Dr. Ben Carson’s Economic Plan
By Carson Economic Advisory Group
The health of our great nation is founded in our economy’s ability to generate rapid, dynamic, powerful growth. To make that growth happen, we must create around it a secure environment so that Americans are safe at home, at work, at worship, and at play. The Ben Carson Economics team has developed this comprehensive plan to defend and secure our nation and to once again ignite the kind of economic growth that creates opportunity for everyone, helping to make a safer, more secure world.
We must be frank about the problems we face. American median family income has fallen over the last 15 years due to stagnant economic growth, which for the last quarter was below 1 percent. America’s reputation for economic freedom has been tarnished, falling in rank behind 10 other countries. Unfunded liabilities are estimated to cost between $100 and $200 trillion, bankrupting our future. Dr. Carson’s flat tax and regulatory rollbacks will create robust economic growth, millions of new jobs, and the resources to strengthen national security.
Growth can only happen in a safe and secure environment, but our military is in rapid decline. A decade and a half of war has drawn down the readiness of our forces. Our Navy, which protects the lifeblood of the global economy, trade, is at the lowest ship level in decades. The sea lanes have become uncertain and dangerous places, subject to increased piracy and the aggressive claims of other great powers. We must rebuild all branches of our military to provide the highest level of national security. The current administration does not apply common sense to problems, refuses to act to protect America, and has no interest in growing the economy or addressing our enormous debt problems. Our government is paralyzed, whether by madness, irresponsibility, ill will, or a lack of will. A Carson Presidency will stop the siege on America and put an end to the madness.
A Carson Presidency will secure the borders and vigorously enforce immigration laws. The Border Patrol will have enough agents to stop the covert flow of migrants across the border. More importantly, the FBI will have enough agents to track potential terrorists; and put our enemies on the run.
Migrants will voluntarily return to their home countries if they have economies that are generating opportunities and jobs. Mexico has the potential to expand its economy substantially through development of long-dormant energy industries. America will help by pursuing joint ventures with Mexico. Together, the United States, Canada, and Mexico will have the greatest energy industry complex in the world.
Trade is the pathway to peace. Every opportunity to move in the direction of unilateral liberalization of trade will be embraced, including multilateral trade agreements.
To maintain security, we must ignite growth in the American economy. The pure flat tax undergirds the Carson Economic Plan. It will nourish our economy into healthy growth — approaching 4 percent annually over the long run. According to the Tax Foundation, five million new jobs will be created, and wages will increase by 11 percent. The flat tax allows businesses to grow and multiply like healthy new cells. The flat tax establishes certainty about the future and encourages investors to fund new ventures.
Everyone with means will pay the same low 14.9 percent tax rate with no discriminatory or hidden deductions. The Carson flat tax has no business transfer tax, which is a value added tax in disguise. The goal of tax policy is to raise revenue — not to redistribute wealth. The only ethical way to do it is to make the system transparent, so that every American can understand the true cost of government. With a fair and transparent tax policy Americans will have renewed trust in the system, the economic pie will get bigger, and everyone will get her earned share.
The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, the Cato Institute and Alvin Rabushka, an original designer of the flat tax, have determined that the Carson flat tax is the best tax plan proposed by any candidate, beating its closest competitor by more than 1 percent of GDP over the next decade.
Initially, the flat tax will lead to a shortfall in Federal revenue. Therefore, substantial Federal spending cuts will be necessary. By slashing waste in the federal government, by selling off Federal assets, and by cutting programs that are not delivering value to the American people this gap can be closed. An intelligent and coordinated remedy will bring the budget into balance, and the Carson Balanced Budget Amendment will keep it there.
The General Accountability Office and the inspectors general of seventy-three government agencies and departments have identified $650 billion in annual waste that under a Carson Presidency will be expunged from the budget.
Federal assets, such as land and mineral rights, will be privatized — sold off — to improve their performance and balance the budget. Federal lands amounting to 640 million acres — almost whole states in some cases — will be sold. Federal enterprises such as the TVA, Amtrak, and the Air traffic control system will be divested. Many of the 300,000 federally owned buildings will be sold. Unoccupied Housing and Urban Development (HUD) houses (50,000 in number) and federally held loans will be sold as well. These monies will be put to reducing our excessive, $19 trillion debt.
Together, market-ready asset sales can raise between $2 and $4 trillion, balance the budget, avoid more debt, and restore those assets to productive use. Remaining assets will be subjected to careful cost-benefit analysis, and many more will be able to be sold to pay down federal debt.
Federal Government regulation is self-contradictory, regressive, and outdated. Regulation burdens business, stunts economic growth, chokes health care providers and patients, frustrates education, destabilizes energy development, and bloats government agencies. Let loose by over-reaching politicians the more than 600 Federal agencies collectively create 75,000 pages of new regulations every year. There are now one million regulations in force reaching into every facet of American lives. The burden of complying with business regulations is especially heavy for small and medium enterprises.
