Dr. Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, was an early endorser of President-elect Donald Trump after ending his own presidential bid.
So it would not be surprising to see Trump appoint Carson to a position in his administration. Appointing Carson, an African-American conservative, to a cabinet position has several benefits to Trump including rewarding a loyal ally and diversifying his cabinet.
Carson would appear to be a good choice for U.S. Surgeon General in the Trump administration of some other position related to his experience in health care.
But Trump tapped Carson last Monday to become secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
“Ben Carson has a brilliant mind and is passionate about strengthening communities and families within those communities,” Trump said in a statement last Monday morning. “We have talked at length about my urban renewal agenda and our message of economic revival, very much including our inner cities.”
“Ben shares my optimism about the future of our country and is part of ensuring that this is a presidency representing all Americans,” he added. “He is a tough competitor and never gives up.”
Carson spent part of his childhood in public housing which appears to be the extent of his qualifications to run HUD.
Carson has no experience in government or running a large bureaucracy. He has no expertise in housing policy. Yet he will oversee an agency with a $47 billion budget and oversee programs that provide vouchers and other rental assistance for five million low-income families, fights urban blight and helps struggling homeowners stave off foreclosures.
HUD is the federal agency responsible for overseeing the Section 8 housing voucher program and the Federal Housing Administration which helps people with homeownership. The majority of the funding for the Philadelphia Housing Authority, which is a $385 million budget for fiscal year 2017, is federal and comes directly from HUD. About 1.5 million comes from state and local grants and about $24 million from tenant rent revenue.
Along with his lack of experience in housing, Carson is bringing to the job a philosophical opposition to government programs that encourage what he calls “dependency” and engage in “social engineering.”
In fact, weeks ago, Carson seemed reluctant to join the administration. Carson aide Armstrong Williams was quoted as saying his longtime friend did not want to get in over his head.
“Dr. Carson feels he has no government experience; he’s never run a federal agency,” Williams told The Hill, which covers the federal government.
House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi is right when she says that Carson had no credentials for the job and was a “disconcerting and disturbingly unqualified choice.” She said the country deserves someone with “relevant experience to protect the rights of homeowners and renters.”
Reprinted from the Philadelphia Tribune