I Took Ben Carson On A Stick Around NYC

by Lauren Holter

In the last few months, Ben Carson has transformed from an accomplished but politically-inexperienced doctor chasing after the Oval Office to a leading candidate for the GOP presidential nomination. In the latest CNN/ORC national poll, Carson ranked in third behind Donald Trump and Carly Fiorina with 14 percent of Republican support, a slight decline from his previous spot as the second-place candidate. As a retired neurosurgeon, Carson lacks experience in most presidential duties, namely dealing with the country's economy. While Trump and Fiorina don't have political experience either, they've both worked in business and have managed huge sums of money before, unlike Carson. So, what is Carson's plan for America's economy? I took Ben Carson around New York City's Financial District to discuss what he sees as the nation's biggest economic problems and what he would do to improve them.

Carson easily blended in with all the financial traders and stockbrokers on Wall Street in his expensive suit and tie, but it's much easier to look the part than talk the talk. Despite his lack of financial experience, Carson has some pretty extreme ideas for reshaping America's tax code and raising people out of poverty, though he hasn't released any detailed plans yet.

Here's what Carson had to say about the economy while we walked around the Financial District.

The Bank of New York

The Bank of New York, now a part of The Bank of New York Mellon, was established in 1784 by Alexander Hamilton.

Carson said: "I don't think we should even talk about entitlements until we fix the economy, and I think fixing the economy is not going to be that difficult."

The New York Stock Exchange

What most Americans associate with Wall Street, the New York Stock Exchange is one of the world's leading financial markets.

Carson noted: "Our continued fiscal irresponsibility not only threatens the financial well-being of the next generation of Americans, it also increasingly jeopardizes U.S. security. Our international influence is weakened as our borrower status makes us vulnerable to threats from Mr. Putin and others. Perhaps worst of all, if our status as the world's reserve currency issuer changes, there could be a dramatic decline in our standard of living."

The Federal Hall National Memorial

This memorial commemorates the first U.S. capitol building where George Washington was inaugurated and was once a Department of the Treasury building.

Carson informed me: "I think we also have to have two minimum wages, a starter, and a sustaining, because how are young people ever going to get a job if you have such a high minimum wage that it makes it impractical to hire them?"

The Trump Building

The tallest office building in downtown Manhattan is owned by none other than Trump, but it was originally the Bank of Manhattan Trust building.

Carson refused to directly attack Trump although the real estate mogul claimed Carson has no job-creating experience. "Well, my response to that is that interestingly enough — and perhaps a lot of people don't know this — I've done lots of things in my life other than medicine. I have decades of experience on corporate boards — Kellogg, Costco, Vaccinogen, started a national nonprofit, have been involved in multitudinous things."

The Museum of American Finance

This museum is dedicated to American finance and financial history.

Carson said: "We need a fairer, simpler, and more equitable tax system. Our tax form should be able to be completed in less than 15 minutes. This will enable us to end the IRS as we know it."

The Financial District

The lower Manhattan neighborhood known as the Financial District is home to many of the city's and the world's top financial businesses.

Carson's thoughts? "We need a significantly changed taxation system. One I've advocated is based on tithing. I think God is a pretty fair guy. ... That's why I've advocated proportional tax system. ... Everybody gets treated the same way."

Wall Street

This iconic Manhattan street is known as the epicenter of America's financial markets.

Carson noted: "You know, the people who say the guy who paid a billion dollars because he had 10, he has still got $9 billion left, that's not fair, we need to take more of his money. That's called socialism. That doesn't work so well."

The American Express Company Building

Serving as the American Express headquarters until 1975, this building is now a New York City landmark.

Carson told me: "We spent over $19 trillion eradicating poverty. Has it worked? You know we have 10 times more people on food stamps, more poverty, incarceration, crime, broken families, out of wedlock births, everything that was supposed to get better is not only worse — it’s much worse. ... What we do know that works is that [when] people take an interest in other people and they invest in them and personal relationships develop — that’s what brings people out of poverty."

Images: Lauren Holter (8)