Ben Carson on Welfare & Poverty

Tea Party challenger in Republican primary


Eliminate income-based rent increases in public housing

Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson's plan for reforming public housing [includes] eliminating policies that increase rents as income goes up. "The current policies ensure that the more our residents earn, the more rent they have to pay. Where then, is the incentive to work, or to get a better paying job, or have two parents living together and sharing their wages? There isn't any, which really defies common sense. Our rent reform proposal, therefore, removes these perverse incentives by having a three-year recertification of income--and removes the requirement that tenants must report any income increases, immediately. One could even say it's like not having to pay taxes for three years," Carson said in his remarks.
Source: Housing Wire's Jeremiah Jensen on 2017 Trump Cabinet , Sep 14, 2017

Cycle people up and out of public housing developments

HUD Secretary Ben Carson spoke at the National Multifamily Housing Council's Fall Meeting. He highlighted the issues facing the American housing market and laid out plans to address housing shortages and persistent poverty.

Keeping with his previous rhetoric on the subject, Carson reiterated his commitment to finding a way to cycle people up and out of public housing developments. Carson laid out three components of his plan for reforming public housing.

  1. Eliminating policies that increase rents as income goes up.
  2. Allow public housing authorities the freedom to implement any of the Choice Rent structures for their properties.
  3. Use HUD funds to provide families in public housing with programs and resources that he hopes will help break poverty cycles.
Carson commented on the imbalance between supply and demand in the market and essentially said that private investment through public-private partnerships are the key to addressing the lack of affordable housing in the US.
Source: Housing Wire's Jeremiah Jensen on 2017 Trump Cabinet , Sep 14, 2017

Housing integration is ok, but why must residents solve it?

Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) asked Carson to elaborate on his views on HUD's role in implementing the Fair Housing Act. Carson responded, "That act says that we want people who are receiving HUD grants to look around and see if they find anything that looks like discrimination, and then we want them to come up with a solution on how to find the problem. They're not responding to people saying there's a problem, they're saying go and look for a problem and give us a solution. We have people sitting around a desk in Washington, D.C., and deciding how things should be done. I don't have any kind of problem with affirmative action or at least integration, but I do have a problem with people on high dictating it when they don't know anything about what's going on in the area."
Source: Ballotpedia.org: 2017 Trump transition confirmation hearings , Jan 13, 2017

Ideal is every person in a home; but we don't have the funds

Asked about limits to public assistance programs for low-income Americans, Carson responded, "We have to be cognizant of our fiscal responsibilities as well as our social responsibilities. Would we love to put every single person in a beautiful unit forever? Absolutely, that would be ideal. But don't have the necessary funding. But the other thing that I emphasize is that safety net programs are important, and I would never advocate abolishing them without an alternative."
Source: Ballotpedia.org: 2017 Trump transition confirmation hearings , Jan 13, 2017

We the people--not government--should take care of indigent

Q: How do you reconcile the traditional Christian value of "caring for the least of these," and the GOP stance against welfare?

CARSON: My stance is that, we the people have the responsibility to take care of the indigent in our society. It's not the government's job. You can read the constitution all you want, it never says that it is the government's job and I think where we've gotten confused. In the old days of America, if it was harvest time and the farmer fell down and broke his leg, everybody pitched in and harvested his crops for him. We have a history a taking care of each other. Starting in the 1920's, the government started getting involved in everything. It kept growing, metastasizing. By the time we got to the 1960s, LBJ was saying, "we, the government, are going to eliminate poverty." $19 trillion later, 10 times more people on food stamps, more poverty, more welfare, broken homes. Everything is much worse. And that's because it's not their job. It's our job.

Source: 2016 CNN GOP Town Hall in South Carolina , Feb 17, 2016

Give poor people opportunity to not be poor people

I do care about the poor people. And in the system that we're putting together, there will be a rebate for people at the poverty level. But I also want to emphasize the fact that as we get the economy moving, and I hope I get a question about how do we get the economy moving, there will be a lot more opportunities for poor people not to be poor people because this is America. This is the land of dreams. And our policies should be aimed at allowing people to realize that dream.
Source: Fox Business/WSJ Second Tier debate , Nov 10, 2015

America provides opportunities for poor

I got to tell you something about America. You know, I've visited at least 57 different countries. And I am always so pleased when I get back here because America has been so good to me. You know, I was born in pretty dire circumstances, grew up very poor, had a bad temper. I was a terrible student--and the things that probably would have precluded success in most other places. But here in America, the opportunities were there.

Even if you didn't have a silver spoon in your mouth you could go to the library and it didn't cost you anything to go there, unless you turned your book in late. Those are the kind of opportunities that I want to preserve for other people. And I really get irritated when people complain about America and they say that we are a terrible place and we are the source of all evil in the world. If we were so bad, why is everybody trying to get in here and nobody's trying to escape? You know, that's craziness.

