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1.18.16 Carson Transcript

Note: Official YouTube Video Linked Through Subheadings in Transcript

DR. BEN CARSON:  Help them have an early retirement. I think that that would make a big difference. The other thing about that is recognize that there are 645 federal agencies and sub-agencies. Can you imagine that? That is absurd. They all have budgets, and they all have fat. One of the things that I would do is evaluate all of them in terms of their cost versus their benefit. I would also ask every leader of each one of those agencies and sub-agencies, to cut their budget by 2% to 3%. If they can't do that, to hand in their resignation. I would tell them to do it in such a way that the American people could not tell that they had done it. Very different than what was done a few years ago with the sequestration, when they were given the instruction, cut in the places where people will feel it the most, so that no one will be asking for a budget cut in the future. Those are the kinds of things that I think we can very easily do. Those are the kinds of people that we want. The left has been critical of me because they've said that I want to spy on everybody. I don't necessarily want to spy on everybody, but I do believe in the concept of secret shoppers. There's no reason that we can't have them in the government also, and looking to see what people are doing. If you have a bunch of bureaucrats who are just stonewalling people and not taking care of them, and we are paying them out of our pockets, they don't need to be there, as far as I'm concerned.

On the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALAN WILSON: Dr. Carson, you were dancing around the next question I was going to ask, and I'd like to elaborate a little bit, because you were going exactly the direction I was hoping you would. The next area of inquiry that we're going to talk about is energy and EPA. You refer to it as the ... You said the definition of the EPA, what it stands for. There's actually another acronym. I call it the Eliminate Prosperity Agency, because it crushes small business, and large alike, with the crippling regulations that come through the regulators, who don't answer to anybody because they're so entrenched. There was a recent regulation by way of example, too. One is the Clean Power Plan, the way it was passed. It was done through regulatory fiat. The other one, anyone hear of WOTUS? Does that sound familiar? Like POTUS, but with a W, Waters of the US. They redefined what was a navigable waterway, like the Mississippi River, or something like that. WOTUS is, Water of the US, could be a ditch running through your backyard of your business or your house, that is intermittently filled with water when it rains. That could fall in the definition of Waters of the US, which means they could what? Regulate it. Basically by regulating it, they're preventing you from using your private property the way you want to, without a federal permit. I renamed it LOTUS, Lands of the US, because it's a land grab, is what it is. But you believe, what I'm hearing is, is that you can balance the need to have a livable, protected livable environment, with the reality of the cost of regulations on small business. Do you believe that, and how would you balance that?

DR. BEN CARSON:  I think if we handle it with logic and common sense, rather than with ideology. The president's Clean Power plan. The EPA has said if we implement every aspect of it, it will lower the earth's temp by 0.05 degrees Fahrenheit in 85 years. That's the benefit. What's the cost? Billions of dollars and millions of jobs. Makes absolutely no sense, because it is done on the basis of ideology, and not on the basis of evidence. If we look at every one of these agencies, as well as the regulations, on the basis of cost versus benefit, then I think we can begin to trim them down in an appropriate way. One of the interesting things is last year 81,000 pages of new regulatory burdens were added to us. Eighty-one thousand. Cost of compliance for all these things, almost two trillion dollars. You want to break that down for a family of four? Twenty-four thousand dollars per family of four. That also happens to be the level of poverty for a family of four, $24,000. So if you really want to eliminate poverty, let's get rid of all these regulations for ourselves. Something I think we need to be looking at. Back to the whole energy issue. God has blessed this country with enormous energy. We ought to be a net energy exporter now. Fracking really was a boon for us. The price has come down so low, it's under $30 a barrel now. But you know what? Necessity is the mother of invention. We will come up with even better, more effective ways of fracking, which is actually very good. Because what that will do is keep the price low, which is very good for our economy, but also very good to keep Putin under control. Because see, he's a one-horse show, energy, oil. If we keep the price low, it really depresses him. Look at all of the natural gas we have. That's hundreds of years' worth of it. We now have the ability to liquefy it, and to transport it overseas. We can sell it to Europe for much less than they're getting it for now. Undercut him. Put him back in his little box where he belongs. Those are the kinds of proactive energy policies that I think will be helping us out a great deal. Also, some of the profits that we derive from our petroleum products can be used to stimulate research into other areas. For instance, we sit between two oceans. Seventy to eighty percent of our population live bi-coastally. What if we began to develop the hydroelectric energy from the ocean? Can you imagine what that would do for us? We are perfectly situated to do it. Then there's a whole host of other kinds of things that we can do. The other thing that I don't believe it is government subsidies for all of these various things. I think things should rise and fall on their own merits. We've gotten too involved. Now, we have made certain agreements with certain parts of the energy sector, and people have invested a lot. All of those things will disappear by 2022, and I think we really should start phasing out everything that we can where the government is interfering with private industry.

