Ben Carson's Eyebrow-Raising Remarks on Poverty

It's largely a 'state of mind,' he notes
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted May 25, 2017 11:56 AM CDT
Ben Carson: 'Poverty Is a State of Mind'
In this Jan. 12, 2017 file photo, Housing and Urban Development Secretary-designate Ben Carson testifies on Capitol Hill at his confirmation hearing.   (AP Photo/Zach Gibson)

"If everybody had a mother like mine, nobody would be in poverty," Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson told SiriusXM on Wednesday. "She was a person who absolutely would not accept status of victim." He then went on to comment further, in remarks that NBC News reports are stirring up controversy: "I think poverty to a large extent is also a state of mind," said Carson. "You take somebody who has the right mindset, you can take everything from them and put them on the street and I guarantee you in a little while they'll be right back up there. And you take somebody with the wrong mindset, you can give them everything in the world, they'll work their way right back down to the bottom."

The interview wasn't entirely focused on pulling oneself up by the bootstraps, however. The AP notes Carson had this to say: "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." Carson also said that he'd like to change his agency's name to Housing and Community Development, which the AP notes would require approval from Congress. (Carson most recently made headlines when he visited a housing complex and got stuck in an elevator.)

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