7 months ago

Trump tax cuts architect: Trump probably would not be president without Jeff Sessions

Renowned economist and writer Stephen Moore, widely viewed as the architect of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, told Yellowhammer News on Monday that President Donald J. Trump would likely not have become president without the support of then-U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) in 2016.

Sessions is currently running in a crowded GOP primary field for his old Senate seat, and Moore traveled to Montgomery Monday for a Sessions campaign event.

Ahead of that appearance, Moore interviewed with Yellowhammer about why he supports Sessions, as well as important economic issues facing the nation and the state of Alabama.

Moore’s resume is that of legends. He was the founding president of Club for Growth and has served on the editorial board of The Wall Street Journal, worked two stints at the Heritage Foundation and served as director of President Ronald Reagan’s Privatization Commission, among many other feats. Moore advised Herman Cain’s 2012 presidential campaign on economic issues, as well as Trump’s 2016 campaign. Moore then went on to play a leading role in the crafting and passage of Trump’s signature tax reform legislation in 2017.

Those Trump tax cuts, Moore told Yellowhammer, are working for the American people.

“The tax cuts and reform have had a profoundly positive impact on the economy, we’re seeing,” Moore advised. “We have the lowest unemployment rate, lowest inflation rate, lowest interest rates in 50 years, and we’re starting to see really nice wage gains.”

“The whole idea of the tax cut was to try to help middle-class workers have more job opportunities — bigger pay increases,” he continued. “We’re seeing the average family in the United States since Trump took office has gained about $5,000 in annual income. That’s a big number.”

Moore noted that he saw the president a few weeks ago and told him that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 is even “working out better than we thought it would.”

“We’ve imported one trillion dollars of capital from the rest of the world because of our low repatriation tax,” Moore added. “So, it’s worked like a charm.”

Sessions and the rest of Alabama’s Republican primary field are running for the chance to face Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) in the November general election. Jones has spoken in opposition to the Trump tax cuts and even voted in 2019 to undo part of the legislation.

State of the economy

Overall, Moore praised the state of the American economy under Trump’s leadership.

“This is about as good an economy as we’ve had in about 30 years,” Moore explained. “Some ways even in 50 years.”

Just as with Alabama’s economy, the largest issue now facing the nation is a shortage of qualified workers for the jobs currently available.

“When we’ve got 3.5% unemployment rate (nationally), the biggest problem in the economy today is too few workers, not too few jobs,” Moore remarked. “That’s a good problem for a country to have.”

“The stock market obviously keeps hitting all-time highs,” he added. “So, that’s a very good thing for all Americans who are on 401k plans or retirement plans and own individual stock.”

“It’s hard to find really anything to complain about with this economy,” Moore stressed. “I really do think it’s the best economy in three decades.”

Commenting further on the type of labor shortage states like Alabama are faced with due to unemployment rates well under the full employment rate of 4% (Alabama’s last recorded seasonally adjusted rate was 2.7%), Moore detailed, “The upside of that is it gives workers more flexibility to ask for raises, and it means the chances of being laid off are much smaller. So, that’s a good thing for the Alabama workforce.”

However, from a policy standpoint in the Yellowhammer State and federally, workforce development has become a major focus. For the president’s administration, Ivanka Trump has been instrumental in innovative, impactful workforce initiatives, including a concerted investment in apprenticeship programs across the U.S. She even visited Alabama in recent months to roll out a manufacturing-centric partnership.

“Nationally, and I’m sure this is probably the case in Alabama, too, we need to do a much better job educating and training kids for 21st century jobs,” Moore said. “And we need to retrain older workers, reskill them. And we need to make sure kids aren’t graduating with political science and psychology degrees but degrees that will actually prepare them for the science and technology and engineering and nursing jobs that are out there in abundance — anyone with a skill. Let me put it like this: we’re just graduating too many kids from college that don’t have a useful skill. And that’s a problem.”

Moore gave high praise to the work Ivanka Trump is doing in the workforce development arena.

“I think what Ivanka is doing is fantastic,” he said.

The Fed

Moore has also been well known as an outspoken critic of the Federal Reserve in recent years.

In December 2018, Moore stated that he believed “the people on the Federal Reserve Board should be thrown out for economic malpractice.” He had decried that the Fed was causing deflation in the economy.

