Ben Carson on Tax Reform

Tea Party challenger in Republican primary


The IRS is not honest and we need to get rid of them

We have a system of taxation that is horribly wrong. I never had an audit until I spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast, and then all of a sudden, they said we just want to look at your real estate dealings. They didn't find anything, so they said let's look at the whole year. They didn't find anything, so they said let's look at the next year and the next year. They won't find anything because I'm a very honest person. The IRS is not honest and we need to get rid of them.
Source: 2016 CNN-Telemundo Republican debate on eve of Texas primary , Feb 25, 2016

Taxes start at 150% of poverty level & some tax below that

My tax plan has been praised by Cato, by Wall Street Journal. Forbes said it is the best, the most pro-growth tax plan, and it's based on real fairness for everybody. Starts at the 150% poverty level, but even the people below that have to pay something because everybody has to have skin in the game. My plan deals with corporate tax rate, and everybody pays exactly the same.
Source: 2016 CBS Republican primary debate in South Carolina , Feb 13, 2016

Cancel mortgage deduction and charitable deduction

Everybody should pay the same proportion of what they make. You make $10 billion, you pay a billion. You make $10, you pay one. You also have to get rid of deductions. There are a lot of people who say, if you get rid of the deductions, you ruin the American dream because, you know, home mortgage deduction. People had homes before 1913 when we introduced federal income taxes. They say there will be no more charitable giving. We had churches before that and charitable organizations before that.
Source: Fox Business/WSJ Second Tier debate , Nov 10, 2015

Tithing at 15%, plus removing all loopholes & waste

Q: You have a flat tax plan of 10%. I've had a really tough time trying to make the math work on this. It's going to leave us in a $2 trillion hole.

CARSON: I didn't say that the rate would be 10%; I used the tithing analogy. The rate is going to be much closer to 15%.

Q: 15% still leaves you with a $1.1 trillion hole.

CARSON: You also have to get rid of all the deductions and all the loopholes. You also have to do some strategic cutting in several places. Remember, we have 645 federal agencies and subagencies. Anybody who tells me that we need every penny in every one of those is in a fantasy world.

Q: You would have to cut government by about 40% to make it work with a $1.1 trillion hole.

CARSON: It's not true.

Q: It is true. I looked at the numbers.

CARSON: When we put all the facts down, you will be able to see that it works out very well.

Gov. KASICH: We're going to have a 10% tithe, and just fix everything with waste, fraud, and abuse? Folks, we've got to wake up!

Source: GOP `Your Money/Your Vote` 2015 CNBC 1st-tier debate , Oct 28, 2015

Progressive taxation on the rich--that's socialism

Q [to Carson]. You support scrapping the entire tax code and replacing it with a flat tax. Donald Trump believes in progressive taxation. He says it's not right that rich people pay the same as the poor. Tell Donald Trump why his ideas on taxes are wrong

CARSON: It's all about America. You know, the people who say "the guy who paid $1 billion because he had $10 billion, he has still got $9 billion left, that's not fair, we need to take more of his money." That's called socialism. That doesn't work so well. What made America into a great nation was the fact that we said, that guy just put in $1 billion, let's create an environment that's even more conducive to his success so that next year he can put in $2 billion. And that's the kind of thing that helps us to grow. We can't grow by continuing to take a piece of pie, and dividing it, and redistributing it.

Q: Do you support the FairTax, like Governor Huckabee?

CARSON: I'm evaluating the FairTax, and I'm talking to the American people.

Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary debate on CNN , Sep 16, 2015

Flat tax of 10%-15% is fairest option, even for low-income

Q: You want to impose a flat tax between 10% & 15% for all taxpayers. That would be a big tax increase for low-income earners. Currently, the bottom 1/5 of households in terms of income face an average federal tax rate of 2%.

A: I want things to be fair for everybody. When you do things on a proportional basis, it works very well. 10% is an easy number to use because it's easy to do the calculations. But you know, you make $10 billion, you pay a billion. Now there are a lot of people that say that's a problem because the guy still has got $9 billion left and we need to take more of his money. But that's called socialism. But the problem with socialism is that it ends up looking the same, with a small group of elite at the top, and a rapidly diminishing middle class and a vastly expanded dependent class. That's not America.

Q: So include low earners as taxpayers?

A: When you have a tax system that includes everybody, it's very difficult for the politicians to engage in raising taxes.

Source: Fox News Sunday 2015 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Aug 16, 2015

Concentrate on incentivizing entrepreneurial risk taking

Q: We've had a principle in this country of a progressive tax rate--the tax rate is lower for lower income people and gets higher for wealthier people. You want to impose a flat tax between 10% & 15% for all taxpayers. That would violate the principle of a progressive tax rate.

CARSON: What we have to think about is, "How do we fix the economy so that it encourages entrepreneurial risk taking and capital investment? How do we create a ladder that allows those people in the lower income brackets to move up that ladder?" That's what we need to be concentrating on. Not how do we make them comfortable in that situation. That's not what America was all about. And we can do that.

Source: Fox News Sunday 2015 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Aug 16, 2015

Regulations increase the cost of living

Q: what do you say to that person who is making $30,000 or $40,000 and maybe paying an effective tax rate of 5 percent or 10 percent, basically, you're saying you're going to get a tax increase.

