We don’t need a doctor in the house
EDITORIAL | 12/15/2016, midnight
We hope that Dr. Ben Carson, once a candidate to be president, wasn’t as indecisive a neurosurgeon as he has been a politician. After bowing out of the campaign and Trump’s victory, Carson told the press that he wouldn’t take a position in Trump’s administration because he had no governmental experience. According to reports, he was offered the job as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.
Now, oddly, he has apparently accepted the nomination to be HUD secretary, which seems absolutely counterintuitive, although we should not be surprised by his wishy-washy behavior. He is the same man who traded blows with Trump during the campaign, especially after Trump charged that he was an unstable thug with no job-creating experience.
But if Trump can meet with Mitt Romney, who was unsparing in his attacks, then Carson was a no-brainer (you can ignore this comment) and apparently easier to forgive. Carson’s rejoinder back then was to inform Trump that he had done “lots of things in my life other than medicine.” He continued, “I have decades of experience on corporate boards … started a national nonprofit, have been involved in multitudinous things.”
None, however, has anything at all to do with running HUD and overseeing a $47 billion budget, if he manages to pass muster.
Nominating Carson to head HUD is clearly a bone tossed to the African-American community, one that we should hurriedly toss back. More than one commentator has compared the choice to one President Reagan made when he selected Samuel Pierce to head HUD. And many of you may recall the scandal that followed Pierce after he left office. Federal investigators uncovered a path of abuse and favoritism, although Pierce, known as “Silent Sam,” was never charged.
There is little evidence that Carson has a clue about urban policy when it comes housing, and we can bet that he will be no more than a puppet to the privatization and deregulation strings pulled by his master.
We agree with Community Voices Heard that Carson lacks the experience to run such a large and important agency, and he would be wise to accept the counsel of CVH and others more informed on the issues facing the nation’s homeless.
Although he springs from the lower income precincts of Detroit, where there’s even a school named after him, whether or not he will do anything to stop the foreclosures that are still occurring, even if the reportage has slackened. And Carson has already expressed his opposition to President Obama’s plan to bolster the 1968 Fair Housing Act.
This act, and several other Great Society policies, is clearly endangered, given what we know of Trump’s distaste for anything that resembles government intervention and support for minority communities.
We have every reason to believe that Carson will carry out the gutting plans of HUD in the same way Pierce did with Reagan. For the most part, Trump has his henchman, a fall guy in black face to mask his destructive intentions, and many of the same voters who followed this pied piper will be the first to feel the impact of the cuts in urban funding.
There are sure to be a contingent of well-wishers ready to cheer when and if Carson is approved, but this black face in a high place may be nothing more than the second coming of Clarence Thomas.
And, yo, Dr. Carson, the last time we checked, the pyramids were not grain silos.
To be sure, we may have needed a good doctor in the operating room, but with Carson being tapped we don’t need a doctor in the house.