On Obamacare

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALAN WILSON: Dr. Carson, I've been involved in two major lawsuits fighting the constitutionality of Obamacare. It was upheld to the US Supreme Court 5-4, which hearkens back to our very first question. But my question is, I challenged Obamacare not because of what I believe people maintain that it intended to do. I challenged it based on the fact that they were doing it the wrong way. There's a better way to provide people with access to health insurance without doing it in an unconstitutional manner. My question to you is, Obamacare repeal and replace? And if so, with what?

DR. BEN CARSON:  Well, everybody knows that I'm a vociferous opponent of Obamacare, not because it doesn't work, not because it's not affordable, not because it's a travesty upon the human race, but the real reason is because this country was designed of, for, and by the people. The government is supposed to be there specifically for the purpose of facilitating life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for the people. With Obamacare, along comes the government and says, "We don't care what you the people think. We're shoving this down your throat. If you don't like it, too bad." That completely alters the way that our country was set up. The people were supposed to be at the pinnacle, with the government the next step down. That flip-flopped. It puts the government at the pinnacle, dictating to the people. If we accept that, we will accept anything, which is why we must reject it and restore America to the original intention. The other thing is the people. I want them to keep in mind that it is definitely not affordable, unless you're very poor. It is a mechanism for redistributing wealth in our country. The cost has gone down slightly. I will admit that. But the reason is because a lot of people aren't going to seek medical care because they don't want to pay that $6,000 deductible. They don't have that $6,000 to pay. So they allow their health to deteriorate, and the government is claiming victory because of that. That is absolutely absurd. What I have suggested that we replace it with is a system that puts the care back int he hands of patients and their healthcare providers using health empowerment accounts, which is very similar to a health savings account, except with no bureaucrats involved. So you get to decide yourself, you get to decide yourself how you're going to use your money for healthcare purposes. We pay for it with the same dollars that we pay for traditional healthcare. We spend twice as much per capita in this country as many other nations, and yet we have these horrible access problems. People will get an HEA from the day of birth until the time that they die, at which time they can pass it on, and you give people the ability to shift money within their HEA. So Dad is $500 short for a procedure, Mom can give it to him out of hers, or son, or cousin, or uncle, or anybody in the family. It makes every family essentially their own insurance company with no middle man. Gives you enormous flexibility. It also makes you care about each other. If Uncle Joe is smoking like a chimney, everybody's going to hide his cigarettes. Then think about also the cost of your catastrophic insurance is going to drop dramatically at that point, because the only thing coming out of your catastrophic policy is real catastrophic incidents. How often do they occur? Not very often. So it's like a homeowner's policy with a big deductible, versus a homeowner's policy where you want every single scratch covered. One costs $10,000 a year. One costs $1,500 a year. Same principle. And you allow it to be bought across state lines, which drives the price down even further. That works for 75% of the population extremely well, and it brings the whole healthcare system into the free market economic model, which controls pricing and quality, just like it does in every other aspect of our lives.  But for the indigent, how are we going to take care of them? Well, we take care of them now with Medicaid. Annual Medicaid budget is $500 billion a year. We have almost 80 million people participating, which is way too many. That money will go down as we fix the economy, believe me. But let's deal with it where it is. Divide it up, it's more than $5,000 per each man, woman, and child on Medicaid. What could you buy with that? A concierge practice, the boutique practice that rich people buy. The average cost $2,000 to $3,000 a year. You still have thousands left over to buy your catastrophic insurance, which is much cheaper now. We give people a menu, very much like you have in Medicare Part C, MediChoice. All those choices will include catastrophic care and a drug plan. That way, people who are indigent will be just as valuable as everybody else. There will not be a two-tier system. People will not even know the difference. It also gets people thinking about ownership. Because with this plan, monies that you don't use just continue to roll over. We've had it evaluated by some economic analysts. They said the average person who started their HEA at birth would have over $100,000 in it at the time that they die, to pass on to their families. Think what happens over the course of a few generations, with that kind of money being passed along. That's what we should be doing. We should be designing programs that get people off of government assistance, rather than putting them further onto it.

