DeSantis Takes On The Federal Reserve And A Central Digital Currency

What’s happening: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis says the Federal Reserve is at fault for high inflation and has vowed to replace Chairman Jerome Powell if elected. In a major economic speech, the presidential hopeful warned against the creation of a Federal Reserve digital currency, calling it an attempt at “social engineering.”

A limited role: In a New Hampshire speech in late July, DeSantis laid out his economic agenda, which includes an overhaul of the Federal Reserve that would refocus its “limited role” to stabilize prices and an end to any plans for a central bank digital currency. In a recent interview, he warned against a cashless society.

  • Zoom out: The Biden administration is supporting the exploration of a central bank digital currency for America. Just last week, the Federal Reserve released plans for a Venmo-like government-run payment service called FedNow.

  • Concerns: Some experts warn government digital currencies will be a threat to privacy and individual freedoms, as it could eventually lead, as it has in China, to the government surveilling and controlling purchases for political reasons.

Why it matters: The right has long distrusted an increasingly powerful Federal Reserve, and libertarian candidates since Ron Paul have targeted it for reform and even abolishment. Late last year, Senate Republicans pushed a bill aimed at increasing congressional oversight over the institution. DeSantis’s focus on the institution signals a Republican shift to finally push for lasting changes.