On Wednesday, Ben Carson, the Housing and Urban Development Secretary caused controversy by saying that he believed people’s poverty was caused by a ‘certain mindset’ and even that children would follow their parents into poverty, as adults because they had acquired that ‘state of mind’ from them.
In the interview broadcast on SiriusXM radio, he expands on his theme, stating his belief that a person who has the right mentality can get themselves out of poverty more easily than someone with the ‘wrong’ mentality.
He also added that someone with the wrong mindset could be given “everything” and they would still end up at the bottom, no matter how much help they were given.
Ben Carson ran during the 2016 GOP primary and is a retired neurosurgeon. His past work has included separating conjoined twins, who were joined cranially.
Since then, he has become something of a media star and has written many books, often biographical in nature, about growing up in poverty and overcoming his background in order to achieve success in the medical profession.
One of these books has since been turned into a TV movie; Gifted Hands – The Ben Carson Story which was aired in 2009.
He also played a cameo role, as the surgeon in the film “Stuck on You”.
Since then he has found success as a motivational speaker and has been touted as a role model for young people of color.
However, this has diminished somewhat since entering the political arena. Carson’s politics appeal to a rightwing mindset and he has supported President Trump.
In 2016, following his victory, Mr. Trump invited him into his cabinet. This was a position that Mr. Carson initially refused to take up, stating his lack of experience and voicing a concern that he would not wish to ‘cripple’ the presidency. However when he was later offered the role of Secretary for Housing and Development, he did accept.
He has caused controversy with his remarks about poverty, although he has said that he has no wish to remove help for people who need it.
Carson maintains that the government still has a role to play in giving people the chance to alleviate themselves from poverty.
However, he believes that there is a difference between doing that and then doing what he thinks is keeping people in poverty, commenting that it is ‘not helpful’.
The secretary has said that sometimes people in dire situations cannot always see the way out of their problems and that the state had a part to play in helping them.
He also stated that he had no wish to remove government assistance from people who truly needed it. But he felt that ‘keeping’ able bodied people in dependency was not something the state should be doing.
In budget plans announced this week, $6 billion of cuts will be made from the Housing and Urban Development funds.
This will affect grants for first time buyers and regeneration in needy communities. Additionally, the budget will remove billions in aid for public housing packages.
His friend, Armstrong Williams who he did the interview with, defended his views calling them a matter of personal faith, not politics.