Ben Carson on Government Reform
Is that $34,000 correct? We found that Carson got the figure from a 2014 report commissioned by the National Association of Manufacturers--a group that advocates for regulatory reform. Many critics viewed the $34,000 as flawed because of the imprecise way the report calculated regulations cost in total, which came out to about $1.7 trillion. The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service questioned the results in its own report.
Our ruling: Carson cited a report that's not necessarily reliable. We rate the claim Half True.
Carson suggested people would work harder if they suspected their coworkers of monitoring their work. "And we make it possible to fire government people!" he said to loud cheers. It's true that firing government employees who underperform can be notoriously complicated--so much so that most agencies don't even try to do it, a GAO report found earlier this year.
A spokesperson clarified Carson's comments: "Covert division? More like Secret Shopper, a quality control strategy used worldwide to improve customer service and customer care."
CARSON: Well, what I said is the president doesn't have to agree with it.
Q: No, of course not. But does he have to enforce it?
CARSON: The way our Constitution is set up, the president or the executive branch is obligated to carry out the laws of the land. The laws of the land, according to our Constitution, are provided by the legislative branch.
Q: But, since Marbury v. Madison in 1803, we have lived under the principle of judicial review: if the Supreme Court says this is the law, this is constitutional, the executive has to observe that.
CARSON: This is an area we need to discuss, because it has changed from the original intent.
Q: So, you're saying this is an open question as far as you're concerned?
CARSON: It is an open question. It needs to be discussed.
This reminds me of our federal government, which was once agile and responsive, but now is so large and cumbersome that it has difficulty with the simplest of tasks.
We now have a federal debt of $17 trillion, which continues to grow. The current administration proudly points out that it is growing slower now than before. Such a claim makes it clear that they do not appreciate the seriousness of our spending problem. If a balloon is so full of air that is about to burst, it would be far better to begin deflating the balloon than to put just a little more air into it.
Perhaps you've wondered why a neurosurgeon is sharing his ideas about government. You might be surprised to know that 5 physicians signed the Declaration of Independence, and many of them were involved with the creation of the US Constitution. I believe it is a very good idea for physicians, scientists, engineers, and others trained to make decisions based on facts and empirical data to get involved in the political arena and help guide our country. Physicians were once much more involved in their communities and with governance in general.
Today we have too many lawyers in government. Consequently, we have far too much regulatory legislation. Also, what do many lawyers learn in law school? They learn it doesn't matter how you fight as long as you win.
One solution to the problem of special interest groups might be to lengthen the term one serves as a representative from 2 years to 6, 8, or even 10 years--with no possibility of reelection. You could couple that term with a right of recall by the populace every other year if the representative were doing an exceptionally bad job. Congressman could then govern based on the wishes of their constituents and pay little or no attention to special interest groups. Can you even imagine how much more efficiently and logically our government would work under such a circumstance?
It was obviously a mistake to allow our government to reach this size and to spend as much as it has, but it is not the fault of one party or the other. Rather, it is the natural tendency of government to expand if there is no conscientious effort to keep it under control.
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