Ben Carson, Shaped by Poverty, Is Likely to Bring Tough Love to HUD


(TIML NEWS) So isn’t this guy a brain surgeon? so why did he get picked as the housing coordinator…sounds like a set up.“He just doesn’t want to walk in and say all the federal programs that take care of housing should be cut,” Mr. Williams said. “He wants to make it work for the people.”

Mr. Carson has no experience running a large federal bureaucracy, and aside from a failed run for the presidency, has no background in government. But if confirmed by the Senate, he would enter public service with a background like few other cabinet officials in history, shaped profoundly by a childhood when public assistance meant survival and public housing was all around him.

Mr. Carson’s conservative views on government policy — coupled with the credibility his own remarkable story brings — worry experts who believe government should be doing more, not less, for the nation’s cities, where glittering downtowns and increasingly affluent neighborhoods are often surrounded by areas of poverty and violence, with predominantly minority residents.

The concern about government interference in the administration of housing programs in our cities, to me, seems unfounded,” said Stefanie A. DeLuca, a professor of sociology at Johns Hopkins University who specializes in housing policy. “This danger of social engineering our cities and suburbs is overblown in comparison with the gains that we could be making in fair housing.”

But Mr. Carson’s views, born of his own bootstraps background, would be difficult to shake.

“Everybody had working parents, and it prepared you for the fact you were going to have to work for a living,” said Steve Choice, 61, who grew up next door to Mr. Carson. “That was the American way. That was how you made your living, how you purchased things, and how the world moved. You had to work.”

“To me, it seems like they put him in the wrong job,” said Mr. Reeves, the former classmate of Mr. Carson’s from Detroit. “He’s very smart man, but he’s a brain surgeon. Why didn’t they let him deal with medicine and be like surgeon general? That’s the job I thought he would get. But that’s politics.”