Source: 10th Annual Value Voters Summit - 2015 , Sep 25, 2015

War on poverty perpetuates generational dependence

Fifty years ago, this nation began a war on poverty that we have not come close to winning. This is due to the fact that rather than creating a system that lifts people out of a meager financial situation, we have developed a system that perpetuates generational dependence and an inability to escape hardship. The programs have not worked because the implementation does not match the rhetoric heard in press conferences and announcements. Some have attempted to win the war on poverty and improve the lives of our community by holding boycotts and assembling demonstrations. This method has made some lives wealthy (the organizers), but not the lives of the people it claims to help. It is crucial that, through various policies and self-reflection, we get more people from a state of dependence to one of independence. In the African-American community, we do not need to wait for others to help us. We need to use our God-given talents to achieve greatness and raise others up.
Source: WorldNetDaily OpEd by Carson, for 2016 Trump transition , Apr 14, 2015

Get rid of dependency; that's true compassion

Tea Party favorite Dr. Ben Carson kicked off the Conservative Political Action Conference, telling an attentive audience that the next President must "get rid of dependency" that some Americans might have on the U.S. government.

"We need to understand what true compassion is to reach out to individuals who think that being dependent is reasonable as long as they feel safe," said Carson, the first speaker to address this year's annual keynote conservative conference. "It's not compassion to pat them on the head and say, 'There, there, I'm going to take care of all your needs, your health care, your food.' That's the opposite of compassion.

"I'm not interested in getting rid of a safety net, I'm interested in getting rid of dependency," Carson said, prompting one in a series of raucous rounds of applause.

Source: N.Y. Daily News on 2015 Conservative Political Action Conf. , Feb 26, 2015

Charities better at providing for needy than the government

He railed against the government's lack of forethought to deal with the national debt. "We're not planning for the future," Carson said. "If we continue to spend ourselves into oblivion, we are going to destroy this nation." He also said the government is treating corporations "as enemies" and that corporate taxes should be lowered to encourage growth. "Corporations are not in business to be social-welfare organizations; they are there to make money," Carson said.

Charities, he added, are better at providing for the needy than the government. "Nobody is starving on the streets. We've always taken care of them," Carson said. "We take care of our own; we always have. It is not the government's responsibility."

Source: 2013 Conservative Political Action Conf. in Baltimore Sun , Mar 17, 2013

Those who don't want to work? They are on their own

The issue of how to handle able-bodied individuals who simply do not want to work has three practical solutions:
  1. Tell those who don't work that they are on their own.
  2. Take from those who have something and redistribute it to the individuals who aren't working.
  3. Borrow from a 3rd party in order to take care of the nonworking individuals and leave the debt to future generations.
Logically, with solution 1, the individual who isn't working clearly either starves or finds a job. What about solution 2? In this case, those who are forcibly constrained to support the individuals who aren't working eventually lose interest in working themselves, since the fruits of their labors are being confiscated. This, in turn, leads to even more individuals who aren't working. What about solution 3? These investors are unlikely to extend credit indefinitely. Thus solution 1 is the only one that stands the test of logic and is the one upon which we should concentrate.
Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p. 88-89 , Jan 24, 2012

Government entitlements compete with private-sector charity

It is very difficult to travel to any community in our nation and not find charitable organizations specifically created to aid the indigent citizens of that community.

Our government used to fully understand the role of private-sector charitable organizations in ameliorating the plight of the poor. This is why the government offered tax deductions and exemptions for churches and other charitable organizations. Today the government actually competes with many of these private-sector charities while still offering them tax deductions. How does this wasteful duplication benefit government or us, its citizens? Certainly by creating huge government entitlement programs, the size and power of the government increases dramatically. Before long, people generally depend on government for everything from health care and education, to a comfortable retirement, instead of looking to government for the basic protection of life and property, as well as providing public roads and public safety.

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p. 91 , Jan 24, 2012

Eradicate poverty by providing education and requiring work

The Bible makes it clear that we have a responsibility to be kind to the poor among us. [But] America did not become a great nation by encouraging people to feel sorry for themselves and seek handouts from others

If we really want to eradicate poverty, we should allocate significant resources and personnel toward providing education and opportunity for the poor. And if we are to provide assistance to our able-bodied citizens, it should be attached to a requirement for work or acquisition of education and/or skills.

If they have to work anyway, many people will put real effort into finding the kind of job they want as opposed to collecting unemployment benefits and being assigned to work they consider undesirable. Some conservatives would say that we should leave such people on their own to sink or swim because we cannot afford to keep supporting them, while some liberals would say that these people already have enough problems and that it would be unfair to require anything of them. I reject both

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.176 , Jan 24, 2012

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