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALAN WILSON: You know, if this thing for president doesn't work out, you should really consider a career in the healthcare profession. You talk like you've been around it. It's amazing. Wow. One quick anecdotal story. Today I was talking to a guy who was having a conversation with one of his more liberal friends who he attends church with. When they were in church the other day, his friend said how excited he was. It's final. We've got Obamacare here to stay. It's not going anywhere. He says, "I just got a plan. Now I finally have health insurance." My friend said, "Well, tell me about this policy and how much does it cost." He says, "About $700 to $800 a month." He goes, "What's the deductible?" He says, "$3,000." Eight hundred dollars a month with a $3,000 deductible. I would rather that $700 a month be going to a health savings account, or some other free market device. Moving along. I just thought it was an interesting anecdote.

DR. BEN CARSON:  The guy doesn't really realize, until something happens, that he doesn't have what he thought he had.

On Dodd-Frank

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALAN WILSON: And he's been told, "Hey, you have insurance now. We've delivered. You've got insurance." He does have insurance, for $700 a month, and he can't use it unless he has something catastrophic happen to him. I want to shift from healthcare to the financial industry, because there's another 2,000-plus-page bill that was passed, just like Obamacare, that's called Dodd-Frank. Anyone ever heard of this? Dodd-Frank is to the financial industry what Obamacare was to the healthcare industry. It's a large bill that was passed in the wake of a financial disaster, when everyone was freaking out. It basically centralizes power over the financial industry in the hands of unelected bureaucrats living and residing in Washington, D.C. It is enshrined too big to fail on Wall Street, and made it impossible or very difficult for small community banks on Main Street to get capital to many people because the cost of regulatory compliance is so high they can't afford to capitalize to get into the hands of farmers or students or young couples buying a first home. My question is kind of a broad question. But as president, Dr. Carson, what would you do to scale back Dodd-Frank, and what would you do to help with these lines of credit to people, real folks on Main Street USA?

DR. BEN CARSON:  Interestingly enough, regulation is not something that I'm totally against, but the appropriate kind of regulation. After the crash in 1929, and the years that ensued, they came up with it because they finally recognized that men are not angels. Neither are women for that matter. But you have to have some kind of regulation to keep them from playing fast and loose with people's hard-earned money. Somehow, in the '90s, they became convinced that men were angels. So we began to do away with that kind of regulatory front. Of course, problems started up again. Took about 20 years for the crisis to occur. But it is always going to occur if you don't have appropriate regulation. But with Dodd-Frank, we overreacted drastically. I can remember many an afternoon sitting around the boardroom table at Kellogg where I spent 18 years, and Costco 16 years, talking about the implications of Dodd-Frank. How many lawyers we'd have to hire. How many new departments we'd have to set up. All that stuff costs money. Guess who gets to pay for it? You do. Absolutely. Every single regulation gets passed on in terms of goods and services, and it's the most regressive form of taxation. Because when you go into the store to buy a box of detergent, and it's gone up 25 cents, who does that hurt? It doesn't hurt the rich person. They don't even notice it. But the poor person notices that right away. The middle class person may not notice it right away, but they notice it by the time they get to their cash register and everything in that cart has gone up a little bit, and they don't have that same sense of wellbeing.  You will get your Bernie Sanders of the world, and your Hillary Clintons telling you the reason you don't feel good is because of those evil rich people. No. It's because of the evil government, which is encircling every aspect of your lives. Again, we need to go back to evidence, evidence-based decision making, when it comes to the kinds of regulations we need. We do need regulations. I will not deny that. We need to make sure that people don't take advantage of everybody. But it's far fewer than what we're doing right now. We've just gone overboard with it.