Honest Americans should not live in fear of their own government. During the first five years of his Presidency, President Obama added 11,327 pages to the Code of Federal Regulations. When asked by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), the Congressional Research Service informed him that they did not have sufficient resources to determine how many criminal laws were added in that mass of regulation. Our regulatory state is so out of control that John Baker, a retired professor of law from Louisiana State University has said, “There is no one in the United States over the age of 18 who cannot be indicted for some federal crime.”
The regulatory disease hurts poor people even more. Regulations that cannot pass a simple cost/benefit test cause a staggering loss of $4,000 per capita. For a family of four in poverty, the first $16,000 of its income goes to pay this regulatory tax, with no return! Dr. Carson’s regulatory rollback will cut the drag on the economy and contribute 1 percent to economic growth. Combined with the 4 percent growth generated by the Carson flat tax, overall economic growth will approach 5 percent, the kind of growth that will enable us to finally shake the malaise of The Great Recession. This compound growth rate will reinvigorate our economy over time.
Federal agencies have become intrusive, aggrandized, and have violated the scope and authority of the Federal mandate. The Education Department is an obvious example. There is no mandate for federal control of education. Education is clearly a function of local government and under a Carson Presidency will be returned to that level, where families and communities can see to the well-being of their own children.
Obamacare regulations forcibly entrap vulnerable people in a system over which they have no control and no ability to adapt to their individual circumstances. Unchallenged, Obamacare would choke American productivity and force more and more people onto its rolls. Dr. Carson’s market-based health care remedy will meet the health care needs of all Americans, maintain health care personnel, and allocate our scarce resources in an efficient manner, saving more than $1 trillion over the next decade. Insurance companies will be allowed to compete across state lines and push health care costs down substantially. More people will be able to reclaim the dignity of paying for their own health care, and no one in need will be shut out.
No industry is more regulated than energy resource development and production. By removing government interference in the energy industry Dr. Carson will increase the development of energy resources and generate new jobs. Much of our defense effort is directed at the protecting the availability and security of energy sources, processing facilities, and transportation channels. Energy development will generate security, foster stability among our allies, and reduce our vulnerabilities to Middle Eastern instability and Russian intimidation.
Regulatory reform is impossible for establishment politicians, who are captured by the special interests that dominate the regulatory process. But as someone outside of the political establishment, Carson is free to dismantle the regulatory structures holding America behind. For example, the flat tax would eliminate the IRS completely (84,000 jobs). A much smaller agency will administer the flat tax. Carson is the only candidate with a plan to get the unnecessary regulatory bureaucrats out of our lives.
Each agency that satisfies the federal mandate will be subject to a transparent and independent estimate of costs and benefits, not one cooked up by that agency to justify its agenda and budget. A recent Congressional Budget Office report lists nearly eighty possible program cuts. Beginning with those eighty programs $100 billion per year can be cut, leading to $1 trillion in cuts over the coming decade. A House Budget Committee report identifies $550 billion per year in cuts leading to $5.5 trillion in cuts that can be made over the next decade. Those reports do not take account of the out of control nature of DC, so there are many more dollars to be saved.
Out of control government explains why America’s $19 trillion fiscal debt has expanded so greatly in recent years. And unfunded liabilities like Social Security and Medicare are not included in that deficit. The annual GDP is only about $18 trillion. That situation is unsustainable. Unresolved, Americans face either tax increases, benefit cuts, or some combination of the two. A Carson Presidency will retool these programs to make them work for the future of our grandchildren.
Ben Carson is a candidate with courage and integrity. Establishment candidates are beholden to special interests and lack vision. Not one among them believes that the IRS can be abolished and a flat tax implemented in the face of lobbyist opposition. Not one gives regulatory rollback any chance of success, even though they know it is necessary. No one will confess that unfunded liabilities present a formidable challenge.
America is at war both in the national security sense and in the economic sense. A Carson Presidency will use its electoral mandate to present the necessary reforms to Congress in the first months of the Administration. We will ask Congress to declare formal war against those who war against us and will consider all options in the President’s power to protect our nation from threats others choose to ignore. We have dedicated enemies who want to destroy us. We have a tattered economy, destined for minute economic growth and debt implosion. National security and economic growth are intimately related. We cannot have one without the other. There is no other way to describe our situation than as a national emergency. In a national emergency everyone has to pull together, just as we have done in national emergencies throughout our history. Victory requires unity, becoming one out of many, and unity means healing and joining in a common cause. The American people need to join together, to rally and insist that Congress act to adopt the Carson Economic Plan in order to save our great country.