CARSON: I say the thing that is really impacting that person making $30,000 or $40,000 is all of the regulations that we're coming up with. Every single regulation costs us in terms of goods and services. It increases the price of everything. Who gets hit by that the most? The people in the lower economic brackets. That's what we need to be concentrating on. Those are things that are driving income gap

Source: Fox News Sunday 2015 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Aug 16, 2015

God's a pretty fair guy, so tithing is better than FairTax

Q: Will you abolish the IRS?

HUCKABEE: We can get rid of the Internal Revenue Service if we would pass the FairTax, and move power back where the founders believed it should have been all along.

Q: Dr. Carson, do you agree with that?

CARSON: What I agree with is that we need a significantly changed taxation system. And the one that I've advocated is based on tithing, because I think God is a pretty fair guy. And he said, you know, if you give me a tithe, it doesn't matter how much you make. If you've had a bumper crop, you don't owe me triple tithes. And if you've had no crops at all, you don't owe me no tithes. So there must be something inherently fair about that. And that's why I've advocated a proportional tax system. You make $10 billion, you pay a billion. You make $10, you pay one. And everybody gets treated the same way. And you get rid of the deductions, you get rid of all the loopholes. And I have a lot more to say about it.

Source: Fox News/Facebook Top Ten First Tier debate transcript , Aug 6, 2015

Proposes a flat tax between 10 and 15 percent

Q: One of the pillars of your economic program is a flat tax.

CARSON: I like the idea of a proportional tax. That way you pay according to your ability. And I got that idea from the Bible, tithing. You make $10 billion a year, you pay $1 billion. You make $10 a year, you pay $1. And also, if everybody is paying, it makes it very difficult for these politicians to come along and raise taxes. It's easy to raise it on 1 percent or 2 percent or 5 percent. It's very difficult to raise it on 100 percent.

CARSON: Wrong.

Q: Low and middle- income families would get a big tax hike, while wealthy families would actually get a tax cut.

CARSON: I don't agree with that assessment, let me put it that way, because I've been in contact with many economists. And, in fact, if you eliminate loopholes and deductions, then you're really talking about a rate somewhere between 10 percent and 15 percent.

Source: Fox News Sunday 2015 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , May 10, 2015

IRS unneeded with proportional flat tax system

Writing in the Washington Times in 2013, Carson advocated a "proportional" or flat tax system in which every American would pay the same rate. He would eliminate corporate loopholes and also eliminate policies sheltering the poor from having to pay taxes. Such a system, he argued, would make the IRS unnecessary.
Source: PBS News Hour "2016 Candidate Stands" series , May 3, 2015

God says tithe at 10%; no triple tithe for bumper crops

What we need to do is come up with something simple. And when I pick up my Bible, you know what I see? I see the fairest individual in the universe, God, and he's given us a system. It's called a tithe.

We don't necessarily have to do 10% but it's the principle. He didn't say if your crops fail, don't give me any tithe or if you have a bumper crop, give me triple tithe. So there must be something inherently fair about proportionality. You make $10 billion, you put in a billion. You make $10 you put in one. Of course you've got to get rid of the loopholes. Some people say, 'Well that's not fair because it doesn't hurt the guy who made $10 billion as much as the guy who made 10.' Where does it say you've got to hurt the guy? He just put a billion dollars in the pot. We don't need to hurt him. It's that kind of thinking that has resulted in 602 banks in the Cayman Islands. That money needs to be back here building our infrastructure and creating jobs.

Source: One Nation, by Dr. Ben Carson, on National Prayer Breakfast , May 20, 2014

Bible endorses flat tax--10% tithing

Although much of Carson's speech focused on personal responsibility, he offered two concrete policy ideas. The first is a flat tax. The Bible endorses the idea, Carson explained. Everyone should tithe--give 10 percent--in good times and bad. It doesn't have to be 10 percent, he conceded. It's the principles of proportionality and simplicity that matter.

Critics complain that the poor guy who puts in $1 will be hurt more than the rich guy who puts in $1 billion. But, Carson asks: "Where does it say you've got to hurt the [rich] guy? He just put a billion dollars in the pot. We don't need to hurt him. It's that kind of thinking that has resulted in 602 banks in the Cayman Islands."

Source: 2013 Conservative Political Action Conf. in National Review , Feb 13, 2013

Nothing in Constitution supports redistributing wealth

In 2010, some felt that anyone with a household income of $250,000 a year or more could certainly afford to pay more taxes, and in fact should do so since the vast majority of the population did not enjoy such affluence. Wealth should be redistributed fairly, they argued.

The Constitution is quite clear that the government has the right to tax in order to support its programs, but there is nothing in the Constitution to support redistribution of wealth. Some proponents of big government get around this by creating many programs and then argue that these have to be supported by taxes. In this way they redistribute wealth according to their agenda. As a society we need to be mature enough to recognize that the wealthy in this nation provide many opportunities for those who are not rich by creating jobs and paying taxes.

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p. 77 , Jan 24, 2012

Not unpatriotic for rich to take advantage of loopholes

Every citizen of the US should be expected to contribute to its welfare, which requires a fair system of taxation. We currently do not have such a system, because our tax code is so complex that those with good tax attorneys or accountants can find numerous loopholes to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. Given our country's financial crisis, the creation of a new and fairer tax system is urgently needed. The cries of "tax the rich" in the face of such a hypocritical tax code is, frankly, quite laughable. I do not believe that the rich are unpatriotic because they take advantage of loopholes, but I think we as a nation are smart enough to come up with a system of taxation that eliminates the need for slick accountants and lawyers, and that allows everyone to contribute proportionately to the financial health of the nation--just as God designed for us in the concept of the tithe.
Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.177 , Jan 24, 2012

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