On the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALAN WILSON: Dr. Carson ... You can clap. I'll wait. One of the very first issues I dealt with as attorney general, and this is not something that I ever dreamed of running on, it was just an issue that landed in my lap. A very small mom and pop startup, plane manufacturer, tried to move here a couple years ago, called Boeing. The National Labor Relations Board challenged ... Let me rephrase that. They weren't moving here. They were somewhere else. They were wanting to expand here while staying in a union state. They wanted to expand here because they liked what South Carolina had to offer. There was a challenge from the NLRB about the legality of that private, free market business decision to expand to another state. That really concerned me. It actually kind of scared me that you can have a law that basically tells someone who owns a private business that you can't move unless the unions bless it. What I would like to know ... This is a very pro-right to work state. In fact, it's the second least unionized state in the country. If people want to be in a union, they have a God-given right to join a union. But they shouldn't be compelled to be in the union in order to have a job to begin with. What are your views, Dr. Carson, on the role of the National Labor Relations Board and right to work?

DR. BEN CARSON:  Well, everybody has a right to work, and no one should ever be forced into a union. It makes absolutely no sense. Particularly government workers. Why are there government unions? It makes no sense. Because we the people are their employer. They don't get to have a union. That's ridiculous. That needs to be fixed. But I just want to take an opportunity to say, I get the chance to visit a lot of states. You guys have a terrific attorney general. The way he explains things. People just don't take the time to do that. I think it's really, really wonderful. I appreciate it. It gives me faith again. When I got into this process, I really didn't things were as I found out. There are so few people who are decent and honest, and are there for you, for we the people. It really is kind of discouraging that the American people no longer trust their government. We have got to find a way to get decent, honest people, and start doing things the right way. There is right and wrong in this country. We need to reestablish that. I think that will take care of almost every question that's been asked here.

On the 2nd Amendment

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALAN WILSON: I was just taking your cue. You're really good at explaining things in a way that regular people can understand, so I'm trying to keep up with you, Dr. Carson. The next question is regarding the second amendment. It's important. I joked the other day that I was one of those people President Obama talked about five years ago that wants to cling to their God and their guns. Y'all remember that comment. I'm one of him. I don't know if you are, but I am. There are a lot of people out there, some who are deranged, some are mentally ill and need help, others are just evil, and they do horrible, horrible, evil things, whether it's walking into a high school or a university or an elementary school or daycare, and they do horrible things with firearms. I remember reading once that Columbine involved a deranged person who violated 80 laws already on the books in order to commit those crimes. But it seems to be every times that there's a deranged person or a mentally ill person who does something, it becomes a gun issue, not a mental health issue. The knee-jerk reaction is to do what? Pass more laws on top of the laws that are already violated to begin with. My question is, is that I think there needs to be more of a focus on mental health. But as it relates to the second amendment and God-fearing people who are law-abiding citizens who want the right to own a firearm, and follow the law, how would you, what are your views of the second amendment in relation to what I just said.

