Ben Carson on Government Reform

Tea Party challenger in Republican primary


Supreme Court was not partisan, but it has become so

Q: If you were president now with 11 months left in your term, would you nominate someone to fill Justice Scalia's seat?

CARSON: I probably would take the opportunity to nominate someone. It doesn't necessarily mean that person is going to be confirmed but why not do it? But here is the real problem: the Supreme Court was originally intended to consist of people who loved America, and who fully understood our constitution, and who were there to make sure that America preserved its constitutional traditions. It was not supposed to be a partisan group. It has become very partisan, so as a result everything that is done surrounding it: the picks; the confirmation hearings; deciding on whether to actually make the vote--all of it has become partisan in reaction to what is happening. Does it mean that we're forever gone? No, I think it means [we should] start figuring out how in the world do we once again get back to a reasonable judicial system. We do not have that now.

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

Appointing a justice before election would be divisive

We need to start thinking about the divisiveness that is going on in our country. I looked at some of the remarks that people made after finding out that Justice Scalia had died, and they were truly nasty. That we have managed to get to that position is truly a shame. We should be thinking about how we could create some healing in this land. Right now, we're not going to get healing with President Obama and I agree that we should not allow a judge to be appointed during his time.
Source: 2016 CBS Republican primary debate in South Carolina , Feb 13, 2016

We have 645 federal agencies--that's way, way too many

We've got government regulators, and all they're doing is running around looking for people to fine. And, we've got 645 different federal agencies, and sub-agencies. Way too many, and they don't have anything else to do. What we really need to do is start trimming the regulatory agencies rather than going after the people who are trying to increase the economic viability of our society. If you want to get rid of poverty, get rid of all the regulations.
Source: 2016 CBS Republican primary debate in South Carolina , Feb 13, 2016

Regulations cost small businesses $34,000 per employee

Presidential candidate Ben Carson called for fewer government regulations at the Oct. 28 Republican debate. Responding to a question posed about whether the government should regulate pharmaceutical prices, Carson pivoted to talk about federal regulation more generally, saying more government involvement means more problems: "The average small manufacturer, if they have less than 50 employees, the average cost in terms of regulations is $34,000 per employee."

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.

Source: PolitiFact fact-checking on GOP 2015 debate on CNBC , Oct 30, 2015

Regulations cost $34,000 per employee, hurting business

You think about the reasons that we're having such difficulty right now with our job market. The average small manufacturer, if they have less than 50 employees, the average cost in terms of regulations is $34,000 per employee. We are going to have to have a major reduction in the regulatory influence that's going on. The government is not supposed to be in every part of our lives, and that's what is causing the problem.
Source: GOP "Your Money/Your Vote" 2015 CNBC 1st-tier debate , Oct 28, 2015

Covertly spy on government workers to make them work harder

Ben Carson said that if elected next year he might implement a "covert division" of government workers who spy on their coworkers to improve government efficiency. Carson said he is "thinking very seriously" about adding "a covert division of people who look like the people in this room, who monitor what government people do."

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."

Source: MSNBC 2015 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Jun 10, 2015

We should discuss "judicial review" in its modern usage

Q: You said that the president must carry out a law passed by Congress, but you said that doesn't necessarily apply to what you called a "judicial law," i.e., decisions by the Supreme Court.

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.

Source: Fox News Sunday 2015 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , May 10, 2015

5-year federal hiring freeze, to decrease size of government

Carson mentioned the Affordable Care Act, describing it as a disturbing government overreach into the ability of Americans to control their own health care. To decrease the size of the federal government, Carson suggested freezing hiring for up to five years. The result? Fewer employees to pay for. "Then they don't have time to stick their big noses in everybody's business," Carson said. Laughter followed.
Source: Des Moines Register on 2015 Iowa Freedom Summit , Jan 24, 2015

Large cumbersome government needs to be deflated

We have all heard the news stories about people so morbidly obese that they could not exit their house or apartment. These people are addicted to eating, and in some cases, ate incessantly even though they knew that they were jeopardizing their health and eventually, their lives.

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.

Source: Washington Times OpEd by B.Carson, 2016 presidential hopeful , Oct 29, 2013

Human nature makes giving up power difficult

Although the founding fathers thought of many things, they failed to realize that the facet of human nature that makes people strive for power and influence might result in it becoming very difficult for them to give up their seat in the House of Representatives once they had it.
Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p. 34 , Jan 24, 2012

Too many lawyers in government; get more doctors in

[In government, it is] detrimental having one profession overly represented. If there were too many doctors serving in and/or represented in government, there would probably be an overabundance of health-related legislation.

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.

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p. 34-35 , Jan 24, 2012

Lengthen House term to 6-10 years, with no re-election

In the scenario originally envisioned by the founding fathers, dedicated citizens served in Congress for a few years and then returned to their original walks of life. But because many in Congress want to keep returning term after term, they need to constantly campaign and seek funding, much of which is obtained from special interest groups. Needless to say, money from these groups is not given without strings attached.

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?

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p. 35-36 , Jan 24, 2012

Bloated government keeps itself busy to justify existence

I believe we are in the process right now of learning that our government is far too big--and the bigger it gets, the more taxpayer money it needs to sustain itself. A gigantic, bloated government has to keep itself busy in order to justify its existence; hence, you have more regulations and meddling in the affairs of the people, whether they request it, need it, or not. Our government is now so large and expensive that each year our national debt grows larger. Currently it sits between $14 and $15 trillion--a number that is so large that it is virtually incomprehensible. That comes out to $50,000 for every man, woman, and child in the US.

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.

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.119 , Jan 24, 2012

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