WASHINGTON — Steve Moore, one of the oracles of free market economics, is President Donald Trump's choice for the Federal Reserve Board, and the long knives are out for him. Yet I am told by conservatives everywhere not to worry. He is a shoo-in.
It all reminds me of July 1, 1987, when then-President Ronald Reagan nominated Judge Robert Bork for an opening on the Supreme Court. He had it made in the shade, said my complacent conservative friends. The result was brutal. But we do not have to look back 32 years to see how unruly the left-wing mob can be. Recall the recent fate of Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Only his courage and unscotchable determination saved him. The simple fact is that the conservatives are often slow on the draw against the American left. Only the Wall Street Journal has come out swinging for Moore. It is time for the conservatives to rally around him. He can probably win with the president on his side. He apparently has the votes. Yet the coming battle would be a lot less bloody if the conservative movement were to take the field on Moore's behalf — and make it clear that from now on, it is going to wage war for the president's nominees.
Defending Moore on economic grounds ought not to be that difficult. The Trump administration is presiding over an economic boom that Moore has been calling for years. With the president's tax cuts and deregulation — two of Moore's favorite panaceas for an anemic economy — we have historically low unemployment, certainly for blacks and for Latinos. Growth is now robust. It has actually outpaced predictions. Most economists predicted 2.5% growth for the first quarter. Friday, we learned that the economy grew at 3.2%.
That is the first time since 2015 that the first quarter gross domestic product topped 3%. Most economists were wrong. Moore and those like him were right on track. As Jeremy J. Siegel said in Monday's Wall Street Journal, "somehow, though unemployment is at a 50-year low, inflation is still below the Fed's 2% target." He is the rare economist for Moore.
Ahh, but his critics say Moore is no economist. He lacks a Ph.D. He is a writer, at times a clever writer, at other times a strenuously serious writer, on economics and politics. Well, I have a long memory. He writes with authority on economics and politics, much as Henry Hazlitt wrote on economics and politics for some 60 years, from the early 1920s until the late 1980s. Hazlitt had no Ph.D. either. In fact, he had no college degree at all. Hazlitt would have been an excellent choice throughout his long life to stir up the Fed. Now we have a president in place to stir up the Fed. So let us get on with it.
Yet The New York Times, The Washington Post and CNN are opposed to Moore. Of course, they are also opposed to Trump. When Trump came into office, they predicted a worldwide recession of great severity.
Allow me to quote one of mainstream media's economic gurus: a certified economist, a winner of the Nobel Prize for economics, Paul Krugman, Ph.D. On Nov. 9, 2016, he greeted Trump's election with this dirge: "Under any circumstances, putting an irresponsible, ignorant man who takes his advice from all the wrong people" — Moore! — "in charge of the nation with the world's most important economy would be very bad news." And he persisted, "What makes it especially bad right now, however, is the fundamentally fragile state much of the world is still in." Finally, he concluded, "So we are very probably looking at a global recession, with no end in sight." Clearly, having made hysterical pronunciations such as the above, Guru Krugman could not see Friday's growth rate of 3.2%.
So now the long knives cannot share Professor Doktor Krugman's contempt for the Trump economy. How are they going to defame Steve Moore? They are going to get personal. They are going to Brett Kavanaugh him. As I have said, he is a clever writer and has been writing for more than 35 years. Because he is a lively fellow, he has naturally indulged in a little jocosity from time to time. Some 15 years ago, women athletes were a target for his wit, and women bartenders. Now because of the crime of joking about woman leaping in the air and standing behind a bar, he is to be denied a role at the Fed, the assassins boast.
Well, I say to fellow conservatives, leap to Moore's defense. And remember the example of Congressgirl Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She, too, was a bartender before the mainstream media made her the Lioness of the House of Representatives.
R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator. He is a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research and the author, most recently, of "The Death of Liberalism," published by Thomas Nelson, Inc. To find out more about R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.
photo credit: Gage Skidmore