Trump’s Federal Reserve Pick Says the Government Has No Place in Closing the Gender Pay Gap

“I want that to be decided by the market.”

On Sunday, President Donald Trump’s pick for the Federal Reserve, Stephen Moore, admitted he was “embarrassed” by some of his past writings deriding women. Still, when asked to clarify what he meant by his writings on gender equity and the pay gap, Moore insisted, “I want that to be decided by the market. I don’t want government to intervene in those kinds of things.” 

ABC’s This Week asked Moore to respond to a 2014 National Review column in which he wrote, “What are the implications of a society in which women earn more than men? We don’t really know, but it could be disruptive to family stability.” In one column, he took a stand against equal pay for female athletes, arguing against “equal pay for inferior work.”

Moore has offered something resembling an apology, saying, “Frankly, I didn’t even remember writing some of these they were so long ago. They were humor columns, but some of them weren’t funny, so I am apologetic.” But he was also clear he does not think it is the government’s business to ensure equal pay. (The Trump administration froze an Obama administration rule to collect more information from employers, broken down by race, ethnicity, and gender, though a federal judge last week reinstated it.)

Moore says the economic growth will close the pay gap on its own. “The way to oppose the wage gap is by growing the economy,” he said. “I think prosperity and economic growth is a women’s issue.” 

It’s a theme throughout Moore’s writings. As Mother Jones recently unearthed, Moore has argued in 2012 and 2013 that working poor should pay more taxes and that income inequality can be solved by creating more billionaires. 

ThinkProgress notes that the “wage gap actually increased slightly over the first year of Trump’s administration, going from an average disadvantage of $10,086 in 2016 to $10,169. Women earned just 80.5 percent in 2017, on average, of what men were paid.” Meanwhile, the pay gap is much worse for women of color, and a growing economy doesn’t help: In 2017, census data showed women appeared to slightly close the pay gap because of wage stagnation for men, but that was only true for white and Asian women—wages for Hispanic women flattened, and pay for African American women dropped off.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend