Ben Carson is the unqualified secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. His scandals have been endless and one of his missions appears to be to prevent low-income people from obtaining fair housing, which is one of the many things for which Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. fought.
In a hypocritical piece for USA Today, Carson wrote, “Fifty years ago, Americans witnessed the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the passage of the landmark Fair Housing Act. Each event is inexorably linked with the other… As a child growing up in Detroit during the struggle for civil rights, I saw the impact of discrimination firsthand and witnessed the impact these closed doors had for my family and our neighbors. I experienced it again after my parents separated and we were forced to live in a small apartment in Boston with my aunt.”
He continued, “I lead a department that keeps this promise alive by enforcing the Fair Housing Act and making certain the aspirations of law are made manifest. As our nation recalls these tragic and triumphant events, we also need to rededicate ourselves to battle injustice in our housing markets. We honor these two moments in our nation’s history by continuing to confront overt and even subtle discrimination that persist half a century later. And we resolve to take King’s dream into the next 50 years.”
Not sure if Ben Carson wrote this himself and if he did, it’s not very Christ-like to lie. Carson has activately worked to dismantle fair housing, not uphold it. The former neurosurgeon announced in August that he was delaying an Obama-era rule that allowed low-income people to afford housing in areas with better schools. This was scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2018, but, according to ThinkProgress, Carson wanted two years “to further evaluate it.” A federal judge shut Carson down and the Obama-era rule was supposed to start January 1st. See the NAACP tweet below back in December:
According to ThinkProgress, “The Small Area Fair Market Rent rule would tweak the formula for public housing subsidies. More than five million people use ‘Section 8’ public housing vouchers to afford rent on the private market; ‘Section 8’ refers to the statute that created the subsidies. On average, voucher holders direct 30 percent of their incomes to rent, and the federal government pays the rest. The subsidy is currently based on metropolitan-wide rent; as of January 1st, the formula will change to a ZIP-code based approach.” The site adds, “The new formula empowers voucher holders — who are disproportionately African-American — to afford housing in more affluent areas, which see more job opportunities, lower crime rates, and better schools. The rule goes into effect in 23 metropolitan areas and should not cost the administration any more money.”
With Trump’s power, Carson has continued to delay Small Area Fair Market Rent rule and we are now in April. If Carson wrote those words in honor of MLK, why would he attempt to prevent low-income people from getting better education and access to job opportunities? He even called the program “mandated social-engineering.” In addition, this is the same person who claimed low-income people were “too comfortable” in poverty. He also wants to kick people out of HUD via a work requirement of 32 hours per week. As Diane Yentel, the president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, said, “Work requirements don’t lead to stable employment or a path out of poverty. Cutting housing benefits won’t create the jobs and opportunities needed to lift families out of poverty.” If there are little-to-no jobs in your area that aren’t paying a starvation wage, how are you supposed to survive? What if someone can’t find a 32-hour a week job, only a 20-hour a week job? This is not what Dr. King would support.
Carson also wrote, “There is still a lot of work to do to make good on the promise of the Fair Housing Act. Until housing discrimination is resigned to the history books, HUD will continue to fight for fair housing. It is central to our mission, and it’s the keystone of our nation’s creed that all persons are created equal.” How could this be accurate when Carson reportedly removed all discrimination language from HUD’s mission statement?
Carson’s article honoring Dr. King was completely disrespectful to his legacy. There isn’t one iota of Carson at HUD that Dr. King would support.