Right-wing economist Stephen Moore has frequently recommended that the United States return to some version of the gold standard, saying that he loves the idea and that former President Richard Nixon’s decision to drop the monetary system in the 1970s was probably an impeachable offense. Now that President Donald Trump has picked him for a seat on the Federal Reserve, Moore has claimed he’s “not in favor of a gold standard” and has “never actually been a gold standard guy.”
Moore, a longtime commentator who most recently worked for CNN, has a long history of pushing partisan and false economic propaganda. He worked for Trump’s 2016 campaign and co-authored the book Trumponomics: Inside the America First Plan to Revive Our Economy.
CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski and Paul LeBlanc recently reported that “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.” He also “repeatedly said he believed capitalism was more important than democracy,” attacked Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell as “one of Trump's ‘worst appointments,’” and “called for firing hundreds of employees at the Federal Reserve Board,” calling them “‘worthless’ economists,” they wrote.
Moore has also frequently endorsed the idea of the country returning to the gold standard, which would tie the United States’ currency to the value of gold. Washington Post reporter Matt O’Brien explained why such as a policy would be a “disaster”:
So the gold standard is a lot like playing Russian roulette with the economy. It can turn recoveries into recessions, and prevent recessions from turning into recoveries just because the price of gold “wants” to go up at an inopportune moment, and we have to raise rates when everything else would tell us not to. But wait: It gets worse. This isn’t just about forcing governments to adopt bad monetary policies. It’s about stopping them from enacting good fiscal policies, too. Countries on the gold standard can’t run big deficits without markets wondering how committed they are to it — at which point, they would need to raise rates to reassure them. So even thinking about expansionary policy would require to them to impose even more contractionary policy. This isn’t a hypothetical, but rather a history of what happened in the 1930s.
Now that he’s potentially moving from the pundit world into a job requiring Senate confirmation, Moore has been trying to hide his past support for the gold standard.
During the April 11 edition of CNN’s Erin Burnett OutFront, Moore blatantly lied by claiming: “I don’t think I’ve ever really said anything much about the gold -- I’m not in favor of a gold standard, I am in favor of using commodities as a forward-looking indicator for where prices are.” Burnett then played three clips of him endorsing a gold standard. Moore responded: “I think that a gold standard would certainly be better than we have right now, but I think there’s a much better system that we could put in place, which would not just look at gold, but all commodities.”
Moore also said during a March 22 appearance on Bloomberg that he’s “never actually been a gold standard guy. I’m open-minded to it.”
Here are eight examples of Moore endorsing some version of the gold standard over the years, including the three instances CNN aired:
“How many of you are aware that Richard Nixon was the president who took America off the gold standard? In 1971, the U.S. went off the gold standard. I always said that Richard Nixon was impeached for all the wrong reasons. He should have probably been impeached for taking America off the gold standard. … I’m kind of a convert to this idea. I really think we have to go back to some kind of monetary system where we have an anchor of gold. And we’ve lost that. And so I actually have come around to the idea that I think we have to re-establish some kind of gold standard in America so the dollar retains its value.” [BBT Economics, video posted online on September 2010]
“I don't know if I'm for a hard gold standard like we had, but I do think we have to peg the dollar to gold, because what we've seen in the last 10 years is a 30 -- about 30 percent decline in the value of the dollar, and I believe, Judge, that the number one factor behind the slowdown in this U.S. economy has been the decline in the dollar. Let's make the dollar as good as gold again. That's what the Gipper said, right? Make the dollar as good as gold.” [Fox Business, Freedom Watch, 6/21/11]
ROBERT REICH (professor and former labor secretary): “You want to go on the gold standard?”
STEPHEN MOORE: “Yes, I do. … I want hard money, sound money!” [CNBC, The Kudlow Report, 1/11/12]
“We need sound money. Why don’t we audit the Fed and see what these people are doing at the Federal Reserve, they’re ruining our country. And why don't we go back to a gold standard in America? Let's make our currency as good as gold again!” [FreePAC, 3/12/16]
“We should go back to some kind of gold standard, where -- I want to take discretion away from the Fed. We don't want the Fed to be making all these decisions. … We should, I believe, we should go back to some kind of gold, maybe not a gold standard, but have the dollar be as good as gold, so that the price of the dollar is relative to what it is in gold and take the discretion away from the politicians, and if you do that, I do think you’re going to see a stable currency.” [Young America’s Foundation, 9/23/16]
“I like the idea of going to a gold standard and restoring, you know, value to our currency. … [Conservative publisher] Steve [Forbes] has a new book out on the gold standard, so I love that idea.” [Turning Point USA, 12/17/16]