It’s not Brain Surgery! Dr. Ben Carson Offered HUD Secretary; Push-Back and Cheers

Anyone confident enough to run for the highest office of the land ought to be even more confident that he can dive into fixing what’s wrong at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Among the anti-Trump media outlets that slammed the pick, Slate’s shot began with their headline, a veiled reference to Dr. Carson being a world-renowned neurosurgeon.  “HUD Is Essential to the Fight Against Poverty. Ben Carson Will Lobotomize It,Slate said.

Born in Detroit, Michigan, on September 18, 1951, Dr. Ben Carson is a famous neurosurgeon, philanthropist, author, evangelical, Tea Party favorite, and a prior GOP candidate for the presidency. After dropping out of the race, he was one of the first of his rivals to endorse the eventual nominee, Donald J. Trump. He has been a loyal and wise advisor and surrogate, routinely promoting Constitutional, free market solutions. Photo credit, Biography.

But last year, the left-leaning Des Moines Register called HUD the poster child for federal waste, fraud and abuse.

So it was no surprise that Investor’s Business Daily (IBD) and prior HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros – himself a Democrat – expressed comfort with the pick of Dr. Carson, who is being panned by many of the pro-Clinton media.

Trillions have been spent on so-called poverty programs that in many cases have proven ineffective. By contrast, U.S. poverty rates were falling – due to private sector, free enterprise business activity – prior to the establishment of the so-called Great Society programs.

Carson said, “I feel that I can make a significant contribution particularly to making our inner cities great for everyone,” in a Facebook posting, adding that “an announcement is forthcoming about my role.”

Carson’s Op-Ed on the Washington Times, linked from the image below, holds important clues as to how he views HUD and the free market.

Click here or above to see Dr. Carson’s Washington Times Op-Ed. Image credits: Washington Times.

The Detroit News cited Carson telling Fox News that, “our inner cities are in terrible shape and they definitely need some real attention.”

Home ownership has fallen sharply during the POTUS Obama administration years. Chart credit, FactCheck.

IBD quite correctly pointed out that it was Clinton Administration polices – later protected by Democrats in the House and Senate – that tilted the nation towards the housing/financial crisis meltdown of 2008.

If experts got HUD into its current mess, perhaps a pro-free market, clear-thinker like Carson could assemble the team that could correct it.

Bulldozing vacant houses in Carson’s native Detroit has become a symbol of how good intentions – but bad public policy by so-called experts – has harmed America.

During the Obama years, their answer has been to double-down on more government intervention – example Dodd-Frank – in matters that their party’s policies helped screw up.  That isn’t to absolve Republicans of responsibilities, but it’s historic fact that Dodd-Frank and the 1990s era Clinton housing programs were Democratic plans.

Affordable Housing Crisis, HUD and the HUD Code Manufactured Housing Program

While the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) and other associations have taken issue with a number of HUD decisions, such as the on-site completion rule, it is safe to say that no association in manufactured housing has been a more consistent critic of how the manufactured housing program has been operated than MHARR.

The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) has expressed great delight at the victory of Donald Trump, and joined with GOP Congressional leaders and the president-elect in calling for all pending regulations to be halted.

Among the great ironies of modern Washington DC bureaucracies, is that the solution for a significant part of the nation’s affordable housing crisis is found in manufactured housing.  Who says?  The current HUD Secretary, Julian Castro.

The United States faces an affordable housing crisis. And manufactured homes serve as a vital solution for folks of modest means; particularly in rural areas,” Castro said in the video below.  Castro makes an important point. But instead of getting out of the way of the manufactured housing industry, HUD’s current manufactured home program director and staff have routinely created roadblocks instead.

One of the issues that several associations and MHProNews have promoted for years is the failure of HUD to enforce the enhanced preemption of manufactured homes, which was established by law in the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000.

Even among industry professionals, too few are pointing out today the hot news from just 2 years ago, when the GAO sang the praises of HUD Code manufactured housing in their report, linked below.

The GAO 2014 – download the report here – demonstrates dramatically that even when financed with a higher – but unsubsidized – loan rate, MH is so affordable that it is the lowest cost form of new permanent housing in the U.S. today.  The solution to the affordable housing crisis is hiding in plain sight, and agencies like HUD and the CFPB have created hurdles that have limited this free market solution from easing the affordable housing crisis.

While manufactured home (MH) placement wouldn’t work as well as modular housing could in the high-rise elements of metropolitan areas, MH would work in hundreds of municipal neighborhoods from coast-to-coast.

On multistory projects, modular homes are an important tool for building affordable, quality homes and would create more jobs in the process. Click above to see that story.

Cisneros is right in saying that Dr. Carson thinks outside of the box.  He is a pro-free enterprise, pro-limited government believer that epitomizes opportunity for all in America.

Should Carson and the Trump Transition team finalize this proffered appointment for the role of HUD Secretary, Carson could jump start HUD by draining the swamp of the leadership at the manufactured housing program.

Given that the U.S. Census Bureau documents the fact that HUD Code manufactured homes are about half the cost of conventional construction, they are an obvious solution that has been too long overlooked by federal officials. Bloomberg, HousingWire, Realtor and Fox News have all recently stated that manufactured homes are an obvious option for creating more home ownership.

Housing is vital, but it isn’t brain surgery.  Career politicos and policy wonks have seen poverty rising in recent years, despite record spending.  Dr. Carson could be just the right medicine needed to bring sanity back to HUD, while other members of the soon-to-take-office Trump cabinet will address other parts of the bloated and dysfunctional federal government.

We will keep readers posted on whomever will be named for this vital role in restoring the American Dream for all. While the Trump Transition Team will no doubt settle on a fine person for HUD, the Masthead would be pleased to report to readers that the doctor is in. ##

(Image Credits are as shown above.)

L. A. “Tony” Kovach is the publisher of MHProNews and MHLivingNews teams, is an MH industry veteran, a respected consultant, expert and speaker. 

By L. A. ‘Tony” Kovach.

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