Ben Carson: My American Dream

Save the American Dream

I grew up on the dilapidated streets of Detroit. My father was not in my life and my mother only had a third grade education. I attended a substandard school and for many years was a substandard student. My mother could not read, though my brother and I didn’t know that. She made us read regularly and required that we write reports on every book we read. She taught us to work hard, not make excuses and trust in God. With her guidance and God’s grace, I made my way out of the inner city, went to college at Yale University, became a neurosurgeon and achieved the American Dream.

More than any other candidate in this race, I know what it means to rise from disadvantaged circumstances at the bottom of the economic ladder. I know what it means to face long odds against my success and to prevail. I have never doubted that the American Dream is accessible to my fellow Americans, regardless of color, ethnicity or background. I have also never doubted that the fundamental principles that undergird our society, including individual freedom, free markets and limited government, are essential to making the dream come true.

History shows that free enterprise and democracy have raised more people from poverty around the world than any other economic and political system. In our lifetimes, 80% of the worst poverty around the world has been eliminated by the adoption of the principles of the uniquely American features of free enterprise system. Conversely, history also shows that the failed ideologies of socialism and collectivism have done more to impoverish people than any other. We can, and if elected President I will, continue to apply those principles here to ensure all Americans enjoy the same opportunities I did. That is what my economic policies working together, including tax reform, government and regulatory reform, spending reform, healthcare reform, education reform and energy reform, are designed to do.

First and foremost, my economic policies proceed from the premise enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, that “…all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” That seminal idea is founded on the inherent and inviolable dignity of every human being. My economic policies start there — that every person is made in the image and likeness of God, every person has value, and in the pursuit of his or her own happiness every person can contribute to the success of our society.

The failed policies of the left proceed from the premise that the poor and underprivileged are problems to be managed rather than potential contributors to the health of the nation to be nurtured. One need look no further than the programs that stemmed from Great Society policies of the Johnson era. Those programs have utterly failed to improve the lot of the poor and underprivileged. In fact, in many ways their condition is worse. The breakdown of the African-American family has accelerated and is being replicated in other communities. The maladies of joblessness, homelessness and hopelessness have increased.The quality of education in inner city and poor rural schools has declined. These issues and many more confirm the ineffectiveness, indeed the destructiveness, of liberal policies.

To many trapped in the cycle of poverty and powerlessness the cheap talk of politicians promising to make the country a better place either rings hollow or sounds like it applies only to those who already enjoy the American dream. To many of our fellow citizens, the American Dream appears out of reach, or is perceived as a nightmare. That should not be the case, and it will not be under a Carson presidency. From taxes to healthcare and education, I have proposed policies that will help ensure that all Americans have the opportunity to walk and work toward our society’s finest virtues.

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