In February 2019, Moore said, “There’s no bigger swamp in Washington than the Federal Reserve Board. It’s filled with hundreds of economists who are worthless, who have the wrong model in their mind. They should all be, they should all be fired and they should be replaced by good economists.”

The next month, Moore co-authored a column in the Wall Street Journal that asserted that the Fed’s policies were slowing the economy and causing “wild swings in the stock market.”

That column was shown to Trump by adviser Larry Kudlow, and the president soon thereafter announced his nomination of Moore to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors on March 22, 2019. Three months later, Moore withdrew his nomination.

However, during his nomination period, Moore vocally called on the Fed to lower interest rates. This was controversial — supported by Trump but opposed by Fed chairman Jerome Powell and others.

Yet, soon after his nomination was withdrawn, Moore seemed to be vindicated.

The Federal Reserve in September lowered rates by a quarter of a percent and again in October.

Moore reacted by calling it “an example of where I was right, and where my critics were wrong.”

Speaking to Yellowhammer News, Moore commented on the Fed’s actions in the last five months.

“A year ago the Fed was pursuing a disastrous policy, right? I mean, they were raising rates, and we saw in late 2018 that they crashed the stock market and took a lot of wind out of the sails of the economy when the Fed kept raising interest rates even when we had a dollar liquidity shortage,” he advised.

“The Fed in the last year, though, has really reversed course,” Moore continued. “And they’ve been cutting rates rather than raising them, creating more dollar liquidity in the economy, including overnight purchases of assets. That’s put more dollars in the economy. We have no inflation… I think the Fed’s in a much, much better place today than they were a year ago. And I don’t see inflation that’s any kind of threat right now. I think that the Fed should, if anything, cut rates one or two more times. But, at the very least, it should not raise rates. And I don’t think it’s very likely for 2020 [to raise rates]. That’s one of the reasons I’m very bullish on the U.S. economy this upcoming year.”

‘Enormous benefit to the conservative movement and to Donald Trump’

When asked about his support of Sessions’ 2020 candidacy, Moore responded, “How could I not support Senator Sessions? He was one of the best senators for many years when he was in the Senate.”

Moore continued, “He has played a heroic role in terms of getting Trump over the goal line in 2016. I mean, Trump may not have won — probably would not have won — the nomination of the party if it had not been for Sessions. So, Sessions is one of the guys who brought me in, Larry Kudlow [in] to the campaign. And he brought an incredible staff of people, like [Stephen] Miller and others, over to Trump.”

“Jeff Sessions is just a great man,” he added. “I was just flattered when he asked me to come [to his campaign event] and speak on his behalf. I’d love to see him get back in the Senate. I think on judicial issues, economic issues he is second to none.”

Moore, through his leadership in Club for Growth and Heritage Foundation especially, worked with Sessions on such issues of importance for the country. Both organizations support free-enterprise and limited government.

“We always rated him at or near the top,” Moore said of Sessions on the issues the organizations advocate for.

Sessions for years served on the Senate Budget Committee, rising to become the committee’s ranking member.

“I worked most closely with Sessions on budget issues… he was very tight-fisted, a real fiscal conservative and believes in limited government. That’s where I really got to know him, working most closely with him on fiscal discipline issues. Of course, boy do we need that now, because there’s no fiscal discipline whatsoever in Washington today. Neither party is showing much fiscal discipline.”

Moore concluded, “Sessions has been one of the consistent conservative voices in Washington now for almost two decades. I think he has proved his mettle, and having someone like him back in the Senate would be an enormous benefit to the conservative movement and to Donald Trump.”

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

1 hour ago

Rep. Palmer: Why is it Joe Biden can send his wife out but he can’t go out?

Earlier this month, Jill Biden, wife of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, began taking a more public role in her husband’s bid for the White House, participating in media interviews and campaign events.

However, Joe Biden has not been out and about as much as the former second lady, which has raised questions about the former vice president and his campaign.

During an interview with Mobile radio’s FM Talk 106.5’s “The Jeff Poor Show,” U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer (R-Hoover) asked that question and offered a theory as to why that is the case.

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“Here’s Jill Biden, living in the same house with Joe Biden, who is out doing interviews, who is out in meetings,” Palmer said. “She’s in her 60s. She’s not as old as Joe but I believe she is in her 60s, in that age group that is considered at risk. She is able to go out and meet with people. She is able to do interviews face to face but Joe can’t. So people ought to be asking themselves a question: Why is it he can send his wife out but he can’t go out?”

