NASHVILLE, Tennessee — Free-market economist Stephen Moore slammed U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) in a speech Saturday when talking about “turncoat” Republicans who did not support a recent Republican-led Senate effort to repeal Obamacare.
He said the Tennessee senator is “leading the charge” to preserve Obamacare in some form. Last month, Alexander was one of seven Republicans to vote against a strong repeal amendment sponsored by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY).
“What he is doing right now behind the scenes is a betrayal,” said Moore, the senior economic contributor for FreedomWorks and a fellow at the Heritage Foundation. Moore is a frequent commentator on TV and a former Wall Street Journal editorial board member.
Moore spoke at a breakfast hosted by the Tennessee Republican Assembly at Glenwood Baptist Church in Nashville. The meeting was to be held at Dairy King next door, but had to be moved because of rain damage at the restaurant. Business leader Andrew Puzder, who was at one point President Trump’s nominee for labor secretary, also spoke at the event.
“This is a very dangerous moment right now,” Moore said. “If Lamar has his way, we will permanently enshrine Obamacare into the budget. We will never get rid of it.”
The crowd applauded and cheered when Moore said, “We’ve got to tell Lamar, ‘Hell no on Obamacare!’ ”
Moore said he believes people should be free to buy the insurance policy of their choice, including across state lines, and that it should work similar to auto insurance. Many people would be able to get policies at almost half of the price they’re paying for Obamacare, he said. Moore also blamed insurance companies for selling out to former President Obama.
The U.S. is at a crossroads with health care, Moore said, and we eventually will decide on free-market remedies or go with a government-run single-payer system, which he said would “work just as well as the VA [Veterans Affairs] system.”
Despite setbacks with the Affordable Care Act, there is still progress under Trump for conservatives to cheer, Moore said. Trump has slashed 16 regulations for every new one, and has brought back the coal industry and an emphasis on energy independence so we can be self-reliant “instead of buying from terrorists trying to kill us,” Moore said. He also noted that Trump is pushing for large-scale business tax cuts and supports incentives to encourage corporations doing business overseas to bring profits back to America.
Moore, who has served as an economic adviser for Trump, shared a story from campaigning in Ohio. A Midwest native from Illinois, Moore was traveling through small towns in the Buckeye State and saw sign after sign for Trump for about 40 minutes until finally he saw one for Hillary. But when he got up close, he saw that it said, “Hillary for Prison.”
Pollsters and many in the mainstream media were caught off guard by Trump’s victory because from their vantage points in their insular liberal worlds, they didn’t see how much support he was gaining across the country, Moore said. There also were many who didn’t visibly support Trump, but voted for him on election day, he said.
During his speech, Puzder echoed much of what Moore had to say about Trump ushering in an age of prosperity. The country is currently experiencing an “economic explosion” that would be headline news in the mainstream media every day if Obama were still in office, Puzder said.
“We’ve got more people working better jobs,” he said. “Claims for unemployment benefits are at 40-plus year lows. Median household income, household net worth and job openings all set record highs so far this year, and small businesses are hiring.”
Until recently, Puzder was the CEO of CKE Restaurants, which owns the Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. fast-food chains. He stepped down not long after his nomination for labor secretary was engulfed in controversies.
Puzder was involved in relocating the company this year from California to Middle Tennessee, where it set up its headquarters in Cool Springs. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Puzder lived in California for 25 years but now lives in Franklin.
“I needed to move back to America,” he said.
You can watch a video of part of Moore’s speech here: