That’s not how it works.
Yesterday, Ben Carson, the secretary of Housing and Urban Development, made waves with a statement yet again when he said in a radio interview that he believes “poverty to a large extent is also a state of mind.” The doctor-turned-presidential-candidate-turned-cabinet member made the remarks while addressing how the government can offer help to those in need.
In addressing who the government can best help with assistance, Carson said to SiriusXM, "I think the majority of people don't have that defeatist attitude, but they sometimes just don't see the way, and that's where government can come in and be very helpful. It can provide the ladder of opportunity; it can provide the mechanism that will demonstrate to them what can be done."
His remarks focused on the “mindset” of those afflicted, discussing how a person’s head space is directly attributable to their success. He said, "I think poverty to a large extent is also a state of mind, You take somebody that has the right mindset, 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. And you take somebody with the wrong mindset, you could give them everything in the world, they'll work their way right back down to the bottom."
Unsurprisingly, critics thought these remarks were mired in oblivion, especially for a retired doctor whose new post involves working so closely with the poverty epidemic American cities face. Many to the left of Carson felt that attributing poverty to the mental state of the poor does nothing to address the solution to poverty, only offering an excuse about why many people can’t be helped.
Representative Mita Lowey, D-N.Y., was quick to shoot down the notion that being poor is anything other than a financial issue:
Carson’s remarks come after Tuesday’s release of a budget proposal that would strip HUD of about $6 billion from its next annual budget. His statements were intended to soften the blow of the budget cuts by offering that funds spent on certain recipients would be money wasted. Instead, it has many questioning Carson’s competency and dedication to the job.
Previously, Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, has said he was waiting for proof of evolution and that he believed the pyramids in Egypt were used to store grain.