DR. BEN CARSON:  Well, obviously the second amendment is very, very important. It is there for a couple of reasons. First of all, so that the people can aid the military if we're ever invaded. It used to seem like that was unlikely, but it's not as unlikely now because of our feckless policies. But the more important reason is so that the people could defend themselves against our own government if it ever got out of control. That is a real possibility. We need to make sure that we never relinquish that right, because we've been free for hundreds of years. We've been free for hundreds of years, because we've been armed for hundreds of years. Also, after the San Bernardino incident, and after what happened in Paris, what's the president's first knee-jerk reaction? "We need to take the guns away from the people." Just the opposite. We've got jihadists over here and they want to kill us, and we're going to take the guns from the law-abiding people? That makes absolutely no sense. These deranged people that we were just talking about, they're not so deranged that they don't know that you should go to a gun-free zone to commit their atrocities. It seems like they all seem to know that. Have you ever noticed, Israel sits right in the midst of all kinds of people who want to do them harm. Have you noticed that there's none of those school shootings in Israel? You ever stop to think why that is? It is because they have trained people in those schools, highly trained people in those schools, and nobody knows who they are. They have access to weapons, and they know how to use them. The terrorists know that. So that's not a place where they're going to go. I think that may be something from we can learn from that kind of thing. The other thing is, some people say, "Yeah, but you don't need to have an automatic weapon or a semiautomatic weapon." When the second amendment was put into place, the government had muskets, and the people had muskets. Enough said.

On Guantanamo Bay (GITMO)

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALAN WILSON: The next question is really two questions, two parts. One is a really quick one, and I'll just go to it first. I was one of three attorneys general representing one of three states that were being looked at, at transporting the detainees at Guantanamo Bay, to the Continental United States, us, Colorado, and Kansas, to a naval brig in Charleston, South Carolina. Obviously, I told the president not to do this, and the other members of our federal delegation are fighting this as well. What is your position on moving the detainees from Gitmo. That's part A.

DR. BEN CARSON:  Well, I think it's craziness. You know, we have it.

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALAN WILSON: That was in my letter, too, to the president. It's craziness. You're crazy.

DR. BEN CARSON:  We have a perfectly good situation that exists. Once you start bringing them here, all kind of legal complications occur, and different kinds of rights that have to be provided, not to mention the possibility of an escape. Why would we even be thinking about something like that? The other thing to keep in mind, these are very, very dangerous people that we're talking about. The fact that the president is releasing these people, and they're going back into war, and they're going to hurt our country and hurt our people, why would anybody do that? I sometimes have a hard time even understanding why he does the things that he does, without thinking about it. The other thing I want to mention along the same lines. It's not that we're prejudiced against any group of people. But what Islam represents is not just a religion. It is a way of life that does not allow for the separation of church and state. If you believe all the components of it, including Sharia, it really isn't compatible with the way that we do things in this country. I really believe in the Teddy Roosevelt philosophy. In the early 1900s he said, "We're a land of immigrants. As such, anybody is welcome in our country from any country, race, or religion, if they want to be Americans, if they accept our values and principles. If they don't they should stay where they are."

On Terrorism and ISIS

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALAN WILSON: I think you touched on this, but I'm going to throw it out there anyway. It's terrorism. I look around the room. I see a young man here on the front row. I see a young girl out there in a green sweater. My two children were in the back of the room earlier. There was a young girl over here. We had a beautiful little girl up here earlier. I think of young people when I think of terrorism, because the terrorists are attacking their future. That concerns me as a parent. You talked about this in addressing the Syrian refugee crisis. But what, how would you handle the growing ISIS issue around the country, the terrorism cells that are multiplying, and basically proliferating around the world. How would you, as president, handle that for our future?

DR. BEN CARSON:  Well, they are here already. Lots of terror cells have invaded our country. The sheriffs at the border were telling about the OTMs, Other Than Mexicans, who were coming in here from Northern Africa and the Middle East, freely. So it's problematic. First of all, seal the border, like I said. I think the other thing we can do in this country is we can teach the American people what to do if they're in a situation where terrorists are attacking. Just like when I was a kid, they used to have air raid drills. When the siren went off, you knew where you were supposed to go and what your were supposed to do. We need to start teaching our people what needs to be done. We also need to follow their internet communications, see where they lead. We need to put out our own communications, because they're going after the disaffected members of society. We can go after those same people.

