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World-renown pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson told conservative radio and television host Armstrong Williams on Friday that his attacks on the nation’s ills in his speech at the National Prayer Breakfast this week were not directed at President Barack Obama.
In his first interview since upstaging the president at the event on Thursday, Carson, director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore said his comments were “directed at the situation that is going on in our nation and how we can solve it.”
“It’s not an attack on anybody, but it’s saying there are logical solutions for our problems and there are things that we can all get behind — be we right wing, be we left wing,” Carson said Friday on Williams show “The Right Side.”
“It doesn’t matter, because we need to do the things that will benefit the entire society and get us moving in the right direction. We need to be able to have open discussions.”
Opening his remarks with quotations from the Old Testament books of Proverbs and Second Chronicles, the neurosurgeon blasted the nation’s $16.4 trillion debt, its cumbersome tax system — and its “inefficient” health care system.
President Obama showed no reaction to Carson’s attacks, simply sitting stoically at the dais table. First Lady Michelle Obama also was in attendance.
“Our deficit is a big problem,” said Carson, who last spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast in 1997. “Sixteen-and-a-half trillion dollars. You think that’s not a lot of money? Count one number per second. You know how long it would take to count to 16 trillion? 507,000 years. More than half-a-million years to get there.”
“What about our taxation system?” he continued. “So complex, there is no one who can possibly comply with every jot and tittle of our tax system. If I wanted to get you, I can get you on a tax issue.
‘It doesn’t make any sense. What we need to do is come up with something that’s simple.”
He then discussed the biblical principle of tithing.
“God has given us a system. He didn’t say, “If you crops fail, don’t give me a tithe.’ He didn’t say, ‘If you get a bumper crop, give me a triple-tithe.’ So, there must be something inherently fair about proportionality.
“You make $10 billion, you put in a billion. You make $10, you put in $1,” he said to applause from the audience.
“But some people say, ‘That’s not fair because it doesn’t hurt the guy who made $10 billion as much as the guy who made $10’ — but where does it say that you have the hurt the guy? He just put a billion dollars in the pot. We don’t need to hurt him.
“It’s that kind of thinking that has resulted in 602 banks in the Cayman Islands,” Carson said. “That money needs to be back here — building our infrastructure and creating jobs. We’re smart enough to figure out how to do that.”
As for health care, he began, “We need to have good health care for everybody, but we have to figure out efficient ways to do it.”
Carson’s solution: “When a person is born, give him a birth certificate, an electronic medical record, and a health savings account (HSA) to which money can be contributed — pretax — from the time you’re born ’til the time you die.
“When you die, you can pass it on to your family members, so that when you’re 85 years old and you’ve got six diseases, you’re not trying to spend up everything,” he added. “You’re happy to pass it on and there’s nobody talking about death panels.”
He added: “For the people who are indigent who don’t have any money, we can make contributions to their HSA each month because we already have this huge pot of money. Instead of sending it to some bureaucracy, let’s put it in their HSAs. Now, they have some control over their own health care.”
In his interview with Williams on Friday, Carson said likened the United States to the ancient Roman civilization.
“The Roman Empire was very, very much like us,” he told Williams. “They lost their moral core, their sense of values in terms of who they were. And after all of those things converged together, they just went right down the tubes very quickly.
“When you look at America, it’s not too hard to see great similarities. We’ve spread ourselves all over the place. We have incredible expenses. We don’t adjust — and, consequently, we expand the deficit and the debt and entitlement programs, and not living within our means and not adjusting programs and not adjusting people’s expectations.
“When it comes to wanting things, people don’t really care about the national debt,” Carson said. “They don’t really care about the future; they just care about, ‘Give me my check so I can eat next week.’
“That’s understandable, but we have not created the right kinds of expectations — and we really need to start doing that or we will face a similar fate.”