May 28, 2013
by James Wigderson
Special Guest Perspective for the MacIver Institute
Continuing a national string of speaking engagements, Dr. Ben Carson is coming to the Waukesha Expo Center Thursday night. At the event sponsored by Americans for Prosperity (AFP), Carson will be speaking in front of a capacity crowd. Last week AFP started a waiting list for those who weren’t fortunate enough to get tickets.
I interviewed Carson during a brief break in his busy schedule about his upcoming trip to Wisconsin and his popularity since his famous speech at the National Prayer Breakfast in February.
Probably to the disappointment for many of his new fans, there is no announcement about running for public office planned for Thursday night. “People are always going to continue to ask me if I am running for political office, and I going to continue to say that’s not my intention but I’ll leave that in the hands of God.”
In his speech at the national prayer breakfast, Carson joked about how he must have behaved himself when he previously attended because they invited him back. After a speech that clearly made President Barack Obama uncomfortable, I asked Carson if he thought he would be invited back again.
“Probably not. I don’t know. It really kind of depends on who is running the Senate. The invitation comes from the Senate, not from the White House. Most people think it comes from the White House. Obviously the message that I gave resonated strongly across the country with all kinds of people. And the response has just been overwhelming.”
I asked Carson what was it about the speech that resonated, causing that overwhelming response. Was it the excitement that someone spoke truth to power? Or was it simply that this emperor has no clothes?
“I think the real key here is that our nation is turning into something that most people don’t want it to turn into. And people are no longer filled with freedom, like they used to have, to express their opinion. Now I addressed that issue, and I addressed the arrogance that is manifested in our leadership, and the illogical policies that are bankrupting our country and destroying our future.
“I think basically what I was talking about was common sense. That’s the stuff that people used to know, and people used to feel free to talk about but now they don’t anymore.”
Carson said he will talk about the effect of the culture on our economic decision-making Thursday night. “Talking about the cultural shift, the entitlement mentality becoming a what-can-you-do-for-me nation instead of a can-do nation, all of which are dramatically changing the nature of our country. And these are the kind of things that other countries have done prior to their decline. It seems like we read the manuscript and said, ‘Oh, why don’t we do that, too? Maybe we can decline also.'”
I reminded Carson about the policy prescriptions in his speech that appealed to both social conservatives and fiscal conservatives, such as his support for a flat tax, which he said was based on the Bible. I asked him if there was a message to the Republicans that are currently debating the future direction of the party.
“I think the real message here is, we’re sitting on a precipice right now of determining are we going to be a nation for, of, and by the people; or for, of, and by the government. This is the critical issue here. There are a number of things that have revealed, really quite well over the last week or so, that large government doesn’t necessarily solve problems. That doesn’t mean there is no role for government at all. There is a big role for responsible government. That has been well-defined in our constitution in terms of what the government should be doing.”
“As we continue to overreach, then we necessarily will create an economic situation that will be non-viable because it is impossible for the government to take on the role of being responsible for everybody’s lives. You can’t do it.
That’s the reason we have churches and other non-profit organizations. They’re right there in the communities with the people who are in need. ”
Carson said he will talk about on Thursday how the those organizations can work with those in need to “put them on an upward path.” He contrasted their efforts with government.
“When you just have a nebulous governmental agency with no face sending you a check every couple of weeks, there is no reason to improve. There is no responsibility that you feel to anybody. And that tends to keep people in a depressed situation, which is exactly what we don’t want.”
As a neurosurgeon who was famous before his speech at the national prayer breakfast, Carson has definite views on the national direction of health care. Carson is a strong supporter of health savings accounts (HSA).
“First of all, recognizing that we spend twice as much per capita on health care as anybody else, that’s probably going to increase under Obamacare. What we need to do is bring the relationship back to the individual and the health care provider. Get the middle man out of the relationship. All you need is a health care provider and a patient. Along came the middle man to facilitate the relationship and the middle man has become the primary entity with the patient and the health care provider at its beck and call. Totally upside down.”
“That’s why I propose the health savings accounts. Because 80 percent of encounters between the health care provider and the patient can easily be handled through a health savings account with no need for a third party whatsoever. That’s going to drastically reduce costs. But it also, because patients now have primary responsibility of their HSA, they are going to be looking for the best bargain. They are not going to go someplace that charges five times more for something that they need which is done just as well at a place that charges five times less. And that’s going to bring the whole health care system into the free market which is going to automatically reduce costs and provide better services.”
Carson will be speaking to a large and enthusiastic audience Thursday night. His messages of free market solutions to our country’s problems and reducing the size of government will probably touch a chord with many in the audience. We’ll see if the expected enthusiastic response speeds up God’s plan for Carson.