Retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson has been described by the NYT as having a “warped view of housing.” Yes, Mr. Carson grew up poor, which as Jason L. Riley notes in the WSJ, “doesn’t make him a housing expert, but … Dr. Carson’s background does make him better able to empathize with the plight of the poor.”
… if the state of inner-cities is any indication, the last thing low-income residents need is more of the same so-called expertise that Dr. Carson lacks. New York City is home to the nation’s largest public housing program, writes Howard Husock of the Manhattan Institute, “and the average resident has spent 22 years living in a subsidized home.” Are HUD’s policies helping these people or trapping them?
HUD is an outgrowth of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society, and its original goal was to address the housing needs of America’s poor. Today, it serves as a blunt tool for social engineers who are hellbent on achieving “racial balance” in residential housing patterns—whether the intended beneficiaries want it or don’t. Surveys going back decades show that blacks and whites alike are more concerned with a potential neighbor’s income than they are with his skin color. Most people don’t have a problem with families from different racial or ethnic groups moving in next door, so long as the newcomers can afford to live there.
There are few if any federal agencies in greater need of a makeover than HUD, and that makeover is unlikely to come from the type of “expert” at the helm who would appease Dr. Carson’s critics. It’s HUD’s view of housing that is warped, not Dr. Carson’s. Mr. Trump has tapped a nonpolitician to clean up a mess created by political pros and bureaucrats who have an agenda that often differs from the needs of the poor. Let’s see if Dr. Carson is up to the job.
Dr. Carson was raised in Detroit by a mother with only a 3rd grade education. In Dr. Carson’s memoir “Gifted Hands,” he explains how his mother convinced him that he could make something of his life.