Ben Carson should really stop talking. Truly. Because it seems that whenever he talks about anything that isn’t related to brains or science, he makes a complete and total ass out of himself. Earlier this month, he got himself into trouble when he said that we shouldn’t make housing for low-income Americans “too cozy” because otherwise they might not want to work hard enough to actually leave government housing. Then on Tuesday, during a radio interview with conservative media personality Armstrong Williams, he said that poverty is a state of mind.
“I think poverty to a large extent is also a state of mind,” he said, according to a transcript of the interview that was released on Wednesday. “You take somebody that has the right mind-set, you can take everything from them and put them on the street, and I guarantee in a little while they’ll be right back up there.”
He added that helping people may not better their lives.
In 2015, over 40 million people in the US were officially living in poverty. Forty-three percent of children in America live in low-income families. Poverty is serious business and is not just an individual problem but a systematic one with larger societal implications. It is not simply overcome by a good attitude. But applying Ben’s standard, what other serious conditions (medical, social, economic or otherwise) can be overcome by changing one’s mindset? Cancer? Physical disability? Racism (of course)? Venereal disease? See how asinine this sounds?
This is obviously the kind of “pull yourself up by the bootstraps” crap that Republicans love. But thankfully it’s been debunked by economists, historians, sociologists—essentially everyone with access to facts. Its oh-so-tempting to take individual success stories (like Ben’s) and apply them to a larger system but that’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works. The data and facts (hey, Trump administration and supporters: here’s some news for you—facts are not actually just for Democrats) actually show that most people who are born poor are most likely to stay that way. Why? Because hard work and state of mind aside, wealth offers a significant advantage in our society. Even when poor people get access to decent housing, education and jobs.
Comments are closed on this story.