“There are a number of people who have a theory on that, not the least of which is he is a gaffe machine,” he added.

Palmer reminded listeners how Joe Biden’s struggles with gaffes go back decades.

“My first contact with Joe Biden was the very first work that I did in D.C. when I ran the think tank,” Palmer added. “That was Clarence Thomas’ confirmation hearing. And you may recall he had gone through controversy then … It is well known that he is surrounded in controversy and that he is a gaffe machine.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly and host of Mobile’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on FM Talk 106.5.

12 hours ago

Alabama political leaders react to Kamala Harris as Biden’s choice for VP

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Tuesday selected U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) to be his running mate. Political leaders from both sides of the aisle in Alabama reacted to the news.

Harris served two terms as the attorney general of California before being elected to the Senate in 2016.

U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL), the Yellowhammer State’s most prominent Democrat and a longtime Biden ally, wrote “I know the power and energy of African-American women & the difference their hard work made in my race. Now we’ll make history by electing our first African-American woman VP & I’m so proud that person will be my friend and colleague ⁦Kamala Harris.”

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Jerry Carl, a Mobile County commissioner and the Republican nominee in Alabama’s First Congressional District, was the first major member of the Alabama GOP to react.

“Did Sleepy Joe forget that only months ago Kamala Harris attacked him for his racist policies? Now he is handing over the reins of the Presidency to her and the radical left,” Carl’s campaign account tweeted shortly after the news broke.

“I am ELATED that my friend, colleague, & Sorority Sister Kamala Harris was chosen as Joe Biden’s running mate! Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are ready to take on the big fights and she’s already shown the courage and success to win big fights,” U.S. Representative Terri Sewell (AL-07) posted to Twitter on Tuesday afternoon.

Former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville, the Republican nominee to take on Jones in November, commented on the news via Twitter.

“It’s no surprise that Joe Biden has selected a Socialist Democrat like Kamala Harris as his VP pick. Harris is as far left as it gets, and my opponent, Doug Jones, stands side-by-side with her on almost every critical issue,” Tuberville’s campaign posted. “They have voted time and again for late-term abortion, gun-grabbing laws, open borders legislation, and other far-left agenda items. We must not let Socialists like Doug Jones or Kamala Harris take over our country!”

Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan released a statement, saying, “Joe Biden’s VP pick drags the Democrats’ ticket even further to the left.”

Lathan listed a number of liberal measures Harris has supported before adding, “We look forward to the clear contrast in policies in the Vice Presidential debate with Mike Pence and Senator Harris. It will be a true mirror of the obtuse plans the Democrats want for our nation.”

Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed, a Democrat, received Harris’ endorsement while he was campaigning for the office he now holds. He tweeted on Tuesday, “I like what I just heard” shortly after the news of Harris being chosen spread online.

“We are proud [Kamala Harris] has been selected to be Joe Biden’s VP. We look forward to helping her make history & make a difference over the next four years,” Reed added.

U.S. Representative Mike Rogers’ (AL-03) campaign account wrote, “Joe Biden’s radical lurch to the left just became even more extreme,” in response to the Harris news.

President Donald Trump was asked about Harris during a press conference at the White House on Tuesday afternoon.

“She’s a big tax raiser. She has a lot of things to explain,” he said in part.

Biden and Harris will take on President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in the general election this November.

Pence and Harris will debate at 8:00 p.m. CT on October 7.

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95

14 hours ago

Alabama Senate majority leader to SEC: Let them play

Alabama Senate Majority Leader Greg Reed (R-Jasper) sent a letter on Tuesday to Southeastern Conference Commissioner Greg Sankey, advocating for the SEC to allow its member institutions to proceed with the 2020 college football season this fall.

The letter came the day that the Big 10 and Pac-12 decided to cancel their fall seasons. Of the Power 5 conferences, the SEC, ACC and Big 12 have yet to announce if they will play football this year.

To try saving the season, a player-led #WeWantToPlay movement has popped up in the past few days, quickly gaining momentum nationally.

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University of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban and other prominent leaders in the world of college football have advised that most players want to play, and that players will very likely be safer following enhanced safety protocols developed by their teams rather than being back at home or left to their own devices on campuses all fall.

For example, University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) head coach Bill Clark on Monday tweeted that his team had tested all 176 people in the school’s football building for COVID-19, with all tests returning negative.

