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Trump to nominate conservative economist Stephen Moore to Federal Reserve board

Stephen Moore on Trump tax policy, economy

President Trump said Friday that he will nominate Stephen Moore, a conservative economic commentator, to fill one of two vacancies on the Federal Reserve's seven-member board.

Moore served as an economic adviser to Mr. Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign and helped draft Trump's tax cut plan.

"He's going to be great on the Fed," Mr. Trump told reporters Friday morning. He also praised Moore on Twitter.

"It is my pleasure to announce that @StephenMoore, a very respected Economist, will be nominated to serve on the Fed Board. I have known Steve for a long time - and have no doubt he will be an outstanding choice!" Mr. Trump wrote.

The president has harshly criticized the Fed's rate increases last year even after the central bank this week announced that it foresees no hikes this year. Moore, who formerly served as chief economist for the conservative Heritage Foundation, has also been critical of policy moves made by Chairman Jerome Powell, who was hand-picked by Mr. Trump to be Fed chairman.

An ardent defender of tax cuts, Moore is close to Larry Kudlow, the director of the White House National Economic Council. The two collaborated in shaping the tax overhaul that Mr. Trump signed into law at the end of 2017, leading to changes that largely favored tax cuts for corporations and wealthier Americans with the intention of spurring investment and faster growth.

Mr. Trump in his first two years in office had been able to reshape the central bank. He nominated four of the current five members, and he chose Powell, a Republican who was chosen for the Fed board by President Barack Obama, to succeed Janet Yellen as chairman. If confirmed by the Senate, Moore would fill one of two vacancies on the Fed's board.

Mr. Trump has publicly complained about Powell's leadership, criticizing the Fed's decision to raise interest rates over the past year. Powell told "60 Minutes" earlier this month the president can't fire him. "The law is clear that I have a four-year term, and I fully intend to serve it," he said.   

The selection of Moore marks a deviation from Mr. Trump's previous selections for the Fed's board to a figure with a more conservative ideology. He stressed monetary policy in a March editorial in The Wall Street Journal that estimated that Fed policies had cut real growth by as much as 1.5 percentage points in the past six months. Moore proposed that the Fed set short-term rates with the goal of stabilizing volatile commodity prices, rather than focusing on targeting overall inflation of 2 percent.

This approach, Moore has argued, would help spur economic growth in excess of 3 percent, instead of the longer-run average of 1.9 percent that Fed officials forecast.

Moore has frequently praised the administration on television and co-authored the 2018 book "Trumponomics" with Art Laffer, who pioneered the Republican doctrine that lower tax rates would accelerate economic growth in ways that could minimize debt. Federal debt has jumped since Trump's overhaul to the tax code, surging nearly 77 percent through the first four months of fiscal 2019 compared to the same year prior.