the New York Times"[3][9]

Moore expressed loyalty to Trump in the letter, "as you know, for the last four years nearly since the start of your campaign for President, I have been an advocate of your economic agenda and am proud to have played a small role in helping make that happen. I will continue to be a loud economic voice advocating for your policies" concluding "I am always at your disposal."[8]

"More than 100 economists and conservative activists" Support Moore

105 professors, former government officials and professionals cosigned the statement: "We, the undersigned, support Steve Moore’s nomination to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve" as reported by The Hill on April 15, 2019. The statement was signed by "prominent conservatives like economist Arthur Laffer, Forbes Editor-in-Chief Steve Forbes, former Fed Vice Chairman Manley Johnson and former President of the Federal Reserve of Atlanta Bill Ford."[10] Of those on the list, according to University of Wisconsin Economics Professor Menzie Chinn "not all the signatories are economists" as implied by some news coverage surrounding the list.[11]

Johnathan Bernstein, a Bloomberg Opinion Columnist, suggests that the signatories "couldn’t even agree to strongly support him. There’s no praise for his qualifications or his judgement. There’s no talk about what a genuinely nice guy he is. Nothing."[12]

Chinn points out that some of the signatories have degrees in none economic fields, others from non-accredited universities, and some have no degree at all. Additionally, only seven of the 105 are women and "almost none are [part of a] minority" group.[11] According to a CMD analysis, at least 28 of the signatories are emeritus or retired. "I’ve never seen a letter like this so dominated by retired professors," Berstein says, "That doesn’t disqualify them from having expertise, of course, but it’s certainly unusual."[12]

CMD's analysis additionally found that 42 of the signatories have ties, in one form or another the Koch Brothers or ALEC. Observers stated that many other notable conservative economists such as John Taylor, Glenn Hubbard, Kevin Warsh, Larry Lindsey and John Cochrane were not signatories.[12]

The "Grifty Thing" Moore "Did With Herman Cain and the Koch Brothers’ Blessing"

Moore, alongside Herman Cain, hosted "Prosperity 101" a seminar where the duo would go to a workplace at the expense of the owner and "put on a “voluntary” employee seminar on what was ostensibly good for workers economically—which coincidentally happened to be what was far better for very rich people who didn’t want to pay taxes, observe environmental protections or engage in collective bargaining" according to Right Wing Watch. Adele M. Stan initially researched the seminars in 2011 and "found that all of the businesses involved were privately-owned companies whose principals belonged to the Koch donor network." Prosperity 101 was a "for-profit enterprise designed" by Mark Block and Linda Hansen "to scare employees of privately-held companies into voting for their employers’ favored candidates." Moore was selected as the frontman because Block and Hansen thought he would be "perceived to have real economic expertise."[13]

"Bashing Women, Gay Rights and More"

Reviews of Moore's positions on social issues published by CNN[14] and The New York Times[9] found that he has a record of "bashing women, gay rights and more."

Women and Sports

  • Women's tennis players do "inferior work" to their male counterparts.[15]
  • "Venus Williams is a multi-millionaire not in spite of the fact that she is a women [sic], but precisely because she’s a woman. She receives much higher pay than an equally skilled man. Isn’t that precisely the opposite of what is meant by pay equity?"[15]
  • Moore's son, William, was born "in the middle of an Indiana-Temple game, a real nailbiter. I remember the game vividly because I kept running back and forth between the delivery room and the hospital TV room. The surly nurse kept asking me: "Mr. Moore, is this an inconvenient time for your wife to have this baby." I told her, with all honesty, that the timing could have been a lot better."
  • According to CNN, "Moore suggested changes to March Madness tournament to get rid of "un-American" aspects of it. The first rule proposed by Moore was "no women."[14]
  • "CBS now has women announcers and commentators. Is nothing sacred"[14]
  • "What makes peewee soccer particularly insidious is that boys and girls play together. The left has converted this sport into a giant social experiment imposed upon us by the geniuses that have put women in combat in the military. No one seems to care much that co-ed sports is [sic] doing irreparable harm to the psyche of America’s little boys."[16]

Equal pay

  • "The crisis in America today isn’t about women’s wages; it’s about men’s wages."[9]
  • "What are the implications of a society in which women earn more than men? We don’t really know, but it could be disruptive to family stability. If men aren’t the breadwinners, will women regard them as economically expendable? We saw what happened to family structure in low-income and black households when a welfare check took the place of a father’s paycheck. Divorce rates go up when men lose their jobs."[9]