“In addition to the [SEC]’s Medical Advisory Group providing a medical clearance for gameplay this fall, I have faith in the various health and safety guidelines being adopted by the Conference’s member institutions, who have themselves relied on the vast expertise of the medical professionals on their campuses and within their respective university systems,” Reed wrote to Sankey.

He added that on top of “the heightened health and safety protocols in intercollegiate athletics, each member institution has created health and safety guidelines campus-wide.”

“I have a tremendous amount of trust in the decision making of institutions such as the University of Alabama and Auburn University and wholeheartedly believe that every decision made by their respective administrations will prioritize the health and welfare of their students, faculty, and staff over all other considerations,” Reed continued.

“Member institutions and student-athletes have worked tirelessly to get back on the field this fall,” the senator said. “Depriving opportunities for student-athletes to succeed on the field will long lasting and potentially devastating consequences for their futures, with many student-athletes aspiring to compete professionally.”

Reed concluded by asking the SEC to “hear the calling of their member institutions and student-athletes and commit to competition this fall.”

You can read the full letter here.

Shortly after Reed sent his letter, the SEC via Twitter released a statement from Sankey.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

15 hours ago

Lawsuit challenging statewide mask order dismissed by judge

A Montgomery County Circuit judge on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit that sought to challenge the legality of Alabama’s statewide mask mandate.

The suit was brought by three Jackson County residents who thought the mask order, first ordered by Governor Kay Ivey in mid-July, was outside the bounds of what the government could put in place.

Seth Ashmore, the attorney handling the lawsuit, said on Tuesday his clients plan to appeal the ruling.

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Judge Greg Griffin handled the case at the circuit court level and made the decision to dismiss the suit shortly after a hearing conducted on Tuesday afternoon.

Both Ivey and State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris, in their official capacities, were named as defendants in the suit.

The persons suing Ivey and Harris argued the mask mandate was “illegally adopted” and a “deprivation of liberty.”

Lawyers from the Alabama Attorney General’s office argued in their motion to dismiss the suit that the Alabama Emergency Management Act of 1955 gave the Governor “ample authority” to require the wearing of masks by individuals when they are in public.

Both the lawsuit and motion to dismiss have been made available to the public by Mike Cason, a reporter for Alabama Media Group.

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95

16 hours ago

Alabama HBCU students chosen for Coca-Cola Bottling Company UNITED internship program

Birmingham-based Coca-Cola Bottling Company UNITED has held the 2020 edition of its annual “Pay It Forward” program, which aims to provide black college students with opportunities to celebrate achievement and further their success.

Historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) students from 16 schools throughout Coca-Cola Bottling Company UNITED’s six-state footprint submitted applications earlier this year.

Now in its fifth year, the program was promoted actively across participating HBCU campuses. Coca-Cola reviewed the applications for the program, selecting 25 students total based on their impressive applications. This included seven students from Alabama HBCUs:

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Micah Hardge and Marion Brock IV, Alabama State University
Michael Howard, Miles College
Olivia Sarley, Stillman College
Jasimen Collins and Ayala Seaborn, Talladega College
Nia Reid, Tuskegee University

Normally, this program is a week-long, in-person experience; however, this year due to COVID 19, selected students participated virtually. These students engaged with Coca-Cola Company teams to learn more about the organization and how to conduct business most effectively during a two-day, informative development session held last week.

“Although we will not be able to meet these students in person this year, we are excited to get to know this remarkable group of ‘Pay It Forward’ interns,” stated John Sherman, president and CEO Coca-Cola Bottling Co. UNITED. “Our intent through the two-day program is to encourage these young adults and help enable them to further develop career goals as they plan for the next phase in life.”

During this internship, students reportedly gained experience in a wide range of roles at Coca-Cola, including sales, production, marketing, pricing, event planning, packaging, philanthropy and community relations. The program exposes participants to real-world work situations, including business practices and protocols, how to network and other important skills that will prepare them for the job market.

Over 100 students from Coca-Cola’s partner HBCUs have participated in the Pay it Forward internship to date.

Coca-Cola Bottling Company United, Inc., founded in 1902 and headquartered in the Magic City, is the second-largest privately held Coca-Cola bottler in North America and the third-largest bottler of Coca-Cola products in the United States. Now with its fifth generation of family working in the business, the Yellowhammer State company has approximately 10,000 associates located in more than 60 facilities across Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn