7. A growing consensus of liberals and conservatives agree that economic mobility in the United States has decreased and is a serious problem. (See here and here.) What can the federal government do to improve economic mobility for Americans struggling in the bottom half of the income distribution?
Education is the great liberator. Those even in the worst of circumstances can use an education as a foundation to flourish and prosper in society. I'm acutely aware of education being the ladder that can lead one out of poverty and into realizing the American Dream. We need to increase accountability of school districts and facilitate parent and community involvement to improve our schools.
Just as important is expanding job growth throughout every industry. We need to rescind and repeal the onerous regulations that are stifling growth for small businesses.
A Carson administration will evaluate every regulation for its benefits and costs to job growth, and eliminate any that simply aren't worth it. We also need a fairer, flatter tax code to replace the confusing system today that currently inhibits economic growth. I have put forth a plan for a 14.9 percent flat tax that would unleash the economic potential of this country.
Finally, we need to replace Obamacare with a real affordable care act, one that provides patients with better choices and flexibility, and delivers a higher quality of care at a lower cost. Opportunities can only be created when American businesses and entrepreneurs are empowered to grow and hire new employees.
8. At what point in a pregnancy, and under what circumstances, should abortion be illegal?
I firmly believe that life begins at conception. As such I believe that abortion after this point is morally wrong. We need to hold true to our Judeo-christian heritage, and as many Christians across the countries believe, abortion should be illegal except in the most extreme cases where the mother's life is in danger. Even in those rare circumstances, we should evaluate the situation on a case-by-case basis.
We should appoint Justices to the Supreme Court who would overturn Roe v. Wade, and we should focus on initiatives to reduce the prevalence and frequency of abortion. We need to reestablish a culture of life in America.
9. For those opposed to gay marriage as a matter of faith or conscience, to what extent should they be allowed to behave according to those beliefs now that the U.S. Supreme Court has declared gay marriage is a fundamental right found in the U.S. Constitution?
Americans should never lose their business over their religious beliefs, and Americans should not lose their livelihoods because they choose not to participate in ceremonies that conflict with their religious beliefs. Owning a business should not mean giving away one's religious liberty.
10. What are your priorities related to both protecting the nation's natural resources and using those resources to provide for the nation's energy needs?
Energy is the life-blood that keeps our economy growing. It fuels the tractors that plow America's fields. It powers the trucks, trains and planes that deliver American products. And it drives the American people in their everyday lives. If we want to return America to its former prosperity, we need to ensure that America's energy grid is not only reliable, but affordable. That means looking into all potential energy sources to find the most efficient, most effective and more reliable energy grid possible.
We can't afford to mandate unrealistic fuel standards or price-inflating renewable mandates. But as these energy sources compete head to head, technological advancements and innovations will help drop costs and raise efficiencies even further.
When it comes to the environment, we should be good stewards of God's resources, but the best way to do that is through market-based mechanisms and private efforts, not via government edicts that destroy businesses and intrude into citizens' lives.
11. How would you seek to change defense spending, Social Security, healthcare spending, or the tax code in order to slow the growth of deficit spending and tackle the nearly $18.3 trillion national debt and over $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities?
With my proposed flat tax plan, our economy will be able to grow and develop so strongly that the new revenues will help us start chipping away at the massive debt accrued over the past few years. At the same time, we must recognize that we cannot tax our way back to solvency. We need to cut government spending.
From the start, I would ask every federal agency to identify 2-3 percent of their budget which they could cut without cutting services. We know that waste and abuse is rampant within our government, and it is time we took a scalpel to cut away the excess. I have also proposed the establishment of a Chief Organizational Architect who could analyze the more than 600 federal agencies and sub agencies for redundancy and waste.
Finally, we would allow the federal workforce to be reduced through attrition as current workers retire, reining in a massively bloated bureaucracy to more manageable levels.
12. What caused the Great Recession, and what should be done to ensure it doesn't happen again?
A number of factors contributed to the global financial crisis, but what became clear was that when bankers engaged in highly leveraged financial bets, ordinary taxpayers ended up footing the bill for the big banks' bailouts.
I believe that certain types of regulations are reasonable for regulating financial markets. For instance, Glass-Steagall was a reasonable piece of legislation after the 1929 stock market crash, and perhaps should be re-imposed in a modified form.
This does not mean that the regulations imposed after the financial crisis were appropriate. In fact, Dodd-Frank is a monstrosity that does not address the root cause of the crisis, imposes heavy burdens on community banks, severely limits the freedom of financial institution to engage in ordinary business and saps economic growth with restrictive government controls.
I believe that when such government regulations choke economic growth, it is the poor and the middle class that are hurt the most. We can build a better way of regulating Wall Street, and in my administration, I will bring together the brightest minds to craft policies that work and to fight back against the special interests that just serve the politically connected.
Before running for president, Ben Carson was head of pediatric neurosurgery at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center. For more information, his campaign website is BenCarson.com.