Dr. Ben Carson, Presidential Medal of Freedom winner and legendary neurosurgeon, is now in the spotlight for his keynote address to the National Prayer Breakfast on February 7. It’s not brain surgery to figure out why.
Most notable was his criticism of Obamacare, one of the worst federal laws in decades, and one which, before its complete implementation, is already destroying our economy on a massive scale. Dr. Carson, relying on decades of medical experience, proposed health savings accounts for every American, which would fix two enormous problems in our system today: (1) regressive intergenerational transfers of wealth, and (2) half of our country not having a skin in the game, not having invested in their own futures. HSAs would incentivize efficiency, which is completely lacking in today’s broken health care system. Our country is being bankrupted by the health care industry, and Dr. Carson has a solution that needs to be taken seriously.
Dr. Carson came under fire for these remarks; people called them political, or partisan. What is wrong with a physician sharing his perspective on health policy? Is it partisan just because this is President Barack Obama we’re dealing with, whom the media has seemingly vowed to protect at any cost? Dr. Carson’s wisdom should be heeded by policymakers in Washington on both sides of the aisle.
Rush Limbaugh, in his typically bombastic style, warned afterward, as interest grew in Dr. Carson’s ideas,that “The Obama campaign team is gonna get into gear if this guy keeps talking, and they're gonna try to find ways to smear him and ruin his life and do to him what they did to Romney. That's all they can do. They can't beat him in the arena of ideas and superior intellect.”
It is a shame that Dr. Carson’s speech was considered only for its public policy content. The speech is full of wisdom on other topics, such as education, speech codes,and the importance of tithing.
I was intrigued by his discussion of tithing, and its relation to our 70,000-page tax code. Tithing is such a fair way to tax people is because it's proportional. As soon as you move away from proportional taxing, ideology takes over. As a result, ideology is—quite frankly—arbitrary and depends upon the latest trendy or fashionable prejudices. A growing number of people seriously think that the rich should pay more, while some feel they should pay less. One could legitimately make the argument that if the top one percent pay 37% of the income taxes and the top 5% pay 59%, this clearly demonstrates their tax base should be lower. The top 5% don't make 59% of the income and yet they pay 59% of the taxes. Therefore it is simple and fair to make the argument that they are being over taxed.Simplification is the only true and fair solution.
If you pay God 10% of your wealth, why should you pay the government more than that? Unlike our tax code, tithing is simple, and it is fair.
Tithing represents 10% of one's increase. A proportional tax system does not have to reside at 10%. It can be higher or lower depending on the needs of the government. Because it would be applied proportionally to the entire population, the government would be unlikely to raise taxes to a very high level, for it would effect everyone and not just a small group of voters. This is a clear advantage of a proportional tax rate, that everyone participates. A country where half of the population pay no income taxes, but are allowed to vote to make the other people pay more taxes, makes absolutely no sense.
When everybody has skin in the game, then everyone will be responsible: imagine if when you ate ice cream, somebody else got fat! That’s how our tax and spend government works: 51% of the people vote for spending paid for by the other 49%.
Dr. Carson says that he has not ruled out a run for office if “the Lord grabbed me by the collar and made” him do it. Whether or not he does, I think that our leaders in Washington need to listen to this man, and at least take a half hour to listen to his Prayer Breakfast speech. It is a large dose of common sense, something that has been lacking in Washington for many years.
I am proud to call Dr. Carson my friend, and, like just about everyone else, I hope to hear more such speeches from him in the future. I also strongly encourage you to read more about Dr. Ben Carson, especially his latest NY Times best selling book "America the Beautiful," which he wrote with his wife Candy, and which details the scholarship program that they have been running for fifteen years.I’m hoping that we’ll get a sequel sometime soon.