Apparently, Dr. Ben Carson’s former residence in the inner city plus hostility to anti-segregation laws plus loyalty to Donald Trump are all the qualifications the president-elect thinks necessary to run a federal department with a budget of nearly $50 billion and 8,400 employees. It’s a department Carson admits he knows nothing about. But today Trump chose Carson to be head of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
As I previously posted, Carson, a former Fox News contributor, offered this terrifying “justification” for his appointment on Fox's Your World show last month:
CARSON: Well, I know that I grew up in the inner city and have spent a lot of time there and have dealt with a lot of patients from that area, and recognize that we can not have a strong nation if we have weak inner cities, and we have to get beyond the promises and start really doing something. And also, the amount of corruption and graft and things that have - shell games that are played, we need to get rid of all that stuff and start operating things in an efficient and effective way.
A few days later, Carson revealed his contempt for the position by suggesting it required no expertise:
CARSON: You know, the fact of the matter is every job is very important but in terms of complexity, I can guarantee you that very little of it comes very close to neurosurgery, and particularly complex neurosurgery, and these things can easily be acquired and you can put people around you who know all the little details about something that happened 56 years ago.
Now that’s not important. What’s important is being able to take the information and process it and come up with wise solutions that solve problems. That’s what this is going to be about. It’s gonna be very different from your typical administration because Donald Trump, as a businessman, believes very much, like surgeons do, you take the evidence and you make your decisions based on the evidence, not on the ideology.
As Think Progress has noted, if Carson is confirmed, he will likely prove a bonanza for banks because he wants to gut anti-discrimination laws.
Watch Carson discuss his “qualifications” for the position of HUD Secretary below, from the November 22, 2016 Your World.
Perhaps Trump could pardon Charles Manson and appoint him to his cabinet.
When asked if he was qualified, Trump would likely tell us “well, he was pardoned, soooooo…”
Putting Ben Carson in charge of HUD is a recipe for making HUD a shadow of its former self. Rather than working to help in the areas of housing and urban development, Carson will of course take the position that these people don’t need help and that that the department should be cut way back and defunded as much as possible. I fully expect him to reduce the budget and the employees by at least half within the next year or two, since he sees them as the problem and not the solution.
Similarly, Betsy DeVos at Education will undoubtedly shrink that department as much as possible in prelude to getting rid of it outright. Her approach has already been to encourage charter schools, private schools and religious schools over the Right Wing’s hated enemy, the public school structure of this country. Under DeVos, we should expect to see the idea of school vouchers really pushed, with the effect of gutting what funding schools still get these days. Richer families will get a subsidy for the private schools where they wish to send their kids, and poorer families will be left with a choice of either staying with a miserably underfunded public school or taking their chances with unreliable charters or spending a LOT more money than they can afford to put their kids into private school, as the vouchers will never cover very much. This will essentially serve to give the rich yet another tax break, while leaving the rest of us with a broken, empty vessel of a public school system. Which will allow the Right to close this department and happily practice the libertarian philosophy of IGMFU under an official flag.
Myron Ebell at EPA will similarly gut and reduce that department, to the point that it no longer can do anything but issue useless and ignored recommendations to the companies that will happily pollute and contribute to an acceleration of global warming.
Jeff Sessions at Justice will do very little to actually seek justice for the people of this country, but he will spend time pursuing his political opponents and those people that Pence wants punished for what the Right sees as their sins. Equal protection for all? Not under Sessions, who’s been noted for racism and who will have a blanket go-ahead to restore what the Right sees as Order to various communities around the country. That means a much more aggressive policing approach and an assumption that non-whites are aggressors. That means an assumption that a Middle Eastern immigrant is a terrorist until proven innocent. That means a studied refusal to recognize hate crimes and injustices against the LGBT community, among many others. And it means that more emphasis will be placed on deporting as many immigrants as possible, in the name of “securing” the country. I note that Bill O’Reilly is already advocating for an “illegal immigrant registry” – something that should chill anyone in that situation. What he’s saying is that a Sessions Justice Dept would demand that immigrants give their name, address, etc, and then hope that ICE doesn’t immediately deport them. O’Reilly has to know that the actual result of the deportations and mandated registries will be that most of these people will retreat to the shadows as fast as they can. Which means that they’ll be at the mercy of employers who will pay them even less than they already do, and they will have no recourse. Which is of course what the various agro companies really wanted in the first place – an employee pool of terrified people who don’t dare say anything about lousy working conditions and pay.
We could go on – hawks throughout the Defense Department, anti-Cuban activists in Treasury, etc, etc, etc.
What do all these people have in common, other than the fact that some of them have never really held a public office and have no idea what to do there? The fact that pretty much all of these people are fundamentally opposed to the existence of the departments they will be supervising. In other words, government agencies being run by those who hate those agencies and would rather that they did not exist. We really shouldn’t be surprised that this is who Mike Pence is appointing, and we shouldn’t be surprised when the result is to radically shrink those departments or end them entirely.
Allen West?? Good God I hope Trump isn’t thinking SCOTUS. That would be an in your face to every decent man, woman and child in this country.