Before Jeb! Bush unveiled his tax! plan! on Wednesday, he met in Manhattan with Stephen Moore, an economist at the conservative Heritage Foundation. Also there were Steve Forbes (whose family owned Forbes Magazine until they sold it last year to Hong Kong-based investors) and Larry Kudlow (a CNBC contributor and the worst economic prognosticator since Irving Fisher).
Moore, Forbes and Kudlow wield real power in parts of the Republican Party, and together with economist Arthur Laffer have created something called the Committee to Unleash Prosperity. According to the Washington Post, Bush was there “seeking their counsel” and “courting the party’s tax-cutting enthusiasts [as] a gesture of goodwill and a signal to the party’s business wing.” Other GOP presidential candidates, including Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, have also traveled to New York to audition for them.
What’s particularly notable about this is that Moore is honestly, straightforwardly dismissive of the importance of democracy. In the 2009 movie Capitalism: A Love Story, Moore went on camera to say, “Capitalism is a lot more important than democracy. I’m not even a big believer in democracy.” (Capitalism was directed by Michael Moore, no relation to Stephen, but my former boss.)
Moore’s stature is a testament to how prioritizing capitalism over democracy is a perfectly acceptable position in the current U.S. political system.
Transcript from the movie:
MOORE: Capitalism is a lot more important than democracy. I’m not even a big believer in democracy. I always say that democracy can be two wolves and a sheep deciding on what to have for dinner. … Look, I’m in favor of people having the right to vote and things like that. But there are a lot of countries that have the right to vote and they’re still poor. Democracy doesn’t always lead to a good economy or even a good political system.