Likely Fed nominee Stephen Moore thinks rates should be cut by half a percentage point

  • Prospective Fed nominee Stephen Moore told The New York Times that interest rates should come down half a percentage point.
  • Moore also said he would be no "sycophant" for President Donald Trump, who said last week that he will nominate Moore for a Fed governorship.

Presumptive Federal Reserve nominee Stephen Moore thinks the central bank should cut interest rates by half a percentage point, a position well out of line with other policymakers.

In an interview with The New York Times, the Heritage Foundation fellow and former Wall Street Journal editorial board member backed off on earlier criticism he had for the Fed and specifically its chairman, Jerome Powell. President Donald Trump said last week that he intends to nominate Moore for a Fed governorship.

Shortly after the Fed enacted its fourth rate hike of 2018 in December, Moore wrote in a Heritage blog post that Powell should "do the honorable thing ... and resign."

He backtracked on that sentiment in the Times interview, but stuck to his position that the Fed needs to rethink the criteria it uses for monetary policy.

"I was really angry" about the December increase, Moore said. "I was furious — and Trump was furious, too. I just thought that the December rate increase was inexplicable. Commodity prices were already falling dramatically."

"I said these things that I do regret saying, because I think Powell's doing the best job that he can," he added. "Do I regret the rhetoric that I used? Yes. Was I right? Yes."

Moore's reasons for wanting a 50 basis point rate cut were not delineated in the Times piece. According to the Fed's latest projections, no members think rates should come down that far.

Moore added that monetary policy should be pegged to commodity prices, a view shared by few other economists.

He also maintained that he will not be a rubber stamp for Trump.

"Do the president and I think a lot alike on a lot of things? Absolutely. That's one of the reasons he picked me to be an economic adviser and be on the Fed, because we share a lot of the same economic philosophy," he said. But "I don't think anybody can reasonably say I am a sycophant for Trump, because I'm not."

Moore did not immediately return a call for comment.

For the full Times report, go here.