In a staggering admission, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said that Florida's unemployment claim system seems to have been built to frustrate the unemployed into giving up on receiving benefits. The system has yet to be fixed, in the face of mass unemployment in Florida due to the ongoing pandemic.
Speaking to a Miami CBS affiliate this week, DeSantis said:
"The goal was for whoever designed, it was, 'Let's put as many kind of pointless roadblocks along the way, so people just say, 'oh, the hell with it, I'm not going to do that.'"
The system, built 5-6 years ago, was accused of being deliberately set up by then-governor Rick Scott's administration to create such confusion and frustration that jobless claims stayed low, and artificially inflated the state's economic image. When asked about the Scott administration, DeSantis said: "I’m not sure if it was his, but I think definitely in terms of how it was internally constructed, you know. It was definitely done in a way to lead to the least number of claims being paid out."
Pressed about a 2019 audit down by the state of Florida which identified massive systemic flaws in the state unemployment system, DeSantis denied having seen the audit. The audit made statewide headlines at the time, and was third since 2015, all of which were covered extensively and pointed to issues with the system. The system, built by Deloitte, came in far over-budget. One of the lobbyists working for Deloitte was Brian Ballard, the co-chair of Scott’s inaugural finance committee.