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]

Moore has held positions with Herman Cain's 2012 presidential campaign, Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, the American Legislative Exchange Council,[3] the Searle Freedom Trust,[4] the Cato Insitute,[5] Donors Capital Fund[6] and many others. He additionally has ties to the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity.

News and Controversies

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.[7]

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.”[8] 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."[9]

Typically, presidents have nominated to the board "Ph.D. economists and longtime bankers" according to the Washington Post. Moore breaks that precedent.[8]

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.” [10]

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."[11]

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." [3]

"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.[12]

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.”[13]

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."[13]

"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"[14] Arthur B. Laffer.[15]

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.[15]

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.”[16]

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.”[3]

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.[3]

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.”[3]

The report is funded by the Searle Foundation, Moore said at an ALEC event "we couldn't do it without (Searle's) financial support.”[3] 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.[16]

Ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council

Moore serves on the ALEC "Private Enterprise Advisory Council," as well as its Board of Scholars[17]

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.[3]

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.[3]

“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.”[17]

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.[18] 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.[18]

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."[18]

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."[19][20]



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 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 Scott Zimmerman Trump appoints Stephen Moore, ALEC’s Favorite Economist, to Fed Center for Media and Democracy, April 17 2019
  4. 4.0 4.1 Searle Freedom Trust, 2011 Form 990, organizational annual IRS filing, November 15, 2012.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Cato Institute, Stephen Moore, organization biography, accessed June 30, 2011
  6. 6.0 6.1 Donors Capital Fund Board of Directors, Organizational webpage, accessed October 28, 2010, re-verified July 9, 2011
  7. Jon Swaine Trump’s Federal Reserve pick owes $75,000 in taxes, US government alleges March 27, 2018
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Heather Long Trump picks close ally Stephen Moore for Fed seat as economy shows signs of weakness Washington Post March 22, 2019
  9. Johnathan Chait Trump Federal Reserve Nominee Admitted ‘I’m Not an Expert on Monetary Policy’ The New Yorker April 9, 2019
  10. Brendan Murray Swift Pushback on Stephen Moore, Trump's Latest Pick for the Fed Bloomberg March 24, 2019
  11. 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
  12. Binyamin Appelbaum Stephen Moore Would Be a Loyalist, not an Expert, at the Fed New York Times March 23, 2019
  13. 13.0 13.1 Aaron Rupar Stephen Moore, the Trump loyalist nominated to the Fed, explained Vox March 22, 2019
  14. Jim Takersly A new crop of candidates discovers the father of supply-side economics Washington Post February 20, 2015
  15. 15.0 15.1 ALEC Rich States, Poor States, 11th edition organizational site, accessed April 10, 2019
  16. 16.0 16.1 Arn Pearson The Koch-Fueled ALEC's "Rich States, Poor States" Paints a Happy Face on Failing State Policies PRWatch Jan 21, 2016
  17. 17.0 17.1 Dan Reynolds Statement on Stephen Moore’s Selection to Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors March 24, 2019
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 David D. Kirkpatrick, Leadership Dispute Causes a Split in a Powerhouse of Fund-Raising for Conservative Causes, New York Times,' July 8, 2005
  19. Raymond Arke Trump’s picks for Federal Reserve, Herman Cain and Stephen Moore, have long political history Open Secrets, April 9, 2019
  20. DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK Leadership Dispute Causes a Split in a Powerhouse of Fund-Raising for Conservative Causes The New York Times JULY 8, 2005
  21. American Legislative Exchange Council Board of Scholars, Organizational webpage, accessed July 9, 2011
  22. Cato Institute Stephen Moore, organization biography, accessed June 22, 2011
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 John Fund Who’s Afraid of Stephen Moore? And Why? National Review, March 4, 2019
  24. Conservative Transparency Searle Freedom Trust accessed April 12, 2019
  25. Stephen Moore [ It’s Still the Economy, Stupid The Republicans Need an Economic Recovery Plan] Virginia Institute for Public Policy, July 2001
  26. Stephen Moore, Virginia Institute for Public Policy Chicken Little Was Wrong Biosketch at end of article, May 1 2011, accessed July 9, 2011
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 Stephen Moore Broken Promises: What’s Gone Wrong with the Economy in the 1990s The Institute for Policy Innovation Policy Report, April 1, 1996
  28. Stephen Moore and Peter Ferrara [ SOCIAL SECURITY REFORM AND NATIONAL SPENDING RESTRAINT] publication, 2005
  29. Institute for Policy Innovation biosketch of Stephen Moore, IPI organizational website, accessed July 9, 2011
  30. Tsvetelin M. Tsonevski Dollars and Nonsense: Correcting the News Media’s Top Economic Myths Foundation for Economic Education,July 29, 2010
  31. NNDB Media Research Center Soylent Communications, accessed April 11, 2019
  32. Nonprofit explorer Donors Capital Fund 2010 990 tax filing, accessed April 11, 2019
  33. 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
  34. Cato Institute Stephen Moore, organization biography, accessed June 22, 2011
  35. 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
  36. American Legislative Exchange Council, 2011 Annual Conference -- Organizational Leadership, conference brochure on file with CMD, August 11, 2011
  37. American Legislative Exchange Council, 2011 Annual Conference -- Organizational Leadership, conference brochure on file with CMD, August 11, 2011