Before being escorted to the airport by her staff, Congresswoman Gwen Moore stopped by the UWM Economics Club to both criticize and praise President Donald Trump and revisit major economic reforms that she now admits weren’t perfect.
Moore, a Democrat from Milwaukee, criticized Trump for starting trade wars and slamming China but praised his new infrastructure bill, saying that it would create millions of jobs. She revisited her signature support of economic bailout bills but said that, although they bailed out the financial system, they didn’t do enough to protect home owners. Moore said she gets the most done when she crosses party lines and gave students advice on crossing party lines.
Moore discussed Wall Street reform, President Trump’s foreign relations and crossing party lines at a lecture Monday evening as a guest of the Department of Economics and the Economics Club at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee.
Recently re-elected to her 7th term representing Wisconsin’s 4th Congressional District, Moore spoke to a crowd of approximately 50 people in room 1150 at the Kenwood Interdisciplinary Research Complex for about 15 minutes before taking questions from members of the crowd.
The meeting started with her thanking the Economics Club for the invitation to speak before she dove into her support of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). She said the original legislation was three-pages long and asked for $700 billion before she dug into the specifics of the bills.
Dodd-Frank is a law that regulated the financial industry after the market collapsed in 2008. TARP is a government program to stabilize the home market and auto industry by bailing out major lenders.
“We thought…we were going to use that $700 billion to buy up all of the poisoned mortgage-backed securities that were out there, but $700 billion, quite frankly, was not enough money,” she said. “There’s an estimate that $22 trillion was lost in our economy because of the type of bubbles that had formed. We had a lot of complaints from our constituents that we bailed out the financial system, but were not as careful to replace some of the lost value. A lot of people lost value in their homes. But we did a great many other things in Dodd Frank that were extremely important.”
When asked about her reaction to President Donald Trump’s first month and a half, Moore responded by saying he’s “slamming China, starting trade wars, and these are people we (are in debt to). It would be a huge problem if they started collecting.” Moore also noted that his proposed $1 trillion infrastructure bill would likely create 20 million jobs.
Moore, the first African-American voted to Congress from the State of Wisconsin, said there are both positives and negatives to Trump’s proposal to lower the corporate tax rate from 35 to 15 percent. She addressed the need for tax breaks on innovative sciences and technology like solar and wind energy so society can replace its dependency on fossil fuels and create cleaner, more sustainable energy sources. She also spoke frankly about the current budget process, saying it’s unfair when Republicans compare government to household budgets.
“We don’t get to pay our mortgage and car loans, and then not pay for food or clothes. A budget is a reflection of ethics and priorities (of its creators),” said Moore. “Lower taxes for corporations leads to the defunding of other programs.”
Several attendees asked Moore what she would recommend to someone looking to get started in politics. “Are you interested in public policy?” she replied. “I really cared for my community. I wanted economic justice, access to a mortgage, fair housing for all people. I started a community Credit Union.
Another attendee asked how she ‘gets things done’ in Congress. “We’ve got to recognize that we have interests that cross lines. I put bills together, cross the aisle and get Republicans to sign bills. I’ve been most successful when I get to cross party lines.”
Moore, who is a member of several committees and subcommittees, noted experience is important when being considered for a position in a committee, but said, “The ability to be a team player and bring money to the party” bears a lot of weight when being considered.
The UWM Economics Club, which sponsored Moore’s lecture, invited numerous local politicians to speak on campus after the department did a series of events regarding politics in economics last fall.
Evan Andrew, president of the UWM economics club, said Moore was one of the few who actually responded.
“We reached out shortly after the election, and Congresswoman Moore was the first to respond,” said Andrew. “Her role on the House Budget Committee offers us a unique perspective on economics in politics.”
At approximately 5:35 p.m., a staffer in the crowd informed Moore she had time for one more question before they needed to depart for Mitchell Airport.
Moore expressed gratitude towards the Economics Club for inviting her to speak and posed for a photo with the Economics Club officers and other attendees before being escorted out of the classroom by her staff.