EXCLUSIVE: Why Ben Carson Believes He's Your Best Choice for President

EXCLUSIVE: Why Ben Carson Believes He’s Your Best Choice for President

Ben Carson prepares for primaries and caucuses with a retooled campaign and new attitude.
Dingle asks Carson how he would enable blacks to start businesses and build wealth.

In terms of gaining African American support, large numbers shun the Republican Party because they believe it doesn’t care about them. And you’ve had challenges connecting with many African Americans in terms of statements you’ve made. There has been a situation in which you’ve been idolized for your professional accomplishments and now chided related to your stand on issues. Given that fact, how do you bring the African American community at large on board?

I think the key thing again is exposure. It’s like last April when I came here to New York and spoke to The National Action Network where Al Sharpton preaches. A lot of people said, “Oh, he’s lost it. He’s lost his mind.” Even Al Sharpton said, “Carson and I don’t agree about anything. I doubt we could agree that today is Wednesday, which actually is not true, but is a perception, but we need to listen to him.” I got up, they weren’t that excited to see me, but I started talking about economic empowerment…faith and family…the effects of out-of-wedlock births. I started talking about how to use your economic power in order to gain independence from the society [and] about the various contributions that black people had made toward the development of America. By the time I was finished, I got a standing ovation. They all wanted autographs and pictures.

I’m the very same person that I was before I joined the Republican Party. The principles are the things that we really need to get out there, the values of family, of faith, of personal responsibility. These used to be things that resonated very strongly in the black community.

White households on average have 13 times more wealth than African American households. What specifically are you proposing to change that equation?

A number of things. One thing, there’s over $2.1 trillion in American money sitting overseas. The reason is it’s not being brought back is because we have the highest corporate tax rates in the developed world. I’ve spent many afternoons sitting around corporate board tables talking about what we’re going to do with trillions of dollars because we couldn’t bring them back. What I would propose is a six month hiatus in taxes…corporate taxes on that money overseas to allow it to be repatriated to our country. But the stipulation would be that 10% has to be used in enterprise zones to create jobs for unemployed people and people on welfare. These are places that are generally put into economically depressed areas. They will incentivize large corporations to invest in those communities. Some of those communities would be largely African American, some might be Hispanic.

That would be the biggest economic stimulus package that upsets FDR’s New Deal and wouldn’t cost the taxpayer one penny. That’s low-hanging fruit. It also gets corporations back into the thought process of contributing; of investing in their communities, investing in the people around them because that’s really what has had the most profound, beneficial effect throughout history in our country.

One of our readers asked how you would determine taxes are paid by all legal U.S. citizens to address the deficit.

What I have proposed is a flat tax: a 14.9% tax across- the-board, starting at the 150% poverty level. No deductions, no loopholes. That way, everybody is hit the same and everybody is hit proportionately. If your neighbor makes 10 times more money than you do, your neighbor will pay 10 times more taxes than you do. Now, the people below the 150% line, they will still pay a de minimis tax but it won’t be at 14.9% because many of those people are struggling to get out of poverty. We don’t [put] the extra burden on them but we want everybody to have skin in the game.

One of the arguments from a number of economists is that you would lose revenues with a flat tax and, in turn, exacerbate the budget deficit problem.

Not true. The reason that we settled on the 14.9% level is because we’ve done all the analyses and what do we need in order to have the appropriate resources to run the government. If you take out the deductions and the loopholes that will work perfectly fine.

You would shrink the government? Which departments would you target to cut?

Definitely the government needs to be shrunken. The government has 4.1 million federal employees. That is absurd. It has 645 government agencies and sub-agencies. This is relatively easy. Tens of thousands of federal employees retire each year. Don’t rehire them. You can shift people around to cover critical positions but do not rehire. You do that for a few years and you’re down to a reasonable level. I would bring in the administrators of each agency and I would say cut your budget by 2-3%. If you can’t do that, resign right now. Every department has 2-3% of fat in them. I guarantee it. [This would be] very different than what happened a few years ago with the sequester. I think they were told to cut in a way that people would feel it the most so that no one would ever say cut the budget again.