Trump Economist Blasts California’s Anti-Business Policies

Trump Economist Blasts California’s Anti-Business Policies

Economist Stephen Moore speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference 2020 (CPAC) in National Harbor, Md., on Feb. 28, 2020. (Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

John Seiler

John Seiler


Updated: 4/17/2024


Economist Stephen Moore has been one of the bright lights in his profession for decades—and one of my best sources. He helped both President Ronald Reagan and President Donald Trump craft pro-growth policies. He currently is advising the latter in his bid to win back the presidency and writes columns for The Epoch Times.
I attended his April 10 speech at the Pacific Club in Newport Beach before 100 local civic and government leaders. It was sponsored by the Pacific Research Institute. President Sally Pipes awarded him PRI’s Baroness Thatcher Liberty Award, named in honor of the United Kingdom’s great, free-market Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
Mr. Moore provided great insight on the economies of both California and America in general. “This is a tough state, California,” he lamented. He pointed to the 17th Edition of “Rich States, Poor States,” co-authored by Mr. Moore and published the morning of his speech. It’s an assessment of the competitiveness of the 50 states. “We rank each state from one to 50 in terms of the best economic climate and the worst. Anybody want to guess which state came out number one?” It was Utah.
“And California came in No. 50 this year. So you’ve got a lot of work to do. By the way, I woke up this morning saying it was a wonderful hotel here with beautiful view. A gorgeous day, 70 degrees, wonderful people. I mean, how do you screw this up? It’s just amazing to me.”
He mentioned that in 2016 he debated Paul Krugman, the liberal economist who won the Nobel economics prize. The video is online.
“One of my big things is looking at the states and what’s happening,” Mr. Moore said. “The big story in America today that nobody wants to talk about is the red states are just bleeding the blue states dry.” The red states generally are Republican, such as Florida; and the blue states are Democrat, such as California. “And this is happening day after day. It’s accelerating.”
He said he told Mr. Krugman, “I’m sorry, sir, all these states like California, Illinois, New York and New Jersey—they do all the things you tell them to do. They raise their minimum wage. They have very generous welfare benefits. They are forced-[labor] union states. They tax the rich. Everybody’s leaving.
“I kind of had him and he got upset. He said, ‘See, you know, you just don’t understand.’ I mean, he’s got the Nobel Prize. He said, ‘You don’t understand. There’s a very simple explanation why everybody’s leaving for South Carolina and Florida and Texas and so on.’ He said it’s because of the weather. Florida has nice weather, and on and on.
“Then I hit him below the belt pretty hard. I said, ‘Well, that’s a really interesting observation, Paul. I know I don’t teach at MIT. I don’t have a Nobel Prize. I’m confused. Well, if people are leaving for the weather, why are people leaving San Diego for Houston? He had no response to that.”
Mr. Moore said, “A great, great state like California, which has been the leader of technology and so many of the great trends of America, has become so disabled because of progressive policies.”

Trump Campaign

Moving on from California, Mr. Moore announced former President Trump just picked the four members of his economic team. In addition to Mr. Moore, they will be: Arthur Laffer, the father of supply economics, who should have received the Nobel economics prize. He also is the co-author of California’s 1978 Proposition 13 tax cuts and Mr. Reagan’s 1980s tax cuts, and another source of mine. Next is Larry Kudlow, the well-known TV economist and commentator. And last is Steve Forbes of Forbes magazine.
Former President Trump couldn’t have picked a better team. Mr. Moore said, “I’ve worked with him for eight years now and he doesn’t really need our help. When you think about it, this really isn’t that tough a choice. You have a guy, Joe Biden, who spent his whole career in politics. By the way, did you know Joe Biden brags about this? He gave a speech saying he never knew what a payroll was.
“And then you’ve got Donald Trump, who has built great things, great businesses. And one of Trump’s similarities to Ronald Reagan is both were underestimated by their opponents, to their detriment. They both also love people. Trump loves being around people.”
Mr. Moore mentioned how, when he was appointed to the Federal Reserve Board and came under attack for ridiculous accusations of “sexism,” former President Trump stood by him. Mr. Moore eventually declined the nomination.