Feminism on College Campuses

  • "The group that has fallen into great disfavor is the white male."[9]
  • "Colleges are places for rabble-rousing. For men to lose their boyhood innocence. To do stupid things. To stay out way too late drinking. To chase skirts. (At the University of Illinois, we used to say that the best thing about Sunday nights was sleeping alone.) It’s all a time-tested rite of passage into adulthood. And the women seemed to survive just fine. If they were so oppressed and offended by drunken, lustful frat boys, why is it that on Friday nights they showed up in droves in tight skirts to the keg parties?"[9]
  • "A rape on campus had converted the entire white male population into a suspected class. The anti-male bias has started to border on the preposterous. At Antioch College, the school has issued a dos-and-don’ts rule book for how to round the bases with a co-ed. You now have to get verbal permission from the woman at each stage of courtship."[9]

Gay rights

  • "We have courts overturning the will of the people in state after state on issues like gay marriage and if you are — God forbid — for traditional marriage and refuse to bake the cake, you are chastised as a bigot."[9]

"'Hitting on girls' while driving around"

  • According to The New York Times: "Moore also wrote several parodies of the traditional family “Christmas letter,” in which he referred to himself in the third person as “Steve” and listed various complaints about his family. In 2001, he wrote that he had bought a new Camaro convertible, and that his young children were impeding his attempts at “hitting on girls” while driving around."[17]

Outstanding Debts to the IRS

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) filed a claim for debt in Moores' hometown for $75,328 in taxes which the US Government alleges he owes. Moore disputes the IRS claim, but says that he is “eager to reach an agreement.” The debt in question comes from taxes incurred in 2014, according to a January 2018 court document reported on by the Guardian.[18]

Qualifications for Nomination to the Federal Reserve

President Trump announced Moore's nomination to Federal Reserve Board in March 2019.[2] Trump did so after he saw a Wall Street Journal op-ed by Moore and reportedly asked Larry Kudlow why Moore wasn’t Fed chair. "Kudlow said he told the president that the Fed already has a chairman, but Moore would be a “perfect Fed governor.”[19] In response to his nomination, Moore said “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 its decisions. He continued "It’s hard for me to say even what my role will be there, assuming I get confirmed.” Later in April 2019, Moore admitted: "I’m not an expert on monetary policy." According to the New Yorker, the fact that "Moore could casually admit his non-expertise" is very surprising considering his appointment. "The old “what is your greatest weakness?” interview question is one you’re supposed to answer by noting some peripheral trait or skill. You can say “monetary policy” — I’m no monetary policy expert, either — as long as the job you’re gunning for is not in central banking."[20]

Typically, presidents have nominated to the board "Ph.D. economists and longtime bankers" according to the Washington Post. Moore breaks that precedent.[19]

Greg Mankiw, a Harvard professor who was chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers under President George W. Bush, said that Moore "does not have the intellectual gravitas for this important job.” [21]

Justin Wolfers, an economics professor at the University of Michigan and Senior Fellow at Brookings, said Moore "is a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad pick. He hasn't gotten a thing right in twenty years, (check the record), and the Senate should not confirm him." Wolfer's added, "Here's my challenge to any informed voter of any partisan leaning: Call your favorite economist. Whether they're left, right, libertarian or socialist, none of them will endorse Stephen Moore for the Fed. He's manifestly unqualified."[22]

University of Wisconsin-Madison Professor of Public Affairs and Economics Menzie Chinn said, "Stephen Moore is little more than a fairly inept polemicist. I’ve never seen anything written by him that could be construed as “research” in an academic/policy sense." [4]

"Stephen Moore would be a loyalist, not an expert, at the Fed," according to Binyamin Appelbaum who covers the Federal Reserve for the New York Times.[23]

Catherine Rampbell, a Washington Post columnist, "fact-checked" Moore in real time on cable television after he made false claims about how Fed rate increases had led to “deflation in the economy.”[24]

In 2000, Moore compared himself to Paul Krugman in an editorial arguing against equal pay for women, he wrote: Krugman is "almost always wrong, and I’m almost always right."[15] According to Vox, "Moore’s views on monetary policy have oscillated with the winds of partisanship. During the Obama years, he urged the Fed to aggressively raise interest rates, citing unfounded fears of hyperinflation. But now that Trump is in office, he thinks rate hikes are bad."[24]

