By Bill Hoffmann – Thursday, December 5, 2013 – Newsmax.com
Renowned neurosurgeon Ben Carson inched closer to declaring a 2016 run for the White House on Thursday, saying that while he never expected to seek public office, “the good Lord had a different plan for me.”
Asked by Steve Malzberg on Newsmax TV about several grass-roots campaigns to draft him for a presidential run on the Republican ticket, Carson said:
“As far as my running for public office, that was never my intention. I thought when I retired I was going to play golf and learn how to play an organ.
“But, obviously, the good Lord had a different plan for me. I will obviously listen, but that is not what I really had intended to do.”
Carson, the former chief for pediatric neurosurgery at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, said his goal is to “make sure the American people have their eyes open and recognize what’s happening and understand that we the people are not each other’s enemies.
“The enemies are those people jerking everybody’s chains and trying to make them think they’re enemies and driving in wedges at particular … to divide and conquer.”
Carson opposes President Barack Obama’s ongoing call for a $2.85 hike in the federal minimum wage, which currently stands at $7.25 an hour, or around $15,000 a year.
“No one should expect to start out making a lot of money … I worked many, many jobs as a youngster growing up in Detroit. Many of them didn’t even pay minimum wage but what they did pay me was an opportunity for me to gain significant experience,” Carson said.
“In one case, I took a job as a lab assistant at my high school but I learned enough that I was able to compete successfully against college kids for a lab position at a university when I was still in high school. I couldn’t have gotten that if I hadn’t done the various low-wage jobs.
He said Americans need to “recognize that there’s an actual progression that occurs as you make yourself more valuable.
“But you have to have some place to start and if we make that learning place a point where employers have to pay you more than you actually bring to the job … what that is doing is hurting particularly our young people. They need a place to start. So we have to be able to look at the big picture.”
Carson also spoke of the value of reading and urged people to limit the amount of time they watch television.
“I’ve been asking [people to] promise themselves that they will subtract half an hour or an hour a day from their television watching and read,” he said.
“Learn something, pick up an American history book, a world history book, an algebra book, something. You would be amazed at how much you will know after a year of just doing that.”
He said he picked up the habit from his mother.
“My mother observed as … she worked as a domestic cleaning other people’s houses, [that] these tended to be very successful people and where we lived there tended to be a lot of unsuccessful people,” Carson said.
“She noticed they read a lot and they didn’t look at a lot of television and they didn’t waste a lot of time. So she came home and imposed that upon us. We were, of course, quite disgruntled.
“Her friends just criticized her severely. ‘You can’t make boys stay in the house and read books! They’ll grow up but they’ll hate you. I would say, mother you know they’re right, but she wasn’t going to listen to that. We had to do it.”
By Dr. Ben Carson
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
The Washington Times
What do the following five things have in common? The highest corporate-tax rate in the world; high personal and small-business taxes; the Affordable Care Act; an oppressive regulatory atmosphere with intimidation rather than help from the government; and overly aggressive environmental-protection policies.
These five things — along with the devaluing of the U.S. dollar by the constant printing of money backed up by nothing but reputation — are largely responsible for an extremely sluggish economy that has little hope of improvement without a drastic change in economic philosophy.
I was recently talking to a couple of very well-known entrepreneurs who had been extremely successful in creating vibrant businesses in the past.
Both said they would not even consider starting a new business in the current economic environment. I also asked some people who had started companies that are household names whether they think they could have succeeded in today’s environment. Their answer was a resounding no.
This economic environment is toxic for growth. Americans must face the reality that our massive federal debt will eventually drown our children if we don’t have the courage to act now and stop kicking the can down the road.
It may feel good to some to print money at will and borrow as long as someone will lend us money, but what does this say about our compassion for those who will follow us?
Having grown up in Detroit, I am particularly sad to see what has happened to a once-vibrant city that was the wealthiest in the nation. Many blame unions for strangling the goose that laid the golden egg, but unions serve their members and seldom have a big-picture perspective that takes into account the well-being of the larger society.
I believe a great deal of the fault resides with the upper management of the Big Three automobile companies, who tolerated the excesses of the unions. They must have been fully aware that in due time, the consequences of such actions would be devastating not only to the automobile companies, but to the city, the state and the nation.
Of course, by that time, they would have long ago escaped with their golden parachutes. Detroit is but a harbinger of the fate that will befall our beloved nation if we don’t heed the warnings so vividly placed before us.