Inflation Is a Curse

Turning to the current state of the economy, Mr. Moore said, “Inflation is still a big, big problem. I don’t know why people on Wall Street were surprised by that. If you look at commodity prices, if you look what’s happening with gold, if you look what’s happening just with gasoline at the pump, it’s clear inflation is still a big problem for people.
“Inflation is a curse. I think that the one of the major reasons Reagan beat Carter was people were so upset about high prices.”
According to Federal Reserve History, “By the summer of 1980, inflation was near 14.5 percent, and unemployment was over 7.5 percent.” That November, Mr. Reagan beat President Jimmy Carter in a landslide, winning 44 states and 489 electoral votes to Mr. Carter’s six states and 49 electoral votes.
Indeed, the same day Mr. Moore spoke, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced inflation jumped again, to a 3.5 percent annual rate for March. The Epoch Times reported April 12 the higher costs are hitting senior citizens especially hard. The article quoted Shannon Benton, a director who oversees cost-of-living estimates at The Senior Citizens League, who said, “From long-term dwindling purchasing power to heightened financial uncertainty, the trouble of seniors not being able to make ends meet remains a pressing concern.”
Now that I’m a “seasoned citizen” of 68, to use a favorite phrase of the late Rush Limbaugh, I’m especially feeling the effects of “Bidenflation.” And California’s costs are rising even faster, due to such impositions by Gov. Gavin Newsom as the new $20 minimum wage for fast-food workers, which I reported on in “No Fooling: Gov. Newsom’s $20 Minimum Wage Hits April 1.”
It’s becoming clear the twin crises of rising inflation and burgeoning illegal immigration are going to be the major domestic issues on the ballot Nov. 5.

Giving Biden Credit

“I have to give Biden some credit,” Mr. Moore said. “Unlike most Democrats who run for president, they talk moderate and then they get in and go left. But Biden is saying, ‘You elect me and we’re going to turn this country so far to the left.’ Listen to his State of the Union speech. It’s like anti-Reagan. ‘We’re going to raise taxes on the rich. We’re going to spend another $2 trillion. We’re going to keep spending and borrowing. Everybody’s going to get free things. Thirty million people are going to get their student loans forgiven.’
“By the way, how is it that Donald Trump is the threat to democracy, when the Supreme Court said very clearly you do not have the right to do this?”
The Epoch Times reported last July, “President Joe Biden reacted swiftly to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to invalidate his plan to forgive many student loans by announcing new measures to provide relief to borrowers.”

China Is the Biggest Polluter

Mr. Moore criticized President Biden’s policies for hampering U.S. energy production even as Communist China keeps building coal plants. “Obviously China doesn’t care about climate change,” he said. “They’re the biggest polluter in the world. We’re going to shut down our own gas and coal” under President Biden. “And of course, they’re going to take over from us.”
He used a shocking chart showing China’s rapid increase in coal production, shown below.
In 1990, China and the United States produced about the same amount of coal, 5,000 terawatt hours (TWh). Since then, ours has declined to around 3,000 TWh, while China’s has soared to more than 20,000 TWh—about seven times ours.
As Alex Wu headlined in The Epoch Times in Nov. 2021, “China Signs Climate Agreement With U.S. to Stall for Time: Experts.” He reported, “In the deal signed in Glasgow, the two countries agreed to cooperate on a range of issues, including methane emissions, transitioning to clean energy, and decarbonization.” That certainly turned out to be a big enviro-joke borne by U.S. producers and consumers through higher energy prices.
And as I reported earlier this month in this paper on Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s trip to Beijing to get them to stop selling so many cut-rate solar panels in America, “California Environmental Mandates, National Guard Turmoil Not Protecting Our Country.”

Conclusion: Clear Choice in November

I’ve closely watched every presidential election since 1968 and have written about them since 1976. The election this Nov. 5 will be the most clear-cut of them all. Voters will have to make decisions on where our country goes on economic, social, foreign policy, and other issues.
Mr. Moore’s speech provided his usual clear explanations of the state of the California and U.S. economies. And he drew clear lines indicating which policies former President Trump will change should he win and take office next Jan. 20. Now the voters will have their say.
John Seiler

John Seiler


John Seiler is a veteran California opinion writer. Mr. Seiler has written editorials for The Orange County Register for almost 30 years. He is a U.S. Army veteran and former press secretary for California state Sen. John Moorlach. He blogs at and his email is

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