When Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the Stop WOKE Act last year, he made headlines last year for going on the offense against critical race theory in public schools.
Now, DeSantis is broadening his attention inward to include not only politically governed bodies, but also political bodies themselves.
Specifically, DeSantis wants to prohibit the State Administration Board’s fund managers from investing state money according to political factors — like “religious, political or social beliefs.” The governor announced his support for proposed legislation while at a news conference in Tampa, Click Orlando reported.
DeSantis reportedly decried what he called the “politicization of the economy.” The governor accused Wall Street of “imposing woke ideology on the economy” and punishing those with opposing beliefs, according to Click Orlando.
He stressed state bureaucrats’ responsibility to all their constituents, even those on the opposite side.
“And what you’ve seen is you’ve seen a rise of something called ESG — environmental, social, governance — where they will grade different companies based on how they’re performing on those metrics. And then even using that when they’re managing pension funds for people and we’ve got retired teachers, law enforcement, that rely on these pension funds, and they’re putting in all these other criteria rather than just what’s the best investment,” DeSantis said, according to Click Orlando.
“We want them to invest the state’s money for the best interest of the beneficiaries of those funds, which is again the people that are retired cops and teachers and other public employees. We also are going to require SBA fund managers to only consider maximizing the return on investment on behalf of Florida’s retirees. I think that’s what people want to see. They want to see a good pension system.”
However, DeSantis didn’t stop there. He also reportedly announced his intent to prohibit private companies — like PayPal — from “discriminating against customers for their religious, political or social beliefs.”
With this new action, DeSantis may influence commerce throughout the entire nation.
Florida has become a huge market, home 6.4 percent of the nation’s population overall. Private-sector companies, even those headquartered in other states, may need to change their own internal policies in order to do business in Florida. Otherwise, those companies could risk losing all their customers in the nation’s third-most populous state. Similar effects have been predicted due to regulations in California, another large market.
DeSantis explained the rationale for his support. “The thing about the politicization of the economy in this way, it benefits the largest most powerful corporations and it disadvantages the small- and medium-sized businesses. And so this is not something that is empowering kind of a little guy. This is something in many respects that is crushing the little guy and so we want to make sure that we’re standing on the side of average people,” he reportedly said.
DeSantis, a Republican, faced criticism from liberals who view ESG as useful.
Historically, DeSantis has also has faced criticism from libertarians who accuse him of overusing the state’s power over the private sector. In particular, he was accused of promoting vigilante justice after signing the Stop WOKE Act, on account of the law’s reward for civilians to sue other civilians.
It remains to be seen how his new actions will be received. In 2020, former President Donald Trump made a similar order, banning federal trainings from implementing critical race theory.
Watch DeSantis’ announcement here —
SO I’M SHOWING MY ANTI-ENVIRONMENTAL, ANTI-SOCIAL AND ANTI-GOVERNANCE COLORS
— Ron DuhSantis 🅟🅐🅡🅞🅓🅨 (@GovRonDuhSantis) July 27, 2022
The Horn editorial team