Moreover, this toxic business environment is the perfect cultural medium for the growth of victimhood and the entitlement mentality. Political correctness dictates that one should never say such a thing for fear of being labeled heartless.
I not only reject outright such foolishness, but rather I feel very strongly that these measures that suppress economic development also suppress the hopes and dreams of many Americans.
I fear that the secular progressives have been winning lately by succeeding in convincing large portions of the population that they should be more concerned about the benefits they can collect than about the opportunities they lose when their God-given talents for achievement are replaced with dependence on government.
We need to understand the connection between dynamic economic growth and the general welfare of the people. For anyone who does not understand: Robust economic growth creates plenty of jobs and opportunities for everyone and decreases the need for government dependency.
Some on the side of big government will say, “There you go again talking about trickle-down economic theory,” as they attempt to denigrate the empirical data supporting the validity of supply-side economics. I don’t think it’s necessary to attach fancy nomenclature to a theory of common sense.
I am extremely encouraged by the resurgence of rationality I am seeing all around our country. I see people who understand that by adopting a reasonable corporate-tax rate, we can reverse the flow of economic activity out of our country.
By adopting reasonable individual and small-business tax rates, we can again encourage hard work and entrepreneurship. By taking this opportunity to look at some alternative methods of providing truly affordable health care to everyone in our nation and working together, we can all win. By having a government that minds its own constitutional business and stays out of ours, we will see a revival of the can-do attitude with explosive entrepreneurial successes.
By having an Environmental Protection Agency that works with our technological institutions, we can safely exploit the largest reserves of natural energy in the world and stop supporting those nations that desire our destruction.
We can do all this and more if we use our talents in a synergistic manner and forget about who gets the credit. Most importantly, we must remember that we have a responsibility to those who will follow us. Please, let us not fail them.
Ben S. Carson is professor emeritus of neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University.
This OP-ED appeared at Forbes.com 10/06/13
By Dr. Ben Carson & Rep. Michael Burgess
Medical practice and healthcare policy are on a collision course.
From an intellectual perspective, we are entering a golden age of the
healing arts. The full promise of genomic medicine informing
diagnosis and treatment beckons from just over the horizon. Younger
physicians, just entering practice, have the ability to alleviate human
suffering that no generation of doctors has ever previously known.
But not so fast.
The administration of health care policy, and ultimately dollars, are also
undergoing a generational shift. But this shift is founded on some of the most
irrational politics this country has ever seen. Future generations observing the
political changes of the past five years will invariably say, “what were they
The Affordable Care Act was not the product of any informed or learned
group, it was a hastily contrived political farce that was literally cobbled
together at the last possible minute. It was never intended to become law —
except that it did. For the past 3 1/2 years literally “all the kings horses, and all
of the kings men” have pushed and prodded to give it the appearance of
workability. We are on the threshold of finding out if they were successful.
In medicine, we sometimes talk about the compression of morbidities, how
the ravages of time and multiple maladies may overwhelm the patient at the
end of life. That compression sequence also seems to describe afflictions of
the Affordable Care Act as it careens towards implementation.
What a missed opportunity. For decades, the cost of healthcare and health
insurance has worried Americans. And as we get closer to the full
implementation of the Affordable Care Act, costs are not shrinking, they are
only going up — way up.
Where was the innovation when this scheme was contrived? Why not look at
some of the state models, such as the Healthy Indiana program, which
reduced costs over 10% in a two year span? Where was the study of vertically
integrated delivery systems such as the Mayo and Cleveland clinics?
Last week a headline in the Wall Street Journal reported that Walgreens has
told their employees that they were not going to pay for health insurance
coverage any longer, we will give you money instead, good luck in the
exchanges and we will see you on the other side. Walgreens is only one of
many companies such as UPS, IBM, and Trader Joe’s that have announced
that they are dropping family coverage. Several Unions wrote to the minority
leader in the House of Representatives and the majority leader in the Senate
stating: please help us. We helped you manage your phone banks and walked
neighborhoods for you. We helped you get elected. The administration is not
listening to us. They have broken the contract with working Americans by
voiding the 40 hour work. By redefining full-time employment as 30 hours,
they have essentially broken the back of the middle-class.
