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DeSantis Campaign Press Release - IN THE NEWS: Governor Ron DeSantis' Interview with the Wall Street Journal

August 01, 2023

TALLAHASSEE, Fla — Governor DeSantis yesterday did an interview with the Wall Street Journal on his new plan to reverse the decline of our nation's struggling economy and fight for the middle class by taking on the elites, DC bureaucrats, and Communist China. Read the full article below. Clips of the interview are also on the Wall Street Journal's podcast.

DeSantis Says He Will Weigh U.S. Ban of TikTok if Elected PresidentWall Street JournalAlex LearyJuly 31, 2023

Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis said if elected he would look at a national ban of TikTok, the popular video sharing app, citing a growing threat to the U.S. from China.

"I am inclined to not want TikTok in the United States," DeSantis told The Wall Street Journal in an interview following the release of his economic plan that identifies confronting Beijing as a priority. "I think it's creating a security vulnerability for us. I think they are mining a lot of data."

The Florida governor also said he would work to oust Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell before his post expires in 2026, adding to his continuing criticism of the Fed, and said he would support rules governing how the central bank sets interest rates.

On TikTok, owned by China's ByteDance, DeSantis also cited the impact the service can have on children, calling it "very very toxic." But he stressed he wouldn't go as far as the Restrict Act, a bipartisan measure introduced in the Senate that would allow the president to take action against an array of foreign software and services from U.S. adversaries.

"At the end of the day I don't want big brother to be getting into everybody's apps," he said. "It's about vulnerabilities to our country."

It isn't clear whether the U.S. government actually could ban TikTok, which says it has roughly 150 million American users. Lawmakers in both parties see the app as a danger because of concerns that users' data could be transferred to the Chinese government.

In 2020, then-President Donald Trump tried to ban TikTok by executive order. Two federal judges expressed doubt that the president had the power to do so. The Biden administration withdrew Trump's order while continuing to scrutinize the app.

DeSantis also said he would support government aid for critical sectors, again in the context of growing competition with China, and he singled out national security. Congress last year carved out $52 billion for the semiconductor industry and research. "I wouldn't get carried away," he said, saying the government didn't want to play venture capitalists with future technologies.

"But I do think in things that are a matter of national survival we can be thoughtful of how we're incentivizing these industries to be here in the United States."

DeSantis is seeking to regain footing in the Republican presidential primary after stumbles that have eroded his status as the top challenger to former President Donald Trump. DeSantis has added a flurry of stops in early-voting states and has turned to releasing policy proposals.

The economic plan calls for:

Revoking China's permanent normal trade relations status.

Banning the import of Chinese goods made from stolen intellectual property.

Installing a new chair for the Fed, which is required by law to seek maximum employment and stable prices.

Restricting pension-fund managers from considering factors such as climate change in investment decisions.

Making universities responsible for student loans and allowing those loans to be discharged through bankruptcy.

The U.S.-China trade status is rooted in a 1999 U.S.-China pact struck when Beijing prepared to join the World Trade Organization, and it provides the most favorable trade terms and tariff rates. Trump levied tariffs on Chinese-made goods in an attempt to gain leverage, but his trade deals didn't stimulate U.S. manufacturing in their first few years.

DeSantis also would seek to bar companies from sharing critical technologies with China—which the Biden administration already has taken steps toward—and provide incentives for the repatriation of U.S. capital from China through tax abatements and other measures to secure the supply chain. Details of how he would see through such a move, and for many of his other proposals, weren't included in an overview of his plan.

"The Chinese Communist Party continues to eat this country's lunch every single day," said DeSantis, appearing before a crowd at a distribution warehouse. He tried to contrast between a free-market economy and one "in which the rules are jiggered to be able to help incumbent companies."

Sounding populist notes, DeSantis also assailed diversity and inclusion programs and called for a focus on vocational and apprenticeship education.

DeSantis has increasingly criticized the Fed and Powell, accusing the central bank of fueling inflation by printing trillions of dollars and saying it accepted Biden administration claims that price pressures were transitory. Interest-rate hikes, he has said, have hurt average Americans.

Last week, the Fed resumed interest-rate increases, bringing them to a 22-year high. Inflation has retreated from a 40-year high hit last summer, with the consumer-price index climbing 3% in June from a year earlier. That is well below the June 2022 peak of 9.1%, when gasoline prices reached a U.S. record average of $5 a gallon. Still, absent falling pump prices, core inflation remains at 4.8%

DeSantis will appoint a Fed chairman who will focus on maintaining a stable dollar, according to his proposal. "The Fed must focus on stable prices; it is not a social engineer and cannot be allowed to be an unaccountable economic central planner," the plan says.

Trump nominated Powell, who was given a second term under President Biden.

DeSantis's plan also takes aim at the idea of a central bank digital currency, saying he would block such a proposal that would "move us closer to a social credit system." The Fed has explored the concept but said Congress would need to be involved.

DeSantis also would continue his attacks on so-called woke policies by saying he would strengthen rules and scrutiny of pension-fund managers who consider aspects such as climate change when making investment decisions. In March, Biden issued the first veto of his presidency by rejecting a Republican-led measure that would have overturned a regulation on environmental, social and corporate governance guidelines, or ESG.

DeSantis's plan, called the Declaration of Economic Independence, also follows longstanding conservative economic policy by cutting regulation and spending. He said he would push to mandate work requirements for welfare programs and enforce immigration law to protect U.S. workers.

The proposal also calls for working with the private sector to develop vocational training programs. DeSantis said he also would make universities responsible for student loans and seek to allow those loans to be discharged through bankruptcy. His campaign didn't provide details on how that would affect the existing system of federal student loans.

The Florida economy has done well generally, rebounding from Covid-19, but DeSantis has also faced criticism, including from Trump, for not doing enough to address soaring housing and insurance costs. In a recent tweet, Rep. Greg Steube (R., Fla.), a Trump ally, said the insurance problem was "the result of the state's top elected official failing to focus on (and be present in) Florida. This is a major crisis for Floridians."

Asked by a reporter why he didn't see those problems coming, DeSantis called it a "false premise" and pointed to attempts the state has taken on both fronts. He also pointed to what he called intense demand from people to move to Florida and said pandemic-related supply chain problems hindered new construction.

Ron DeSantis, DeSantis Campaign Press Release - IN THE NEWS: Governor Ron DeSantis' Interview with the Wall Street Journal Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/364159

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