PANAMA CITY, Fla.—Gov. Ron DeSantis denounced federal consideration of a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) on March 20 and called for the state legislature to ban it in Florida and for other states to do the same.
DeSantis, who is expected to declare his candidacy for president, has used daily press conferences to showcase his management of the third-largest state, which he calls “the free state of Florida.”
Speaking at Gulf Coast State College, DeSantis addressed a decidedly national issue, the idea of the federal government extending its economic power by moving the nation toward a digital currency—controlled by Washington.
DeSantis said President Joe Biden issued an executive order last year to explore effectively converting the dollar into a centralized digital currency.
“And this is different than things like cryptocurrency, Bitcoin. A centralized digital currency is directly controlled and issued by the government to consumers—and it provides the government with a direct view of all consumer activities,” DeSantis said.
“And so this is something that is being proposed as somehow being environmentally sustainable, a way to increase access to consumers who lack the means to join a traditional bank.
“But as we’ve come to learn, anyway they can get into society to exercise their agenda, they will do it. So what the Central Bank Digital Currency is all about is surveilling Americans and controlling the behavior of Americans.
“And how do we know? Because we’ve seen this happen in other parts of the world. Look no further than China, in seeing the impact of centralized digital currency. The People’s Bank of China uses its central bank to monitor citizen behavior, allowing for the surveillance of spending habits and to cut off access to goods and services.”
“My question is, are you interested in giving these economic central planners more power over our economy, more power over your daily life and your economic activity? And I answered that question, ‘H-E-double hockey sticks No!’”
DeSantis said he could see what the government was trying to do with ESG [environmental, social, and governance] factors and federally controlled digital currency.
“You go and buy gasoline. If you bought too much gasoline, they just won’t allow you to use this to make a transaction.
“Who knows whether they would let you buy a firearm or things that they disapprove of?
“So you’re opening up a major can of worms and you’re handing a central bank huge, huge amounts of power. And they will use that power.
“As you’ve seen, anything in the last four or five years is, if they can do their agenda—they will do their agenda in any way that they can.”
Frozen Bank Accounts
It’s a move, DeSantis said, “that would not be able to win at the ballot box.”
“Ultimately cash is king. You can hold it in your hand. You have power over that. The minute it’s all digitized, somebody else is going to have control of that. And it’s just a question of, are they going to let you live your life?”
In Canada, when truckers were protesting vaccine mandates, DeSantis noted, the government froze bank accounts, including that of charities trying to help the truckers.
“So we’ve already seen government really overstep its bounds as it is.”
DeSantis tied the issue to the current banking crisis.
He laid responsibility for it at the feet of the federal government and the Federal Reserve Bank.
Trillions of dollars of stimulus spending during the COVID-19 lockdown, plus the Federal Reserve keeping interest rates near zero, caused inflation, and the Fed was slow to respond to it, DeSantis said.
When they did, they raised interest rates too sharply, triggering the crisis. He said they also undid a lot of the work they’d done trying to take money out of the economy.
He derided the federal government for “printing trillions of dollars.”
Forbidding Use in Florida
“There’s no free lunch,” the governor said. “I mean, we could just print money to solve all the world’s problems. Why would we even show up when we could just let them print? We’ll just sit at home, you know, hanging out all day. But it just doesn’t work. There’s going to have to be a reckoning.”
DeSantis said he feared a backdoor attempt to institute a CBDC through the Uniform Commercial Code, which he said was used to standardize commercial transactions across state lines.
DeSantis said changes recommended recently to the UCC have been introduced in about 20 states but not in Florida so far, and he would veto it if it were.
“Given the risk associated with a federally controlled centralized bank digital currency, today I’m here to call on the legislators to pass legislation expressly forbidding the use of CBDC as money within Florida’s Uniform Commercial Code.”
The legislation should also prohibit the use of digital currency issued by foreign governments or central banks, such as China’s, he said.
“This will ensure that any effort to adopt a worldwide digital currency will never occur in the free state of Florida.”
DeSantis called on like-minded states to do the same, to create a groundswell against any federal action. He said he’d spoken with the lieutenant governor of Texas, who heads that state’s senate, and believes Texas will make a similar move.
In response to a question from The Epoch Times, DeSantis said the Biden administration signaled interest in CBDC with the executive order to study it.
“Most people assume that there’s going to be some study returned that advocates for it. And then the issue would be, is that something that Congress would ever adopt?”
“But if enough states come up and say ‘no’, it’ll be really difficult for Congress to ever enact something like this. Then the issue will be if they tried to do it administratively.”
DeSantis said he feared that a federal government with ever-expanding administrative power—exercised by unelected and unaccountable officials at agencies like the Federal Reserve, the Treasury Department, and the FDIC—could institute a change like adopting digital currency, without going through Congress.
“I wouldn’t put anything past them,” he said.
“This is protecting your freedom to make decisions. We don’t want a central bank circumscribing your decisions and we want to make sure you have that access to your money.”
“I’m glad we’re at the tip of the spear on this.”
From The Epoch Times