In an interview with The Epoch Times, conducted earlier this month by e-mail, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis discussed his state’s policies and his approach to keeping the state open to economic prosperity by the limitation of government-enforced COVID-19 mandates. He also talked about how America’s constitutional framework ensures that states have the power to protect individual rights.
No matter how we’d evaluate “15 days to slow the spread” in hindsight, this temporary measure should never have become “three jabs to keep your job.” No one should lose their livelihood because of these COVID jabs. In Florida, we’re making sure that people have a right to earn a living, people have a right to protections in their place of employment, and parents are able to direct the upbringing of their kids. And if you look at what we’re doing today, Florida is leading. The legislation passed in the special session earlier this month is the strongest law that has been enacted anywhere in the country in this regard.
The Biden vaccine mandates are egregious examples of unconstitutional federal overreach. We live in the United States of America. In our constitutional system, the states are the primary vehicles to protect people’s freedoms, their health, their safety, and their welfare. What Biden is doing is not constitutional. There has never been a federal vaccine mandate imposed on the general public. When I was in the military, they used to give me all kinds of stuff, but that’s much different than imposing it on civilians in society. It’s never been done before. The federal government doesn’t have the power to do it. There’s no federal police power; states have the police power. So that’s from a constitutional perspective.
In Florida, some local governments wanted to lock down businesses. They wanted to force mandates. They wanted to keep the kids locked out of school. I overruled them on that. The fact of the matter is, you don’t have the right to do wrong. I was elected to look out for the liberties of everyone in the state. If we had let them lock the kids out of school last year, we would have paid the piper on that for years and years in this state. If we had let them lock down businesses and restrict and do all that, we would have one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. So we had to stand up for people’s liberties, their livelihoods, their right to work, to operate their businesses. And it was the right thing to do.
Biden admitted he doesn’t have the authority to enact national vaccine mandates. Even six months ago, Biden and [Dr. Anthony] Fauci were saying, “Of course, you never mandate.” So the question is, do we actually have a Constitution that constrains people like Biden? Or is it just when he loses patience, he can do whatever he wants? I’ll take the Constitution.
So we were able to keep those afloat. In fact, in August of 2021, tourism in Florida did better than in August of 2019—pre-COVID. Hotel reservations, receipts in terms of revenue, restaurant reservations. So it just shows you that freedom works, and look, people vote with their feet.
The shutdowns have contributed to inflation, because Congress has passed multiple trillion-dollar spending bills. When the federal government prints money like this, it causes inflationary pressure and erodes the value of the dollar. More reckless spending and printing money will only make inflation worse. In recent history, different countries have experienced hyperinflation, and this is what causes that dangerous phenomenon.
We’ve got job openings, we’ve got a lot of creating jobs, and that’s great. We’re doing our part here in Florida. But if the national economy has this inflation, even people that are earning more in income, if the inflation is outstripping your additional earnings, then you’re actually losing ground. Why the federal government would want to be printing trillions of dollars more in the midst of inflation, you’ll have to tell me how that makes sense. That’s not going to help.
So, the Biden Administration at first tried to deny that inflation was happening, then said it was transitory and would resolve quickly, and now, reckless federal spending and money printing–championed by Biden–is making inflation even worse. He cannot deny it anymore, but it doesn’t look like he has a plan to address it.
Though states obviously cannot control the money supply or federal spending, we do have an obligation to do what we can in Florida to push back against those pressures that we’re seeing come down out of Washington. We’re going to have a big, robust agenda in January for the legislative session. We want to see $1 billion of gas tax relief for Florida motorists and families. And that will be something that will make a difference. It’s clearly not going to eliminate all the inflation-related price increases, because gas prices have gone up so much due to the Biden administration’s policies, but the relief we’re fighting for will make a difference in Floridians’ pocketbooks. And I think we’re going to get a lot of good support for that.
Florida will continue to be America’s engine of growth and a beacon of opportunity for hardworking people from all over the country. But as long as the Biden administration continues to push these unscientific, irrational, job-killing policies, we will not see the kind of economic recovery that Americans want and deserve. If Biden and Fauci had their way, our country would become a biomedical security state. But fortunately, America’s constitutional framework ensures that states have the power to protect individual rights. Floridians do not have to worry about vaccine passports restricting their movement or draconian quarantines and lockdowns.