Stephen Moore, US president Donald Trump’s pick as the presidential nominee in the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, is almost too “radical”—a description Moore uses for himself—to handle. He has been a trenchant critic of taxes, calling the laws that created the country’s income tax system the “most evil” law passed, CNN reports. He has even called for shutting down the departments of labour, energy and commerce as well as the IRS and the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. He has likened the US’s state-run Social Security to a “Ponzi scheme”. But, most “radical” of all, he believes that democracy takes a backseat to free-market capitalism.
Also shocking is the fact that he had once called for abolishing the institution whose administration he now joins and has been openly critical of the Fed’s current head, Jerome Powell, calling for his removal and terming him one of Trump’s “worst appointments”. He has called for firing some members of the Federal Reserve Board and other Fed officials, calling the Fed the biggest “swamp” in Washington DC, and termed many of its economists “worthless” who “have the wrong model in mind” and therefore “should be fired”. Nobel-winning economist Paul Krugman, in a thread of tweets, draws attention to the fact that Moore had launched a virtual crusade against monetary easing and the other Fed actions post-2008 saying that it would lead to hyperinflation. It didn’t, and Fed economists were proved to have not chosen a path to the disaster that Moore had predicted. This means Moore perhaps wants a purge of those at the Fed who differed with him. No wonder, then, many reputed conservative economists in the Fed and elsewhere in the US didn’t sign the letter of support for Moore after a controversy broke out over the news of his appointment. All this said, the bigger picture is all Trump and the style of administration he has chosen. It is about a dangerous style of replacing competent people with acolytes. It is about how Trump sees the world. And if the man at the helm of the US, the country that makes much ado of its self-conferred title of “leader of the free world”, indeed believes democracy is secondary, then the world, not just the US, is poorer for it.