The Very Strange Case of Stephen Moore

By FROMA HARROP

Special to the Star

What can you say about Stephen Moore?

That his economic views tend toward the nutty, and his research is a slop job? That his juvenile fear of females borders on the pathetic — and that he didn’t find them too embarrassing to air?

That he’s Donald Trump’s pick to serve on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors? Yes, but we repeat ourselves.

Fed board members have been liberal, and they have been conservative. Many no doubt harbored sexist views. But there was never a nominee who wrote things like, “No one seems to care much that coed sports is doing irreparable harm to the psyche of America’s little boys.”

He doesn’t like grown-up coed play, either. He called letting women join men in pickup games a “travesty.” (Just wondering what business it is of his whether men choose to play sports with women.)

Something must have happened to the poor lad. Did some girl beat him at pingpong in the third grade?

Were he a star economist, we might avert our eyes from the strangeness of his social scribbles. But Moore’s economic musings are off the wall as well.

He’s supported a return to the gold standard. He predicted that George W. Bush’s policies would lead to an economic golden age and that inflation would soar under Barack Obama. Wrong and wrong.

Then there’s his “scholarship.” I used to cite studies from The Heritage Foundation when the conservative think tank was producing solid research. Then Heritage sold its soul to the partisan swamp, out of which Moore rose as Heritage’s chief economist.

Under that title, he submitted a column in 2014 so shot through with error that The Kansas City Star vowed to never publish him again.

His thesis was that low taxes produce explosive job growth. As evidence, Moore wrote that “over the last five years,” no-income-tax Texas gained 1 million jobs while high-tax California lost jobs. For the same reasons, Florida added hundreds of thousands of jobs while New York lost jobs.

Whoops. He wasn’t using numbers from the previous five years but from December 2007 to 2012. But even those numbers were wrong. In fact, Texas gained not a million but 497,400 jobs. Florida actually lost 461,500 jobs during that period — while New York gained 75,900 jobs.

“He seemed OK with a correction,” Miriam Pepper, then the Star’s editorial page editor, told me. “But as we dug deeper he got more difficult, then hostile.” She added: “I’m surprised Heritage isn’t embarrassed.”

There are smart fabricators and dumb ones. Only the dimwitted would try to pass off stats that any boy — or girl — with basic computer skills could have countered with a visit to the Bureau of Labor Statistics site.

In his personal finances, Moore is a double deadbeat. He owes more than $75,000 in unpaid taxes. And a court held him in contempt for not paying his ex-wife $300,000 as part of a divorce agreement.

This is the man who brooded: “What are the implications of a society in which women earn more than men?

We don’t really know, but it could be disruptive to family stability. If men aren’t the breadwinners, will women regard them as economically expendable?”

Moore the breadwinner is also Moore the stud. Allison Moore’s 2010 divorce complaint noted that he had created a Match.com account and had an affair. She says he told her and their children, “I have two women, and what’s really bad is when they fight over you.”

Add Moore’s economic ignorance to his arrested development and you have a highly flawed character. May the Federal Reserve Board — and the public it serves — be spared his presence.

Follow Froma Harrop on Twitter @FromaHarrop.