Housing secretary Ben Carson says he thinks poverty is 'a state of mind'

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson called poverty a “state of mind” in a radio interview released Wednesday.

Carson, the famed neurosurgeon and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, made the comments while speaking with longtime friend and confidant Armstrong Williams on SiriusXM Radio.

“I think poverty to a large extent is also a state of mind,” Carson said. “You take somebody that has the right mindset, you can take everything from them and put them on the street and I guarantee in a little while they will be right back up there.”

Carson grew up in abject poverty in Detroit, rising out of it to become a world-renowned surgeon. In the interview, he seems to attribute poverty at least in part to having the wrong mindset.

“You take somebody with the wrong mindset, you can give them everything in the world, they will work their way right back down to the bottom,” he said in the interview, which was noted by The Washington Post.

“There’s also a poverty of spirit,” he added. “You develop a certain mindset.”

Trump’s controversial 2018 budget calls for massive cuts, totaling more than $US6 billion, to Carson’s agency. But the budget is just a suggestion for what the president would like to see Congress do, and leading members of Congress have chastised the proposal, which was released earlier this week.

Carson said on the radio show that government can offer a “helping hand” to assist people in getting out of poverty. But he also said programs that allow for people to be sustained “in a position of poverty” are “not helpful.”

“I think the majority of people don’t have that defeatist attitude, but they sometimes just don’t see the way and that’s where government can come in, and be very helpful,” he said. “It can provide the ladder of opportunity, it can provide the mechanism that will demonstrate to them what can be done.”

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