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WSJ's Stephen Moore Accuses Obama of "Fiscal Child Abuse"

February 25, 2009

No doubt, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal's disastrous Republican response to President Obama's address to Congress will go down as one of the more bizarre episodes in American political oratory. But perhaps even more disturbing and dishonest was the charge by the Wall Street Journal's Stephen Moore that Obama's $787 billion economy recovery package constituted "fiscal child abuse." As it turns out, Moore has been hurling that same slander for at least a decade, all the while ignoring the endless sea of red ink Republicans Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush left future generations.
Moore's offered his latest slur during an appearance with CNN's Anderson Cooper. On a night in which Barack Obama's speech received almost universal acclaim, Moore sounded a different note:

"The problem is that I had kind of this miniature calculator going off in my head. Calculating the cost of all of these new programs, for energy programs, and for health care and this is a President who has only been in office for 35 days and he's already increased the national debt by $3 trillion.
That's a very heavy cost that our children are going to pay. And I think it's probably a version of fiscal child abuse, quite frankly."

As a quick scan of the history shows, "fiscal child abuse" has been Stephen Moore's call to arms since at least the Clinton presidency. Regardless of the political and economic circumstances, it has long been a staple for the former chief mouthpiece for the Club for Growth turned Wall Street Journal editorial board member and Cato Institute fellow.
Ironically, the slash-taxes, gut-government, drown-it-in-a-bathtub ally of Grover Norquist has been spouting the "fiscal child abuse" line since Americans last witnessed budget surpluses under Bill Clinton. On August 9, 1999, Townhall's Paul Jacob said of the deficit, "Steve Moore of the Cato Institute in Washington calls this 'fiscal child abuse.' He's right." In the fall of 2003, Moore said "Bush has been a star when it comes to enacting pro-growth tax changes," but blasted Congress for the mounting deficits President Bush's 2001 and 2003 tax cuts produced:

"I have said it before and will say it again: This is fiscal child abuse. Passing on costs to future generations for today's wasteful government spending is an assault on the financial well-being of our children."

Even before last night's outburst, Moore had been playing his broken record when asked about the Obama economic recovery program. On February 3, 2009, Moore complained to Fox News' Glenn Beck that, "This is just fiscal child abuse." (For his part, Beck the civil war fomenter agreed, "You're right, it is child abuse.")
Of course, Stephen Moore isn't just vulgar, he's almost always wrong. A faithful storm trooper in the conservative blitz to peddle the myth of Republican fiscal responsibility, Moore ignores the inconvenient truth that America's national debt tripled under Reagan and doubled under Bush 43. (Needless to say, the surpluses of the Clinton years also disappear down a memory hole.) After all, it was Vice President Dick Cheney who famously proclaimed in 2002, "Reagan proved deficits don't matter."
On January 16, 2003, Moore argued that the combination of President Bush's $600 billion tax cut and a Republican "starve the beast" approach to government spending would magically erase the mushrooming deficit.

"One of the great, hidden values of President Bush's $600 billion tax cut, is that it could be the best (if not the only) way to end the boisterous spending spree on Capitol Hill of recent years...If anything can slow down the appropriations - and, alas, maybe there is nothing - it's a tax cut that prevents the drunken sailors in Washington from spending...History proves that tax revenues create spending and the lack of revenues help restrain spending."

Given the inescapable Republican record of red ink, you would think Stephen Moore could not be more wrong.
This time, you'd be wrong. As it turns out, in the fall of 2004, even as many were warning about the looming implosion of the housing market, Stephen Moore authored a book that could not have been more tragically off-base. It's title?

"Bullish on Bush: How George Bush's Owenership Society Will Make America Stronger."

Talk about abuse.

2 comments on “WSJ's Stephen Moore Accuses Obama of "Fiscal Child Abuse"”

  1. How is that bug-eyed freak even allowed on television?
    He looks and sounds like he just went off his meds.

  2. Yes, at one time it looked very much like the eocnomy will keep growing and even houses will keep and increase in value but the policy of providing everyone with cheap mortages, even those who had no proof of being able to pay them on a regular basis, ruined this. That policy had absolutely nothing to do with free market capitalism; it came from the ideology of egalitarianism and wealth redistribution. The crowd on Wall Street did what it knows, namely follow the money, though that money was phony from the start.


Jon Perr
Jon Perr is a technology marketing consultant and product strategist who writes about American politics and public policy.

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