"Grading the States" Scrutinizes Rich States, Poor States and Other Rankings

Since 2008, Moore has worked with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) on "Rich States, Poor States: ALEC-Laffer Economic State Competitiveness Index." The 11th edition "ranks the 2018 economic outlook of states using 15 equally weighted policy variables, including various tax rates, regulatory burdens and labor policies" as all editions purport to do. In addition it "examines trends over the last few decades that have helped or hurt states’ economies." Moore co-authors the report with Jonathan Williams -- ALEC Chief Economist and Vice President for the Center for State Fiscal Reform -- and White House Advisor and "father of supply-side economics"[25] Arthur B. Laffer.[26]

The Rich States, Poor States report is often cited by Republican politicians as proof that their policy preferences are better for the economic health of the state. "Governing on many of the economic policy principles advocated in Rich States, Poor States has led our state on a path to prosperity" Arizona Governor Doug Ducey claims, "The work done by Arthur Laffer, Stephen Moore and Jonathan Williams is second to none." ALEC politicians, such as Leah Vukmir, Wayne Niederhauser, and Thom Tillis point to the report as a justification for their legislative agenda in the states.[26]

But, as reported by the Center for Media and Democracy, Rich States, Poor States mostly just “slaps a fresh coat of paint on the flawed fiscal and economic austerity policies favored by the group and its corporate patrons.”[27]

Economists have called everything Rich States, Poor States “highly misleading," “a manifestation of faith-based economics” and “a gold standard in bogus economic policy claims.” Menzie Chinn, a professor of Public Affairs and Economics at the University of Wisconsin- Madison, wrote “An Econometric Assessment of the World according to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).” Chinn concluded that the data did not back-up ALEC’s claims. Chinn found that the claim ALEC defenders make about the ranking predictive capabilities are not apparent when tested. The “bottom line: The ALEC ranking” according to Chinn’s findings, “is not correlated with real [gross state product] growth, either short term or media term.”[4]

Chinn has stated that agrees with the conclusions Peter Fisher, Greg LeRoy and Philip Mattera came to in 2012 that Rich States, Poor States contradicts long-standing peer-reviewed academic research. Fisher et al dissected Rich States, Poor States piece by piece in an article, “Selling Snake Oil to the States: The American Legislative Exchange Council’s Flawed Prescriptions for Prosperity”, co-published by the Iowa Policy Project and Good Jobs First. Rich States, Poort States “consistently ignores decades of published research making broad, unsubstantiated claims and often using anecdotes or spurious two-factor correlations that fail to control for obviously relevant factors” Selling Snake Oil to the States states.[4]

Rich States, Poor States relies on a “methodologically primitive analysis that any student taking Statistics 101 would be taught to avoid” according to Selling Snake Oil to the States. Moore often touts migration numbers as people “voting with their feet” as evidence for their economic policy preferences. But Chinn says that this method of analysis is fraught as it does not control for many factors at play. Marshall Steinbaum, a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute, called Moore’s premise of people moving from blue states to red states “some sort of fantasy.”[4]

The report is funded by the Searle Foundation, Moore said at an ALEC event "we couldn't do it without (Searle's) financial support.”[4] The ALEC project that publishes Rich States, Poor States is called "the Center for State Fiscal Reform." It has received large grants from the Bradley Foundation, and the Claude M. Lambe Foundation as well as the aforementioned support from the Searle Foundation.[27]

Ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council

Moore serves on the ALEC "Private Enterprise Advisory Council," as well as its Board of Scholars[28]

Moore has spoken at an ALEC conference every year since at least 2013. He was a featured speaker at ALEC's 40th Annual Meeting,” a keynote speaker at the 2014 ALEC Annual Meeting, he “talked ideas and policy” at the 2015 ALEC States and Nation Policy Summit, he had a “terrific time with dedicated state legislators” at an ALEC event in 2016, was on an ALEC panel in 2017, promoted coal at the 2018 ALEC conference, as well as answered questions about a report he wrote on a panel.[4]

ALEC has claimed Moore is one of the “most well-respected free-market economists in America.” While Moore states “it is a great privilege” to be associated with ALEC. “Don’t you just know we are doing the right thing at ALEC, when we have these lunatics protesting against what we are doing?” Moore said, presumably speaking of the multiple workers’ rights and environmental rights group who protested the 2015 States and Nation Policy Summit in Scottsdale, Arizona.[4]

