Former republican presidential candidate and HUD Secretary-Designate Ben Carson told the Senate Banking Committee last week he wants to run the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in order to “heal America’s divisiveness.” He went on to say political division, racial conflict, and class warfare are “ripping this country apart.” He believes HUD holds the solution due to its stated mission to ensure housing security and strong communities. He has long been critical of HUD’s past efforts to, in his words, “legislate racial equality.”
Carson told the committee that he would use a holistic approach to running the department and reassured them that he would “never advocate abolishing [safety net programs] without having an alternative for people to follow.” He plans to recruit private sector dollars to help further HUD’s aims in hopes of preventing Americans currently on welfare from remaining that way for their entire lives. “Americans have come to view HUD’s mission as putting roofs over the heads of poor people,” Carson said, adding, “It has the ability to be so much more than that.”
Not surprisingly, Carson also pointed out he grew up in an impoverished section of Detroit, Michigan. His critics suggest this is, in fact, his only qualification for the position, and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) requested reassurance “not a single taxpayer dollar that you give out will financially benefit the president-elect or his family.” Warren went on to demand Trump establish a blind trust before taking office, and Carson asked her if “there happens to be an extraordinarily good program that’s working for millions of people and it turns out that someone that you’re targeting is going to gain $10 from it, am I going to say no?”
Carson concluded by emphasizing the best thing for individuals on government assistance for housing is to “get them off it,” but added, “It is cruel and unusual punishment to withdraw those programs before you provide an alternative.” At time of publication, neither Carson nor Trump have actually suggested abolishing housing assistance but instead, qualifying those who use it more aggressively and regularly.
You can read more of Carole VanSickle Ellis’ coverage of this and other topics at Self-Directed Investor News.
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Carole VanSickle Ellis serves as vice president of research and analysis at the Self-Directed Investor Society, helping investors “declare independence from Wall Street.” Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit selfdirectedinvestor.org.