January 2014: America The Beautiful

Written By: Ben Carson M.D.

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Top Review by: Janette Minasian Pires

Ben Carson’s America the Beautiful gives us a brief overview of our nations’ early beginnings, the principles that guided our founders and why in his words, “America is still the pinnacle nation in the world today.” He takes us on an inspirational journey through his early life of poverty and highlights his personal struggle to get a meaningful education despite the many obstacles he faced. Dr. Carson realized that reading was the key to learning and essential to leaving his life of poverty. He returned to these truths after earning great success as a gifted neurosurgeon by establishing two initiatives – Carson Scholarships and the Ben Carson Reading Project.

Carson does a thorough job of explaining the differences between capitalism and socialism, points out the dangers of big government and connects our founding principles of economics and government with the Bible. However, I take exception with many of his suggestions that impede free markets such as tariffs on products manufactured and assembled in other countries, eliminating or reducing medical school tuition, promoting “say on pay” arrangements for top executives, providing basic health care for every citizen, insisting that insurance companies become nonprofits, regulating the number of attorneys allowed to practice and don’t get me started on his comment that moving money around produces nothing. (See page 107 for the full discussion).

Carson addresses two topics that resonate with me. First, reducing and simplifying the tax code by conceptually arguing that taxes should not exceed what we are required to tithe. If 10% is enough for Jesus, why can’t government live on a flat 10% from its citizens? (Full disclosure: I am one of those “slick accountants” that he mentions on pg. 177 and I move money around – usually back into my client’s bank accounts!) Second, his suggestion to reverse fiscal irresponsibility by cutting the budget of EVERY department by 10% per year until spending is brought under control is a solution worthy of discussion.
There is much thought provoking information in America the Beautiful and as a student of the Bible, the Constitution, our Founders, economics and our nations’ history I believe our solutions are right in front of us. All we need to do is go back to the beginning, learn it and restore it.

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