The American people, regardless of political persuasion, are crying out for
It’s hard to overlook the big pieces of the president’s health care plan which
are simply being ignored or jettisoned. From coverage of pre-existing
conditions, to annual caps on out-of-pocket expenditures to the suspension of
the employer requirement to provide health insurance; the administration
has signaled that in many ways it is not serious about the implementation of
And yet in hearing after hearing, directors of federal agencies maintain the
assertion that all will be ready for people on October 1 to sign up, and January
1 to receive benefits. And not to worry, order will surely emerge from this
chaos. Unless it does not.
This all leads us to the most important question. What kind of country and
ideals we want to leave to future generations?
America was supposed to be a place where people could pursue their dreams
in peace and without interference. The government was supposed to provide
them with protection without disrupting their daily lives.
We were supposed to be different than the governments of Europe which
dominated every aspect of their citizens’ lives. Obamacare represents a giant
leap toward European-style socialism. If we can agree as a nation that that is
what we truly want, let’s stop pretending to be a nation that holds the
freedoms of its citizens’ in the highest regard. If on the other hand, we are
truly a nation for, of and by the people, the people cannot be passive and
expect freedom to last.
Congressman Michael Burgess represents the 26th District of Texas. He
serves on the Rules Committee and Energy and Commerce Committee.
Dr. Ben Carson is an emeritus professor of neurosurgery, oncology, plastic
surgery, and pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
By Douglas Ernst – Washington Times – October 1, 2013
Dr. Ben S. Carson went years without ever having a run-in with the Internal Revenue Service. But his good fortune changed after his speech at the National Prayer Breakfast in February, the former Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon said Monday night at an event with business leaders and elected officials in Alabama.
Alabama’s Yellow Hammer News tweeted Dr. Carson’s remarks from the annual Business Council of Alabama Chairman’s Dinner: “I had my first encounter with the IRS this year, unsurprisingly after the Prayer Breakfast.”
Dr. Carson’s speech at the prayer breakfast went viral, in large part, because his criticisms of the public policy coming out of Washington happened with President Obama sitting only a few feet away.
By Dr. Ben Carson – Washington Times – Sept. 25, 2103
A tactical defeat would unleash the power of righteous indignation
Today, the freedom of Americans to control their own health care needs is being threatened by massive governmental interference. Those attempting to fundamentally change America are attempting to take control of the most important thing any of us possesses: our health.
It often comes at a heavy cost, but freedom is worth fighting for. In 1836, the brave defenders of the Alamo went down to defeat by Mexican Gen. Santa Anna and his army, which was 10 times greater in number than the defenders under the command of Lt. Col. William Barret Travis. Not all of the 200 defenders were Texans. Many of the civilian defenders, including some Mexicans, were more loyal to Davy Crockett andJim Bowie, who fell ill prior to the battle.
The defenders who had captured San Antonio just months earlier had retreated to the well-fortified Alamo and had sent for reinforcements, fully expecting to be able to hold on until help arrived. There was tension between the troops of Travis and the followers of Bowie, but once they realized that they faced a greater enemy, they presented a united front of legendary fortitude.
However, Col. James Fannin, who was just 90 miles away in Goliad, concluded that the cause was hopeless and refused the request for help. The brave men who died fighting for freedom at the Alamo thought that help was on the way, just like the brave men who died defending the U.S. compound in Benghazi. The Alamo was lost on March 6, 1836, but its defenders killed 600 of Santa Anna’s men before they died. The stand taken by those patriots inspired many others to join the war. Victory was eventually won, in no small part a result of the spirit and courage of those who refused to surrender in the face of overwhelming odds.
Leaders of the Obama administration and the United States Senate have tried to convince the defenders of individual freedom in America that their fight is futile and that it is impossible for them to win. Those opposing the government takeover of the health care system have varying opinions about whether it is better to fight now or to wait for a more opportune time.
Members of Congress who largely oppose Obamacare but are unwilling to join their compatriots in the battle to defund this ill-conceived and economically detrimental law must remember the lesson from the Alamo: Defeat can unleash the power of righteous indignation. Even if the battle is lost, the courageous act of presenting a united front in defense of the U.S. Constitution and individual rights will inspire tens of millions of Americans who feel disenfranchised to join the cause. Today’s struggle will lead to ultimate victory starting in 2014 and ending in 2016 with the restoration of a nation that is for, of and by the people and not for, of and by the government.