“In 25 years of knowing Stephen Moore, he’s been a stalwart supporter of free-market solutions. I know he will defend individuals – and the 50 states – against bad economic policy,” said Lisa B. Nelson, Chief Executive Officer of the American Legislative Exchange Council. “He will advance on the Federal Reserve’s board of governors the same principles he advances as a board member for the American Legislative Exchange Council: limited government, free markets and federalism.”[28]

Speeches and Attendance at ALEC Meetings

"Rich States, Poor States"
"On @ALEC_states panel this morning w/ Art Laffer, Larry Kudlow, & Steve Moore on tax cuts..." 2017 ALEC Meeting Panel Discussion
@StephenMoore speaking truth at @ALEC_states. Great information to enhance business competitiveness #ALECPittsburgh (2016 Spring Task Force Summit in Pittsburgh)
"Stephen Moore addresses ALEC in Scottsdale" (2015 ALEC States and Nation Policy Summit)
"Stephen Moore 2014 ALEC Annual Meeting"
"Stephen Moore, ALEC 40th Annual Meeting"

Club for Growth and Free Enterprise Fund

Moore played a lead role in the creation of the Club for Growth.[29] In January 2005, Moore and "some prominent" Club for Growth "members including Arthur B. Laffer, a board member, along with Mallory Factor, a businessman" started a similar group, the Free Enterprise Fund.[29]

In May 2005, Moore wrote a letter to Club for Growth members in which he said: "'To see the club splintered this way was a heart-breaking tragedy, but the good news is most of the original founding committee members of the old Club for Growth that we built into such a political juggernaut helped me launch the Free Enterprise Fund," he continued. He said he was leaving to join the Wall Street Journal's editorial board and turning the new group over to Mr. Factor, adding that there remained "a crying need" for an organization to hold Republican officials' "feet to the fire."[29]

But according to Open Secrets, Moore was "booted" from Club for Growth. After "Club for Growth was hit with a $350,000 fine for FEC violations in the 2000, 2002 and 2004 cycles. Moore was pushed out of the organization at the end of 2004 over disputes with board members."[30][31]



SourceWatch Resources

External Articles

Books and Essays by Moore

Stephen Moore is the author, co-author and editor of several books and numerous essays including:

General Articles


  1. Menzie Chinn Update: Mr. Stephen Moore’s Peer Reviewed Journal Articles Econbrowser, March 29, 2019
  2. 2.0 2.1 Jennifer Jacobs, Saleha Mohsin, and Margaret Talev Trump Says He'll Nominate Stephen Moore to Federal Reserve Board Bloomberg March 22, 2019
  3. 3.0 3.1 Donna Borak, Kevin Liptak and Haley Byrd Stephen Moore out of Fed contention CNN May 2, 2019
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 Scott Zimmerman Trump appoints Stephen Moore, ALEC’s Favorite Economist, to Fed Center for Media and Democracy, April 17 2019
  5. 5.0 5.1 Searle Freedom Trust, 2011 Form 990, organizational annual IRS filing, November 15, 2012.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Cato Institute, Stephen Moore, organization biography, accessed June 30, 2011
  7. 7.0 7.1 Donors Capital Fund Board of Directors, Organizational webpage, accessed October 28, 2010, re-verified July 9, 2011
  8. 8.0 8.1 CNN Read: Stephen Moore statement on withdrawal from Fed consideration CNN, May 2, 2019
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 9.7 jim Tankersley and Kitty Bennett Stephen Moore’s Paper Trail: Bashing Women, Gay Rights and More The New York Times, April 23, 2019
  10. SYLVAN LANE More than 100 economists, activists back Stephen Moore for Federal Reserve The Hill April 15, 2019
  11. 11.0 11.1 Menzie Chinn The Campaign Continues: Economists Supporting Stephen Moore for the Fed Econbrowser Blog, posted April 16, 2019
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Johnathan Bernstein Does Anyone Really Support Stephen Moore at the Fed? Bloomberg April 16, 2019
  13. Adele M. Stan That Grifty Thing Stephen Moore Did With Herman Cain—and the Koch Brothers’ Blessing Right Wing Watch by People for the American Way, April 30, 2019
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Andrew Kaczynski and Paul LeBlanc Trump Fed pick Stephen Moore called it a 'travesty' that women 'feel free' to play sports with men CNN KFile, April 22, 2019
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 Stephen Moore Battle of the Sexes National Review Online via Wayback machine, June 7, 200
  16. Stephen Moore Soccer-Mom Hell CATO Commentary, accessed April 23, 2019
  17. Jim Tankersley Stephen Moore’s Columns Deriding Women Raise New Questions for Trump Fed Pick New York Times April 23, 2019
  18. Jon Swaine Trump’s Federal Reserve pick owes $75,000 in taxes, US government alleges March 27, 2018
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 Heather Long Trump picks close ally Stephen Moore for Fed seat as economy shows signs of weakness Washington Post March 22, 2019
  20. Johnathan Chait Trump Federal Reserve Nominee Admitted ‘I’m Not an Expert on Monetary Policy’ The New Yorker April 9, 2019
  21. Brendan Murray Swift Pushback on Stephen Moore, Trump's Latest Pick for the Fed Bloomberg March 24, 2019
  22. Justin Wolfers This is the first genuinely bad Trump pick for the Fed. But make no mistake: It's a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad pick. He hasn't gotten a thing right in twenty years, (check the record), and the Senate should not confirm him. Social Media post, March 22, 2019
  23. Binyamin Appelbaum Stephen Moore Would Be a Loyalist, not an Expert, at the Fed New York Times March 23, 2019
  24. 24.0 24.1 Aaron Rupar Stephen Moore, the Trump loyalist nominated to the Fed, explained Vox March 22, 2019
  25. Jim Takersly A new crop of candidates discovers the father of supply-side economics Washington Post February 20, 2015
  26. 26.0 26.1 ALEC Rich States, Poor States, 11th edition organizational site, accessed April 10, 2019
  27. 27.0 27.1 Arn Pearson The Koch-Fueled ALEC's "Rich States, Poor States" Paints a Happy Face on Failing State Policies PRWatch Jan 21, 2016
  28. 28.0 28.1 Dan Reynolds Statement on Stephen Moore’s Selection to Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors March 24, 2019
  29. 29.0 29.1 29.2 David D. Kirkpatrick, Leadership Dispute Causes a Split in a Powerhouse of Fund-Raising for Conservative Causes, New York Times,' July 8, 2005
  30. Raymond Arke Trump’s picks for Federal Reserve, Herman Cain and Stephen Moore, have long political history Open Secrets, April 9, 2019
  31. DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK Leadership Dispute Causes a Split in a Powerhouse of Fund-Raising for Conservative Causes The New York Times JULY 8, 2005
  32. American Legislative Exchange Council Board of Scholars, Organizational webpage, accessed July 9, 2011
  33. Cato Institute Stephen Moore, organization biography, accessed June 22, 2011
  34. 34.0 34.1 34.2 John Fund Who’s Afraid of Stephen Moore? And Why? National Review, March 4, 2019
  35. Conservative Transparency Searle Freedom Trust accessed April 12, 2019
  36. Stephen Moore [ It’s Still the Economy, Stupid The Republicans Need an Economic Recovery Plan] Virginia Institute for Public Policy, July 2001
  37. Stephen Moore, Virginia Institute for Public Policy Chicken Little Was Wrong Biosketch at end of article, May 1 2011, accessed July 9, 2011
  38. 38.0 38.1 38.2 Stephen Moore Broken Promises: What’s Gone Wrong with the Economy in the 1990s The Institute for Policy Innovation Policy Report, April 1, 1996
  39. Stephen Moore and Peter Ferrara [ SOCIAL SECURITY REFORM AND NATIONAL SPENDING RESTRAINT] publication, 2005
  40. Institute for Policy Innovation biosketch of Stephen Moore, IPI organizational website, accessed July 9, 2011
  41. Tsvetelin M. Tsonevski Dollars and Nonsense: Correcting the News Media’s Top Economic Myths Foundation for Economic Education,July 29, 2010
  42. NNDB Media Research Center Soylent Communications, accessed April 11, 2019
  43. Nonprofit explorer Donors Capital Fund 2010 990 tax filing, accessed April 11, 2019
  44. Stephen Moore Hoover Institute Essays in Public Policy: Immigration and the Rise and Decline of American Cities, About the Author, undated research article, accessed July 9, 2011
  45. Cato Institute Stephen Moore, organization biography, accessed June 22, 2011
  46. Stephen Moore Hoover Essay in Public Policy: Welfare For The Well-Off: How Business Subsidies Fleece Taxpayers by Stephen Moore, Press release/Essay, May 5, 1999
  47. American Legislative Exchange Council, 2011 Annual Conference -- Organizational Leadership, conference brochure on file with CMD, August 11, 2011
  48. American Legislative Exchange Council, 2011 Annual Conference -- Organizational Leadership, conference brochure on file with CMD, August 11, 2011