            But also we ought to engage in offensive cyber warfare. We ought to destroy their ability to use the internet. We ought to destroy their servers. Some people say that's dirty pool. But they're dirty people. We can use dirty pool. It's not a problem. Also, we need to be working with the imams and the clerics. We need to be telling them that they have to become a part of identifying the radicalized people. They have to help us identify them. If they're not willing to do that, or they can't do that, then they must understand that we are going to have to treat them differently. Because we cannot afford to let ourselves be destroyed because we're so silly trying to be politically correct in everything we do.

On Law Enforcement

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALAN WILSON: I just got the 5-minute warning. So I've got 2 more questions, and I'm going to give you the last word, Dr. Carson, because they're here to see you. The first question, I want to preface it, as I look around the room, I see a lot of men and women in uniform, some who are not wearing a uniform because they're plain clothes. There are probably people in the audience who are in law enforcement, or retired law enforcement, or related to someone in law enforcement. First, I would like to just give a quick round of applause to the law enforcement in the room. We have security here in this building, and they're unsung heroes. They're not paid a lot of money, and they put their lives on the line every single day, and you rarely hear of them. The only time you hear anything about law enforcement is where there's one outlier, one bad actor, who does something horrible. We've obviously, the North Charleston shooting resonates with many of us because it happened in our backyard. But I believe that the president is kind of the chief cheerleader for the tone of this country. Many in the minority community felt like law enforcement, because there's a detachment of law enforcement because of those types of incidents. But I think the president, regardless of what community you come from, can play a vital role in upholding law enforcement, and basically closing that rift or that divide. As president of the United States, what do you think you could do to increase public confidence in our men and women in uniform in law enforcement ranks.

DR. BEN CARSON:  Well, I think first of all, you certainly don't exacerbate the situation by pointing to law enforcement and saying that they're the problem. Are there bad apples in law enforcement? Yes. There are bad apples in everything. There are bad apples in medicine, in business, in journalism. A lot there. There are all kinds.

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALAN WILSON: Not these folks in the back. Y'all are good. We like you.

DR. BEN CARSON:  But do we try to go out and kill the whole group because there are a few bad ones? Of course not. That's ridiculous. Now, let me just take this opportunity to say that the shooting, with the bad apple policeman here in South Carolina, was handled beautifully. The law enforcement, the government officials, the people, they all condemned it immediately. Swift action was taken. That was correct. Also, with the church shooting, I had a chance to visit that church. That was genuine. Those people were real Christians, the way that they were able to forgive. That says a lot about the people in the state. I think that's wonderful. But clearly, when it comes to our people who are putting their lives on the line every single day, the president needs to be the most grateful person for that, because we would have total chaos if they were not there. One the things that we ought to be thinking about is how do we introduce law enforcement into some of the troubled neighborhoods? Early and often, so that people actually know them. I was in Baltimore this summer. I was talking to a police officer. He says he makes it his job to go to a certain neighborhood every day, and he walks through the neighborhood. Everybody knows him there. He says he never has to buy lunch. They're always saying, "Come on in. Have a sandwich." He says it's wonderful. But it's relationships. That's really what ... What we have to do is we have to create the relationships between the police department and the communities. It's mutual respect. People have to respect the police. The police have to respect the people. I think that will make all the difference in the world. Also, as a society, we have to add some sensitivity. For instance, minimum wage job worker, he gets a moving violation. Those are very expensive, like $170 bucks. He can't afford to pay it. So what happens? He ignores it. The next thing you know he's got an arrest warrant. He loses his job. It's a downhill spiral. When all we have to do was provide a mechanism so he could pay it off at $5 a week. We need to be looking at those kinds of things that we can do so that we can make everything easier for everybody in our society. It'll make a big difference.

