Black Press Business/Economic Feature Week of December 15, 2016
Ben Carson at HUD
More blacks should think through the prism of opportunities Donald Trump’s presidency can bring. Benjamin Solomon Carson Sir’s nomination and appointment as secretary of the Housing and Urban Development Department (HUD) will be debated endlessly over the coming months, with critics honing in on his lack of housing policy and government experience. In his new job Ben Carson will be in position to do much for blacks. Carson recently posted: “We have much work to do in strengthening every aspect of our nation and ensuring that both our physical and spiritual infrastructure is solid.”
Ben Carson’s mindset and abilities will enable him to help, as well as lift, millions of blacks. Conversely, blacks across the board should be alarmed at attempts to sully the honorable neurosurgeon. When the Senate approves Dr. Ben to run HUD he will head a $47 billion agency that oversees federal rental assistance programs that service more than five million of the country's lowest-income households. HUD’s housing choice voucher program (Section 8) help low-income families rent apartments in the private market. HUD also oversees a million units of public housing, administers billions in community development funds, insures mortgages of more than one-fifth of all homeowners. The department, which was created by Lyndon Johnson during the 1960s, is tasked with managing the Federal Housing Administration, which insures more than $1 trillion in housing loans. It also manages billions of dollars in public housing money, rental assistance, and homelessness programs. HUD funnels billions into local grants that revitalize affordable housing and public facilities and plays a crucial role in distributing disaster relief funds. An African American, Robert Clifton Weaver, was HUD’s first Secretary as part of President Lyndon Johnson "Great Society" program to develop and execute policies on housing and metro policies. .
co-chair the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee (DPCC) claims Carson is “in above his head.” But, it’s all partisan gamesmanship. Housing is a major component of the American Gross National Product (GNP). Real estate plays an integral role in the economy. Residential real estate is often the source of wealth and savings for many families. Real estate income provides millions a source of revenue.
Over the past 50 years, too many blacks have bought into “dependency” mindsets. During the campaign, Trump said that “African Americans are living in hell in the inner cities…and jobs are nonexistent.” To the extent Carson provides leadership and direction at HUD the agency is capable of helping poor Americans obtain and afford good housing, it is uniquely situated to fight against poverty, crime, bad education, poor health, and other negative outcomes tied to instability.
With the “personal imitative” Dr. Carson has evolved over his life and career, he can change the lives and opportunities of millions of blacks. The political pundit’s comments that he is “unfit for the job” are insulting. It’s foolish for blacks to even entertain that a trained academic could not run a government agency. Actually, in his new job, Carson could go down as an Urban Legend that brought new focus and implementation tools and processes to African Americans and cities.
The Democrats and unions would lead you to believe that “there's a gulf between Carson and African-Americans." Truth is Trump put the right guy at the right place. A key component of Carson and his personal message is that discipline, hard work and dedication could lift people and their vision and capabilities. With classic conservative "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" ideology Carson can initiate urban economic development “operating in effective and efficient ways.”
An effective Carson tenure at HUD would mean more money to help Americans through HUD and its mission to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes. Under Carson HUD can strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy; meet needs for quality affordable rental homes; utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities. Carson is receiving counsel from Alphonso Jackson, HUD secretary under President George W. Bush, who has “on the job training,” having run public housing in St. Louis and D.C.
William Reed is publisher of “Who’s Who in Black Corporate America” and available for projects via Busxchng@his.com