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Stephen Moore for the Fed?

Summary:
The nomination [of Stephen Moore for the Federal Reserve Board] has stirred a lot of controversy. Writing in the New York Times last week, Harvard economics professor N. Gregory Mankiw, who was chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President George W. Bush, accused Moore of being “a propagandist, pushing for conservative causes, often with flimsy arguments.” Democratic Senators are expected to vote against Moore’s nomination and even a few Republican Senators have expressed skepticism. You might think that I, who often agree with Stephen Moore on economic policy, would favor his nomination. I don’t. Before you jump to conclusions, this has nothing to do with personal animus towards him. He and I spoke at the same event at Southern Methodist University

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The nomination [of Stephen Moore for the Federal Reserve Board] has stirred a lot of controversy. Writing in the New York Times last week, Harvard economics professor N. Gregory Mankiw, who was chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President George W. Bush, accused Moore of being “a propagandist, pushing for conservative causes, often with flimsy arguments.” Democratic Senators are expected to vote against Moore’s nomination and even a few Republican Senators have expressed skepticism.

You might think that I, who often agree with Stephen Moore on economic policy, would favor his nomination. I don’t. Before you jump to conclusions, this has nothing to do with personal animus towards him. He and I spoke at the same event at Southern Methodist University in 2010 and got along quite well. I rather like the guy. Instead, it’s simply that I think he’s unqualified. But we shouldn’t overstate the case against him. The case against having Moore on the Fed does not depend on the idea, as Mankiw seems to believe, that the Fed is a great organization. It’s not. And there’s a strong case against having a central bank in the first place.

These are the second and third paragraphs of my latest article for the Hoover Institution’s “Defining Ideas.” The article is titled “Wrong for the Fed.” Writing it gave me the chance to do two things: (1) the one implied by the title–explain why Stephen Moore would not be a good fit at the Fed, and (2) lay out the Fed’s sorry record over its more than 100 years and explain that there’s a surprisingly (to most people) strong case against having a Fed.

Read the whole thing.

David Henderson
David Henderson is a British economist. He was the Head of the Economics and Statistics Department at the OECD in 1984–1992. Before that he worked as an academic economist in Britain, first at Oxford (Fellow of Lincoln College) and later at University College London (Professor of Economics, 1975–1983); as a British civil servant (first as an Economic Advisor in HM Treasury, and later as Chief Economist in the Ministry of Aviation); and as a staff member of the World Bank (1969–1975). In 1985 he gave the BBC Reith Lectures, which were published in the book Innocence and Design: The Influence of Economic Ideas on Policy (Blackwell, 1986).

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