Stephen Moore, who President Donald Trump announced last month as his nominee for the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, has a history of advocating self-described “radical” views on the economy and government.
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.
Trump announced he would nominate Moore to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors last month. Moore works at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. He served as an adviser to Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign and is a friend of the president’s economic adviser Larry Kudlow. He was formerly a CNN contributor.
The nomination immediately drew criticism because Moore has been a fierce critic of the Federal Reserve and its chairman Jerome Powell. In 2015, he called for abolishing the Federal Reserve and returning to a gold standard (Moore told CNN’s Erin Burnett on Thursday he changed his mind on the gold standard. He told CNN’s KFile on Friday he no longer believed in abolishing the Federal Reserve).
In a column in December, Moore called for Powell to resign for hiking interest rates. Moore claimed the comments were probably written “in a time of anger,” but in February, he called Powell one of Trump’s “worst appointments” and called for firing hundreds of employees at the Federal Reserve Board who he called “worthless” economists.
“There’s no bigger swamp in Washington than the Federal Reserve Board,” Moore said in a February interview posted on Vimeo. “It’s filled with hundreds of economists who are worthless, who have the wrong model in their mind. They should all be, they should all be fired and they should be replaced by good economists.”
Turning to Powell, Moore said, “I spoke to the President last week about this and he was extremely upset that he had, I think made – it was one of his worst political appointments – and now he’s stuck with the guy for, I think he’s under a four-or-five-year appointment.”
Views on taxes
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.
“What is the income tax rate in Texas and Florida,” Moore said. “Zero. There is no income tax. Why can’t we have no income tax on the federal level. Let’s get rid of the damn income tax and do taxes like we do in Texas and Florida. So Texas and Florida have no income 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.”
Views on capitalism and democracy
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.”
Speaking on the Thom Hartmann Show in 2010, Moore reiterated this belief, saying Hitler was democratically elected and Saudi Arabia wouldn’t be better off as a democracy.
“I think capitalism, without free market capitalism, countries don’t get rich,” Moore said, when asked if capitalism was more important than democracy. “And so I would rather have a country that’s based on, you know, a free enterprise system of property rights and free exchange of free trade of low tax rates, than a country that state, there are a lot of democracies –.”
In a 2010 speech, Moore said he believed democracy meant that Democrats have an “intentional” plan to take voters off the income tax rolls and have them vote for expanding government.
Moore told CNN’s KFile, “I believe in free market capitalism and representative government. It is what has made America the greatest nation and the most prosperous nation on earth.”
Views on the minimum wage, social security, and welfare
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?”
Moore told CNN’s KFile, “There are too many people on welfare and the best way to help the poor is to get them a job and good schools and economic opportunity. 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.
“You cannot come up – I said this earlier this morning to one of the sessions, some of you may have been in it – you truly could not come up with a dumber system than Medicaid. I mean really, I mean if we sat here and tried to think how can we make the dumbass, you know, Medicaid system the worst system possible we would come up with what they have right now.”
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.