On Veterans and the Military

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALAN WILSON: Okay. Dr. Carson, we're down to our last question. I'm going to let you use your answer to this last question as your opportunity to close it out. But before I do, I want to give a few quick housekeeping matters. Because I want him to be able to speak last. Y'all can applaud for him. First off, I want to thank the Brooklyn Baptist community, the church, the conference center, and all the folks, the staff here who have supported this event. Thank you so much. I want to thank the Conservative Leadership Project, Brielle and the folks at CLP. I'm understanding that after this there's going to be an opportunity for all of our college and high school interns, anyone that's volunteering to get their photo with Dr. Carson. Back hallway, Brielle will direct you. If you're a CLP volunteer or you supported this event, go do that real quick. Last moment photo with Dr. Carson. Last, a shameless self-promotion. First, me, my handle is up there. @agalanwilson. If you're inclined to do the Twitter or social media thing, and you want to know what I'm up to, what our office is doing, if you want to criticize us, that seems to be the favorite place to go now. There's my handle up there. Then Dr. Carson's Twitter handle, @realbencarson, is back there on that banner. If you do social media or Facebook, please visit. CLPforums.com is the website for you to know about the Conservative Leadership Project, and see some of the things it's doing, and try to educate the public. Please visit that website and become more informed about this organization. Again, I want to thank ... I've thanked everyone, but I haven't thanked all of you, for taking time on a holiday to come out here and meet a presidential candidate, and great man, Dr. Carson. I want to thank all of you. You should pat yourselves on the back for being here. Now, last question, and I'm going to, it's going to be audience participation, because this is really important to me. It deals with the military and veterans. I look around the room. We've acknowledged the law enforcement, men and women in law enforcement. Our first responders, no different. But I'd like to call out military. If you are veteran, or a current member of the military, or you are married to a member of the military, or you have a child or a parent in the military, or there's someone in the military that you care about, related or otherwise, stand up. Or raise your hand if you're already standing. All right, let's applaud the military. You can sit down. The reason I did that, Dr. Carson, is—this question's about the military and about veterans. Obviously, I wanted you to know the audience you were speaking to, and I wanted to recognize the men and women, as a 19-year veteran myself, this is very important to me. South Carolina's fortunate to have strong ties to our armed forces. On behalf of South Carolina's military families, what efforts would you take to assist our military men and women, and veterans alike.

DR. BEN CARSON:  First of all, let me just say how wonderful it's been here, being with you all. I also want to introduce you to my wonderful wife, Candy. We have a 14% decrease in the number of people applying for our voluntary military. That is a serious problem, and that number seems to be getting worse. We also only can accept 29% of people who apply for the voluntary military, because the other 71% cannot make the grade, either for physical conditions, mental conditions, or educational lacking, the last one being the most severe. We've got some real work to do in this country that's going to affect our security into the future. Now, having a military right now that is at its smallest level, relatively speaking, ever, that the Navy, since 1917 hasn't been this small, the Air Force since 1940. Sequestration has cut the heart out of our personnel. Many of our top generals have retired. And our veterans. We have 22 veterans committing suicide every single day. That's the tip of the iceberg. We obviously are not providing them with the right kind of care. What I would suggest is that when a person enlists, they also are assigned a support group, which is with them throughout their entire military career, particularly when they're in combat, continues with them after they're discharged for a number of years, and starts working on their reintegration into society a year before they're discharged, so that they quit on Friday, and they start their new job on Monday. I would also make sure that they all have Health Empowerment Accounts that are subsidized by the government. They can go to any healthcare facility in the country to get taken care of, use their own [inaudible 00:41:09]. If they want to go to a veterans facility, they certainly can, but they don't have to. I would like to do the veterans facilities for doing research, particularly into traumatic brain injury, and to post-traumatic stress disorder, limb replacement, and a lot of the things that are very relevant to our veterans. Because we must recognize that since the inception of this country, approximately every 15 to 20 years, we've been involved in some kind of conflict. If it were not for our veterans we would not be free. So we must absolutely take care of them. Let me just close by saying, I trust the wisdom of the American people. I also hope that the people understand that where we are right now is very serious. We are at the precipice. We are about to go over the precipice. If we go over it, I do not think that we will be able to return. This is an extraordinarily important election that is coming up. Please pray to God for wisdom to make the right choice. We cannot continue to go down the same road that we have been down many times before, with the pundits and the media manipulating and telling us what we have to do. This is one time when the American people must absolutely think for themselves. If we do that, and we ask God for wisdom, the right thing will happen. Thank you very much.