Dr Ben Carson campaigns in Jefferson

Dr Ben Carson
Dr Ben Carson

Dr Ben Carson, retired neurosurgeon and now a Republican candidate for president, spoke to about 140 persons Monday, Jan. 11, at Abundant Life Ministries in Jefferson.

Security was tighter than during other candidates’ Jefferson stops, with screening for weapons required before entering the church assembly room and Secret Service agents, uniformed and not uniformed.

Carson was scheduled to speak at 11:45 am, but the group waited 30 minutes before campaign staff appeared.

Major Gen Robert Dees (US Army, retired), Carson’s national security advisor and campaign manager, was confused about whether he was in Jefferson County or Jefferson, but said that Carson “has the right reflexes as a future commander in chief. He’s gone through the common sense solutions for life-death scenarios.”

Dees referred to Iowa as a dairy state and said the Carson has risen to the top with the strength of his character just as cream does. Dees led the Pledge of Allegiance before leaving the stage.

Dees introduced Dr John Maxwell, pastor, author, and a mentor of leaders nationally and internationally. In his prayer he thanked God “for people who love God and their country.”

Maxwell said followers ask three questions of their leaders: Do you care for me? Can you help me?  Can I trust you? He called Ben Carson “a man who is bigger on the inside than on the outside” and called him “God’s idea” for leadership in this country. Maxwell then introduced Carson.

Carson explained told of a particular neurosurgery case that taught him early in his career the God is using him “to uplift other people, to change lives.”

“When you see a problem that requires a solution, sometimes you’re going to meet resistance in an attempt to bring about that solution, if you’re dealing with entrenched systems,” Carson said. “That’s what we have today in America,  very entrenched (systems), both Republicans and Democrats. They feel that they must control everything. This country was  actually designed of, for, and by the people, but it has changed. We’ve shifted the paradigm and now the government is in charge, and the government dictates to the people.”

He used the Affordable Care Act (he called it Obamacare) as an example, saying it has “been crammed down our throats” and that “if we accept it, it is the beginning of the end of America as we know it.”

Carson talked about the national debt and the fiscal gap, saying the gap between unfunded liabilities (Medicare and Social Security, for example) and the federal government’s financial resources is more than $200 trillion. “Somebody has to be responsible for that. It creates enormous burdens in our society,” he said.

He talked about his tax plan that calls for a 14.9 percent flat tax rate that would be paid by everyone who earns 150 percent or more of the federal poverty level. Those below the poverty level would pay taxes at a lesser rate. “It doesn’t make any sense for half the people to not pay anything but they have a say in how much the other people pay,” he said. He added that  he would remove all deductions and “loopholes,” to include the earned income tax credit.

He derived his tax plan from the Bible’s call for tithing, noting that the Bible doesn’t ask for tithing in good years but giving nothing in bad years. “There is something inherently fair about proportionality if it’s good enough for God,” he said.

He would also roll back corporate income tax to 14.9 percent, granting corporations a six month window in which they would pay no tax on funds returned to the U.S. from overseas if the corporations invested 10 percent of the money in enterprise zones to create jobs for those who are unemployed. “It would give corporate America to start thinking about investing in their fellow Americans. I truly believe we would do a much better job if business, industry, academia, Wall Street, churches and community groups were the ones taking care of the indigent. It is not the government’s job to do that. It doesn’t say that anywhere in our Constitution,” he said.

He said “a failure to lead” has put the United States in a dangerous place. He said we need to “stop playing games” with radical Islamic jihadists, that they’re an existential threat to us and they want to destroy us. He suggested the U.S. should use every available resource to destroy radical Islamic jihadists. “We have a very effective military. If we would let them do their jobs, give them a mission, ask them what they needed to accomplish the mission, and not tie their hands behind their backs and have they worry about whether we’re going to prosecute them for some kind of war crime, I can guarantee you they’d get the job done and they’d get it done quickly.”

Carson talked for 20 minutes and then opened the floor to questions.

Marc Daniels invites Carson to weed out hatred
Marc Daniels invites Carson to weed out hatred

The first to address Carson was Marc Daniels of Springfield, IL, who asked him to join him in weeding out the hatred in American politics, in domestic racism, Islamaphobia and anti-Semitism, and to sow seeds of peace.

Carson answered that divisiveness threatens the nation. He said the “politics of personal destruction” is foolishness and there are more important things to discuss. He quoted Teddy Roosevelt in saying we’re a nation of immigrants and should accept anybody, “as long as they want to be Americans, as long as they accept our values and principles and our laws. If they don’t want to do that, they should stay where they are…. I think that encompasses the spirit of where you are,” Carson answered Daniels.

Carson answered a question about his plan for healthcare with a complaint against Obamacare “because it changes America, having the government dictate to us.” He said he proposes health empowerment accounts, that would be “like an HSA but without the bureaucrats.” He said health empowerment accounts would be lifetime accounts and could be shared among families, and they would bring down the cost of catastrophic health insurance. The health empowerment accounts would be paid for with the same money now used for healthcare.

He said the accounts are among the “common sense” plans his campaign is proposing. “I don’t think there’s a single problem in America we can’t fix as long as we remove ego and politics from it,” he said.

To a final question about why people should support his candidacy, Carson answered that our nation was intended to be run by citizen statesmen, not career politicians. “What is truly important is wisdom and the ability to use information appropriately and arrive at the appropriate kinds of decisions. The ability to utilize great talent around you,” he said, and he quoted from Proverbs 11:14 a phrase about “a multitude of counselors.”





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