Dr Ben Carson in Waukesha
Speaking to a capacity crowd in Waukesha Thursday night, Dr. Ben Carson brought a message of free market reforms for health care, support for a flat tax, and a belief that America will always rise to meet its challenges. Carson gained fame as a neurosurgeon and was the subject of a Hollywood movie starring Cuba Gooding Jr. But Carson became a celebrity in conservative politics when he gave a speech at the National Prayer Breakfast in February that was seen as an attack on President Barack Obama’s policies.
Before Carson spoke to the audience at the Waukesha Expo Center, Tim Phillips and Luke Hilgemann of Americans for Prosperity spoke about the growth of Americans for Prosperity and the Tea Party movement in Wisconsin. Phllips, the national president of AFP, also praised Governor Scott Walker by saying Wisconsin was leading the nation towards more economic freedom.
Senator Ron Johnson told the crowd that when he was at the National Prayer Breakfast, he did not know who Carson was. As Carson began to speak, Johnson was afraid it was going to be just another liberal speech.”He started talking about education… and it made sense. He started talking about tithing and health care and health savings accounts… Keep talking! I’m liking what I’m hearing!”
After being greeted by a standing ovation, Carson addressed the crowd for nearly thirty minutes. He told the crowd that the support he has received since the speech at the National Prayer Breakfast has been overwhelming. He told the audience that the problem isn’t just the Democrats or the Republicans.
“What we have to do at this stage, I think, is stop the finger pointing and start coming up with real solutions to how to solve the problems. Because you know dividing does not work. A wise man by the name of Jesus once said, ‘A house divided against itself cannot stand.’ It never has stood, it never will stand.”
It was the first of many religious references in Carson’s speech before an enthusiastic audience, bridging the themes of economic and social conservatism.
Carson described the federal government as a morbidly obese individual. “It can’t really move but it can still talk.” He said that if the government would stop consuming so much, “it could trim down to a size where it could be effective once again.”
Carson said the country is a wonderful place even if its current leaders are moving it in the wrong direction. However, he did not believe that the heading in the wrong direction will last. “America has a history of standing up and being counted when the chips are down. I got to tell you the chips are down right now. But I see people waking up as we travel across the country. We see people waking up – it’s extraordinarily encouraging to us. I am thoroughly convinced that we can save this country because the majority of the people in this country actually have common sense.”
After cautioning the crowd that America could go go into decline, he told them it was something they should not allow to happen. “This nation is the child of every other nation in the world. Therefore, it’s the most capable and the most well-suited nation to be responsible for the rest of the world, and to care about what happens to the rest of the world.”
Carson challenged the crowd to take back the meaning of the word, “fairness.”
“Fairness is such an important concept in the kind of society that we have. And it shouldn’t just be ‘fairness’ that is in the White House. It should be fairness for everybody. And that’s why I brought up the tithing concept with that section. Because who could be fairer than God? These guys actually think they know more than God does.”
Carson explained tithing as a 10% flat tax. “You need to think about the importance of proportionality. If you make 10 billion dollars, you put in a billion. You make ten dollars, you put in one. Now think about that. The guy who put in a billion just paid one billion times more than the guy who put in one, and yet they have the same rates. What could be more fair than that?”
According to Carson, the top 1% in this country pays 37% of the taxes while only earning 19% of the income. “So I would agree they don’t pay their fair share. They pay more.”
Turning his attention to health care, Carson claimed that the reason it was so important for the Obama Administration to pass Obamacare, “They realized that if they control your health, they have control of you.”
Carson spoke in favor of Health Savings Accounts. He claimed that “80% of the interactions” between a patient and a health care provider could be handled through a Health Savings Account. “You’re going to bring all of the health care system into the free market and that free market determines the pricing and it will allow everyone to have much more effective health care.”
But the biggest applause line of the night came towards the end of Carson’s speech, “We need not be ashamed of the fact that we believe in God.”
“One of the reasons that we rose the way we did is because God is looking out for us.”
Carson reminded the audience of the presence of God in the Declaration of Independence, in the Pledge of Allegiance, on our currency and in our courtrooms. “So it’s in our founding documents, it’s in our pledge and our courtrooms, and on our money, but we’re not supposed to talk about it. In medicine it’s called, ‘schizophrenia.'”