Thursday, October 8, 2015

On The Nuttiness Of Ben Carson . . . And The Wrongness Of Him For South Dakota

     Brilliant physician that he is, and compelling a life story that he has, Dr. Ben Carson is
Yes, Dr. Carson, By All Means Please Run
And Run As Far Away From South Dakota As You Can
(photo from
detached from reality in spheres that have nothing to do with medicine but everything to do with political leadership and executive management.  
Though he consistently polls a strong second among Republican aspirants for their party's presidential nomination, I've been pretty much ignoring him because he doesn't have a clue about government finance and pubic debt management. More on that in a bit, but after his comments about how he would have handled himself ("I would not just stand there and let him shoot me.  I would say 'hey guys everybody attack him' ") during the community college massacre in Oregon a few days ago I realized that this serious contender for the Presidency of the United States is a lost cause.  

     As one who has, ah (how do I put this mildly?), soiled his undergarments while receiving fire on the battlefields of Vietnam I think I know something about reptilian fear.  Carson's chest-thumping bragadoccio about how he would Rambo-ize himself and attack the shooter is laughable on the face of it, considering people simply can't possibly know how they'd react in a firefight.  He might turn out to be the hero that he imagines himself to be, but Carson's assertions certainly come across as critical and victim-blaming when contrasted against the behavior of those dead people who didn't have the heroic gumption that he fancies himself as possessing.  Not only are his remarks ignorant and insensitive, they're plain nutty.
     As off-putting as Carson's glib reaction to the massacre in Oregon is, probably a more disconcerting  dimension of nuttiness emerges when he talks about the prosaic aspects of running the country.  In a long interview with (the widely followed and excellent
source of market and economic information from the University of Southern California) a couple of days ago, Carson revealed his ignorance of basic concepts involving public debt and monetary policy, mainly by evading the simplest and most direct questions posed by senior editor Kai Rysdaal.  The end result of Carson's interview is incredulity directed at the candidate himself.  On reducing the national debt, Carson kept insisting that he'll trim "the fat," but couldn't identify where the fat is that he'll trim.  Carson says he'll close "all the loopholes and deductions," an assertion so broad and non-specific as to be meaningless, if not altogether politically suicidal if it includes the home interest deduction.  And for his doozy of doozies, Carson says that coming off the gold standard created illusory wealth based on faith and credit.  I can only conclude that Carson yearns for a return to gold-backed currencies. Sounds pretty clear and simple, I guess, until you realize that if we were to revert to the gold standard, meaning all currency has to be backed by the finite quantity of gold that exists in
The Gold Standard, Ca 1900
Carson Waxes Nostalgic For This?

the world, the subsequent contraction of the global money supply would create a financial apocalypse.  This man is nuts.

     From our agriculturally-dominated perspective here in South Dakota, a gold-backed money supply would be ruinous. This is what the great prairie populist William Jennings Bryan railed against more than a century ago when he condemned "the cross of gold" upon which mankind was being "crucified."  Farmers depend on the liquidity created by modern monetary policy principles to keep money expanding in order to get decent prices for their crops and plenty of credit for working capital.  South Dakota's commodity and natural resources-based economy would be hammerlocked if Carson's heavy-handed approach were applied to it.  I give this guy a big "no thanks."


  1. Gold standard? Carson mentioned the gold standard? You're right: that's a sure sign of detachment from reality.

    1. Yup, about halfway into the interview that I linked he notes that FDR took us off the domestic gold standard in '33 and that we decoupled from the international gold standard in '71 and that now our money is "not based on anything." This is fringe economics.

  2. Carson is a fraud and a coward. When actually confronted by a gun man, he said, "I believe you want the guy behind the counter". He's done. No thanks Ben, we want the guy behind the counter, even if she's a woman.