Those representatives and senators who insist on pushing through Obamacare against the will of the people should be clearly identified so they can be appropriately dealt with by their constituents. The authority of officeholders, after all, is dependent upon the ballot box. By replacing those who do not represent the interest of the people with individuals who cherish our Constitution and our traditional values, we can initiate logical measures that can provide truly affordable health care for every American. Those measures would include a return of decision-making to patients and their health care providers, tort reform and the placement of electronic medical records under the control of the patient and not the Internal Revenue Service.
Genuine representative government would also allow us to enact logical tax reform, policies that foster energy independence, a rejuvenated space program and other programs that have led to amazing innovations that have improved our lives. Responsive governance would rid Americans of unwarranted regulations that stifle economic growth, provide parents with choice in education, establish an understandable foreign policy that recognizes the role of true leadership in a troubled world, return fiscal responsibility to its rightful position, and establish social policies that help people move up the economic ladder, rather than just survive.
We have an opportunity to re-establish a government in which freedom of speech is cherished. As Thomas Jefferson once famously said, “When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.” We must remember that our representatives work for us; we don’t work for them. Whenever they forget that, we must act to re-establish proper order.
Those who wish to fundamentally change America are happy with the trends we see. However, those of us who love the Judeo-Christian values upon which our country was founded and under which it flourished in the past, must not dwell on past mistakes, but learn from them. We must not capitulate to secular progressives, and unlike them, we should be loving and kind. But most importantly, we must never give up.
Ben S. Carson is professor emeritus of neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University.
By Ben S. Carson – The Washington Times – Wednesday, August 28, 2013
It is hard to believe that 50 years have elapsed since the famous “I have a dream speech” of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the Mall in Washington. I was an 11-year-old child in Detroit languishing in the midst of poverty, but very interested in the strides that were being made in the civil rights movement. I was the only black kid in my seventh-grade class and over the previous two years had risen from the bottom of the class to the top. My mother had forced us to read, which had a profound positive effect on both my brother Curtis and myself. I was quite optimistic that things were getting better for black people in America.
If King could be resurrected and see what was going on in America today, I suspect he would be extraordinarily pleased by many of the things he observed and disappointed by others. He, like almost everyone else, would be thrilled to know that there was a two-term black president of the United States of America and a black attorney general, as well as many other high government officials, business executives and university presidents.
Perhaps just as thrilling would be the sight of black doctors, lawyers, airline pilots, construction foremen, news anchors, school superintendents and almost any other position imaginable in America. The fact that seeing blacks in such positions no longer raises eyebrows is a testimony to the tremendous progress that has been made in America over the last 50 years.
There are some areas, however, where I suspect he might be less than thrilled. The epidemic of black-on-black violent crime indicates that there has been a significant deterioration of values in the black community. Not only are the lives of their fellow blacks and others being devalued by street thugs, but the lives of unborn babies are being destroyed in disproportionate numbers in the black community.
There was a time when blacks were justifiably angry that the larger community discounted their value, but now, ironically, many members of the black community themselves place little or no value on these precious lives that are snuffed out without thought. I think King would be waging a crusade against the marginalization of black lives in America.
Another area of great concern would be the fact that 73 percent of black babies are born out of wedlock. When this occurs, in most cases the educational pursuits of the mothers are terminated and the babies are condemned to a life of poverty and deprivation, which makes them more likely to end up in the penal system or the welfare system. This is a burden not only for the black community but for the nation at large.
Although I believe King would be very concerned for all parties in these tragedies, his energies would be primarily channeled into an attempt to give these young women the kind of self-esteem that would preclude their yielding to the charms of individuals who really don’t care about them and are only interested in their selfish pleasures.
King was a huge advocate of education and would be horrified by the high dropout rates in many inner-city high schools. He, like many others, was vilified, beaten and jailed for trying to open the doors of education to everyone, regardless of their race. If he were alive today, he would have to witness people turning their backs on those open doors and choosing to pursue lives of crime or dependency. I do not believe he would simply complain about these things, however. Rather, he would be raising funds to create programs that would show these young people that they do have real choices that can greatly enhance the quality of their lives.
Perhaps the biggest disappointment for King would be the wholesale adoption of a victim mentality that makes people feel that they are entitled to being cared for by others rather than working tirelessly to create wealth and opportunities for their progeny. The amount of wealth that resides within the black community today is staggering. If the black community, like Jewish, Korean and other cultures in America, learned how to turn over dollars within their own community at least a couple of times before sending them out into the larger society, they would create wealth.
I believe King would advocate such economic policies and would encourage those who benefit from the wealth to reach back and pull others up by providing jobs and opportunities. I think he would stress the fact that this kind of philosophy will foster freedom and independence for the black community, regardless of whether anybody else helps or not.
Finally, we should all remember the aspect of his dream in which he desired that people should be judged by their character and not by the color of their skin. In part, this means no one should assume that a black person would adhere to certain political orthodoxy any more so than a white person would. Certainly, we have come a long way, but there is no room for complacency.
Ben S. Carson is professor emeritus of neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University.
With its Obamacare exemption, Congress has traded service for privilege
By Ben S. Carson – The Washington Times – Wednesday, August 21, 2013
The Founders of our nation toiled long and hard to establish a government that was representative of the people. They actually designed a reasonably effective system, but over the years, significant metamorphosis has occurred, producing something that is quite dissimilar from their original intent.
There were not a lot of perks for early congressional representatives, and the pay was quite meager. People willing to take on such responsibilities were unlikely to be desirous of perpetual re-election. In many ways, this was a good thing — frequent replacement of representatives increased the likelihood that they would have their finger on the pulse of the communities they represented.
Our Founders also saw no reason for a gigantic central government, because they felt that the states would be much more in tune with the needs of their constituents and be able to provide appropriate legislation to facilitate local and national goals. They felt that the purpose of the government was to protect the people from foreign and hostile domestic forces, to protect their property and to enable their pursuit of happiness. Obviously, there were some other purposes, like facilitating transportation and containing disease, but the point is, limited federal government was desirable, as was maximum freedom for the people.
One of the prime advantages of a small central government was that it would only require a small amount of tax revenue to sustain itself. The Founders knew from studying past civilizations that the nation’s resources would either belong to the people or to the government, and they preferred the former. Our Founders as well as many of our revered social commentators have had some interesting things to say about our government and the legislative process:
George Washington: “Government is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.”
Mark Twain: “No man’s life, liberty or property are safe while the legislature is in session.”
These are just a couple of the numerous quotes available to demonstrate that concern about government overreach is not a new phenomenon in America. However, that concern is now being fueled by blatant favoritism shown to members of Congress and their staffs regarding the requirement to participate in the insurance programs offered by Obamacare.
It is abrasive to a sense of fair play that friends of the administration have been permitted to delay their enrollment in the program for a year or more. Now we are seeing protests from some of the same unions that were strong supporters of the act as they realize that many of their “Cadillac” health plans are in jeopardy. Less than 3 percent of federal workers want to enroll in Obamacare — even though they strongly supported its passage. However, the most offensive thing of all to anyone with a sense of justice is a provision that will extend government subsidies to members of Congress and their staffs to defray their health care costs while the people they represent must suffer the slings and arrows of this outrageous program forced upon them through a host of backroom deals that would shame a mobster. Some of these representatives, unwilling to accept the deal for themselves, were actually complicit in forcing Obamacare on all Americans without even reading it. This is the height of irresponsibility, and it is hard to imagine how anyone claiming to represent the interest of their constituents could even look at themselves in the mirror if they are guilty of such actions.
Rather than rushing headlong down the path of destruction, like a lemming following his leader, I would implore every member of Congress to ask himself or herself this question: Why are so many people fleeing from this legislation if it is such a great masterpiece? Would you eat food prepared by a great chef if he refused to eat it himself and all of his staff also refused to eat it? We need to understand that we are trying to create living situations that are good for all of our citizens. This is America, and we certainly should eschew anything that smacks of favoritism, especially toward the people honored by winning the people’s trust. To their credit, some of our congressional representatives are preparing a bill that will preclude this type of preferential treatment. Still, it is truly disappointing that they would have to do this at all. Every single member of Congress should be up in arms at the very thought of differential treatment in a country that was supposed to be a model of egalitarianism.
Passage of Obamacare and its subsequent endorsement by the Supreme Court blatantly disregard the will of the people. This is certainly something one would expect from a ruler — not from a servant. This whole situation can be a wake-up call for government officials to rekindle that spirit of sacrifice and service that fueled our unprecedented rise to the pinnacle of the world.
Ben S. Carson is professor emeritus of neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University.